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EIDE Ctlr - Win Shutdown ?


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#1
911pchelp

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When pwr on, get error that ... primary EIDE controller is operating outside normal specs ... message suggests replacing hard disk drive.

Does this mean my HDD has finally gone 'belly up'? It's 7 yrs / 5 mos old (original HDD on my DELL Dimension 4300 - Win XP Home, SP2). Happened very suddenly ... booted OK this AM then this error in the PM.

Might have contributed to the problem when I tried to install Paint.net but didn't realize it was already installed. Canceled the install but not sure it didn't mess up the registry.

Then to make matters worse, Firefox 3 had an update but wouldn't complete because Firefox Preloader was in memory and FF didn't like 2 FF's running. Shut down Preloader, saved registry with ERUNT, scanned/fixed issues with CCleaner and when tried to reboot, got the error.

Is there any way around this? Will a new HDD really solve the problem?

(Fortunately my wife just got a laptop, so am using that to send this.)
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#2
rshaffer61

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This is a Dell specific error message. It is equilevent to most systems Smartdrive messaging. It does mean that it has detected failure is iminent or in your case it has happened.
In my investigation There maybe a way to see the problem.

Enter BIOS and press ALT+F to default the BIOS settings, then scroll down to
the system event log (or page over to it) and mark all events as read and/or
clear the log. See if the message returns and if it's tied to a specific
drive.

If that doesn't work, you might remove the CMOS battery from the system
board for several minutes and then replace it in an attempt to clear the
message.

If there are two drives on the same ide you may have to unhook one to try and find the offending one. Whichever drive caused the error message will likely re-create it
when you try it alone or along with the second disk.
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#3
911pchelp

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Thank you rshaffer61.

Tried setting (ie resetting BIOS) 5 times but each time the BIOS 'screen' locked up before the changes were finished ... and ... the ESC key (or any key) wouldn't 'let go' for the PC to finish booting.

Maybe it's the CMOS battery (I hope) - I'll change it tomorrow ... wouldn't be surprised because the battery is original (over 7 yrs old) - though I thought most times a low battery indication was a 'time' problem. We'll see.
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#4
rshaffer61

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by taking the battery out and leaving it out for about 30 minutes it should reset the bios to default then
There probably is a good chance the battery might be low also. You are right usually when the system can't keep time, that is a indicator the battery is low
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#5
911pchelp

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Removed CMOS battery, waited 1 hour and then replaced with a new one and got rid of the message for the initial boot ...but subsequent boots had the message listed in first post. Replacing battery DID get rid of lockup in the Setup Utility.

On the 1st boot after replacing, got the error message: Dell Disk Monitoring System has detected that Drive 0 on the primary EIDE controller is operating outside normal specifications ... F1 continue,F2 run setup utility

My C is (e.i. was) set up with 2 physical drives:

Physical 1 (20GB) ... logical C: and logical E:
Physical 2 (120 GB) .... logical F: and
... logical G: and
... logical H: and
... logical S:.
Also have CD-RW and DVD/R

Tried setting 'Primary Drive 0' to 'auto' ... resulted in message listed in first post. Rebooted and the system had recognized HDD as a Western Dig with size (20020 MB).
Tried setting 'Primary Drive 1' to 'auto' ... resulted in message listed in first post. Rebooted and the system had recognized HDD as a Western Dig with size (120 GB).

Tried setting 'Primary Drive 0' to 'off' ... resulted in Error loading OS (assume because Drive 1 ... E: doesn't have Windows -- but it DID read E:)

Changed Boot Sequence to 'A disk' only and both primary drives = auto ... and had an old DOS boot diskette (supporting CD's) and booted using that.
Booted OK and could read CD's in either CD or DVD drive ... but could not read any HDD. (Seems like I remember that there was a special setting in the CONFIG.sys file (or AUTOEXEC.bat) that allowed for multiple HHDs so am not completely surprised that couldn't 'see' E,F,G,H, or S ... but should have 'seen' C:)

As I said before, will replacing the primary HDD (and reinstalling Win XP) get me out of this situation (have copies of most data on current C and E) but F,G,H, and S aren't backed up) ?? It would be a hassle because I have many programs installed ... but that's the price of technology !?!
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#6
rshaffer61

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At this point I would say replacing the primary and putting a clean OS should take care of the problem as everything will be native till you do updates
Just to make sure. When you do this make sure all other drives except the primary and the cd drive are disconnected. That way we can work with the basics and build from there

Edited by rshaffer61, 31 March 2009 - 07:48 PM.

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#7
911pchelp

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Thank you for the help ... I guess now I'll look for a good deal on an IDE HDD (bigger than the current one because 20 GB .... 10GB for C: is restrictive). Thank you for the advice about disconnecting the 2nd HDD and CD drives.

This is probably a topic for the Windows XP forum .... but
I have a retail version of Windows XP (SP2) which I bought outright a couple of years ago (the backup from Dell didn't work) .... do you know if I'll have any problem (with Microsoft) reinstalling that copy (it will be the same computer, the same user, the same address -- everything the same)?


The initial question is resolved - thanks
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#8
rshaffer61

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You shouldn't have any problems but be ready for lots of updates and finding drivers.
If you need me to I can find the page with all the drivers for your specific system.
I would need the model of your dell.
I am more then happy to supply the information for you if you cannot use the disc that came with the system
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#9
911pchelp

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I have installed WIN XP from this retail version once previously and did not have any driver problems .... of course it was a couple of years ago so who knows ... if there is a problem with drivers, I may take you up on your kind offer (by the way, THANK YOU) - PC is a Dell Dimension 4300 but I'll let you know if there is a problem.

I'm just concerned that Microsoft will give me trouble when I go to 'register' since I've done it before ... it's been a while but I seem to recall that if the OS wasn't 'registered' in a limited time (21 days?), it would be unusable. I realize this isn't the 'area' you signed up to help with, but what do you think?
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#10
911pchelp

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I have installed WIN XP from this retail version once previously and did not have any driver problems .... of course it was a couple of years ago so who knows ... if there is a problem with drivers, I may take you up on your kind offer (by the way, THANK YOU) - PC is a Dell Dimension 4300 but I'll let you know if there is a problem.

I'm just concerned that Microsoft will give me trouble when I go to 'register' since I've done it before ... it's been a while but I seem to recall that if the OS wasn't 'registered' in a limited time (21 days?), it would be unusable. I realize this isn't the 'area' you signed up to help with, but what do you think?
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#11
rshaffer61

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If you find your registration number is not taking then the installation will show a window with a code. It will give you the number to call microsoft where you can put in the code and it will supply you with the help to get windows activated.
As far as drivers needed for your system after windows is installed go Here and get all the drivers for your system.
Good luck and please let me know if there is anything else I can assist you with
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#12
911pchelp

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Again, THANK YOU THANK YOU

I won't get a new HDD until I get back in town Sunday night, so will start re-install on Monday -- I'd like to leave this thread open for a few days -- until my PC is up again.
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#13
rshaffer61

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Not a problem.
If you need a few places to find a hd try

Tigerdirect or Newegg
I hope this helps you out and please let me know how it goes
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#14
911pchelp

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Have a TigerDirect store in town (Raleigh NC) and am going there Sunday ... thanks
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#15
rshaffer61

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You are very welcome
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