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Primary drive 0 not found - Dell Dimension 2400 - P4 - WinXP


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12 replies to this topic

#1 britechguy

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Posted 12 March 2010 - 10:21 PM

Hello All,

I have been working on a computer that was badly infected with several rootkits. After removing them it would not boot. I tried WinXP recovery console (chkdsk /r and fixboot) and that didn't work. After extracting the user data from the disk, I tried doing a fresh install of WinXP, which resulted in an unwanted dual boot situation.

I thought my best bet would be to pull the hard drive, reformat it using another computer, and start completely afresh with an WinXP install.

The drive has been completely reformatted and now has two NTFS partitions - a small one of 31 MB at the start of the drive and another that eats up the remainder of the 40GB drive.

Now, however, when I use this drive as the sole hard drive and attempt to boot the system I am getting a BIOS error saying 'Primary drive 0 not found - press F1 to retry or F2 to enter setup utility'. I have checked that the boot sequence is supposed to go to the CD drive first, and I thought it would continue to do this as it always had, but it now refuses.

I should note that the drive appears to be perfectly healthy. I can hook it up to my other computers using a USB-to-IDE bridge cable and it shows up and acts perfectly normally. In fact, this was how I went about reformatting the drive, using the USB-to-IDE bridge. When I use the WinXP Administrative Tools->Computer Management->Disk Management under the control panel this drive gets a full "healthy" on each partition.

I know I must have done something utterly bone-headed, and I'm hoping that it can be remedied.

I am sorry if I picked the wrong forum in which to post this question, but it could fall into any of several categories.

Thank you in advance for any assistance you can offer.

Brian

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#2 hamluis

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Posted 13 March 2010 - 11:49 AM

Since that system only has IDE slots...check the jumper settings on the hard drive.

Don't format partitions...before using XP install CDs.

There's no need and I believe that it throws the XP installation process off, since that's one of the functions that the CD routinely performs. Of course, that's just my opinion.

Louis

#3 britechguy

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Posted 13 March 2010 - 01:25 PM

The jumper settings on the hard drive are untouched from the way it was when it was the one and only drive in the system.

At this point, I don't know how to unformat a formatted drive, though that should be easy enough to determine. I'm not going to do this as the first thing, though.

I've learned that this can sometimes happen due to a connection somewhere along the "IDE data path" having gone wonky when you were removing the cable. I'm going to try removing the IDE cable and reseating it in the same IDE connectors where it is now, then if that doesn't work use the other IDE connector on the motherboard (I'm presuming this computer has one, I'm not in the same building with it at the moment).

Thank you very much for your response. I truly appreciate any brainstorming and assistance that is offered.

Brian

Brian  AKA  Bri the Tech Guy (website in my user profile) - Windows 10 Home, 64-Bit, Version 1803, Build 17134 

     . . . the presumption of innocence, while essential in the legal realm, does not mean the elimination of common sense outside it.  The willing suspension of disbelief has its limits, or should.

    ~ Ruth Marcus,  November 10, 2017, in Washington Post article, Bannon is right: It’s no coincidence The Post broke the Moore story


 

 

 

              

 


#4 britechguy

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Posted 16 March 2010 - 11:30 AM

OK, here's the latest:

1. Connected the drive to my laptop, ran Disk Management, reformatted the entire drive again with a single NTFS partition, this partition is marked active.
This was done on advice of several others given elsewhere.

2. Found (DUH) that I had a loose Primary IDE connection at the motherboard [I can't believe I didn't even check for that last week!! I guess the stress/frustration got to me]. Reseated this connection.

3. Reconnected hard disk IDE cable and power and attempted boot. Received the following message:

NTDLR is missing
Press Ctrl+Alt+Del to reboot

4. Used F2 to check setup sequence. Order is CD-ROM Drive, Hard Disk, Diskette Detailed info from
Drive Config:
Primary Master Drive . . . . . Hard Drive
Secondary Slave Drive . . . . OFF
Primary Master Drive . . . . . CDROM
Secondary Slave Drive . . . . .OFF

IDE Drive UDMA. . . . . . . . . . . . .ON

5. The message in #3 occurs again, so I use F12 to enter Boot Menu

6. Choose option #4: IDE CD-ROM Device. Get no action on the CD-ROM and after a few seconds the message:

strike F1 to retry boot, F2 for setup utility

Striking F1 gets the same message instantly.

