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can't do a vista windows recovery with new sata hard drive installed

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If the H/Drive is Brand New it will not have any partition table on it. Without a partition table on it Windows will not be able to see the Hard Drive. So to get Windows to see the H/Drive you will have to put a partition table onto the H/Drive. Ither with another Windows PC or with a Linux Live CD that has Gparted or any other live CD/DVD that has a Partitioning program on it.