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Cannot start system with second HDD on


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#1 Socrates

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Posted 02 August 2009 - 02:59 PM

I have a Dell Dimension 8400 that I bought new in May 2005. It came with one 80GB HDD. In March of 2007 I added a second HDD. Both Hard Disk Drives are Western Digital. The newer one is a 320 GB drive. I have had no problems at all for the past two years. I use the smaller 80 GB drive for the OS and programs, and the larger 320 GB drive I use for data. A week and a half ago I was watching a video and the video just stopped. I could still move the cursor around on the screen, but nothing responded. I was able to do a Ctrl-Alt-Del, but I was not able to shut down the non responding program. I resorted to pushing and holding the power button on the front of the computer. Over the next few days the freezing up became more frequent and also happened when using Internet Explorer. Every time the only way to get any response was to push and hold the power button.

Around the time this all started McAfee alerted me that it stopped a trojan and quarantined it. I got an email from a friend and clicked the link to watch a video and bam, that is when I got the message about the trojan. I used McAfee to quarantine it and then delete it.

I have another computer, a laptop, that mysteriously has been acting strange in the last few days as well. I don't know if it is a coincidence, or if something got into my home network. The laptop is an Acer Aspire 3000 that I got in June 2005 and I have NEVER had problems with it. It has been the best computer I have ever had, until this week. Intermittently I cannot get it to respond for several seconds at a time, and the clock seems to lose time....It says it is earlier than it actually is, until I do a restart, then the correct time displays.

I tried to use system restore, but before it completed I got a message saying something about another hard drive, and it referenced drive G:

I have an external HDD that I occassionaly attach and it gets assigned G:.

The internal HDD's that I have are drives C: and F:

Finally, and I don't remember how I did it, while my computer was starting up, I pressed one of the F keys and was able to bring up a screen to offer me a scan of my hard disk drives. After completing the scan, I got a message saying return code: 7.

I then went into the setup and turned off my second HDD and was able to start up my computer with no problem at all, except that I cannot access any of my data.

I read somewhere that a code: 7 is not always accurate for drives larger than 80GB. I have also seen mention of something called 90/90 in regards to checking hard disks, but have not been able to figure out what it is.

I read in one place that a CHKDSK is recommended and elsewhere that it is a really bad thing to do because I can lose data. I don't know how to do it anyways, especially since I cannot get my computer to function with the second HDD turned on. I know I can do it from within Windows, but not sure how to do it from DOS prior to Windows fully loading.

I am running Windows XP SP3

I should also mention that I changed the battery on the mother board, just in case.

Also, I read in one forum that they recommend having the most up to date BIOS and in another forum saying don't mess with it unless you really know what you are doing. I have BIOS A05 and I believe the most up to date would be BIOS A09.

Is there anything I can do, or do I need to take the drive out and take it to a data recovery expert and get 2 new hard drives?... one to replace this one, and one for back up (that I should have had all along).

How can I figure out if my problem is really hardware, or if I have been hacked or infected?

Thanks!

Edited by Socrates, 02 August 2009 - 03:17 PM.


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#2 hamluis

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Posted 02 August 2009 - 05:57 PM

<>

That part about being hacked/infected...is relatively simple, IMO. Assess the security posture you employ on your system. If it's a good posture and you have adequate/superior defense mechanisms in place...and practice good computing habits...you can trust the programs which are installed to provide security.

If there is a weakness in your security posture, you can run a series of free online scans. You can download/install/update/run any number of programs to scan the system now. You can utilize any of the malware forums which are a part of this website. And so on...

As for determining if you have a hardware problem...it all starts with Device Manager (check it for any indications of hardware problems) and Event Viewer. If any drive is having a mechanical problem, Event Viewer will probably reflect it. So you go to Event Viewer and check for errors involving any Disk (e.g., Disk0, Disk1, etc.).

How To Access The Device Manager - http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/t/42244/how-to-access-the-device-manager/

How To Use Event Viewer - http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/t/40108/how-to-use-event-viewer/

You can also go the website of the respective hard drive manufacturer...and download/use a diagnostic utility to check the functionaly of the respective hard drive.

