Stumped at HD+BIOS issue

By robertg187
Jan 29, 2007
  1. Hello everyone.
    This is my first time posting here, didn't know you were here until I found you today. And of course I only sought out help because I am having some major computer problems. Anyway, here's my issue and I hope somebody has some ideas.

    My computer had a major heart attack a couple nights ago which has degraded to not being able to boot up because "...\windows\system32\config\system is either missing or corrupt". I try to run the setup on my windows xp disk but after if finishes loading up I can't do anything because it doesn't recognize that I have a hard drive connected.

    Now I know that my bios doesn't see my hard drive, it never has, but until now it's never been a problem. I have the latest drivers for my A7V600-X motherboard. I can't seem to get the bios to see my 80 gig Deskstar SATA hard drive, either automatically or manually. Any ideas?
  2. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    The BIOS has to see the hard drive, otherwise you are not able to boot from it.

    Maybe the hard drive is dead? Turn off and unplug your computer. Open it up and unplug-replug all the cables connecting to the hard drive. Go to BIOS setup and make sure all hard drive controllers are enabled and that drives themselves are set to auto-detect.
  3. robertg187

    robertg187 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I've already checked all the connections, everything appears to be connected, and I can boot up to the command prompt and mess around with the c: drive in DOS.

    For the last two years evertime my comp boots up it has looked something like this:
    Primary Master: None
    Primary Slave: Toshiba CD-ROM
    Secondary Master: None
    Secondary Slave: None

    I have everything set to auto detect in the BIOS settings, and after it goes through that then it would boot up normally to XP. I tried to manually set the hard drive in the primary master spot but every setting that I did just gave me "Primary Master failed".

    Currently I can see my only option is to buy another hard drive and then in DOS transfer the few files that I want to keep.
  4. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,573   +65

    First, your SATA hard drive will not appear in the Master/Slave configuration display during boot. Master/Slave only shows your IDE drives - SATA is a different interface and will be displayed in a different area - possibly a separate controller BIOS, deeper within the BIOS config or even not all...

    This means you can quit spinning your wheels on the drive-might-not-be-working-because-it-doesn't-show-up-in-the-bios phantom and move on to something else more compelling. :)

    This error message is tell you that your Windows registry is corrupted or missing. The registry is a database where Windows holds most of its settings.

    This a common result of failing or incompatible memory. If you have two or more memory modules, you can try them individually for a quick check to see if your system will boot. If it still won't boot or you aren't comfortable swapping around RAM, memory is still a great possibility, so run this diagnostic.

    The second most likely possibility is a failing drive - bad sectors - more specifically. We can't claim it is failing because it doesn't show up during boot time, but we can use a physical drive diagnostic to determine if it is indeed healthy. Take a spin over here to download a diagnostic utility:

    The third likely culprit is a file system issue. If you're using FAT32 (which you may be if you can access your C: in DOS), scandisk works well from the DOS diskette. You can also try chkdsk from the recovery console using the XP install CD (Instructions Here). Please test your memory first - otherwise you could very well lose all of your data. Of course, file system errors can occur due to failing memory or failing drives, so run the diagnostic utilities first before attempting to repair your file system.

    The fourth most likely cause is a virus or other software issues. You may be able to restore a 'good' copy of your registry by using the Last Known Good Configuration option (Same menu as Safe mode). If that does not work, you can do it manually by copying over 'System' file from C:\Windows\Repair\ to C:\Windows\System32\Config\. Once again, you can use the recovery console from the XP install CD to do this. Note this will not help you if you have a hardware problem (memory and hard drive).

    Other than that, there's not much else that can cause this error. Let us know how it goes...
  5. robertg187

    robertg187 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Hey it's been a number of days but I'm just now checking this. Obviously I can't check internet stuff on my computer.

    Thanks for the tips Rick. That does seem pretty dumb that I was thinking my hard drive would show up in the master/slave. It just never crossed my mind.

    I do have memtest, and have used it in the past, but this time it looks like I won't even get the chance. A couple days ago while I was trying a couple different things my bios stopped booting up completely. Now it's about a 50% chance that I'll boot up enough to even be able to use a boot up floppy. So it looks like my motherboard has either crapped out or I have the most aggressive virus I have ever seen. Thanks for the info anyway, I'm going to look it over and remember it for the future.
  6. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,573   +65

    If your system isn't starting up 100% of the time, then you do certainly have an odd problem. I'm pretty sure this isn't a virus though.

    Again, failing memory can cause your system to irregularly boot (not unusual), as well as damaged IDE data cables (unusual) and even failing drives (rare).

    If you have more than one memory module, I'd try each one individually and see if the problem goes away. Best of luck. :)
  7. monton

    monton TS Booster Posts: 110

    Could a failing power supply be the culprit?

  8. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,573   +65

    Most certainly.
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