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Hard disk not recognized...sometimes


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#1
Gswiss

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A friend of mine has been working some time under an XP-SP1 environment without a hitch. One day, while opening an e-mail, the pc crashed. It would not boot anymore.

The BIOS would recognize neither the disks nor the two optical disks. The 2 IDE disks were on primary connector and the opticals on secondary. I switched the cables around, I switched connectors. At one point in time, the two optical disks were rwcognized but not the ide disks.

I tested the system disk alone with each cable and each ide connector in succession. No dice. Not recognized.

I then connected the system disk to a second similar pc (it has the same model motherboard) as slave. It was recognized on the 2nd pc. I then launched an antivirus on it but I didn't go all the way through (too lengthy). I was also successful in booting the system disk of the 1st pc on the second pc.

I then went back to the first pc and connected the system disk all by itself. It was recognized and I managed to boot successfully after having gone through safe mode first.

When I connected the second ide disk as slave alongside it, it didn't recognize any one of them! When I disconnected the slave, the system disk worked okay.

It's not a jumper problem, I've checked that closely. They are Western Digital disks and jumper setups are clearly shown.

Another interesting item: when I succeeded in booting with the system disk alone on the 2nd pc, at some point in time, the system froze. This could be linked to the mouse. My friend bought a new one and connected it with an improper driver.

I didn't have a chance to go any further.

Would a virus be responsible for the BIOS not recognizing the two disks connected at the same time?
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#2
Kemasa

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Did you try connecting the second disk on the second system? It may be that the second disk has a problem and causing problems on the IDE channel.

I would suspect either a cable problem or more likely a problem with the second disk.
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#3
Gswiss

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I plan to connect the 2nd disk as slave on the second system. But still, how come the system disk all by itself was not recognized on the 1st pc until I connected it as slave to the 2nd pc and ran a partial virus scan on it?

The cables are okay because i switched them around in all combinations with the optical disks and these disks were recognized.
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#4
Kemasa

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It is hard to say why, but remember when you move the cables, you can create a different situation. If there is a broken wire in the cable, movement can cause it to make a connection.

I assume you powered down the system to change the cables, since otherwise once the drive was confused, it could stay that way.

You did say that at one point the optical drives could not be seen.

It could be a virus or something since it crashed when opening an email message, but it does not really sound like that to me since it would have to attack the bios settings.
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#5
Gswiss

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The cables appear ti be fine. All changes were made with the system powered off.

The optical drives could not be seen originally.

I'm going to connect the 2nd drive to the 2nd pc next time (end of this week).
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#6
Gswiss

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The second disk turned out to be defective, unreadable on either pc.

Now, a new problem appeared. The first pc doesn't boot at all with the operational standalone system disk. As soon as I power on, I get an unending series of 3 long beeps with a slight interruption after every threesome from the AMI BIOS. With all the fiddling around on that pc, the BIOS probably got corrupted somehow or other.

Whatís surprising is that I get no message on the display. Itís powered on, but itís not used at all. So I switched graphic cards between the two pcís, but that didnít help.

I even switched the power supply between the two pcís. Itís not defective.

In the AMI beep code inventory, 3 SHORT beeps are used to report defective RAM. I get LONG ones. Anyhow, I checked the RAMís by switching them between the pcís, but that didnít improve things either.

I find no interpretation for the long beeps.

Is there anything I can try before resetting the CMOS?
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#7
Gswiss

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Iím not sure I can locate the CLRTC1 pins on this MB. There is no documentation available. If I just remove the battery for a few seconds, is that enough?

I can use the BIOS parameters of the sister pc (pc1 in my description earlier) to reinstate the pc2 BIOS settings appropriately.
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#8
Gswiss

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It turns out that the MB is defective. I never did find the meaning for these 3 long beeps coming from an AMI BIOS on a Gigabyte board. The board did not last more than 5 years.

Anyhow, there was no change after dismounting the battery for 2 hours (to be on the safe side), nor after unseating every single item from RAM to pci cards, including keyboard and mouse.

Thanks to all for your support.
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