Hard Drive Installation and Diagnostic Tools - http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/t/28744/hard-drive-installation-and-diagnostic-tools/

FWIW: Hard shutdowns...powering off Windows by terminating power, rather than using the shutdown routine...are possible causes of file corruption and are not normally recommended. When such are necessary, it's a good idea to immediately run the chkdsk /r command on (at least) the system/boot partition.

Also...if you have a problem with an unknown drive...it's probably best to disconnect multiple drives and just see if the problem only occurs with a specific drive. If it does, you've refined the problem. If it doesn't then that points to either other hardware or the operating system.

When a system begins to reflect the incorrect time/date...that's usually an indicator that the CMOS battery is weakening and needs to be replaced. Not necessarily...but usually :thumbsup:.

CMOS Battery Replacement - http://www.liverepair.com/encyclopedia/art...cmosreplace.asp

The one thing to always remember about reading on the Web...anyone can say just about anything. But if it doesn't make sense or it's not backed up by someone with more knowledge than just opinion...treat it as opinion and see if you can find documentation that either substantiates or refutes that opinion.

Microsoft and any number of individuals have gone to great trouble to document various concepts, errors, ways to do things, etc. Google works when Party A says "black" and Party B says "white."

If you want to know about chkdsk or any other XP tool...there's a lot of valid information available.

As for losing data...LOL...you can lose data from your system or the ability to access the data on your system...anytime, any place. We're talking about an electronic, very sophisticated device that does things most of us cannot even comprehend. The number of things that could go wrong...are rather staggering. That's why backing up valued data...has been suggested as a primary procedure to be implemented...by users ever since Win 95 days.

Louis

#3 Socrates

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Posted 03 August 2009 - 10:35 AM

Louis,

Thank you so much for your prompt well thought out and well written reply.

In terms of my security posture, the only doubt that I have is this. In my neighborhood up until recently I was the only one with a wireless router. Whenever I turned on my laptop, it connected to my high security protected home network. But, yesterday I noticed that when I turned on my laptop, it did NOT connect to my network, but to a neighbor's low security unproteced network. As I have had this setup for years and never had a neighbor with wireless before, I am not sure what, if anything, to do to protect myself from accidentally connecting to his network and somehow getting an infection that way.

I have good security settings on my McAfee; however, when I ran eset Nod32 online scan on my laptop, I did find a "new" virus that was detected with eset's heuristics. I am thinking that maybe it got transmitted from my neighbor's network.

Your thoughts on this will be appreciated.

As for the rest of your comments in regards to hardware, I had trouble with my printer last night.... finally got it working.... and have printed out your instructions and when I get back from work, will put them to work.

Thanks again,

Curtis

#4 hamluis

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Posted 03 August 2009 - 12:08 PM

I don't know anything about wireless...I still trust wired setups :thumbsup: and don't find them inconvenient at all when I compare them to my friends wireless setups.

So I can't tell you much about the safeguards for setting it up...but others here can :flowers:.

As for being infected from a neighbor's network...your safeguards are on your system, they belong to your system. If they are working properly, your defense mechanisms cannot be less effective against a neighbor's network...than they are against the Internet.

Unless you have somehow configured the neighbor's network as a trusted connection...I don't know that aspect works on wireless but on a wired network, that would be the key. Trusted connections are the only ones with a free pass on the firewall with a wired connection. But, as I said, I don't know exactly how wireless works (but I have the impression that wired is more secure).

We have a networking forum that you can visit, if you like: http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/f/21/networking/ and the folks there can probably give much better info on networking than I could ever provide.

Louis

#5 Socrates

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Posted 03 August 2009 - 10:53 PM

Louis,
Thanks for the tip on the networking forum. I will be sure to check it out.
Curtis

#6 Socrates

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Posted 05 August 2009 - 07:50 AM

Louis,

I checked the event viewer and found a couple of errors related to IE 8. There were only a couple because "coincidentally" the system freezes started happening after installing IE 8, so I uninstalled and went back to IE 7, which did not stop my system from freezing up. After reverting to IE 7, the error messages (about 15 in the past 2 weeks) were all Windows Operating System Errors and all related to Volume 2, which I assume means my second hard drive.

