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hard drive problem (BIOS failure? hard drive failure?)

Discussion in 'PC hardware help' started by karen2003, Oct 2, 2004.

  1. karen2003

    karen2003 Regular member

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    Hi, all. I've been burning DVDs for several months now mostly without a hitch. This morning DVD Decrypter was running when my computer failed. When I re-booted the first time, everything was extremely slow (everything seemed to be locked up); I gave up on that and re-booted and at first glance everything looked fine. However, when I opened "My Computer," my 4-month-old hard drive was no longer listed -- I have it partitioned into 2 drives and neither one (f: nor j:) was listed. I THINK I saw a message with the word BIOS as the computer was going on the blink but the screen went by too fast to give me any info. Is it probable that the BIOS "instructions" for the new drive is bad (if that even makes any sense) or is it likely that my new hard drive itself failed? Of course that's where all my video files are stored (as well as all my music files, academic journal articles, etc., etc.). Unfortunately my college's help desk is closed on the weekends so I have no one to ask. ANY help would be appreciated, especially any suggestions on what I can check to verify it's a bad hard drive.

    thanks much,
    Karen

    P.S. My c: drive and external drives (both Sony DVD drives) seem to be fine -- it's just f: and j: that have disappeared. :-(
    _X_X_X_X_X_[small]Karen H.--Dell Optiplex GX240, P4 1.50ghz, 256mb RAM (yeah, I need more), Windows XP Pro w/SP1, 20gb c: drive, 128gb f: drive, 105gb j: drive, Sony DDU1621/C1 DVD-ROM to rip/encode, Sony DRX-530UL to burn[/small]
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2004
  2. cgram7

    cgram7 Member

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    check the bios and see if the drive is listed there if not it is probably dead but before giving it a decent burial I would check the drive in another PC, and test another one in your compy as well

    http://grc.com/spinrite.htm
    I have neaver used this program but heard lots of good things about it you should check it out.

    Good Luck
     
  3. Nephilim

    Nephilim Moderator Staff Member

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    *moved to appropriate forum*
     
  4. baabaa

    baabaa Active member

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    Yeah, check the BIOS to see if they are there?

    If not, then check the IDE ribbon cable that is connecting it to the motherboard, remove and replace/reseat.

    Check your jumpers are not conflicting with each other ie.Master and Slave etc.

    Strange that just your recent HD has only been affected - maybe bad or maybe the controller.......

    When you go into windows, uninstall the IDE controller that the HD was on (this may have become a little messed up) in device manager and reboot and see if it comes back.

    BTW:If it does, you will find that your drive letters may have changed and you will have to change them back to your earlier ones.

    Just go into control panel>performance and maintanance>administrative tools>computer management>disk management>then right click on the partition's in question and you should be prompted to change drive letters and paths etc...........
     
  5. karen2003

    karen2003 Regular member

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    An update (and an apology for originally posting in the wrong forum). Yes, at first my c: drive seemed fine. A few hours after I posted my original message to afterdawn -- hours in which c: was working just fine -- I re-booted my computer (can't even remember why). Then I got the dreaded "primary hard drive failure" message. So now I can't even get in at all. Isn't it highly unlikely that both my c: and my f:/j: drives would both fail at the same time? I've brought the dead computer to campus hoping the Help Desk can do SOMETHING tomorrow, but in the meantime, I'd like to understand what's going on. Since everything died at nearly the same time, is it more likely the connection that went bad? (I hope, I hope) I will have the Help Desk check the things Baabaa mentioned, I'm afraid to open my computer myself.

    Again, thanks for helping me understand the logic of all this even if the computer is indeed dead.

    -Karen
     
  6. baabaa

    baabaa Active member

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    It maybe down to your PSU failing aswell.............considering that your other drive has now failed.....

    Let us know how you get on............Good luck
     
  7. karen2003

    karen2003 Regular member

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    When you say "PSU failing as well," what does that mean? If the PSU fails (and um, BTW, what's a PSU?), does that mean connected drives will also fail? And if it does mean that, is the data on those drives recoverable with a new PSU? (I realize I may be asking the wrong questions since I don't even know what a PSU is!!)

    thanks,
    Karen
     
  8. Nephilim

    Nephilim Moderator Staff Member

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    PSU = Power Supply Unit. it's the most critical part of your PC :)

    When a PSU starts to fail it won't deliver the specified voltages that your components require and as a result many strange things can occur.


    How old is your Dell?
     
  9. karen2003

    karen2003 Regular member

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    Ah, thanks Nephilim. I got the Dell in January '02 (might have been January '01 but I'm pretty positive it was a year later) so it's not quite 3 years old. A bit young to be failing, I would have thought. :-( If the PSU fails, does that mean that the hard drives can (theoretically anyway) be transferred intact to another computer, or will they have died along with the PSU?
     
  10. Nephilim

    Nephilim Moderator Staff Member

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    Depending on the quality of the PSU they can fail after two or three years.

    Your hard drives shouldn't be physically damaged by a failing PSU unless it fails in a spectacular way. There may be some bad data but that's just guess.

    It certainly couldn't hurt to try the drives in another PC to verify whether they're still good or not :)
     
  11. karen2003

    karen2003 Regular member

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    Thanks, you've made me feel better. The help desk guy is going to check the computer in the morning so hopefully my hard drives are salvageable.

    thanks again,
    Karen
     
  12. Nephilim

    Nephilim Moderator Staff Member

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    My pleasure :)
     

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