Hard Drive problems - Again- Worse - Windows won't start

lynnalexandraFebruary 15, 2011

Not sure if I should have continued my former threads. Back in December, I had a hard drive exceeding normal parameters message - thought it was the original hard drive (dell inspiron 530 - windows xp). Dell sent a technician - turns out to have been the second internal drive which I'd put in 1 1/2 years ago.

In the meantime, the tech put in a new 2TB drive I had bought - instead of the failing second hard drive. All booted fine - no more failed hard drive message.

Called Western Digital - they sent a replacement for the 1.5TB second internal drive that was failing. First I put the failing drive back in the computer and transferred the few videos and documents I wanted onto an external hard drive. So far so good. Files were fine. Then I reformatted the second drive to erase contents before sending back to Western Digital.

Then tonight I thought was the simple part. I took the failing second hard drive out. Put in the new replacement 1.5 TB hard drive from WD. Computer wouldn't boot into windows. I did not have the usual F1 option to continue as I did with the failed drive inside. Nor did windows start as it had with the 2TB drive inside.

I got a hard drive fail message (just said hard drive fail - nothing like the prior message about exceeding normal threshold- and only options f2 (set up) or f12 (boot options). First I tried F2 - looked daunting - about setting Bios stuff. I tried again - picked f12 - saw it originally ask for a selection of which order to boot from. I thought it might have been looking to the second internal drive - or external drive - but I think the original hard drive was the first priority (honestly, I did not recognize the names/numbers of the two drives it listed - in spot sata 0 and sata 5 (which i think is the external drive). I picked sata 0. selected save and exit - maybe i also selected save and continue another time. Nothing but a blank screen with a dos prompt (the little blinking underscore line).

I don't know what to do now. I don't know if this replacement hard drive is a failure. I have swapped drives before - and never disturbed the original drive - and don't think I did this time. But I don't get Windows opening up - or even the f1 choice to continue.

I tried shutting down and restarting a couple of times (once with the external drive shut off). no success.

The only thing that occurs to me is to take the new replacement 1.5 TB second drive out - and I'll try that tomorrow. But I don't understand why I couldn't get windows started. I'm worried that something is seriously messed up now.



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Drive 0 normally the main drive,, C drive for a normal windows install. drive 1 would be D, 2 E, etc but you can assign diff letters and CD/DVD maybe already fixed on one letter .. tuff call for someone to tell you which drive number is which drive letter without knowing your computer.

You didnt forget to plug in the power cable or have drive cable unplugged from main board. Lots of possible oops.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2011 at 11:57PM
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At this point I think the best option is to unplug the second internal drive and any external drives to see if Windows will boot normally.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2011 at 12:45AM
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ravencajun Zone 8b TX

I am scared to even say this but is it possible you reformatted the wrong drive?

    Bookmark   February 16, 2011 at 1:21AM
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Raven - I know I didn't reformat the hard drive. The reformat happened on Monday (although i didn't realize it had succeeded until later that night). I used the computer with no trouble yesterday - so my programs were working from the C: drive yestserday.

This morning -after leaving it with the dos prompt yesterda, it said no boot device available - it had found the drive on sata 0, sata1, sata4. I will try removing the other drives later. i can also try looking for the boot cd - but it still concerns me that it's not finding the programs on the main drive (I do think that's sata0). It did all of yesterday

    Bookmark   February 16, 2011 at 7:25AM
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You note that you see the flashing cursor. Is there anything before the cursor on the same line? C: perhaps?

If so then type dir and hit the Enter button to view the directory.
If there is no C: then type C:\ and hit Enter, if the C drive appears then type dir as noted above.
Repeat this but use D: then E: to see if you can enter any drive on the computer.

If none of the above achieves anything go here and download the Windows 98 start up disk file. If your computer still has an A drive copy that to a floppy disk, if not A drive burn to a CD. Insert either and fire up the computer.

Now you will have a DOS screen showing the A: prompt if a floppy was used, a different number if a CD.

Type cd C: hit Enter
Type dir hit Enter and the contents of the drive will scroll up the screen.
Repeat this part using D: E: and even F: to verify what drives are on what letters.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2011 at 7:53AM
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Whew! I took out the replacement second internal hard drive (and the external hard drive). Rebooted - everything booted up fine.

Then I shut down. Reattached the external drive - booted up - everything's fine.

So does it seem that the replacement drive from WD is bad as well? (I did not put the 2TB drive back in - but it was working fine before. Again - this drive was bought for when I get around to setting up a dual boot XP/Windows 7 drive - and until my family crisis - and multiple electronic/tech failures are resolved, I'm not going to tackle that one.)

Don't know why it wouldn't boot from the original hard drive when the replacement second drive was installed. Any thoughts? since it does boot with the bad drive - although it mentions the hard drive problem and allows me to select F1 to continue.

At least I'm up and running - and the main, original drive seems fine. (I have used Acronis - and did a back up and incremental over the summer. Then did a full clone in December when I thought the drive was failing. But I am still quite confused by the acronis instructions - and would like to start from scratch. Now I have a 2TB external drive and would like to make the proper kind of back up. How should I do this - as the words on some of instructions Raven often links use clone at one point but seem to be talking about a different kind of back up. One complication is that the original thread for acronis 2010 - with pics - is gone now and acronis 2011 instructions are more fleshed out). I have Acronis 2010.

Thank you.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2011 at 11:16AM
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It is entirely possible that you never had the 80 wire ribbon cable properly attached. With modern hard drives it is virtually impossible to attach the ribbon cable wrong but your's may not have been fully seated on the motherboard or the drive.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2011 at 2:04PM
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Good point!

But If it's a sata drive though there is no ribbon cable. But your right a connection problem could still have existed.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2011 at 6:13PM
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