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Failure to boot--all 4 IDE drives not recognized


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#1 faddlebok

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Posted 24 September 2012 - 07:23 PM

Hello everyone.

A previously working computer now fails to boot. Dell 8200 desktop, Windows XP Home SP3. It has IDE drives. It has two hard drives on primary IDE channel, and two optical drives on secondary IDE channel. On attempted boot, it seems to get thru the BIOS and fails when trying to load the OS. In setup, it shows the following:

Primary Drive 0: Unknown Device
Primary Drive 1: off
Secondary Drive 0: Unknown Device
Secondary Drive 1: Unknown Device

So all 4 IDE drives have become unrecognizable at the same time. Could this be the result of some hardware error from earlier in the boot process, and if so what should I look for? What should I do next? Is the IDE controller, and hence the motherboard, toast?

Thanks.

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#2 jhayz

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Posted 25 September 2012 - 12:23 AM

Primary drive/drives are system drive? Did you locate the jumper reset if available on the motherboard or remove the CMOS battery for a hardware reset? What happened prior going to the problem?

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#3 faddlebok

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Posted 25 September 2012 - 04:37 AM

Thank you, jhayz, for your reply.

Primary drive 0 is hard disk system drive, with Windows XP Home SP3. Primary drive 1 is hard disk data drive. Secondary drive 0 and 1 are both optical drives. The computer was running until yesterday. During a regular shutdown it hung for a long time and didn't finish shutdown. As a last resort, computer was unplugged. The next morning it wouldn't boot. I removed the CMOS battery to reset, replaced it after 30 minutes, tried to reboot, reset the system date and time. It gets far enough to allow getting into setup, gives the message "Performing automatic IDE configuration...", and then "Strike F1 to retry boot, F2 for setup utility", and it can't get any further. Setup shows that all 4 drives, the two hard disks and the two optical drives, are all "Unknown Device". I haven't tried swapping drives or cables, since having all 4 drives be unrecognized doesn't look like the devices or the cables are the problem.

So what do you think?

#4 Baltboy

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Posted 25 September 2012 - 11:59 AM

When you reset the bios it went back to the defaults. I would check the bios settings since it looks like the primary drive 1 has been disabled. Also still double check the cables for the ide and power.....i've seen weirder things.
Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please.
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#5 jhayz

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Posted 25 September 2012 - 07:04 PM

Any changes before the problem occured? Since, you mentioned having only one particular primary system drive, remove all data and optical drives and try booting only your XP hard drive. If there is a floppy drive enabled, disable this in BIOS also and do a CMOS reset while disconnecting other drives as additional suggestions given by BC Advisor Baltboy.

Tekken
 


#6 faddlebok

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Posted 26 September 2012 - 08:32 PM

Thank you Baltboy and jhayz for your suggestions.

I apologize for my slow responses--I'm also trying to repair a car so it can pass smog test before it is overdue.

Initially I had thought that, since the computer didn't lose track of system time, that the mobo battery was probably fine, and that since there was a problem recognizing all 4 IDE drives, that it probably wasn't the cables or the individual drives. However, after fiddling for a while and still being unable to solve the problem quickly, I figured maybe it was smarter to just try your advice anyway.

So, taking your suggestions to heart, I decided to start over from the beginning. I replaced the motherboard battery (which was quite a few years old anyway), reset the CMOS memory via the clear CMOS jumper, changed out the IDE cables (I actually even had brand new cables still in packaging), removed all 4 drives, and tested each drive one at a time in another machine. Both optical drives and the system hard drive seemed fine, and the one data hard disk drive seemed bad (I couldn't get it to be recognized on the other machine). I placed the system drive and the two opticals back into the original machine, did system setup again, and the machine booted fine.

So, except for my apparently dead data drive, my problem is solved. Thank you both. I think I was initially distracted by what seemed to me to be more complicated that it maybe was. Following all of your suggestions was all it took. Thank you very much again.

I think I will open a separate thread to figure out how to deal with the apparently dead drive.

#7 jhayz

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Posted 28 September 2012 - 08:37 PM

Good thing you find the culprit in solving your problem. :thumbup2:

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