Hard Drive detection problem

By acidosmosis
Jun 20, 2003
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  1. I am working on a Dell Dimension 2300 at work. A lady brought it in yesterday and said that she could not get Windows XP to install, and that it would say that she didnt have a hard drive.

    The first thing I did was boot up the Windows XP CD to see what happens. I received a list of partitions, one with 25gigs, the other with 8mb, then proceeded to format the 25gig partition, NTFS quick format. Half way through the format I got a message saying the format failed.

    The next thing I did was go into CMOS and check to see if the hard drive was listed, and indeed it was not. I then clicked to auto detect the hard drive and it was detected. I clicked again after waiting a minute and then it would not detect. Sometimes it will detect and others it will not.

    So then I thought maybe there is something wrong with the IDE cable or the molex. So, I took my toolbox and got a extra IDE cable that I had laying around, and hooked unhooked the Dell's IDE cable and used my extra cable. I also disconnected the molex connector and tried a different one. Same problem so THEN I unhooked the hard-drive and tried another one that we had in the office. Same problem.

    I've tried recovery console from Windows XP's CD, and also booting to DOS prompt from a Windows 98 CD. I could not gain access to a C: drive nor do a chkdsk or format.

    This happens on two different hard drives, the exact same problem which doesnt make sense.

    Obviously this lady can't wait forever so if anyone has any ideas please let me know.

    Thanks.
  2. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 Newcomer, in training Posts: 6,504

    Arguably I am a little tripped out at the moment - having just had a "special" yogurt if you get what I mean - however if the machine is not recognising a hard drive at, then from what you have said it sounds like even the motherboard could be faulty. There are loads of capacitors and stuff all over the board and if even one of them goes, all will be lost in at least one particular department. My money is on the motherboard.
  3. JackieChanIsGOD

    JackieChanIsGOD Newcomer, in training Posts: 83

    When i installed my 80 gig, it didn't recognize it at first... i downloaded Partition Magic and gave it an identity.
    heh, for like the past few questions, my answers have been Partition Magic... what doesn't that program do!
  4. acidosmosis

    acidosmosis TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 1,574

    It is kind of hard to use Partition Magic when you cant even boot up Windows, much less have any data on the HD to boot to as far as I know.

    I am also going to bet on the hard drive on this one.

    Before I worked on this PC I told the lady that I would only diagnose it from the keyboard and if it was fixable that way then I would fix it, but I made her call the place she got the Dell from and see if it was under warranty or not before I opened the case. She said they told her that it was fine if I went ahead and worked on it, but I'm getting nowhere with the tools that I have at this office so I'm going to tell her to let them give it a try.
  5. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 12,268   +218

    Tried a different IDE slot? If another slot doesn't work then I'm going with faulty motherboard.
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