Posted 17 June 2009 - 01:07 PM
Normal situation when the Hard Drive goes bad for an older Dell is you will receive these messages that you posted:
Primary drive 0 not found
Primary drive 1 not found
Strike F1 to continue, F2 to run the setup utility.
The computer will automatically look for a drive on both "primary" ide channels when it cannot find the first drive ( referred to as 'Primary Drive 0 ).
If you have tested this drive in another computer and it will not show up under the bios of that computer or this one then you are 99.9% certain that the hard drive has failed completely. All data on the drive is lost and probably only recoverable by a data recovery laboratory or service.
You can also be sure the drive is dead by some of the noises it makes when it is powered up. For Example, Western Digital has what is known as the "click of death". The drive will spin up and click violently and make a heck of a lot of noise.
Seagates, for the most part, will spin up then spin down or spin up, click 3 to 4 times and then spin down.
Maxtors, will just spin up like normal, but then spin right back down.
Each drive has it's normal "I'm dead" noise.
Hope this helps,
"Admire those who attempt great things, even though they fail."