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BIOS Not Recognising HDD?


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#1 Unfortunato

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Posted 17 September 2010 - 04:40 PM

Hi all,

I'm looking for a bit of advice here. I've just acquired a Dell Optiplex GX280 which I got without any drives attached, and was looking to put in some of my kit from another machine. The problem I'm having is that even with my IDE HDD set as primary master (and with it as the only IDE device attached) and the BIOS configured to boot from it, it won't boot into windows. I know that the drive is good as it boots in a different machine without problems. When

I can boot into windows without a problem from my SATA (XP) drive, and here's the weird thing - with the IDE drive still attached, Windows, whilst running on the SATA, recognises the IDE drive, and names it correctly by brand and model - but won't let me access it as it says it's not formatted? And leaving everything as just described, if I go into BIOS - every drive is listed except the IDE! So, windows is picking it up, but BIOS isn't...?

I have been able to 'see' the drive in BIOS, but only without the other IDE device (DVD-RW Drive) attached. It's like the system is only wanting to offer me the opportunity to have one IDE device attached and working - which isn't much use, as I want to have all 3 in the machine and will want to put Vista or Windows7 on the IDE - but I obviously have to have both IDE drives working, and recognised as bootable devices at the same time to do this, from my installation discs.

Mobo only has one IDE port, but the cable connected to the mobo has 2 IDE connectors - surely they can't be exclusively for optical drives? I've tried pretty much every combo of the three separate 4pin molex connectors plugged into the IDE HDD and DVD drive, so I'm guessing I'm missing something in the configuration... any ideas? I've checked that the jumper settings are as they should be in relation to each drive.

Edited by Unfortunato, 17 September 2010 - 04:41 PM.


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#2 caperjac

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Posted 17 September 2010 - 04:52 PM

did you try cable select as the jumper setting on both ide drive ,Dell bios likes cable select

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#3 Unfortunato

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Posted 17 September 2010 - 05:20 PM

did you try cable select as the jumper setting on both ide drive ,Dell bios likes cable select

Hi caperjac, and thanks for a quick reply. :thumbsup:

I had just actually read something similar to what you've said. I think I've been a bit of a silly boy though - I'm not used to Dells and this is my first look round a Dell machine's BIOS. When you highlight each drive in the 'Drives' section, there's an Off/On option for each drive. Off = the interface is disabled and an attached device is not usable and On = the interface is enabled and an attached device is usable. And yes, it was set to 'Off' and I hadn't noticed... :flowers: I haven't seen a setting like that in the BIOS of machines I've used before. I suppose that should fix it...

#4 Unfortunato

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Posted 17 September 2010 - 05:42 PM

Weird.

I changed the setting I mentioned in my last post, and configured the BIOS to boot from the IDE drive, and it still won't do so. First attempt - there was a pause of a minute or so on starting up, and the system eventually booted off the SATA drive. Second attempt - "selected boot device not available".

Now though, I can look into the IDD drive whilst running windows on the SATA, and I don't get the 'drive is not formatted' message. The IDE tstill won't boot though.

#5 hamluis

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Posted 17 September 2010 - 05:44 PM

CMOS battery replacement time?

Louis

#6 DaChew

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Posted 17 September 2010 - 05:51 PM

You can't load windows on a drive and use it to boot a completely different computer.

Some ide hard drives have jumper connections for standalone master, also beware special ide cables that use cable select?
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#7 Platypus

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Posted 17 September 2010 - 06:05 PM

I was thinking much the same a DaChew, and he posted while I was thinking... :thumbsup:

Indeed, some drive/BIOS combinations don't work properly if a drive has separate Master & Standalone Master settings, & Master is selected when the drive is standalone.

Also, since swapping Windows installations between computers is seldom successful, but usually try to boot and fail, it could be that the Windows on the IDE drive is BIOS locked to the system it came from, times out looking for the other system's BIOS tattoo then chains to the next boot device (the SATA drive).

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#8 Unfortunato

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Posted 17 September 2010 - 06:53 PM

You can't load windows on a drive and use it to boot a completely different computer.

Some ide hard drives have jumper connections for standalone master, also beware special ide cables that use cable select?

Hi DaChew. Yes, you can! Windows however, in some cases, will require reactivation within a shorter period than the initial 30 days grace provided after installation on the drive.

I was thinking much the same a DaChew, and he posted while I was thinking... :thumbsup:

Indeed, some drive/BIOS combinations don't work properly if a drive has separate Master & Standalone Master settings, & Master is selected when the drive is standalone.

