Posted 01 July 2010 - 09:33 AM
The IDE cables don't usually come loose unless the machine has been jostled around a lot such as when you move or when the machine is shipped somewhere so I doubt that reseating the cable really had any effect. Most likely, your drive was failing and intermittently would boot or not boot.
First of all, when you enter the BIOS setup screen, does the machine properly recognize the hard drive? Since you were able to boot previously, most likely the machine sees the drive correctly but you should check to make sure regardless.
You said you attached a drive from a working machine and still got the same message. Did the drive come from a similar machine? It's possible that a drive from another machine could boot but it's also possible that it wouldn't boot. Again, you would need to check the BIOS setup to see if the second drive is properly recognized by the BIOS.
Did you try attaching the drive as a slave in the working computer? If you can do that and it works (you can access the files on the drive, you won't be able to boot from it), the first thing I would do is backup any data to make sure it doesn't get lost.
If you can see the files on the drive then the drive may be recoverable by doing a repair install of the OS or it may simply need the MBR (Master Boot Record) rewritten. If you can't see the files on the drive, then you may be able to reformat the drive and reinstall the OS and all of your apps.
It is also possible that the drive has failed and will not be recoverable which will mean that you will need to replace the drive.
It would be helpful if you could post what your machine specs are.
To Err is human; to really foul things up requires a Bleeping Computer!