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  1. #1
    Uranium Lounger
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    I have a clients XP box that I brought home because it would not boot. No symptoms prior to problem. Shut down system at night and on startup next AM would not boot. POST screen says that there is no Fixed Disk so I assumed it was a dead HD. But slaving it to my system at first it was not detected, but after checking the connections and connecting it again the system found it and I was able to extract the clients data to a folder on my desktop.

    Next I ran Perfect Disk 4 times because the drive was so fragmented. Then ran Avast and picked up 3 minor trojans and some adware for Weather Studio. All removed to chest. Then attempted to run MalwareBytes and it choked on the disk and froze up. Couldn't shut it down and ended up having to pull the USB plug for the drive connection to get it to let go. Tried again after a second Avast scan that turned up nothing and it refused to scan the drive and started scanning the C drive even though the slaved drive was G: and was the only one seleted to be scanned. So I disconnected it from my system, reinstalled it in it's case and connected it up and attempted to boot but was met with the same problem of the disk not being seen.

    I am offered 2 options from this screen press Delete to enter setup (setup what) and F12 to check the boot order.

    Could this be an MBR problem ??
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  2. #2
    Plutonium Lounger
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    [quote name='DocWatson' post='771742' date='22-Apr-2009 10:33'][/quote]
    I wouldn't suspect a bad cable since you've had it in his box and yours, albeit via USB. But, based on what you said about pulling and reconnecting and it saw the drive, is it possible that the socket on the drive has a broken or bent pin?

    I suppose (although I don't know for sure) that as long as you've gotten valuable data off the drive, you could try the ol' /mbr trick to see what happens.

  3. #3
    Uranium Lounger
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    [quote name='Bigaldoc' post='771747' date='22-Apr-2009 10:46']I wouldn't suspect a bad cable since you've had it in his box and yours, albeit via USB. But, based on what you said about pulling and reconnecting and it saw the drive, is it possible that the socket on the drive has a broken or bent pin?

    I suppose (although I don't know for sure) that as long as you've gotten valuable data off the drive, you could try the ol' /mbr trick to see what happens.[/quote]

    That was my first thought, but I'm wondering if it could be that the connection on the MB is bad. I suppose I could open the case and connect the HD to the CD socket on the MB and see what happens.

    The client isn't averse to buying a new computer, but does not want Vista and dreads the prospect of reinstalling all his programs and getting a new system setup. He's almost 80 but intelligent and sharp. So he could do it. Just doesn't want to. I'd really like to resurect this system for him.
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  4. #4
    Uranium Lounger
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    [quote name='Bigaldoc' post='771747' date='22-Apr-2009 10:46']I wouldn't suspect a bad cable since you've had it in his box and yours, albeit via USB. But, based on what you said about pulling and reconnecting and it saw the drive, is it possible that the socket on the drive has a broken or bent pin?

    I suppose (although I don't know for sure) that as long as you've gotten valuable data off the drive, you could try the ol' /mbr trick to see what happens.[/quote]

    The cable could be the problem, because I never put the drive in my box. I pull the drive and lay it on the desk connected to a power source and a USB/IDE inteface cable to a USB hub. I'll try the CD drive cable to the HD next. If it's the cable that should resolve it.

    I just tried the CD port on the MB with the HD & got the same result as before. It posts up with the system info Dimension 4400 Bios version, etc, notes the keyboard & mouse detected & USB Legacy Enabled. Says the CMOS battery is low and the CMOS time/Date not set, then Press<DEL> to Run Setup then Hit <F12> if you want to see boot menu.

    F12 indicates there is no bootable media attached. I don't do Bios without step by step instructions, so I'm stuck.

    Any other thoughts ??
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  5. #5
    Uranium Lounger
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    [quote name='Bigaldoc' post='771747' date='22-Apr-2009 10:46'][/quote]

    Got it !!! I swapped the CD cable to the HD and left the CD out of the loop, but no joy. So I went back to the Bios and noticed that the system time was ooo:"ticking seconds" January 1,1990. So I took a shot and changed the time to current, saved thechanges and rebooted. Bingo !!! I'm guessing that with the Bios date set to pre-XP that the OS (and thus the HD) was not recognized. I may have to replace the CMOS battery to prevent this happening over and over.

