Did I permanently ruin my HD?

By Physiomatt ยท 15 replies
Jan 2, 2006
  1. Hello. I'm really hoping someone will be able to show me I've just been making a stupid mistake (I'm relatively naive when it comes to computers) and I haven't permanently ruined my HD, but I fear the latter situation may be the case.

    Here's the situation. I purchased a new WD 250GB HD and went to install it as a second HD (1st HD being an older Seagate 20GB). It was not recognized and caused the system to hang before loading the OS (even though I had it set as slave). I thought it was probably just the 137GB threshold problem and my MB having an old BIOS (since my MB is an older Soyo that is now discontinued) so I downloaded and flashed an updated BIOS. With only the original HD connected, the computer started up fine so I don't think there was any problem w/ the BIOS flashing.

    I again tried to set up the new HD but it still wasn't recognized, so I played around with the jumper settings on both drives to see if I could find a combination that worked. Nothing seemed to help. The larger problem came when I then decided to just hook it back up like normal, and my original HD began to not be recognized either.

    I don't think it's the MB port or the IDE cable, because the same port/cable will allow BIOS to detect my DVD drive but not my HD. All I can think is that I somehow physically broke my HD while trying different cable/jumper positions. Because I'm not all that experienced with computers, I thought I was overly careful so as to avoid doing any damage. I've been told by more knowledgeable friends that I would've had to be fairly rough to actually break a HD, which I was not.

    Any help and/or suggestions would be immensely appreciated. I would really hate to lose all my data, and I really don't have the money to be able to send it off to have the data extracted by an expert.

    Thanks in advance,

    PS - Sorry for the lengthy post.
  2. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 6,002   +15

    messing with jumpers and sequencing won't ruin your hard drive. Static electricity and dropping it will!

    The problem is your older hard drive is probably a "dumb" drive without S.M.A.R.T. technology. When used in tandem with a SMART drive, BIOS gets confused. I would suggest using the new drive as a primary. Format and configure that drive first. Once completed, add the older hard drive as a slave
  3. Physiomatt

    Physiomatt TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I didn't think just playing around w/ the cables etc. would ruin it, and I was very cautious to avoid static electricity and knocking it around. Thanks for confirming that.

    Good idea! I guess I always think adding a 'new' HD means it's actually new and empty, but I suppose adding an already full one works just the same. The only problem is that I couldn't get the new drive to work either, even by itself. I left that out of the first post b/c I was more concerned w/ my possible data loss than getting the new drive to work. Any suggestions as to why the new HD, connected by itself and as master, wouldn't work?

    Because my mother board was discontinued, I was a bit leary as to whether the BIOS update I found on the Soyo website was actually an 'update'. The page it came from seemed like one of those forgotten pages on the company's site - one which hadn't been looked at for a while (broken links, etc.). Are there any utilities to test if your BIOS can handle drives over the 137GB threshold?

    Thanks again!
  4. Ruder

    Ruder TS Rookie Posts: 98

    Old board ... old drive ... old cables! Get a new IDE 133 cable and connect the new drive using it on 2nd IDE channel.

    The threshold is imposed by XP not the BIOS. Get the correct settings for the drive from the manufacturers' website and add manual to BIOS.
  5. Physiomatt

    Physiomatt TS Rookie Topic Starter

    This is probably a really stupid question, but by "2nd channel" do you just mean the end of the IDE cable or the secondary port on the mother board? If it's the latter, I thought your HDD had to go on the primary slot and not the secondary?
  6. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    IDE channels do mean the different ports on the mobo/controller. Doesn't matter where you put your HD.

    Start testing with only your new hard drive and nothing else connected.

