When installing Windows XP in a virtual machine in VMWare ESX or VMWare ESXi, or even other VMWare virtualization product, Windows setup may fail to detect hard disk drives in the virtual machine with the following error message:

Setup did not find any hard disk drives installed in your computer.

The problem of Windows XP setup unable to locate and find any hard drives in the virtual machine is because there is no compatible controller driver shipped on the Windows XP setup disc, so users must supply the correct drive during setup to proceed with installation.

To fix the no hard disk drive found problem so that Windows XP setup can continue, do the following:

  1. When creating the new virtual machine, select the BusLogic option for the Virtual SCSI Controller mode.
  2. Attach the VMware SCSI driver floppy image and connect the virtual floppy drive to the virtual machine.
    • If you are using an ESX host and the Virtual Infrastructure client:
      1. Right-click the virtual machine from the Inventory pane.
      2. Click Edit settings.
      3. Click the virtual floppy drive and select Connected.
      4. Select Use floppy image.
      5. Browse to the location /vmimages.
      6. Select the file vmscsi-1.2.x.x.flp.

        Note: If the file is missing, download the floppy image from: http://download3.vmware.com/software/vmscsi-

    • If you are using VMware Lab Manager the file is available from the media library.

      To insert the floppy disk into the virtual machine:

      1. From the virtual machine console window, move the pointer over the virtual machine name and click Insert Floppy.
      2. From the Media Library menu, select (LMStorage1) vmscsi-
      3. Click Use.
  3. Attach or insert the Windows XP installation media and connect it to the virtual machine.
  4. Power on the virtual machine and open a console view of the virtual machine.
  5. Click in the console to assign keyboard control to the virtual machine.
  6. When the blue Windows setup screen appears, press F6 to install a third party SCSI or RAID driver when prompted.
  7. When prompted for additional drivers, press S.
  8. Press Enter to select the VMware SCSI Controller driver, and then Enter again to continue setup.
  9. Complete Windows XP setup normally from this point.

Note: When setup has completed the first phase of installation and restarts the virtual machine, you may need to disconnect or unassign the virtual floppy drive or the virtual machine may attempt to boot from the floppy image.

Here’s the video demo on how the fix is been done: