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Thought My Hard Drive Crashed... But Wait!


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#1 Quadrillion

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Posted 09 December 2014 - 07:02 PM

Interesting thing just happened to my Dell Dimension 4400 desktop running XP

 

My house had a power outage (TV wants new date, cable box rebooted, etc). So I check my desktop and there's no login screen.

 

Note, this computer has been left running for a good eight or ten years, seldom a problem. New power supply a couple of years ago.

 

I rebooted and watched the RAM slowly tick up to 2 gig. During this time I hit f12. When the RAM is done, I get a message - "no boot device". So I figure the hard drive has finally crashed. Fortunately, it was a clone of the original drive that I yanked several years ago - it was working fine at the time.  Reboot, same thing happens. Same message. "No boot device."

 

So what gives? Did a power surge fry the mother board?

 

Could this be a power supply problem?

 

Can you recommend a cheap surge protector should I need to buy a new desktop computer?

 

How do I diagnose this?

 

Thanks in advance. You guys are studs.



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#2 JohnC_21

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Posted 09 December 2014 - 07:17 PM

Is the Hard Drive detected in BIOS? You could check the function of the motherboard by downloading and running a small linux distro like Puppy. You can burn it in Windows 7 by right clicking the iso and selecting Burn Image. Tap f12 at boot and select the CD/DVD drive.  If Puppy runs fine and you can connect to the internet, then I would think the hard drive failed or your file system became corrupted because of the outage.



#3 Quadrillion

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Posted 09 December 2014 - 09:12 PM

Is the Hard Drive detected in BIOS?

 

If I hit F2 (which, I think takes me into the BIOS), I get a dos type menu with six headings: across the top: Main, Advanced Security Power Boot Exit

 

Under Advanced is IDE configuation. Clicking it shows both the secondary and primary hard drives by mfg, model etc

 

But if after the memory has finished slowly loading, it says I can hit F12, to see a boot menu. It simply says "Please Select Boot Device", but there is nothing listed below it to select from.

 

I'll look into the other suggestions this evening. Someone suggested removing all USB devices before rebooting.



#4 JohnC_21

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Posted 09 December 2014 - 09:39 PM

It's possible the BIOS detects the hard drive but F12 does not detect a bootable device. Maybe because the hard drive has failed or the file system is corrupted. You may want to burn Parted Magic instead of Puppy because it is also a small linux distro but it has a Disk Health utility you can run to see if the drive has failed. Parted Magic basically runs from RAM. You can also use it to transfer files from the hard drive to an external drive if the drive has not failed.



#5 Quadrillion

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Posted 10 December 2014 - 01:14 AM

Okay. This is preliminary, but I took out the CMOS battery, unplugged the unit and waited five minutes. Put it back in and started up. The start screen looked a bit different, and CMOS was slightly different, but nothing really changed.

 

Unplugged unit and completely REMOVED the battery and restarted the unit. Everything worked just like it was supposed to. I was able to reorder the boot sequence and windows loaded. Can't be sure until I put a new battery in tomorrow morning, and put the "first" hard drive back in, but I think it's going to all be okay. If you don't hear from me again, it means that that WAS the problem.

 

Amen brother! Saves me a lot of headaches. Thanks for the suggestions - just didn't get to 'em.



#6 JohnC_21

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Posted 10 December 2014 - 09:22 AM

Nice troubleshooting. Glad you go it fixed and thank you for the update and giving your solution.



#7 Quadrillion

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Posted 10 December 2014 - 04:57 PM

Last comment. Everything seems back to normal. Forgot to mention that after I removed battery for the first time for five minutes, and then restarted, the new screen did look different. One message was CMOS/GPNV Checksum Bad. That was a clue that it was the battery. Put in a new one, and once I figured out that the BIOS needed to have date and time entered, a normal boot occurred. Turned out last time I bought one of these 3v batteries, I had to buy two. So I already had one. Cost to repair? Zero. Rare indeed






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