Hi Platypus. I'm thinking that may well be the case with the IDE drive to which I referred in my original post - because I also tried a (clean) Vista installation while it was attached to the Dell, and it hung far too long to suggest that the installation was going to proceed. If you've the time, I'd be interested to learn a little more about what you've mentioned there, as I wasn't aware of this.

Also, since swapping Windows installations between computers is seldom successful, but usually try to boot and fail, it could be that the Windows on the IDE drive is BIOS locked to the system it came from, times out looking for the other system's BIOS tattoo then chains to the next boot device (the SATA drive).

Your logic certainly seems to make sense to me, especially as the machine did indeed boot from the SATA when BIOS had been configured to boot from the IDE. Just out of interest though, I had installed Vista on an old 20Gb IDE Drive. The installation was perfomed on an Acer machine that I had loaned to me by a friend. That sort of capacity is obviously too small for Vista, given the size of the Windows folder et cetera, but I'd tried it just to have a look at Vista as I'm a long time XP user. Now... I've just tried that very 20Gb IDE drive in the Dell I have, and it boots up no problem. It hasn't even asked for reactivation. And yes, it was installed from a genuine disc!

When I had that Acer, and other older machines, I had drives in and out of different systems when trying to fix a recently deceased computer. Trying to eliminate software/hardware possibilities. From memory, only the Acer asked for reactivation. The drives worked without this step in some other machines - possibly because they were older? I'm not sure.

Edited by Unfortunato, 17 September 2010 - 06:54 PM.


#9 Unfortunato

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Posted 17 September 2010 - 07:05 PM

CMOS battery replacement time?

Louis

Hi Louis, I meant to ask - what was your thinking behind that? That might sound as if I'm rubbishing your suggestion - which, of course, I'm not - I was just curious.

#10 dpunisher

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Posted 17 September 2010 - 07:20 PM

Just ran into this on an HP desktop 2 hours ago. Hard drives not recognized, video "shimmers", hard drives work in another machine. Pulled the side cover and.....................2 bulged caps near the southbridge chip. This is now epidemic in my neck of the woods.

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#11 Platypus

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Posted 17 September 2010 - 08:01 PM

bulged caps near the southbridge chip.

Ooh yes, missed that! GX280 - definitely check for bad electrolytic capacitors on the mainboard, if you haven't already.

http://www.badcaps.net/

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#12 hamluis

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Posted 18 September 2010 - 11:17 AM

When the CMOS battery isn't up to par...just about anything can happen to the system functioning.

Although many key on the fact that the system clock/date mechanism becomes inaccurate...anything related to the BIOS (proper recognition of components, error messages which indicate hardware problems, etc.) can occur.

Your title is BIOS Not Recognizing HDD, that fits my premise.

The CMOS battery is a less-than-$5 item, which can result in unknowing users spending significantly more searching for answers. I'd rather spend $5 and replace it as a matter of course...when I suspect it. If it's not the cure, it can be eliminated from suspects then.

Once I did that, I would move on to individual items, such as cable, drive, etc.

Louis

#13 Unfortunato

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Posted 19 September 2010 - 11:11 AM

When the CMOS battery isn't up to par...just about anything can happen to the system functioning.

Although many key on the fact that the system clock/date mechanism becomes inaccurate...anything related to the BIOS (proper recognition of components, error messages which indicate hardware problems, etc.) can occur.

Your title is BIOS Not Recognizing HDD, that fits my premise.

The CMOS battery is a less-than-$5 item, which can result in unknowing users spending significantly more searching for answers. I'd rather spend $5 and replace it as a matter of course...when I suspect it. If it's not the cure, it can be eliminated from suspects then.

Once I did that, I would move on to individual items, such as cable, drive, etc.

Louis

Useful info. :thumbsup:

As it happens, I've since tried to boot the IDE Hdd in question on yet another system, with similar results, which would indicate that Platypus could be on to something with his info about drives being BIOS locked... But as I'd said the drive booted in the Acer machine I'd been loaned! Anyone have any ideas about this? And if there is some sort of way of 'unlocking' drives that maybe be locked to a certain BIOS, or if some sort of modification to the BIOS would be required?

#14 DaChew

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Posted 19 September 2010 - 12:09 PM

I would flash the latest bios if needed, take the OEM COA numbers off the sticker and install from the appropriate CD

This is probably the best alternative and the most likely cost effective and legal option.

Edited by DaChew, 19 September 2010 - 12:11 PM.

Chewy

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