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New hard drive for an old Packard Bell

Posted on 1998-04-07
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Last Modified: 2008-02-01
I'm working on a Packard Bell Legend 401 computer (P75, 4x CD ROM, 8 MB RAM).  The 850 MB Seagate Decathalon drive that came with it died and I am trying to replace it.  The BIOS will usually correctly autodetect a 2.1 GB Medalist or a 2.6 GB Medalist - the 2 drives I have to work with (drives that have worked in other machines.)  I can usually fdisk and format in Win95 (not always).  However, neither drive has, as of yet, booted when SYSed.  Both drives (and my floppy boot disks)  have been virus checked and have come up clean.  Is my BIOS fried?  Is the onboard controller bad?  Is 850 MB the limit for this PB motherboard?   Should I punt?
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Question by:GEOMETER
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by:JBURGHARDT
ID: 1134066
The limit for older motherboard (486) is 525MB, When you do fdisk your hard disk partition  must be set as active and also you hard disk have to set as master if it on the same cable with cd-rom (slave).
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by:rmarotta
ID: 1134067
I think the proposed answer is incorrect.
I understand your machine to be a Pentium. (P-75)
You should have no such limit on drive size.
Be certain that LBA is enabled in BIOS.
I think you also need to check BIOS for a setting to enable boot sector writes.  It may be called anti-virus check or some such thing.  This will permit you to fdisk properly and then format the drive with a boot system.
Regards,
Ralph

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Author Comment

by:GEOMETER
ID: 1134068
rmarotta is correct in that it is a Pentium class (Socket 5) machine.  However, LBA mode is enabled, as he suggests.  Even so, other modes and drive overlay programs have all failed to get either of the big Seagates up and running consistently.  Here is a twist I did not mention previously:  I have a Maxtor 850 MB drive that I have hooked up in LBA mode.  The Maxtor drive runs like a champ - consistently (a Maxtor & a Packard Bell!  Go figure!).   Any and all help is appreciated.  Thanx.  -Jim.
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by:hoven
ID: 1134069
Are the seagates formatted to 16 or 32 bit FAT? If 32 then a 16 bit (Win 95 1 or DOS) Os wont recognise them
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Author Comment

by:GEOMETER
ID: 1134070
I've tried both 16 bit FAT and 32 bit FAT.  When I boot, the BIOS will sometimes (and sometimes not) recognize the Seagate drive model yet will not boot.  The obvious solutions (jumpers, cables, memory) I've eliminated.  The puzzle is why does the BIOS readily recognize the 850 MB Maxtor (and boots) and not the big Seagates?
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by:hoven
ID: 1134071
when you boot from a floppy can you read the seagates?
have you tried manually configuring the bios? some older bioses dont auto pickup larger drives.
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Author Comment

by:GEOMETER
ID: 1134072
If the BIOS does give the message Hard Disk 0 ST***** (*****= ident number; ST presumably for Seagate Technologies) then I cannot read the drive.  The only way the computer can tell if the drive is there sometimes is with Disk Manager (I'm using 7.02, IBM version.  It's one of the best I've used.).  DM can auto-setup the BIOS.  I still get inconsistent results whether using manual setup, DM setup, or BIOS autoconfigure.
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by:magigraf
ID: 1134073
GEOMETER...

It's really a weird behavior here.
Can I suggest you to try the other way around??
Take one or these 2 Seagate Medalist drives and try them on another Motherboard or a friend system.  This will at least tell us if the drives are faulty or not.

I have seen weird things with drives from the same make.  Funny you mentionned MAXTOR cause this is one weird situation with 2 Maxtor drives.
a 31000 (1.0 Gig) and a 31200 a (1.2Gig),  now each drive will work flawlessly ALONE.
Once being Master and slave the Slave drive will FAIL in copying and Corrupt data, and halt the system as well.  The "Unsolved mystery" has made it to Maxtor and they could not figure out the problem.

So let's try your drives as suggested, then we will try to help you corner the problem.
Regards
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by:rmarotta
ID: 1134074
Jim,
Check your documentation for the drives carefully.
Some Segate's that I've seen need one jumper setting when used as master alone....  master with a slave present requires a different  setting.
If it's set as master with slave, but used by itself, it won't boot.
Regards,
Ralph


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Author Comment

by:GEOMETER
ID: 1134075
First, insert the word 'not' into one of my comments above.  If I did NOT get ST***** then the drives would not come up.

Second, I've double and triple checked the jumper settings.  They're OK.  I've also checked the drives on other boards.  Still OK.  Tried something new this morning.  I noticed that the BIOS was tring to read the drives while they were spinning up to speed - even on warm reboots.  There was a setting in the BIOS to vary the initialization timeout (it's not what I originally thought it was).  When I set the timeout to 10 seconds, the BIOS would pickup the 2.1 GB drive regularly and the 2.6 GB drive not at all.  I've installed Windows 95 on the 2.1 GB drive and am about to proceed to punish the machine for the next few hours to make sure everything's OK.  Any help regarding the 2.6 GB drive is still appreciated because that's the drive purchased for the machine.  The 850 MB Maxtor already has a home and the 2.1 Medalist has been a buggy drive according to local computer stores, Micron Electronics, and me.
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by:rmarotta
ID: 1134076
If you need a couple of extra seconds at bootup, disable fast memory checking.  It will take longer for the machine to count all memory above 1MB, and may give the drive enough time to spin up.
I would suspect something else though.  Possibly related to power supply?
Ralph

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by:HawkXL
ID: 1134077
I used to have the same computer! They are pretty kool. No, Your BIOS is not fried, there are jumper setting on the new hd that you may wanna change. It must be set as slave! Here is what I did. I took my old hd out and just put in the new one. But, I had just reformatted :(
 
  You must set the new one as a slave

 HOPE IT HELPS!
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Expert Comment

by:hoven
ID: 1134078
If the bios wont recognise the larger drives maybe it cant recognise large partitions
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Highfive is so simple that setting up every meeting room takes just minutes and every employee will be able to start or join a call from any room with ease. Never be called into a meeting just to get it started again. This is how video conferencing should work!

