Windows cannot install to the selected location. Error 0x803000001
Now comes the single biggest gotcha in Windows 7 Installations: Windows cannot install to the selected location. Error 0x803000001. For whatever reason the Microsoft engineers failed to make this an intelligible error message. If they had used FROM in pace of TO it might make sense. It really should say, “Please re-insert the Windows 7 install disk.” So, do that when you see the 0x803000001 error. Remove your driver disk and insert the Win 7 install source.
Next look for the REFRESH button and click it. Installation should resume. It literally took me days to figure this out the first time I ran into it. :/
There are new ways to access the hard drives of a computer. Drives used to be either IDE or SCSI. Now they are SATA and faster. Plus the new solid state dives (SSD) use even faster SATA access methods. These changes mean the drivers that understand how to talk to drives in new ways have changed. Also the hardware and chipsets, have changed too.
When upgrading to Win 7 we can update the drivers but, we are stuck with the chipset. But, Win 7 expects the newer methods of disk access. It looks for the Advanced Host Controller Interface (AHCI) and when not finding it tries to use IDE/SATA-PATA. If you have the right drivers this will work just fine, but, if you are trying to add a SSD drive it can be a problem post Win 7 install. But, that is beyond the scope of this article.
What is important and can be a problem is drive order. If you are installing on IDE drives, the drive must be the first in BIOS list, drive 0. The same with SATA drives. Either way Win 7 install expects to install on Drive: 0. Boot order can be for USB or CD/DVD and then hard drive. But, the target drive has to be Disk 0 in most cases.
If the drive you want to use is not in slot: 0, change it. Move wires or if the BIOS settings will allow you to change order, do it there. Google for the how-to’s.
If you checked via the Microsoft Advisor, this should not happen. So, my guess would be you have the wrong drivers.
The other possibility is the MB simply will not support Win 7 and the Advisor is wrong. If you found Win 7 drivers for our motherboard, make sure you are installing 32-bit drivers into a 32-bit operating system or 64-bit into 64-bit.
The problem can be a BIOS, driver order, driver problem. You have to get all the parts right. That can be a pain. The BIOS settings for those using AHCI are finicky. Often you will need to disable AHCI and stay with AHCI. In some cases you can switch after the install.
Understanding Windows 7 Install Process
It can be infuriating for you when the BIOS can see the DVD and start the install and THEN the install program goes part way and loses track of the DVD and can’t see it. Here is what is happening.
The install program starts installing to a RAM drive (usually X) by using the BIOS drivers for DVD and memory. Once you have the opportunity to load drivers the install stops using the BIOS drivers and begins using the drivers in Windows Pre-install Environment (WinPE), from drive X. If you load the drivers Win 7 install ONLY copies them to the X drive. After the first reboot Win 7 switches to the WinPE to complete the installation. The problem is it probably will not have the drivers you loaded and there is no way to get the DVD drivers installed.
You may have USB access at this point or not. Chances are you are hung and cannot access the DVD or USB and may be not the hard disk. What a mess. The fix is to build your own Win 7 install disk. Slipstream and add the drivers you need. This is rare, but it happens.
I use a program named RT7 Lite. It can be used to open an ISO copy of Win 7 Install and add drivers. Google for it and how to use it. I warn you it will pop an error as soon as you use it.
This pop up can come up under the main splash screen. Look closely at the bottom edge of the splash screen and click on the window edge. Select YES and the program runs just fine. The problem here is it cannot find its advertising and complains.
You’ll see these errors from time to time as you use the program. Just YES past them and the program works.
RT7 will allow you to install drivers into WinPE part of the install and the main Win 7. That will get you around the stupidity of the Win 7 install program. But, so far I’ve had to make two driver install passes to get that to work. I don’t seem to be able to install the drivers in both parts in one pass. I’m probably missing something.
With persistence you can get Win 7 into to some pretty old hardware. For business clients I quite often get them a refurbished computer and save the time needed to figure out the install problems. These are computers from outlets like Geeks.com.
HP will get computers returned via RMA and just send out a new computer. Companies buy the returned computers from HP and repair and sell them. I think HP has a department that takes them and repairs them too, but I’m not certain. These repaired computers cannot be sold as new. So, they are sold as Refurbished. They are essentially new computers will little to no use. If ‘refurbished’ were not printed on the boxes, you would never know they are not new machines.
These computers are often priced at $700 to $800 new. As refurbished units they often sell for half that. They usually come with Win 8. These are quit the deal.
For friends, I am often just getting them a newer mother board. The LGA775 socket processors were popular for a number of years and new boards were made even after release of the newer iCore CPU’s were released. They are still popular. So, it is not difficult to find good LGA 775 motherboards that will work with Win 7.
If you buy from eBay, find a board and check (Google) to see if you can get Win 7 drivers for it. If you can, it may the way forward and worth buying.