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Is this a hard drive issue?


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#1
Missbrea

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Hi,

I'm posting on behalf of a friend for whom I recently built a new computer. The inital build went flawlessly, started right up, all programs installed just fine.

About a week ago we went to install the expansions to WoW as she only had the base game. Something happened with the Wrath install, no idea what, and after that the game started incapacitating the whole computer for about two minutes of every four. The whole thing would just chug and fail to function, then would start working again briefly. Other programs were affected as well.

We uninstalled WoW (with great difficulty, as the Blizzard uninstaller didn't work) and the computer returned to functioning, but since she wanted to play it, we put just the base game back. Even without the expansions, the game started doing the same thing. We thought that the uninstall had been incomplete and whatever files were the problem had stuck around. We tried to hunt down whatever remnants there might have been, but concluded that it would be easier to format the hard drive and start over, as the machine was pretty new and there were very few files to worry about.

Formatting the hard drive was a little awkward and we couldn't get it to go at first. After fiddling with it, it worked. We partitioned the drive and successfully formatted both partitions. When we went to reinstall Windows (the disk was removed in order to get the authorization code written on it, but not until the window asking for the code came up), it said something like "cannot find file" (my husband did this part and can't remember exactly), so he said to cancel. The install seemed to finish, and the computer would open Windows, but no programs or drivers would install. They all errored out in one way or another.

Then we turned off the computer and wiped it again. After this, we got an error when attempting to re-format. The computer rebooted itself or had to be rebooted, then it wouldn't recognize the disk when we attempted to use the windows disk to reformat.

Now, when the computer is turned on, it asks for a boot media. Trying to hold down delete to enter the BIOS fails. In the vain hope that our Windows disk was just corrupted, I downloaded Ubuntu and tried to install that. The first time, I installed it and it looked like it was installing and then eventually just showed a black screen for a long time. I restarted and told it to "Try Ubuntu without changing your computer" and it said it couldn't read the disk. I tried asking it to check the disk for errors and it couldn't read it then either. Then I restarted it again, and now it only brings up half of the initial Ubuntu screen (the line at the bottom listing the F key uses is no longer there) and when there is no CD in the drive, it fails to work at all, just asks for a boot medium. I can't get it to enter the BIOS.

My thought is that the hard drive is somehow corrupted, but I'm not sure what to do about that. I was hoping to get some guidance as to what might be the problem before I start swapping parts between her computer and mine. My technical experience is somewhat limited; I've built three machines and successfully trouble-shot my own to successful functioning, but I'm at a loss with this one.

Here are the system specs for her computer:

Western Digital Caviar SE WD1600AAJS 160GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive

G.SKILL 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F2-6400CL5D-2GBNQ

Acer X193Wb Black 19" 5ms Widescreen LCD Monitor

AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+ Brisbane 2.6GHz Socket AM2 65W Dual-Core Processor Model ADO5000DOBOX

BIOSTAR TForce TF720 A2+ AM2+/AM2 NVIDIA nForce 720a ATX AMD Motherboard

COOLER MASTER Centurion 5 CAC-T05-UW Black Aluminum Bezel , SECC Chassis ATX Mid Tower Computer Case

CORSAIR CMPSU-550VX 550W ATX12V V2.2 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply

SAPPHIRE 100248L Radeon HD 3850 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card

LG 20X DVD±R DVD Burner w/ SecurDisc Tech Black SATA Model GH20NS15

Thank you in advance for any help you can provide. I appreciate it.
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#2
Broni

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Run HD diagnostic: http://www.tacktech....ay.cfm?ttid=287
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#3
Missbrea

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Thank you for the suggestion. I found my way to Western Digital's site and downloaded the appropriate diagnostic. It found no problems. I used the diagnostic utility to restore the HD to a clean, factory-new condition. I am not able to boot from either a Ubuntu or Windows disk. I am also not able to get to the BIOS. When I try to boot the Ubuntu disk, it recognizes that the disk is in there but won't progress beyond that. When I try to boot from the Windows disk, it says "CDBOOT: couldn't find NTLDR." When I try to hold or press Delete to get to the BIOS, it ignores it.

Any ideas?
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#4
Broni

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Check here: http://www.computerh...es/ch000465.htm
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#5
Missbrea

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I had been to that page; however, many of the possible solutions require checking that the boot settings are correct in the BIOS. My inability to get at the BIOS makes me think something else is wrong, plus it prevents me from trying a lot of those solutions.

Thanks :)
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#6
Grandad Phillip

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You usually need to attach a PS2 keyboard to get into the BIOS setup because a USB or USB-wireless keyboard isn't recognised at such an early stage in the boot process. Sometimes a wired USB one will be recognised and get you into the BIOS, but very often not. And a wireless keyboard will definitely not let you into the BIOS setup.
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