I ran CHKDSK on my Disk 0 last night (C:\) and it took so long I went to sleep. Now this morning I am looking for some kind of a log to see what, if anything, was wrong. I have been searching around bleepingcomputer.com and on Microsoft's site for an hour now and still nothing.

Is there some way of finding out what, if anything, was/is wrong with my hard drive?

This drive that I ran CHKDSK on is the drive that I suspect is error free and is only 80GB.

The drive that I suspect is the problem, when it is turned on, my system will not startup in the usual manner, so I plan to install the Windows Recovery Console and run CHKDSK on volume 2 that way. I would like to know how to find what, if any errors, were found by the CHKDSK and I don't plan to sit in front of the computer the whole time it works on my 320 GB disk with approximately 240GB of data on it.

I searched the event viewer for information about the CHKDSK and then I remembered that when I checked the event viewer last night I failed to check the "system" events, which I did this morning. I found many errors with the source of side by side, a few from DCOM and one from disk. For disk, in the details it said - The device, \Device\Harddisk2\D, has a bad block.

Thanks,

Curtis

Edited by Socrates, 05 August 2009 - 08:16 AM.


#7 hamluis

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Posted 05 August 2009 - 09:53 AM

The chkdsk log can be found in Event Viewer as an info item on the Application tab...with Winlogon as the source.

Double-click the item.

Louis

#8 Socrates

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Posted 05 August 2009 - 11:36 AM

Louis,

Great! :thumbsup:

I found the log from the CHKDSK on my primary HDD and here is what is said:

Checking file system on C:
The type of the file system is NTFS.
Cleaning up minor inconsistencies on the drive.
Cleaning up 1519 unused index entries from index $SII of file 0x9.
Cleaning up 1519 unused index entries from index $SDH of file 0x9.
Cleaning up 1519 unused security descriptors.
CHKDSK is verifying file data (stage 4 of 5)...
File data verification completed.
CHKDSK is verifying free space (stage 5 of 5)...
Free space verification is complete.

73296562 KB total disk space.
23711936 KB in 102996 files.
37164 KB in 7494 indexes.
0 KB in bad sectors.

So, it appears as though the hard shut downs did not do any major damage to the primary HDD.

Now my problem is that my Dell Dimension 8400 did not ship with a Windows XP CD. It has a restore program in a partition on the primary HDD.

The tutorial here in bleepingcomputer.com states:

To install the Recovery Console on your hard drive, follow these steps:

Insert the Windows XP CD into your CD-ROM drive.

Click the Start button.

Click the Run menu option.

In the Open: field type X:\i386\winnt32.exe /cmdcons , where X is the drive letter for your CD reader, and press the OK button.

On my computer in the C drive I have a folder I386 and inside it there is an application WINNT32.EXE

Can I just type C:\i386\winnt32.exe /cmdcons and press OK? Or not?

Thanks,
Curtis

#9 hamluis

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Posted 05 August 2009 - 12:49 PM

You can do better than that...you can download an .iso file (which is the Recovery Console) and then burn that as a bootable CD.

You can then use the bootable CD to run RC commands.

Download Recovery Console, Bootable ISO - http://www.webtree.ca/windowsxp/repair_xp.htm

How to write a CD-DVD image or ISO - http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/tutorials/write-a-cd-dvd-image-or-iso/ OR How to Write ISO Files to CD - http://www.petri.co.il/how_to_write_iso_files_to_cd.htm

Louis

#10 Socrates

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Posted 06 August 2009 - 12:50 AM

Louis,

I am assuming that the idea here is to set my computer to boot from the CD that I have created using the instructions above. I am also assuming that I am supposed to follow the instructions in the tutorial here titled How to Install and use the Windows XP Recovery Console.