 
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by:HawkXL
ID: 1134079
2 mb is the max portion
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by:rmarotta
ID: 1134080
GEOMETER,
In re-reading this thread I noticed your comment about drive overlays....
Disk Manager is one that will re-locate the boot sector and I am wondering if you had it installed on the big drives.
If so, have you completely removed it?
Ralph

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Author Comment

by:GEOMETER
ID: 1134081
I've had to give up the Packard Bell machine so its user could get some work done.  When I get it back (to install a new CD ROM to replace a dead Panasonic - no simple lube job there.  Kentucky Fried Drive Motor anyone?) I'll evaluate HawkXL's answer.  Slave, you say?  Hadn't tried that.  It seems silly.  But then again, it's a Packard Bell.
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by:HawkXL
ID: 1134082
Well, it can't be silly! Every system uses the same terms. The original is called the master. It hold the boot information and you o/s such as win95. A slave is simply running off of the masters information.

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by:rmarotta
ID: 1134083
GEOMETER,
On Friday, you said "I've double and triple checked the jumper settings."  Do you know about the master/slave relationship between devices on the IDE bus?
If that faulty CDROM has a toasted motor, it has probably been an excessive load on the power supply, and it may posibly have caused the no-boot problem.
Ralph

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Author Comment

by:GEOMETER
ID: 1134084
HawkXL, I didn't mean to offend.  If I've interpreted your answer correctly, it seems you want me to hook up the 2.6 GB drive to the primary IDE port and set it up as a slave drive.  It seemed silly because this is to be the only hard drive on the computer (and, thus, the boot drive on this generation PB).  Remember, the 850 MB Decathalon drive is DEAD (bad boot sector, as well as at least 200 diagnosed errors) and cannot be used to boot.  The CD-ROM was set up as master on the secondary IDE port.  During the HD install process, the only connected devices were the HD, floppy, keyboard and monitor - i.e., no mouse, no CD (neither power nor data nor CD audio), no sound, no modem, no network card, etc.  I apologize about any misunderstandings.

PS:  Have I violated protocol by detailing a locked answer?  Please advise.
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by:rmarotta
ID: 1134085
GEOMETER,
We are all here to help you solve your problem.  It would be best for everyone to submit their guesses as comments.  Saving the "answer" button for when they're sure it is the solution.
If the proposed answer does not solve your problem, simply re-open the question by rejecting it.  We can still comment whether or not the question is locked.... but no one may submit a correct answer until it is re-opened.
Back to business.  Try this:
Enter your BIOS setup screen and configure the hard drive manualy by setting the appropriate cyl-hd-sec information obtained from the drive label.
Enable LBA.
Save & exit.
Using a clean startup floppy containing FDISK and FORMAT, boot the machine and run FDISK.  Delete any existing partitions.
Partition the drive with 2.1GB or smaller partions unless you are going to run FAT32.
IMPORTANT:  Be sure to reboot the machine when FDISK is finished.
Now format C:/s
Let me know what happens.
Ralph

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by:rmarotta
ID: 1134086
GEOMETER,
Any progress on this problem?
Ralph

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by:GEOMETER
ID: 1134087
I found the answer and it makes me feel pretty much like a big moron.  Sysop, if you would, please award the points for this one to rmarotta.  Here's why:  It seems that the PB bios won't support a drive bigger than 2.1 GB (not just partitions, but drives).  The solution?  Fool the bios into thinking it has a 2.1 GB drive attached.  How do you do that?  Lucky for me, Seagate has a jumper setting called 'alternate capacity jumper.'  That fools the bios into thinking it has a 2.1 GB drive attached.  Then Disk Manager does all the rest.  >POOF<  2.5 GB Seagate Medalist up and running.  

Why do I feel like a moron?  It has been my habit to hook up Seagate drives with no slaves attached by leaving all jumpers off.  Indeed, that is what the documentation says to do - for bios' that will support the drive.  For bios' that won't, you're supposed to set the jumper on pins 1 & 2, the jumper for Master setting AND coincidentally the alternate capacity jumper setting.  Hence, feelings of idiocy inundate my psyche.
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by:jrhelgeson
ID: 1134088
At least you have a decent enough hard drive to support that feature.

Incidently, what bios version do you have?

JR
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by:rmarotta
ID: 1134089
Hmmm,
Jim, for some reason, I never received email on this question when your last comment was posted.  Got this last one, when Joel commented though.  Sorry for the delay.
I think the limitation about 2.1GB is based on the way you partition the drive.  FAT16 limits you to that size.
If you run FAT32, available with Win95B (OSR2), then you can partition the whole drive as one.
Anyway, glad you got going.
If you want, I'll re-submit my 7:08AM 4/10/98 comment as an answer.
Regards,
Ralph

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Accepted Solution

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rmarotta earned 100 total points
ID: 1134090
Jim,
Check your documentation for the drives carefully.
Some Segate's that I've seen need one jumper setting when used as master alone....  master with a slave present requires a different  setting.
If it's set as master with slave, but used by itself, it won't boot.
Regards,
Ralph
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Author Comment

by:GEOMETER
ID: 1134091
Good answer, good answer...

Survey says...

Ding ding ding ding ding ding ding.

Thanx one and all for playing.

(On a serious note, everyone's help has been most appreciated.)

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by:rmarotta
ID: 1134092
Glad to help!
Ralph

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