Master Boot Record Virus Prevents Windows NT From Installing

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Article ID: 140046 - View products that this article applies to.
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If a virus is present in the master boot record, the following message appears after selecting the partition to install Windows NT to during setup:
The hard disk containing the partition or free space you chose is not accessible to your computer's startup program. Setup cannot install Windows NT on this hard disk.

On x86-based computers, this message may indicate a problem with the computer's CMOS hard disk type settings. Consult your computer or hard disk controller documentation for more information.

NOTE: This message does not necessarily indicate an error condition. The hard disks typically accessible to a computer's startup program are those whose installation in your computer were anticipated by the computer manufacturer.

For example, disks attached to a SCSI adapter not installed by your computer manufacturer, or to a secondary hard disk controller, are typically not visible to the startup program unless special software is added to your computer. Contact your computer or hard disk controller manufacturer for more information.


The message is referencing a translation/configuration problem between Windows NT and the hard disk you are trying to install Windows NT to. A computer virus that is part of the Master Boot Record of a hard drive can also cause the same message to appear during setup. (If the problem is caused by the NYB virus, you can remove the virus with the lastest version of McAfee's antivirus program.)

If the message appears during setup right after you have selected the partition to install Windows NT to you need to do the following:
  1. Use a well known virus application such as McAfee SCAN.EXE and verify the entire drive. Not all Master Boot Record viruses can be eliminated with a FDISK /MBR. Drives without a partition still have Master Boot Records and have to be checked also.
  2. Ensure that the BIOS drive type for IDE and EIDE drives are correct. You may need to change the CMOS drive type from AUTO to the manufacture specifications.
  3. Verify adapter and drive options for SCSI devices to include termination and SCSI cables.
  4. If all hardware has been verified for configuration you may need to run a hardware diagnostics on the system to verify that the hard disk controller and hard drive are functioning properly.


Article ID: 140046 - Last Review: February 28, 2014 - Revision: 2.1
  • Microsoft Windows NT Advanced Server 3.1
  • Microsoft Windows NT Server 3.5
  • Microsoft Windows NT Server 3.51
  • Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 3.1
  • Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 3.5
  • Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 3.51
  • Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 4.0 Developer Edition
  • Microsoft Windows NT Advanced Server 3.1
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