So, the instructions in the tutorial say to
1. Insert the Windows XP CD into our CD-ROM drive (I inserted the Bootable Recovery CD)
2. Click the Start button
3. Click the Run menu option
4. In the Open: field type X:\i386\winnt32.exe /cmdcons, where X is the drive letter for your CD reader, and press the OK button.

I first tried D:\i386\winnt32.exe /cmdcons where D is my CD-ROM drive and got a message saying that winnt32.exe could not be located. Since I know that I have i386\winnt32.exe on my C drive, I tried C:\i386\winnt32.exe /cmdcons

When I click OK in step 4, a DOS window briefly appears....too brief to read all it says... then disappears.

That's it. It does not follow like it says in the tutorial.

I want to be able to run the Recovery Console so I can run CHKDSK /R on my second hdd and hopefully recover most or all of my data. (I am shopping for a new external HDD for backup)

Thanks,
Curtis

#11 Socrates

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Posted 06 August 2009 - 01:12 AM

I tried something different. I restarted the computer and while it was starting up I pressed the F8 key repeatedly. THE CD was still in the drive. It took me to a blue screen with text and I was presented with three options:
- to setup Windows XP now, press ENTER
- to repair Windows XP installation using Recovery Console, press R
- To quit setup without installing Windows XP press F3

I pressed F3.

#12 hamluis

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Posted 06 August 2009 - 08:49 AM

Go back and press R. The Recovery Console is what you want.

Once in the RC, type 1 when it asks you to select a Windows install and hit Enter.

When it asks for a password, just hit Enter.

On the next line where you can type, type chkdsk D: /r (with space between : and /) and hit Enter. D: represents the drive you want the chkdsk to run on.

The system will reboot when chkdsk is complete.

Louis

#13 Socrates

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Posted 06 August 2009 - 09:56 AM

Since what I want to do is run chkdsk on Disk 1 (secondary HDD) I pressed F2 as the computer was starting up to enter setup and turn on Disk 1, then after saving changes and exiting setup, I pressed F8 repeatedly, saw the Windows splash screen, then a black screen.

I then had to do a hard shut down.

I powered up, pressing F2 again to enter setup and turned off Disk 1, saved changes, exited setup, then repeatedly pressed F8. Eventually the screen offering me the three choices to press either ENTER, R, or F3 appeared. As per your instructions, I pressed R. Eventually another screen came up that said:

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

Make sure any hard disk drives are powered on and properly connected to your computer, and that any disk-related hardware configuration is correct. This may involve running a manufacturer-supplied diagnostic or setup program.

Setup cannot continue. To quit setup, press F3."

I pressed F3 as I was presented with no other option.

As the system was restarting I pressed F2, entered setup and changed the boot configuration back to placing the hard disk drive above the CD-ROM drive in boot sequence. I saved the changes and exited setup and began pressing F8 repeatedly once again. This time I came to:

"Windows Advanced Options Menu

Safe Mode
Safe Mode with Networking
Safe Mode with Command Prompt

Enable Boot Logging
Enable VGA Mode

Last Known Good Configuration
Directory Services Restore Mode (Windows domain controllers only)
Debugging Mode
Disable automatic restart on system failure

Start Windows Normally
Reboot
Return to OS Choices Menu"

I selected Return to OS Choices Menu to see if perhaps by some miracle I would find the Windows Recovery Console as an option. Alas, I did not.

I selected the only choice - Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition

I perhaps should mention that I also tried doing the following:

I pressed F2, turned on Disk 1, then while the system was starting up, pressed F12 (Boot Device Menu). From the Boot Device Menu I selected Hard Drive Diagnostics and got the following:

Drive 0: Pass
Drive 1: Fail. Return Code: 7

Now what?

Thanks!

#14 hamluis

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Posted 06 August 2009 - 11:53 AM

I don't have a Dell and my systems don't function in the manner that yours does...so I can't help you with your options.

Others here have had access/familiarity with Dell systems and maybe they can better guide you.

Louis

#15 Socrates

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Posted 06 August 2009 - 06:05 PM

How do I get the attention of someone familiar with Dell systems?




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