7. Restarted PC and used F12 to enter Boot Menu. Chose option 6: IDE Drive Diagnostics. Results are:

Primary IDE
Drive 0: WDC WD400EB-75CPF0 - Pass
Drive 1: No IDE Device
Secondary IDE
Drive 0: Lite-On LTN486S 48x Max - Diagnostics not supported
Drive 1: No IDE Device

Test Complete, Press <ENTER> to reboot

8. Pressing enter and allowing things to "run their natural course" takes me straight back to step #3.


Any follow-up suggestions most welcome.

Brian

Brian  AKA  Bri the Tech Guy (website in my user profile) - Windows 10 Home, 64-Bit, Version 1803, Build 17134 

     . . . the presumption of innocence, while essential in the legal realm, does not mean the elimination of common sense outside it.  The willing suspension of disbelief has its limits, or should.

    ~ Ruth Marcus,  November 10, 2017, in Washington Post article, Bannon is right: It’s no coincidence The Post broke the Moore story


 

 

 

              

 


#5 hamluis

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Posted 16 March 2010 - 12:41 PM

I seem to be missing something...you reformattted the partition...I don't see any reference to installing XP.

If you have a blank partition with no O/S...it's impossible for ntldr to be missing.

If you installed XP from a different system...I would not expect it to boot or perform properly.

Louis

You seem to be ignoring evidence which suggests a hard drive problem...or you are leaving out pertinent details. My suggestion would be to run the WDC diagnostic (long test) for its hard drives.

http://support.wdc.com/product/download.as...1=5&lang=en

Edited by hamluis, 16 March 2010 - 12:45 PM.


#6 britechguy

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Posted 16 March 2010 - 01:16 PM

You don't see a reference to reinstalling WinXP because that's precisely what I cannot do at this point. I have been utterly unsuccessful
in getting the CD-ROM drive to be recognized as the boot device even when it's set that way in BIOS or when manually selected via the
Boot Menu screen.

The hard drive was reformatted as an empty NTFS file system that takes up the entire drive using the laptop that I'm composing this message on now. If this machine can read, reformat, and recognize this drive as "Healthy" I really don't know what could be wrong with it.

However, I will absolutely download the WD drive checker utility you mention, run it, and report back on the results.

Brian

Brian  AKA  Bri the Tech Guy (website in my user profile) - Windows 10 Home, 64-Bit, Version 1803, Build 17134 

     . . . the presumption of innocence, while essential in the legal realm, does not mean the elimination of common sense outside it.  The willing suspension of disbelief has its limits, or should.

    ~ Ruth Marcus,  November 10, 2017, in Washington Post article, Bannon is right: It’s no coincidence The Post broke the Moore story


 

 

 

              

 


#7 britechguy

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Posted 16 March 2010 - 02:09 PM

Also, at this juncture, is it necessary to physically switch out the primary (read: currently goes to hard drive) and secondary (goes to CD) drive IDE cables on the motherboard?

And/or, does BIOS need to be rearranged to look at the CD-Drive as primary and the hard drive as secondary until I get WinXP installed from the CD that came with the system?

Brian, who really appreciates all the help - if I come off as exasperated it's because of the situation

Brian  AKA  Bri the Tech Guy (website in my user profile) - Windows 10 Home, 64-Bit, Version 1803, Build 17134 

     . . . the presumption of innocence, while essential in the legal realm, does not mean the elimination of common sense outside it.  The willing suspension of disbelief has its limits, or should.

    ~ Ruth Marcus,  November 10, 2017, in Washington Post article, Bannon is right: It’s no coincidence The Post broke the Moore story


 

 

 

              

 


#8 hamluis

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Posted 16 March 2010 - 02:24 PM

<<Also, at this juncture, is it necessary to physically switch out the primary (read: currently goes to hard drive) and secondary (goes to CD) drive IDE cables on the motherboard?>>

<<And/or, does BIOS need to be rearranged to look at the CD-Drive as primary and the hard drive as secondary until I get WinXP installed from the CD that came with the system?>>

Actually...based on the fact that you state that you cannot get your optical drive to work properly with a bootable CD...I would definitely replace the cable for it...I don't think I'd switch it with the other, new cables don't cost an arm and a leg. In fact, I'd get two new cables.

