Windows Could not determine if this computer contains a valid system volume

I have a new server for our testbed and I am installing Windows Small Business Server 2008 on it for the first time. I thought I would make it farther into my install before seeing my first error message.

Turns out, I was wrong. Just a few short screens into the install, I received the following error message: “Windows could not determine if this computer contains a valid system volume.” Huh?

I first checked the settings for my RAID card and then re-checked the partition structure and re-formatted the drive into a smaller size… none of these things had any effect.

After a few Google searches, I found that this is a problem also noted by some when installing Windows Vista when a USB drive was connected to the system.

It turns out that Windows reads information about the boot sequence from the BIOS of the motherboard. It looks at this information to understand what will happen when the system boots for the first time. If you have a USB drive connected to the system and it is listed in the boot config as a bootable device – you will probably see this same error.

To get past it, simply re-configure your BIOS Boot options to NOT include the USB drive as a bootable device and you should be good to go. You can also boot your system without a USB drive installed – not an option for me since I need to install 3rd party raid drivers.

For the TYAN motherboard I am using, My 1st boot device is set to the DVD/CDROM drive and the 2nd boot device is set to the 3WARE RAID controller.

More to come as I make progress on this.