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Thread: problems with hard drive recognition




  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2005
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    Default problems with hard drive recognition

    Out of the blue, my computer will not boot up. The reason is, according to setup, I don't have a primary or a slave hard drive installed. This is clearly not the case, since my computer has run for 2 years and recognized the hard drives since. I installed the slave hard drive about 6 months ago, but it has been booting and reading fine. All of a sudden this happened, and I don't know what the problem is.

    One more thing: My primary hard drive (came with my Dell Dimension 4600, it's an 80 GB capacity) is making an intermittent clicking noise. The cycle is about once every 2 seconds. It sounds kind of like it's trying to read something, then it stops and restarts.

    Can anyone help me out???

    Thanks

  2. #2

    Default Re: problems with hard drive recognition

    Since your computer doesn't read either of the hard drives, it sounds as if your IDE controller has taken a hike. Do a quick switch with your other IDE cable and see if you have better luck on that channel. If your computer boots up then, it's motherboard time.

    The noise coming from your primary drives is telling you that it's going bad. Assuming you do get it to boot back up, backup everything on it that you want to save, but once they start making noise, it's not long before they drop out completely
    AMD XP 2600+
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  3. #3
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    Nov 2003
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    Default Re: problems with hard drive recognition

    It could be the IDE controller, but I'd check the brand of the hard drive (Maxtor, Western Digital, etc.) and download a utility from the manufacturer to check the drive, since it does sound as if it's going bad. If it's going bad, you'll want to either put it in another computer and get everything important off of it, or, if that doesn't work, try using a live CD Linux distrobution (e.g. Knoppix; Damn Small Linux being a version of Linux well-suited to this task) and see if you can get it to read the hard drive. If you don't have any crucial files that haven't been backed up and the hard drive is bad, send it back Dell for a replacement, if it's still under warranty. If not, you'll probably have to cover the replacement yourself. If it's the IDE controller, that would also need to be replaced by Dell, or, if it's not under warranty, you'd either want an add-in hard drive controller, or a new motherboard entirely.

    Regardless of what the actual problem is, one thing you're almost-surely going to have to do is reinstall Windows. If it's the IDE controller and you just replace the motherboard with an identical one, then you won't. Otherwise, it's pretty much a necessity.

  4. #4
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    May 2005
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    6

    Default Re: problems with hard drive recognition

    What exactly is an IDE controller?

    Is that the ribbon cable that connects the hard drives to the motherboard? I tried only having one hard drive connected, even my add-on hard drive that I bought aftermarket, and nothing booted up. It sounds like it's more than just the hard drive.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: problems with hard drive recognition

    The controller is on the motherboard. The cable that connects the hard drive to the motherboard is what he's suggesting you try changing. Like we both said, it's probably the controller, but it sounds like the hard drive is dying, so download a utility to check it from its manufacturer.

    It has nothing to boot to if you have just your second hard drive plugged in, so I don't quite see the point of this test. If it can't boot to a CD, then that's a definite indication that something's wrong with the motherboard (not just the IDE controller, since the CD drive would almost surely be on a different controller).

  6. #6
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    May 2005
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    Default Re: problems with hard drive recognition

    I'm pretty sure the motherboard is Ok still. In setup I changed the first drives to be checked as my CD and DVD+/-RW drives, and no error message for these drives came up.

    The hard drive that sounds like it's dying is an 80GB Hitachi IC35L090AVV207. I tried going to their website to find any kind of software diagnostic utility to download, and found nothing. I only have an extra robbon cable in another computer in a different location. Should I go through the trouble of temporarily removing that one to check and see if that's the problem, or should I take the computer in to see if the IDE is indeed the problem?

  7. #7
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    Default Re: problems with hard drive recognition

    The CD drives are on a different controller, so it could be just that controller. I'd say take the trouble to switch out the cable. You can just switch cables with the CD drives if both the hard drives and CD drives are IDE.

    I found the Hitachi utility for you. Here's the download link.

  8. #8
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    May 2005
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    Default Re: problems with hard drive recognition

    I tried swapping my CD and DVDRW IDE cables with the hard drives, and it didn't read the hard drives still (and obviously not the CD and DVD drives, since they weren't plugged in). The cable was plugged into the secondary IDE port, the same one that IS reading the CD and DVD drives, but it wouldn't read the hard drives. The clicking noise with my 80GB hard drive still commenced.

    What can I conclude from this test???

  9. #9
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    Default Re: problems with hard drive recognition

    Try a new cable. If nothing works, you have at least one bad HD on your hands.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2005
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    6

    Default Re: problems with hard drive recognition

    Thanks for all the help thus far. I followed that link and downloaded the software, but I have a problem. I don't have a floppy drive. Can I burn the file onto a CD and load it in DOS from my CD drive? And if so, how do I access DOS from the setup menu, or from the error screen that tells me that both my hard drives are un-recognized?

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