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Really wierd Unknown Device Problem with hard drive

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I have an Dell Dimension 4550 with 2 hard disks running XP.

Recently, I have run into a very wierd problem. My computer freezes. Sometimes or always with a blue screen. Once or twice it had a message about a bad software or hardware installation causing <something>.

When I reboot or kill power/turn it back on, the computer does not boot. The bios no longer recognizes the hard disks (Primary Drive 0 and 1 will read "unknown device") and therefore it can not go to windows located on the hard disk.

Now the wierd part. I can get it to work by going into the computer. First, wkith the computer off and the power cord out, I open the computer case. Then I simply disconnect the big (30 pin?) cables to the hard disks and the card/motherboard. I then plug the cables back in and connect the power and the computer boots properly.

I have had this problem 5-6 times over the past 2 days and each time have opened the box and pulled the cables and put them back in. Thus it is not that I had the cables connected badly once. It seems that removing the cables solves the problem and I cant figure out how this could be.

I do not think it is a bad bios. A few hours ago after a freeze I updated the bios from the dell support site but this did not work as I had another freeze 5 minutes ago.

Anyone encounter anything like this or can give me some advice.


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Try replacing the data cables and make sure they are tight.
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