Secondary IDE channel failing?

By iambug ยท 5 replies
Aug 7, 2006
  1. First off let me introduce myself. My name is Frank, I'm 19, and currently work as the "go-to tech guy" for a pre-paid telecom. I've been computing since the age of 11 and have taught myself through trial and error. (I don't have any certs :( ) I'm fairly good at troubleshooting 95% of problems and of course with the help of great sites like this. So to the admins and users that make it possible, THANK YOU.


    I was recently given the task to troubleshoot a Dell Precision 340 running WinXP. It would give a warning that the hard drive was performing out of specs on boot up and could fail soon. I simply ran a chkdsk that repaired bad clusters/sectors and the warning stopped appearing. Everyhing was back to normal although I knew this was not the last of it.

    Since the Dell was not urgently needed, I then decided to add a secondary hard on the primary IDE channel. This was simply to test if the spare HD was in working order. Everything seemed to be ok. It was detected in the bios and in Windows. So to make myself look busy I decided to install WinXP on the secondary drive for a dualboot setup. This would also insure that the drive was functioning well.

    Everything went smooth until the actual windows setup. With about 15 minutes left the computer just froze. I figured it was just the second drive so I removed it and left the original configuration. This time around I decided to format the original drive for a clean install and I noticed that the initial "copying" of windows files was EXTREMELY SLOW. Eventually the original and second hard drives stopped working. Finally, with a new drive (no errors) it took me about a day to figure out that for some reason the slow down and lock ups occured when the CDROM (secondary channel) was copying to the single/master HD (primary channel). I solved this by putting the CDROM and new HD on the same IDE cable. Everything went back to normal and I was able to format normally and install successfully.

    -I know for a fact that the jumper settings were correct (tried every possible way just to double check)

    -I no longer see the "secondary channel" in device manager (but nothing is connected..not sure if thats normal)

    -Although the first 2 drives finally died and were no longer detected..the new drive was detected but the slowness and lock ups continued.

    -I even did a bios update before solving this issue.

    -I know the ram was installed correctly (proper slots although its two sets of ECC and NON-ECC but I tried different configs)

    -I narrowed it down to the secondary channel. (i think ha)

    -The computer is now running fine with winxp sp2

    Any ideas?
  2. Vigilante

    Vigilante TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,666

    I've seen a system or two with a bad IDE channel. Rare, but possible.

    Just for the sake of clarification, though, since you obviously worked on this more, and no longer have two of the drives. What is the current configuration of drives and Windows, and what is still the problem?
  3. Tedster

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

    just a simple idea- have you swapped the cable for a new one or one that is known to be good? Sometimes (rarely) cables go bad.
  4. iambug

    iambug TS Rookie Topic Starter

    The current setup is windows xp sp2 with the latest updates.

    IDE 1:
    Hard drive

    IDE 2:

    128 samsung ECC (or non, dont recall)
    128 Dell Non-ECC (or ECC)
    I understand mixing ram can lead to issues but I fully tested this and it is stable. (by using one pair at a time in the correct slots)

    I decided to poke at it some more and discovered that the "detect" for the secondary channel was off in the bios. That explains why it was not in the device manager. I then added another CDROM to the secondary channel and oddly enough it played and copied an audio cd. I was expecting chop or errors (which would of been the issue). Maybe if i get bored I'll test it some more.

    and yes, i did use different cables. no luck with that at the time. :(
  5. Vigilante

    Vigilante TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,666

    Well turning off the channel in the BIOS would certainly cause issue!

    Let us know if you narrow down another problem.
  6. iambug

    iambug TS Rookie Topic Starter

    oops, that part was a little misleading.

    I turned the channel off myself so I would not get boot errors since there is nothing connected. (I think its a Dell thing) I just didn't know that the channel would not be seen inside of device manager when it was off which lead me to think it was truly dead. I beleive the problem is still there but I am not sure. I will do further testing when I get the chance.

    Thanks for the input!
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