Missing IDE drives

By Hodsocks ยท 9 replies
Feb 16, 2008
  1. I have a Dell computer that keeps losing its drives, I can be using it fine and then the system blue screens on me and when I restart the system the BIOS won't boot and gives the "Hit F1 to continue or hit F2 to check settings" hitting F1 does nothing and if I go into the BIOS it shows me that the hard drive and cd-rom are missing. The drives are on seperate IDE channels with seperate cables. If I open the case and reseat the IE cables it will boot up fine until it crashes again.

    Strangely if I don't do anything after it crashes and come back to it after a while, 30mins+. it will boot into windows OK. I have tried new IDE cables but it still crashes.
    I have a feeling it may be a problem with the mobo as it affects both drives. has anyone any other thoughts?
  2. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,523

    I've seen this before

    Even though you have changed the cables, ideally shorter IDE cables do help.

    Also your HardDrive and CD, are they set for Master or Cable Select (CS being default) I'm thinking Master on both (as seperate IDE) may help.

    Another interesting point is your CD/DVD drive itself with your HardDrive, and M/b; some hardware configurations just don't work. (usually found with Ram manufacturers as well)

    Also most importantly, What blue screens? (BSOD) are there any messages pointing to exact driver or hardware?
    Can you post some Minidumps, these are located in %SystemRoot%\Minidump, or c:\Windows\Minidump

    Lastly, yes it is possible the motherboard can be faulty too
  3. Hodsocks

    Hodsocks TS Guru Topic Starter Posts: 382

    Thanks for your reply, I am not sure how the drives are setup, they are as set by Dell, bear in mind this pc is over 3 years old now and has been working fine until a couple of weeks ago so I naturally assume that the original configuration has worked fine until now.
    The blue screen was a stop error 0x0000007A which when I looked it up has several causes including hard drive/controller/cabling problem. If it was just the hard drive being lost I would suspect a faulty hard drive but as the cd-rom goes as well it suggests something other than hard drive.
  4. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,523

    No that's not true, a faulty CD/DVD drive can also put out a working HardDrive, and VisaVersa

    Try unplugging the CD/DVD drive from inside the computer (motherboard end)
    And re-test. This will eliminate the CD/DVD drive.
  5. Samstoned

    Samstoned TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,018

    after your logged in go to my computer go to properties (right click)
    go to advanced tab
    startup and recovery untick auto restart
    reboot go to bios look for stop on errors and only have keyboard mouse enabled
    some dells around the 900mhz to 1.2ghz range (older) had bad I/O controllers
    I don't remember the chipset numbers
    visually inspect the board look for puffy /leaky capacitors
  6. Hodsocks

    Hodsocks TS Guru Topic Starter Posts: 382

    I finally got round to running some diagnostics on the seagate drive and it threw up over 100 errors, so it looks as though the hard drive is faulty
  7. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,523

    OK that's good that you ran the HDD diagnostics
    Not so good about the errors
    Check the label on the HardDrive to confirm warranty period

    Obviously backup everything
  8. Tedster

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

    reseat the drives, change out the cables. If you have a faulty I/O controller that will need to be fixed.
  9. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,523

    Damn I've had hundreds of bad data cables, and forgot to mention that as a possibility. :blush:
    Thanks Tedster, for checking.
  10. Hodsocks

    Hodsocks TS Guru Topic Starter Posts: 382

    I have changed the cables already without success.
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