    I'm gonna reset the cables to the original configuration and try to reboot and see what happens. But I think I've got this monkey by the tail.
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  6. #6
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    [quote name='DocWatson' post='771772' date='22-Apr-2009 11:38']But I think I've got this monkey by the tail.[/quote]

    That's always better than when the monkey has you

    Joe
    Joe

  7. #7
    3 Star Lounger
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    Got it !!! I swapped the CD cable to the HD and left the CD out of the loop, but no joy. So I went back to the Bios and noticed that the system time was ooo:"ticking seconds" January 1,1990. So I took a shot and changed the time to current, saved thechanges and rebooted. Bingo !!! I'm guessing that with the Bios date set to pre-XP that the OS (and thus the HD) was not recognized. I may have to replace the CMOS battery to prevent this happening over and over.

    I'm gonna reset the cables to the original configuration and try to reboot and see what happens. But I think I've got this monkey by the tail.
    I'm sure we would all be interested in hearing if this does cure the problem.

  8. #8
    Uranium Lounger
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    [quote name='jaystarter1' post='771798' date='22-Apr-2009 14:37']I'm sure we would all be interested in hearing if this does cure the problem.[/quote]

    I'm sure you would too. To that end, I'm updating the status.

    After replacing all the cables to their correct drives & sockets, the system would not boot and the error/problem was the same. The CMOS battery was dead, because the system clock had reset to January 1, 1990 and resetting the clock to current time did not help. I cracked the case again and replaced the IDE cable for the hard drive and then rebooted. Problem persisted, but resetting the clock this time did the trick.

    So the problem was two-fold. The CMOS batter was dead and the drive cable was bad as well. The client is out buying the battery now and wants me to install a 512MB RAM module he's going to buy when I replace the battery. The only problem I have now is that I can't find any information about requirements for installing memory modules in matched pairs on this system. But I'm about to find out as he just called and is ready for me now.

    So off I go.
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  9. #9
    Uranium Lounger
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    [quote name='joeperez' post='771784' date='22-Apr-2009 13:06']That's always better than when the monkey has you

    Joe[/quote]

    Which he did for a while.
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  10. #10
    Plutonium Lounger
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    [quote name='DocWatson' post='771835' date='22-Apr-2009 16:06']The only problem I have now is that I can't find any information about requirements for installing memory modules in matched pairs on this system. But I'm about to find out as he just called and is ready for me now.[/quote]
    Whooee, like George Peppard used to say, dont'cha just love it when a plan comes together? Be sure you check Crucial if you haven't already.

  11. #11
    Uranium Lounger
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    [quote name='Bigaldoc' post='771854' date='22-Apr-2009 16:53']Whooee, like George Peppard used to say, dont'cha just love it when a plan comes together? Be sure you check Crucial if you haven't already.[/quote]

    You ain't just kiddin' !!! I was one happy camper when I realized that it was a bad cable.

    The client had already purchased the memory from a local hack shop (I worked for the guy 4 years ago for a week and quit because I didn't like his methods) and had it waiting when I got there. Popped in the new battery, installed the "new" (it was used) memory module, reconnected the tower and booted up. Reset the clock and things were right in the universe (just a bit faster). The boot time is kinda slow, but the client is happy with the changes and the new FREE programs I installed. He had a version of McAfee on there from AOL that hadn't worked since 2005. So I removed that and installed Avast and ZoneAlarm for him once he approved the changes. FREE is a very big incentive.

    Thanks to all who helped me muddle through this one.
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  12. #12
    4 Star Lounger
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    Just an added comment from previous experience:

    I have found that when people take the power cable out of their machines (ie for when they are going away on holidays, for instance) the CMOS battery can lose its charge, particularly if the motherboard is a couple of years old.

    It would seem that leaving the power connected helps keep the battery alive.

    Johanna

  13. #13
    Uranium Lounger
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    [quote name='johbot' post='771868' date='22-Apr-2009 18:42']Just an added comment from previous experience:

    I have found that when people take the power cable out of their machines (ie for when they are going away on holidays, for instance) the CMOS battery can lose its charge, particularly if the motherboard is a couple of years old.

    It would seem that leaving the power connected helps keep the battery alive.

    Johanna[/quote]

    That is absolutely correct Johanna. If you turn off the power to a system or unplug it then the system clock and a couple other little things (I think) have to run off that little round battery on the motherboard. If there is power to the unit, then those things run from that and the battery isn't drawn down.

    This client has a power strip that his entire system is plugged into and he shuts that down every night and when they go away "to conserve power".
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