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IDE drives not seen


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#1
amejr999

amejr999

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Somewhat of an interesting issue.

I have a Compaq Presario SR1000Z PC, with an Athlon XP 3200+ processor, 1GB of RAM, an Nvidia Geforce FX 5200 video card, and two 160GB hard drives. One of the drives had a Windows XP install on it, with a small Compaq recovery partition. The other drive has a corrupt version of Vista on it.

Recently, one of my drives, a Western Digital, began to fail. I was running Spinrite on it, and all of a sudden the machine rebooted, and then refused to start again. Basically, the BIOS was not recognizing that I had any IDE drives plugged in. The CMOS setup says that all of the channels are empty. Curiously, it has no problem with the floppy drive.

If I turn on the computer with everything plugged in, it pauses on "detecting IDE drives" for about a minute, then gives me an error about not finding a boot disk. However, if I unplug all of my IDE drives (2 hard drives on the primary channel and 2 CD/DVD drives on the secondary channel), it does not pause at all when turning on and just goes straight to the boot error. Leaving any drive plugged in creates the pause. This leads me to think that the physical components are working, since the BIOS is obviously recognizing on some level a distinction.

So:
1. I tried to re-flash the BIOS to hope that will work, but I'm not having any luck finding anything to put onto a boot floppy. Compaq only has one that will do it from within Windows, which obviously doesn't help me.
2. Any other ideas?

Thanks!
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#2
Neil Jones

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Partial IDE failure most likely, the inability of the motherboard to talk properly to IDE devices such as the hard drive(s) and CD unit(s).

Swap them over initially (so IDE2 goes to IDE1 on the board and vice-versa) to diagnose, then do troubleshooting with only drive/unit plugged in at any one time. Do this once for each drive on a master setting and again for each drive on a Slave setting. Do this on both IDE connectors, one at a time, master and slave on both with one device at a time.

From the pattern of what combination of what fails, one can usually come up with a workaround as make the system usable again. That is, if it turns out that the computer, for example, talks to nothing on IDE1 but talks to everything on IDE2, that would be a failure of the IDE1 controller, which would still allow the computer to work albeit with only one HDD and one CD unit and at a slower speed.

Edited by Neil Jones, 15 July 2006 - 05:03 PM.

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