0x80070017 error when installing OS despite swapping disks, cables, DVD ROMs and hard drives

OK guys this is an oddity, so much that I wasn't sure whether or not to place it in Motherboards section...but hear me out.

6-7 months ago I installed Windows 7 on one of my customers' dell Optiplex tower with an old P4 processor. Everything ran smooth except the DVD ROM would not respond like there was nothing in it. (or I'd get Device not ready message a few times (IDE DVD ROM was set as first booting device followed by SATA Hard drive). Eventually the system loaded and seemed to function fine - the updates and programs were installing, SFC check went fine, etc. No problems, no errors... I assumed DVD ROM was just old that's all.

Less than a month down the road the PC began experiencing all kinds of weird errors. The guy would complain that sometimes the OS would not load or hang or he would get a "Windows recovered from serious error message". There were multiple very weird seemingly unrelated windows errors. So in another 6 months he finally decided to have me take a look at the machine.

System file checker would run but immediately (1-2 seconds) would find "no integrity violations" I know it can't possibly check all the files this fast. Virus scans were negative except some minor adware (Conduit)...Hard drive was checked using SpeedFan and was next to perfect - nothing in red - maximal performance, etc. Of course SpeedFan is not 100% accurate and can't check for certain mechanical problems as I heard, but still...

Decided to re-install OS. This is when this nonsense with 0x80070017 error began to occur when windows files were copying. It would come on IMMEDIATELY. Naturally I assumed that either the DVD ROM was bad or my Windows 7 Ultimate disk was scratched. I replaced both - put in a brand new Windows 7 Starter Disk and hooked up a brand new SATA DVD ROM to 2nd SATA port. The same error occurred again (!).

OK I thought, - perhaps the hard drive IS bad. Why don't I use another good (this time IDE) hard drive. But, even then - the same error occurred again (!) while copying windows files.

I happened to have and IDE DVD ROM with me (which also worked fine before) Hooked it up to the only IDE cable as slave . 3rd DVD ROM, DIFFERENT HARD DRIVE (!) - same error. Also I began to notice other hangups - like the DVD ROM is either "not ready" or acts as if there is no bootable disk in -. Or all of a sudden the PC fails to read it's original SATA drive or SATA DVD ROM (happened a couple of times - and swapping SATA cables didn't make a difference. One time during boot it would recognize it, another time - it wouldn't (no Drive). Nothing to do with SATA ports either - same oddity occurred with both ports and in every possible combination of switched DVDs, ports, cables, hard drives and DVD ROMs.

I would have tried to connect my DVD ROMs through USB ports (SATA/IDE to USB adaptor) but it proved impossible. Despite USB booting option enabled in BIOS - it acts like the drive is simply not there....

Just out of curiosity I also tried loading Windows 7 64-bit and Vista Lite 32-bit. Same thing - same error, but not a scratch on those disks. All of these disks worked fine before with other computers. The 2 of my DVD ROMs (SATA and IDE) - also worked just fine with other computers and my SATA/IDE to USB adaptor also worked and works fine. Both SATA and IDE Hard disks I used were checked by SpeedFan and Windows 7 was successfully loaded on both drives before.

At this point I am quite frustrated, because I don't seem to be able to locate the problem. Is there a possibility the problem is with a BIOS chip? What reason could there be for this commonly known error which basically means the data is not making it consistently from the source to the hard drive? I mean - I installed windows 7-32 bit on this machine BEFORE (6-7 months ago) after a couple of DVD-ROM (seemingly) related hangups but there was no dreaded 0x80070017 error AT ALL then(!) And somehow in this time the situation deteriorated. No hardware modifications of any kind were done to the computer during those 6-7 months, it wasn't even moved from the same spot as far as I know.

I doubt that installing OS from a USB drive would work either - as it just doesn't seem to recognize that there are any drives connected to USB ports besides mouse and keyboard....

I would be immensely grateful for any new even unorthodox suggestions or conjectures on what this problem may be about and how to work around it (if it's at all possible). I am not a newbie at this but I seem to be overlooking something or perhaps misunderstanding the problem.

Thanks in advance.
4 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about 0x80070017 error installing swapping disks cables dvd roms hard drives
  1. That error refers to a bad media disk...

    What system did you create the disk from? Was it Roxio, Nero or what? Also what speed did you burn at 16x or what?


    As for your problem, I don't think reinstalling Windows will fix it. From the symptoms it sounds like a hardware problem. Have you tried testing your Memory and CPU with Memtest86 or Prime95?
  2. Can't be the disk - this disk was used just fine with every other computer... Not to mention I tried a number of disks - each of which was installed multiple times in other machines. I tried the Windows 7 disk this morning on another PC - went absolutely fine. The program (which worked fine for me for years and installed in every single case was Windows Disk Image Burner at default settings. Never failed me in the past.

    As for memory test - I did have a faint suspicion, but no I didn't get around to it. Why, have you heard of cases when this error occurs because of bad RAM?

    Yeah, no - I abandoned hope that re-installation of OS would fix this, that's why I posted to motherboards.Because it had intermittent errors finding drives my more immediate suspicion was BIOS error. I did have similar problems with BIOS finding the drives on a couple of old DELL Optiplex machines, similar to how it occurred a few times on this one, - with the exception that the disk read error I mentioned didn't occur then...I wonder if perhaps these are 2 separate problems...not very parsimonious but still...

    I will certainly look into your suggestions, thank you. But if the memory test comes out clean I won't know what to think... I have put together and repaired a rather large number of computers over the years and when all of a sudden you get intermittent hangups like this it's really a real blow to confidence... I know it's an old computer, and that he's been told by a technician in the past that he needs a new one, but still, I am not one of those people who likes to charge money without being able to help, if I can avoid it, I will...
  3. Best answer
    How old is the motherboard with which you are trying to install Windows 7? I get a feeling this might be a more serious issue than media or hard drive, however I have to admit that any IDE drive you are using is probably several years old now. Could this be the board finally giving up the ghost.
  4. Pretty old board it was. I hear the person never resolved this problem from what I understand. Must be like 12 years old. So I guess I would chuck it off to a bad board.
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