"No Valid System Partition" Error Message Appears When You Run Winnt32.exe

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After you run the Microsoft Windows 2000 version of Winnt32.exe on a Microsoft Windows NT 4.0-based computer, the following symptoms occur:
  • You receive the following error message immediately after running Winnt32.exe:
    No valid system partitions were found. Setup was unable to continue.
  • You do not see any of the typical Windows 2000 installation screens.
  • The Windows 2000 Readiness Analyzer does not run properly: The analyzer does not display any graphics and it does not generate a readiness report.
For additional information about Windows 2000 Readiness Analyzer, click the article number below to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
244632 How to Test Programs for Compatibility with Windows 2000


This behavior occurs because the Winnt32.exe program cannot locate the hard disk. Winnt32.exe uses the disk signature to locate the hard disk. Winnt32.exe compares the value of the disk signature on the hard disk with the value that is recorded in the registry. If the signatures do not match, Winnt32.exe cannot locate the hard disk.


To resolve this behavior, first run Disk Administrator to ensure that a disk signature has been written to the hard drive. If you are prompted to write a disk signature, click Yes, exit Disk Administrator, and then restart the computer. Run Winnt32.exe from the Windows 2000 CD-ROM again. If the same symptoms occur, you must determine the disk signature of the hard disk. To accomplish this task, you can use either the Resource Kit utility Diskmap.exe or you can use the Ftdmpnt.exe utility.


You can run the Diskmap.exe utility from a command prompt in Windows NT.
diskmap /d0
Note: Use the /d0 parameter to display the disk signature for hard disk 0 which is usually the system drive and is shown as hard disk 0 in Disk Administrator.
Cylinders  HeadsPerCylinder SectorsPerHead BytesPerSector MediaType
     1106               255             63            512      12
TrackSize = 32256, CylinderSize = 8225280, DiskSize = 9097159680 (8675MB)
Signature = 0x31373132
     StartingOffset    PartitionLength StartingSector PartitionNumber
*             32256         4194860544             63               1
         4194892800         3142056960        8193150               2
         7336949760          945907200       14329980               3
         8282889216          814270464             63               4

         Starting               Ending       System    Relative    Total
  Cylinder Head Sector  Cylinder Head Sector   ID      Sector      Sectors
*        0    1    1         509  254   63     0x07          63    8193087
       510    0    1         891  254   63     0x06     8193150    6136830
       892    0    1        1006  254   63     0x0b    14329980    1847475
      1007    0    1        1023  254   63     0x0f    16177455    1590435
In the diskmap example, the disk signature is 31373132.


Ftdmpnt.exe outputs the Boot Record and Partition information for each hard disk. The first hard disk (hard disk 0 as shown in Disk Administrator) is always listed first in the file. For most systems, this drive is be the system drive. The disk signature is displayed immediately following the partition table information. A section of sample output is shown below:


                            PARTITION TABLE
|B|FS TYPE|       START    |        END     |            |            
|F| (hex) |   C     H     S|   C     H     S|  RELATIVE  |    TOTAL   
|1|  07   |   0     1     1|1023   254    63|          63|    39969657|
|0|  00   |   0     0     0|   0     0     0|           0|           0|
|0|  00   |   0     0     0|   0     0     0|           0|           0|
|0|  00   |   0     0     0|   0     0     0|           0|           0|
Disk Signature 0xaec267a7

You can locate the number quickly by redirecting the Ftdmpnt.exe output to a text file, by using a command similar to ftdmpnt.exe > ft.txt, and then edit Ft.txt with Notepad and search for the disk signature. The first occurrence will be the Signature of the first hard drive. In this case, the signature number of the hard drive is aec267a7.

After you know the disk signature, you must check the registry because Winnt32.exe also looks at the following registry key:
Note: The number under MultifuntionAdapter varies from computer to computer. There is only one number under MultifunctionAdapter that has a subkey named DiskController. In this example the number is 2, but it may not be a 2 for all systems. Additionally, if multiple controllers or multiple disks are present, there will be additional numbers under DiskController and DiskPeripheral.

In most cases, the system disk is the first hard drive on the first controller. So the system disk will be on DiskController 0 and it will be DiskPeripheral number "0".

In the first of values, you should see a value named "identifier". A sample identifier is:
The middle section of the identifier (cccccccc) is the disk signature. This number must match the signature recorded above. If it does not match, double-click the identifier, and change the middle so that it matches the disk signature. For example, in the case of Ftdmpnt.exe, you change the identifier to the following value:
After you make the change, exit Registry Editor, and then re-run Winnt32.exe. Do not restart the computer prior to running Winnt32.exe. The hardware key is not saved anywhere. The data is built dynamically when the system is started. If you restart prior to running Winnt32.exe, you will need to edit the registry and change the identifier again.


Article ID: 288352 - Last Review: February 28, 2007 - Revision: 3.3
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Server
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Advanced Server
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional Edition
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