Results 1 to 8 of 8
  1. #1
    3 Star Lounger
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Location
    Calgary, Alberta, Canada
    Posts
    283
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Drives compeltely mucked up (XP Pro)

    What other subject line could I give to this schmozzle?

    Dell Dimension 8100, XP Pro. DVD-ROM and 40GB HD0 came standard. Several months ago, I added a CD-RW drive, and everything seemed to swim along fine. Two months ago-ish, I added a second 60GB HD. Surprisingly enough, that installation seemed to also go without a hitch.

    A few weeks ago, I started having problems with my two removeable media drives disappearing, usually after a disc was removed from the DVD-ROM drive. Checking in My Computer, both drives were gone. Rebooting brought them back. Occasionally, the drives would disappear in the middle of playing Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2 - a real bummer if I was on a real tear. Anyway, I digress...

    Tonight I check the Event Viewer | System log. 'Midst several other crazy errors (another post in another forum at another time, I suppose), it seems that my ACPI Bios was trying to reach illegal resources, in that it shouldn't have been checking up on my drives when it was. Random minutes later, two error events that each drive was suddenly removed without being properly stopped. I check up on the ACPI error, and the recommendation is to update my BIOS. Makes sense, the 8100 originally had W2K installed.

    So I update the BIOS. After successfully updating, the first error message is a Plug and Play Error - no boot. I assume now that at least one of my drive additions is causing conniptions. Three finger salute, reboot, and I at least get some of the BIOS post messages, but the error soon arrives that "Secondary Drive 0" is not recognized - F1 to continue or F2 to enter the setup utility.

    Ah, the BIOS setup utility. The first time through, I see that Primary Drive 0 is properly recognized as a Hard Drive (thanks goodess), Primary Drive 1 is Unknown, Secondary Drive 0 is Unknown and Secondary Drive 1 is Unknown. I set Primary Drive 1 (my second hard drive, correct?) to Auto, Save + Exit, and boot to Windows. My Computer shows me both hard drives okelly dokely but no removeable media drives, so I restart.

    Same error message. BIOS utility shows both Primary Drives recognized as Hard Drives, but the Secondary Drives are the same. Boot to Windows, same story.

    This time, before I boot up, I power off and remove the power cord from the CD-RW drive, thinking that if I start unplugging things that will help. No dice, same BIOS error and display in the utility, same results in Windows. On the next boot, I've disconnected the power from the DVD-ROM drive - SAME ERROR.

    Now, I could continue randomly plugging and unplugging things for fun, but hopefully in this rambling tale one or more of you Hardware Loungers has enough info to give me more of a clue than I've got (which is none). <img src=/S/surrender.gif border=0 alt=surrender width=31 height=23> While I wait for salvation, I think I'll drown myself in examining the System Device Manager. I probably have more exclamation points than an NewLounger's first post after discovering the Smilies applet.

  2. #2
    Uranium Lounger
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Location
    Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    7,089
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Re: Drives compeltely mucked up (XP Pro)

    Keely, before you do any more submersion into system logs or BIOS twiddling, try replacing the CMOS battery. It's usually located in the vicinity of the processor. You can find them at nearly any place that sells calculator and hearing aid batteries for around $5 US or less. I'm praying here that you don't have some weird proprietary motherboard that uses a battery that's soldered onto the PCB. I think those are extinct now so it shouldn't be an issue.

    I suspect that it's something to do with the battery, but it may also be the motherboard. If the onboard IDE controller is getting flakey you can add a PCI IDE controller card, which are also cheap - but let's see if a cheap battery does anything.

    Oh, and by the way, thanks for the detailed information. You've already done a lot of troubleshooting.
    -Mark

  3. #3
    3 Star Lounger
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Location
    Calgary, Alberta, Canada
    Posts
    283
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Re: Drives compeltely mucked up (XP Pro)

    Thanks, Mark, I always try to figure out exactly what I don't know to the greatest extent possible. And I lied about not unplugging and plugging everything in. Latest results:

    Unplug second hard drive with both CD-RW and DVD-ROM unplugged - BIOS error that Primary Hard Drive 0, 1, Secondary Hard Drive 0, 1 cannot be found. No boot, no joy. Plug in all four drives: Secondary Hard Drives not found.

    Now, it just seems like the IDE cables are messed up somehow. The BIOS is responding in a pattern to what I'm doing, just not responding favourably.

    I will give the battery thing a try tomorrow, given that it's a Sunday it won't be a while until I can post results on that. I can predict with all certainty, however, that I will undoubtedly break a nail trying to get that CMOS battery out of its socket.