    Have you set all IDE devices to be auto-detected in the BIOS? It does matter which plug on the IDE cable goes where: blue->controller, black->master, gray->slave. And make sure the jumpers on the hard drive are in a sensible configuration.
  7. Physiomatt

    Physiomatt TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Yup, the BIOS is set to auto detect everything. That's what's so confusing to me, because it will detect dvd/cd drives but neither of the HDDs. So the only answer I could think of was old HDD was physically damaged, and BIOS was still too old to handle the new 250GB HDD.

    I'll double check all my jumper settings, and run through things just trying to install the new HDD without anything else hooked up. Thanks.
  8. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    Did the notes that came with the BIOS update explicitly say that they inlude >137GB disk support?
  9. Physiomatt

    Physiomatt TS Rookie Topic Starter

    No, they didn't. There weren't even any notes. That's what worried me when I updated the BIOS, because the file I got from the manufacturer seemed like it was just an afterthought on their part. It was just the bin and exe file, with no supporting information. I'm thinking they may have just posted the original BIOS so it seemed as though they were offering at least some support for this discontinued MB.

    I found a company that wants to sell me a BIOS update for $30, but I was hoping that the manufacturer would support their own products enough for me to avoid this expense.
  10. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 6,002   +15

    I totally overlooked the fact he may be using 40pin cables! You need 80!
  11. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    What make and model is your motherboard? Sometimes there are custom BIOSes available offering more features than the manufacturer's original.

    No, all IDE stuff is compatible and you can use 40-wire cables with the newest drives with no problem. The speed will be capped at 33 MB/s though.
  12. Physiomatt

    Physiomatt TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I was using the cable that came w/ the new drive, so I would hope it is 80-wire and in good condition.

    As for the motherboard, I know it's a Soyo and I think the model is P4VDA. Unfortunately, I have to be away from the broken comp when I do my research so I'm not 100% sure. But I do have a readout from the BIOS update company that are trying to sell me the new BIOS, which I think contains some information that might be useful (I'm still in the process of learning which strings of characters in readout like this are actually helpful, but these seem like they'd mean something to smarter people such as yourselves!). Here it is:

    BIOS Type: Award
    BIOS Date: 02/21/02
    BIOS ID String: 02/21/2002-P4X266A-8233A-6A6LWS2AC
    OEM Signon: P4VDA-2AA1
    Chipset: VIA 82C3128 REV 1
    Super I/O: ITE 8705/SIS 950 REV 2 FOUND AT PORT 2EH

    Does that shed any light on the situation?
  13. Physiomatt

    Physiomatt TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Ok, so I've tried all the suggestions given along with a few more I'd found, but I still can't get either HDD to work. Regardless of which I have hooked up, it still hangs after it's done testing the memory. It doesn't even let me get into BIOS until I restart w/ no HDDs connected. In case anyone is interested, the model #'s for the two HDDs are:

    Old Seagate 20GB - ST320011A
    New WD 250GB - WD2500JBR

    Thanks for all the help and suggestions so far. I'm really learning about hard drives if nothing else. Tomorrow I'm bringing it to a friend who's much better w/ computers than I am, so hopefully he'll be able to use all your suggestions and finally solve this mystery!
  14. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 6,002   +15

    SELL the new BIOS? It should be a free download. Also I hope you have a REAL floppy drive to update the BIOS with!
  15. Physiomatt

    Physiomatt TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Ok, so it looks like the mystery is solved. I somehow managed to physically damage both the old drive and the new drive at the same time. The most likely culprit is a free-hanging power connector attached to both drives that may have touched the metal case and fried both of them.

    The new drive is easy to replace, but the old drive will now have me looking for a duplicate drive that I can swap electronics with to hopefully recover my data. I would appreciate it if anyone knows of a good place to look for something like that, but I'll post up a new thread asking for suggestions as well.

    Thanks to everyone who helped me try to figure this one out. You all are always so willing to help and never make a newcomer like me feel stupid for asking really basic questions etc.

    Thanks again,
  16. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 6,002   +15

    oops.... always bundle your cords to avoid stuff like that.

    electrical tape helps too.
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