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Old 10th June 2006   #1
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Computer will not boot-"no hard drive detected"


Hello.

Problem:
Computer will not boot. Screen displays "Insert Diskette in Drive A". When I reboot from Windows XP CD and select Repair or Setup, screen message says "no hard drive detected."

(Note: I searched forum, but did not find any solutions that were applicable.)

Computer:
Dell Dimension 2100, Windows XP home, SP2.

History:
All maintenance done on computer (virus scan, spyware scan with Ad-aware and Spybot Search & Destroy.) Everything was working well.

Upgraded RAM from 128 MB to 512MB (two 256MB modules.) After upgrade, operating system tested and everything seemed OK.

Attempted to install "Microsoft Plus" for Windows XP program, and just before the installation was complete, I got a blue screen that said there was a kernel error and the computer was shutting down.

When I tried to restart, the "Insert Diskette in Drive A" message appeared.

Questions:
How can I get the computer to recognize the hard drive?

Can I boot from my Norton System Works CD and run CHKDSK? (What is the correct syntax?)

(Note: I assume that Microsoft Plus for Window XP (2001 edition) somehow conflicted with the SP2 upgraded operating system.)

Once I recognize the hard drive, can I save the existing computer files or do I need to reformat the entire hard drive?

Thanks for the assistance.
macpez

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Old 10th June 2006   #2
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Does the HD show in the BIOS?
HD may have died.

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Old 10th June 2006   #3
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Hello macpez,

Originally Posted by macpez
Can I boot from my Norton System Works CD and run CHKDSK? (What is the correct syntax?)
http://www.microsoft.com/resources/d....mspx?mfr=true MS doc on chkdsk with the switch settings and what they do.
Originally Posted by macpez
Once I recognize the hard drive, can I save the existing computer files or do I need to reformat the entire hard drive?
If you can, hook the HD to another system and take the files off that way. That will also tell you whether the HD is readable as a data drive on another system.

You can also try the Recovery Console, for that you need the OS disc - do you have that?

To start the Recovery Console from the Windows CD, follow these steps:

Insert the Windows CD and shut the system down, then restart. Follow your computer’s prompts to start from the CD. (You may need to adjust settings in the computer’s BIOS to enable the option to start from a CD.)

Follow the setup prompts to load the basic Windows startup files. At the Welcome To Setup screen, press R to start the Recovery Console.

If you have multiple options on the Windows startup menu, enter the number of the Windows installation you want to access from the Recovery Console.

When prompted, type the Administrator password. If you’re using the Recovery Console on a system running Windows XP Home Edition, this password is blank by default, so just press Enter. At the command prompt, enter Recovery Console commands directly.

Typing help will list the available commands.

Try the Fixmbr command - repairs the master boot record.

Regards - Charles

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Old 15th June 2006   #4
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Hello, charlesvar,

I followed your instructions, but have not had any luck. The computer's hard drive is not being recognized.

I checked the BIOs and even reset them to default, but no luck.

Whenever I try to start the computer, I get a black screen that says "insert diskette in A drive." When I restart from the Windows XP CD and select either repair or setup, I receive a message that says "the hard drive cannot be found."

Question #1: Is there an application available that I can put on a CD and boot from to establish that the hard drive is still good? (My version of Norton System Works is 2003 and doesn't let me access the command prompts for Windows XP.)

Question #2: When I connect the problem computer to my other computer (using ethernet) should I see the hard drive volume in My Computer if it is working? What tests or programs can I run from the good computer to try and fix the bad hard drive, if it is accessable?

Question #3: How can I confirm that the hard drive is bad, and does anyone have any suggestions on where to get a reliable replacement hard drive. Should I use a Dell replacement or check the internet?

Many thanks, macpez

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Old 15th June 2006   #5
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Quote:
Question #1: Is there an application available that I can put on a CD and boot from to establish that the hard drive is still good?
What brand Hard drive is it?
you'll have to open the case to see the brand name.
if you know what brand it is, you can download their diagnostic program to find out if it's still good.

But if it doesn't show in the BIOS any more, it's probably dead or the wires have come loose.

this might help http://support.dell.com/support/edoc...dim2100/rr.htm


Last edited by HooT; 15th June 2006 at 16:38.
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Old 15th June 2006   #6
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Hi macpez,

Whenever I try to start the computer, I get a black screen that says "insert diskette in A drive." When I restart from the Windows XP CD and select either repair or setup, I receive a message that says "the hard drive cannot be found."

Question #1: Is there an application available that I can put on a CD and boot from to establish that the hard drive is still good? (My version of Norton System Works is 2003 and doesn't let me access the command prompts for Windows XP.)

The XP CD is bootable, and if you couldn't boot with that, another boot disc isn't going to do you much good.

Question #2: When I connect the problem computer to my other computer (using ethernet) should I see the hard drive volume in My Computer if it is working? What tests or programs can I run from the good computer to try and fix the bad hard drive, if it is accessable?
The only way to work on the problem is to physically connect it to the other system, meaning taking the drive out of the case and hooking into the other system as a slave drive. But worth a try in order to copy data.

Question #3: How can I confirm that the hard drive is bad, and does anyone have any suggestions on where to get a reliable replacement hard drive. Should I use a Dell replacement or check the internet?
I think you did confirm that by not being able to boot with the XP CD. Up to you as to whether you want to get a Dell replacement or find one on your own.

If you look up your System on the Dell website, it'll tell you the type of drive you have. With that information you can look for drives at sites that sell equipment.

http://www.newegg.com/

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.asp?

Some examples. You have to know whether your system uses ATA or SATA drives.The brand is not that important.