  4. #4
    Uranium Lounger
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Location
    Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    7,089
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Re: Drives compeltely mucked up (XP Pro)

    <img src=/S/doh.gif border=0 alt=doh width=15 height=15> I should have thought to suggest getting some replacement cables that are known to be good and testing with those.

    I also once had a failing CD-ROM drive screw up the IDE bus, so try the primary drive with the others one at a time and see if any of those combinations work. Use only the primary IDE channel initially, slaving the other drives in succession. If that works OK then try it again with the boot drive alone on the primary IDE channel and test the other drives as masters on the secondary channel. (I think there's a bad joke about masters and slaves in here but I'm not going to make it).

    <hr>I will undoubtedly break a nail trying to get that CMOS battery out of its socket<hr>
    That's what screwdrivers are for. <img src=/S/grin.gif border=0 alt=grin width=15 height=15>
    -Mark

  5. #5
    Plutonium Lounger
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Location
    Lexington, Kentucky, USA
    Posts
    12,107
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post

    Re: Drives compeltely mucked up (XP Pro)

    This is kinda far out, but if you're liable to try replacing the IDE cables, you might want to consider trying the ultra IDE cables, you know, the ones with "80 wires" or whatever ..... Some months ago I had trouble with the drives in this machine, two of the three are IBMs but they're sure not 7200 rpm! You didn't say what the spec is for the new 60 gig you bought, but maybe..... Anyway, mine was DURING the time I was trying to get XP Pro installed. After I replaced those cables the thing quit acting erratic and has been OK ever since. The thing shouldn't need those cables, so go figure

  6. #6
    3 Star Lounger
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Location
    Calgary, Alberta, Canada
    Posts
    283
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Re: Drives compeltely mucked up (XP Pro)

    Ok, I found a fresh set of IDE cables, which I swapped in on the DVD and CD-RW drives. Made sure everything was plugged in, and received these messages in the BIOS:

    Invalid configuration information - please run SETUP program

    Performing automatic IDE configuration...
    Primary Master: IDE Disk Drive
    Primary Slave: IDE Disk Drive
    Time of Day not set - please run SETUP program

    Okay, that last part is because I did remove the CMOS battery, but put it back in when I realized I had spare IDE cables to try. Anyway, the BIOS had both hard drives okay. When I booted, no removeable media drives in Windows. Rebooted, no BIOS POST messages (a nice switch), and again no removeable media drives.

    Going back into the BIOS setup utility, the two Secondary Drives were off. I set them to Auto, and on the reboot I get the POST messages that Secondary Drive 0 and 1 not found.

    Did I get anywhere with all that? One thing I did notice wih the cables is that they didn't have the little notch in the middle of the connector - could they be upside down? And the indicator light on the DVD-ROM drive is now permanently on. <img src=/S/sigh.gif border=0 alt=sigh width=15 height=15>

  7. #7
    3 Star Lounger
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Location
    Calgary, Alberta, Canada
    Posts
    283
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Re: Drives compeltely mucked up (XP Pro)

    I feel like I'm talking to myself here. Anyway, great news - it appeared that my "gee, this IDE cable connector doesn't have a notchy thing" was the issue. I flipped the one connected to the motherboard around, and that did the trick. Everything recognized, no POST errors, everything works in Windows. Whether this fixes the "amazing disappearing removeable media drive" problem or not, who knows.

    Anyway, I really appreciate the clues on replacing the IDE cable. Between that and the BIOS upgrade, hopefully I've got this problem licked - I'd better play a few rounds of Tony Hawk to find out.

    ---------

    Well, we're back to square one. My removeable drives disappear - I know when it happens because the game freezes twice in near succession, and the evidence is in the System log file. However, there's nothing else that would tip me off to a problem. <img src=/S/woops.gif border=0 alt=woops width=58 height=36>

  8. #8
    3 Star Lounger
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Location
    Calgary, Alberta, Canada
    Posts
    283
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Re: Drives compeltely mucked up (XP Pro)

    Yes, I know you've all been at the edge of your seats wondering what came of my schmozzle (for those of you who asked, that's the technical term). This morning I installed a new Promise Ultra 133 TX2 IDE controller card along with two round 80-wire IDE cables for the two hard drives and removeable media drives. Other than leaving the installation floppy in the A: when I rebooted (why is there not an auto-eject utility for the floppy drive? Tell me that!), the installation went without a hitch.

    It appears that my problem with the drives disappearing has been solved. I played a couple of round of Tony Hawk, exited the game and the drives were still visible in Windows. Time will tell, but a big shout out to BigAlDoc and Mark aka WyllyWylly for the advice - you guys are the best. <img src=/S/thankyou.gif border=0 alt=thankyou width=40 height=15>

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •