Build a PC HD switching and subsequent RAID and BSOD failure

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This may well be the longest story of a failing computer you've ever seen. It started well over half a year ago and my Dell Dimension 8400 has been giving me agony ever since. Excuse me about all the detail in this; I am clueless as to what the problem is so I included everything.

My computer use to give me grief by going to the dreaded BSOD on random occasions, I was less computer literate at the time so I thought nothing of them. A few months down the line, an icon pops up (and subsequently reappeared every other hour the computer was on) saying that there is a S.M.A.R.T. event occurring on my Western Digital HD (specs not important as you will see later). I follow the icon to the Intel Storage Management system and it tells me that the HD is working fine. I carry on gaming and general time wasting paying no attention to the S.M.A.R.T. event (the blue screens were still coming thick and fast). My tolerance grew thin however and I started asking my computer-knowledgeable friends what on earth was going on - they simply said my computer was 'screwed' and I had no chance in hell.
My computer also began to make a very disturbing noise, it sounded like a loose fan case vibrating inside my computer so I simply blew into the fan vent at the right angle and intensity and the noise subsided for a few precious minutes (pardon my ignorance). What I didn't realise then (that I have now) is that the fan was part of the PSU (no spec at hand sorry).
I decided to buy a new HD and see if the S.M.A.R.T. events disappeared. I bought a new SATA Hitachi HD 7200rpm 200 GB that seemed perfectly suitable (my old WD HD was SATA also). When I opened the computer and took out the old HD, there were 'bubble-marks' on the plastic cover - I presume that they were evidence of heat damage; Ignoring this I did the following: plugged the new HD into SATA port 1 (with my old one in SATA port 0), turned it on in the BIOS, booted the computer on USB CD Rom, partitioned and formatted the new HD and installed Win XP. I switched the old HD with the new HD so that the ports were now 1, 0 respectively and got the computer running. After entering all the details to personalise the computer I tried to copy my old data across to my new HD. I encountered a problem that caused copying to stop (something about $msfi line terminating - not the actual name but it had $m) but managed to get some important data across in small chunks (as soon as I tried to copy it across in one go it got pissy). I began to use the computer properly again for about 2 or 3 days when the BSODs came back again. I decided, hoping that it the easiest answer was the right one, that I should remove the old HD. I took it out (sealed it in a plastic bag) and turned it off in the BIOS (I now have the new Hitachi HD in SATA port 0- hasn't been moved since the install). I turn the computer on and it works a treat.

Few months down the line (few days ago) and I hit the series of random BSODs again.

This time, the computer reboots and says that it has just recovered (and I quote) from a serious error. I report it (an option that came up) and it comes up with a Microsoft website that says that there is a problem with my RAID controller. Correct me if I’m wrong but I thought that RAID was a configuration that dealt with multiple drives as a single drive! I have one drive in there! I followed a link to Intel Corporation website and tried to download the latest driver for the RAID controller. It downloaded it tried to install but as soon as the bar hit 100%, a message pops up and says that my system doesn't meet the minimum system requirements (after already entering Win XP 2000 as my OS). I give up and decide to chill out, after surfing for about 10mins, I find that there is a Win XP service pack 3 that I haven't downloaded. I download it, install it and everything is normal. I say normal but what I mean is that five minutes later I am hit with another BSOD.

This time, I uninstall the RAID controller, reinstall and update the drivers (all through the use of device manager). I thought this would fix it but no. I kept living with it for the next few days up 'till now and I have just been hit with 5 consecutive BSODs in the space of 5mins of 'on time'. I decided that since I had no need for RAID, that there was something wrong with the BIOS settings making it seem like that there was another HD or something. I stumble across an option for driver configuration. That gave me, roughly, the following options (forgive me, I am using my laptop as my computer is frozen trying to format a partition... all will come clear): RAID or AHCI, RAID or ATA, Combine (PATA/SATA). I recognised the SATA and the RAID and thought that I could fix the problem by changing it to the combine option (the factory default is the first one - RAID or AHCI). It comes up with a message saying that it may cause the need to reinstall the OS. I rummage around and after 5mins, with the OS install disk in my hand, I click save/exit. The computer reboots gets past the POST, hits the Win XP loading screen and BSODS. I reboot, hit F12 to change the boot sequence to CDROM, chose repair XP, it finishes, I reboot and it hasn't worked. I figure that it needs to be a proper install so I try again: all the previous steps but I hit install instead of repair. It says that I already have that OS on that HD so I decide to partition another space to install it on there. My computer is currently frozen on the formatting screen (NTFS formatting after I partitioned - not the (Quick) option if you are wondering) at 22%.

One bit of information:
BIOS event logs state the error I experience when loading up the computer (after changing to the Combine option in the BIOS) is a Keyboard error. I changed keyboard using the same PS/2 slot and same error (I didn't think it would fix it but it was worth a try).

1. Am I missing something glaringly obvious?
2. Am I doing something stupid?
3. How do I get 're'install an OS without installing two on the same HD?
4. Should I buy a new computer?
5. I’m about to manually turn off my computer when it's formatting a partition so please feel free to flame me because of my stupidity in your following posts.
Thank-you for your patience and concentration!


Posts: 17,233   +234
A power suppply replacment is cheaper and easier than replacing a motherboard or a whole computer


Posts: 15   +0
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Ok, i'll give it a shot, I just don't want to end up spending money on second grade equipment on a machine which i've had for three years when I could buy a new comp.
Ty for the help.
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