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Winxp Home Won't Load

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#1 Niki


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Posted 24 September 2007 - 11:59 PM


I came back home from an extended holiday to discover my computer wouldn't boot. As soon as the initial Dell logo appears, the computer seems to hang, then a Dos screen says:

Primary hard disk drive 0 not found.\
Strike the F1 key to continue, F2 to run the setup utility

This is accompanied by a clearly audible intermittent ticking sound from the tower, from the floppy drive I think. F1 just makes the "Strike..." sentence repeat but F2 works.

I have a Dell Dimension 8200, P4, 512MB w/ WinXP Home, and all service packs. A family member used the computer while I was away but can't (or won't) say what happened.

Can anyone help me understand what is going on? Could this sort of problem be caused by a power surge?

Many thanks,

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#2 acklan


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Posted 25 September 2007 - 12:19 AM

When you go into the Setup is the Primary hard drive listed?
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#3 Niki

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Posted 25 September 2007 - 04:46 AM

Thanks for the reply acklan. A snapshot of what F2 shows:


Primary Drive 0 ....................Unknown device
Primary Drive 1 ....................Off
Secondary Drive 0 ................CD-ROM Reader
Secondary Drive 1 ................CD-ROM Reader

Boot Sequence .....................<ENTER>


I pressed <ENTER> on the Boot Sequence option and it listed:

1. Diskette Drive
[Tick mark] 2. Hard disk drive (not installed)
[Tick mark] 3. IDE CD-ROM Device

I am confused, is what it isn't finding, my 40GB Hard Drive (the only HD I have) or is it the DVD Writer? I guess I am only confused since it mentions the CD-Reader.

Hope this helps you help me. Many thanks.

#4 usasma


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Posted 25 September 2007 - 06:19 AM

It depends on what's wrong. If your hard drive is truly dead - then yes a power surge could have caused it. If there's an issue within the BIOS - then it could be a power surge or it could be someone changing stuff that they shouldn't.

I'd first try resetting your BIOS to default values by using the F2 key to enter Setup. Somewhere in there will be an entry to reset the values to the default (sorry, I'm not familiar with the Dell BIOS's).

If that doesn't clear things up, then it looks like an issue with your hard drive (to me). I'd suggest running a bootable diagnostic test from the manufacturer of your hard drive (although some Dells have this built into their troubleshooting routines) to verify this.
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#5 hamluis



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Posted 25 September 2007 - 08:03 AM

Well...I would check the connections for all drives, in addition to the other suggestions.

A drive without a connection or a loose connection can result in your situation. I suppose a bad PS could also produce that effect, but I would not pursue that line of thought right now.


#6 Niki

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Posted 25 September 2007 - 09:39 PM

Thanks for the replies. Can't figure out how to reset to default values, which lead me to the Dell site, which said to contact them. Got to sleep first, ... I'll report back on any progress I make.

#7 FireKracker


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Posted 26 September 2007 - 06:29 AM

Sounds like the MBR (Master Boot Record) is screwed up, I would agree usasma, try any diagnostic tools you may have or can get hold of to test. However, when you say "clearly audible intermittent ticking sound from the tower" makes me think that your hard drive is kn@ckered. Your floppy drive will make a noise when it boots (its looking for a floppy disk) but intermittent clicking usually means your HDD is dead.

If at all possible try connecting your failing hard disk to another comptuer as a slave, that way you can retereive any data stored on it, this will certainly conform if your HDD is dead.
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