Newer IDE cables/motherboards allow for placing both the optical drive and the system hard drive on the same cable with no problems, but that doesn't appear to be possible with your system.

The fact that the hard drive is normally perceived and responsive...on a different system...certainly points to something on your system, as opposed to the drive. Running the diagnostic on the drive won't hurt it.

The fact that you are getting ntldr messages (without trying to boot anything) from an empty partition...worries me.Reading Material.

Louis

#9 britechguy

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Posted 16 March 2010 - 02:37 PM

Louis,

When you say "empty partition" do you mean "unformatted and with no contents" or does "empty NTFS file system" count, too?

I have the latter situation, since I did NTFS format the drive. Would it make more sense to go back and delete that partition, leaving the whole drive as a "blank slate" as far as the computer would be concerned?

I'm leaving town tomorrow, so there will very likely be a break in work flow on this issue.

Brian

Brian  AKA  Bri the Tech Guy (website in my user profile) - Windows 10 Home, 64-Bit, Version 1803, Build 17134 

     . . . the presumption of innocence, while essential in the legal realm, does not mean the elimination of common sense outside it.  The willing suspension of disbelief has its limits, or should.

    ~ Ruth Marcus,  November 10, 2017, in Washington Post article, Bannon is right: It’s no coincidence The Post broke the Moore story


 

 

 

              

 


#10 cryptodan

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Posted 20 March 2010 - 01:57 AM

Some rootkits can damage hardware firmware.

#11 britechguy

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Posted 23 March 2010 - 02:33 PM

Here's the latest:

- When the drive in question is installed in another computer as the secondary IDE drive it works just fine.

- I successfully performed a parallel WinXP installation on it when it was installed as the secondary drive.

- Modified boot.ini on the computer that was used for the parallel install to get rid of the prompt for the parallel installation. This was what it looked like *before* the edit:

[boot loader]
timeout=30
default=signature(840927ee)disk(1)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS
[operating systems]
signature(840927ee)disk(1)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition" /fastdetect
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /fastdetect


and after:

[boot loader]
timeout=30
default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINDOWS
[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /fastdetect

- Tried to boot using the disk on which the parallel install had been performed. No dice. Then realized that it didn't have a boot.ini on it since it had been the secondary drive when WinXP was installed on it. Added a boot.ini with the following:

[boot loader]
timeout=30
default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS
[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition" /fastdetect

as I am presuming this drive would now be disk(0)rdisk(0) and it only has a single partition.

- Am still having no luck having the machine boot. The missing primary drive and ntldr missing messages are gone, but I never get beyond a "black screen" at boot time, and have not been able to force any "Boot from CD" etc.

- I'm about ready to throw in the towel on this - but I feel like I have to be either really, really close to a solution at this point or beyond hope. I'm just not sure which.

Brian

Brian  AKA  Bri the Tech Guy (website in my user profile) - Windows 10 Home, 64-Bit, Version 1803, Build 17134 

     . . . the presumption of innocence, while essential in the legal realm, does not mean the elimination of common sense outside it.  The willing suspension of disbelief has its limits, or should.

    ~ Ruth Marcus,  November 10, 2017, in Washington Post article, Bannon is right: It’s no coincidence The Post broke the Moore story


 

 

 

              

 


#12 cryptodan

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Posted 23 March 2010 - 02:43 PM

Try a different cable in the system this drive doesnt work on.

#13 hamluis

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Posted 24 March 2010 - 10:40 AM

I would try a repair install on the drive in the system it belongs to.

If you elect not to go that route...I would at least try RC commands to see if the drive/install are recognized.

I repeat that the problem appears to be related to your dysfunctional optical drive, IMO. The fact that a different system was able to see, properly recognize and install XP...is conclusive, IMO.

If that's the case, then you won't be able to try any RC commands or a repair install.

Just a note...installing XP on a dfferent system...creates all sorts of problems. XP is designed to defeat such, as a way of dealing with projected attempts to use one valid XP license of XP for installation purposes on multiple systems.

XP uses the settings and drivers from whatever system it was originally installed on...and these will not normally function correctly when the hard drive is moved to a different system. It can sometimes be made to function, after more work by the user than it's worth...but nothing is guaranteed.

Moving XP to new MB or Computer - http://www.michaelstevenstech.com/moving_xp.html

Louis




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