Dealing with Death (the Blue Screen Sort)

The other day at work I was attempting to install Win XP Pro on a refurbished system from Dell. I bought the system without an OS because we had licenses available under our Volume Licensing agreement with Micro$oft. I was extremely annoyed to find that the system (an Optiplex 755) kept blue screening very early in the setup process. I tried multiple discs, multiple disks, and swapped out the RAM, but no joy. I would get to the point where the install CD asks what you want to do and where you want to do it and {BANG} blue screen…

The problem? In the BIOS the Hard Drive Controller was configured as “ACHI”. After switching the controller mode to “Compatibility / IDE” everything was great. Simple problem, simple fix (once I knew what to do).

If you are getting the BSOD while installing Windows XP on a no OS system, double check the HD controller settings. It may make your day just a little bit better.

NOTE: If you are installing Vista or 7 you don’t want the SATA operation to be IDE/Compatibility/Legacy

Thanks to OceanMaster over at the forums for helping me out with this one.