Regards - Charles

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Old 15th June 2006   #7
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Computer will not boot-"no hard drive detected"


Hi macpez,

Before taking drastic measures, open up the computer and check that the IDE connector and the power supply to the hard drive is properly seated as either may have been dislodged whilst upgrading the RAM.

I note that the system worked properly after the upgrade but you never know.

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Old 16th June 2006   #8
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I agree. Whenever I have seen that problem, the chances are 90% plus that the problem is a loose connection.

I suggest not just checking the drive connections, but to pull out and reseat them...and also the connections at the motherboard.

There are probably harddrive utilities on the Dell CD that came with the computer (or at the webpage for your model). Some HDD utilities can tell you of a cable problem.

Matt

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Old 16th June 2006   #9
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HI Macpez,
Please don't think that I am crazy, but have you tried a new CMOS battery, and reset the BIOS? I had a problem recently, I posted a thread in the hardware forum, where I got HD failure notifications, and a new battery fixed it!
Only costs a few pence to try!

Roger

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Old 25th June 2006   #10
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hard drive problem solved


Charles & Pete

I solved the hard drive problem. Below are the steps I took.

As recommended, I rechecked all the connections, reset the new RAM modules and replaced the battery. I still could not access the hard drive (black screen asking "insert diskette in drive A.")

I again reviewed the BBS forum postings under hardware and found a posting titled "Hard drive crash" from swims6.

I researched all the links provided in the responses and downloaded Hitachi's "Drive Fitness Test" utility. (My hard drive was an IBM/Deskstar.)

I put the program on a diskette (using my laptop), booted from the disk and ran the Drive Fitness Test utility. The result was failure code 0x70: defective device - errors in boot sector. I ran the repair option twice without success. Finally, I selected erase and reformatted the hard drive.

The erase and reformat was successful. I then reinstalled Windows XP (fortunately, I had backed up my files on an external hard drive before the problem.) The computer is working like new.

I strongly recommend that you print out Hitachi's user's guide before using the Drive Fitness Test utility because of all the options available.

Thanks again for everyone's help.
macpez
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Old 4th July 2006   #11
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Update - hard drive failed


As I wrote in my last reply, I erased the hard drive with the utility I download from the Hitachi site, then reinstalled my Windows XP operating system and assumed everything was fine.

The reason I erased the hard drive was because the utility's repair option was unsuccessful after two attempts at repairing the "boot sector error."

Evidently, erasing the disk does not always repair the problem. In the future, if the hard drive utility cannot fix the hard drive error, I would recommend replacing the hard drive.

--------------------------------
Question: I researched hard drives on both the Dell Web site and the NewEgg link posted above for a Dell Dimension 2100. The existing hard drive is an IBM/Deskstar, 20.62 GB, ATA, 1962kb cache, model: IC35L020AVER07-0.

I did not see anything listed for the 2100 and New Egg does not offer sales assistance.

Can anyone let me know which replacement hard drive fits in the Dimension 2100 so I can order it from New Egg. Any drive with a 20 to 30 GB capacity will be good.

Many thanks, Macpez

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Old 4th July 2006   #12
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Originally Posted by macpez
Evidently, erasing the disk does not always repair the problem. In the future, if the hard drive utility cannot fix the hard drive error, I would recommend replacing the hard drive.
The problems returned? It may have bad clusters within the boot sector. If you happen to have Norton Utilities, boot to the CD and run Disk Doctor on the drive (or run it on this old drive when you have the new one set up and running). That should mark the clusters as bad, you would then need to do the low-level (zero) format on the drive again. Even then, that drive (HDD) could not be trusted, you could use it for temporary files, for example, CD/DVD burning files, you could change the location of the Temporary Internet Files folder there, page/swap file, etc.

It may be possible that your computer would not recognize a drive larger than 32Gb. The next drive size limitation may be 128Gb (depending on the BIOS). You may be able to find a 40Gb drive and use jumpers to restrict it's size to 32Gb. For a larger drive you may be able to use a Dynamic Drive Overlay (personally, I recommend against it).

Check the FAQs and BIOS upgrade information for the 2100 at the Dell website. They may tell you the HDD size limitation of that BIOS.

See if you can find a 40Gb HDD that can be jumpered to 32Gb. You can jumper it back to 40Gb when you transfer it to your next computer The brand is not significant (I like Seagates, WD and my old IBM/Hitachi is still going strong, even with a patch of bad clusters resulting from a power blackout).

Matt


Last edited by mattman; 4th July 2006 at 07:23.
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Old 5th July 2006   #13
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Originally Posted by mattman
Check the FAQs and BIOS upgrade information for the 2100 at the Dell website. They may tell you the HDD size limitation of that BIOS.

See if you can find a 40Gb HDD that can be jumpered to 32Gb. You can jumper it back to 40Gb when you transfer it to your next computer The brand is not significant (I like Seagates, WD and my old IBM/Hitachi is still going strong, even with a patch of bad clusters resulting from a power blackout).
FWIW, a friend has a Dell 2100 with a 40 GB drive, so I doubt there is a 32GB limit.
Originally Posted by macpez
Can anyone let me know which replacement hard drive fits in the Dimension 2100 so I can order it from New Egg. Any drive with a 20 to 30 GB capacity will be good.
If you mean physical size, as far as I know, ATA 3.5" drives are standard for Desktops - 2.5" for Laptops.

Per my reply to Matt, there is no reason to believe that the 2100's BIOS would not handle a 40 GB drive.

If you can run it, for info on your system including the BIOS version and current hard drive:
http://www3.sympatico.ca/gtopala/about_siw.html

Regards - Charles

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Old 5th July 2006   #14
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http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/systems/dim2100/

2100 Documentation and parts schematics.

Regards - Charles

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