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PC won't boot  from C drive

Posted on 1998-05-31
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Last Modified: 2010-04-27
I am rebuilding a 486 sx2-50 and originally built it with 2 hard drives, C drive being a 120 MB and D drive a 160 MB. I had some trouble with the BIOS detecting the drives but succeeded  in the end.
I then upgraded to a single 850 MB drive, using ontrack software to partition the drive. I did this with the drive not installed into the PC. All went well and I then copied the contents of the original drives to the new 850 without problems. I then disconnected all the drives and installed and connected the 850 into the PC.
The machine failed to boot from C. All I got was the message "Hard Disk controller failure" and I had to boot from A drive.
Despite changing controller cards, positioning in different slots, re-partitioning the 850 as a DOS 540 I still get the same message.
Once I boot from A drive I can access C drive as normal so there appears to be no problem with either C drive or the controller card, but if I go into the BIOS and autodetect the hard drive it takes upwards of a minute to detect it. If I reinstall the old drives the BIOS will not detect them.
Also if I try to run the ontrack software to partition the 850 drive it reports that there is no hard drive.
Do I have a hardware problem with the BIOS or motherboard or have I missed something?
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Question by:RHarrison
6 Comments
 
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Expert Comment

by:jhance
ID: 1135740
Are you setting the MASTER/SLAVE jumper on the 850 to the right position?  If it's the only drive on the IDE cable, then it must be set to MASTER, or on some drives, there is a SINGLE position as well.  Be sure this is set correctly.  If you post the drive model and manufacturer, I can point you to the correct documentation on the settings.
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Expert Comment

by:Typhoon121597
ID: 1135741
First check if you'r controller card is compatible with harddisks over 520Mb(IDE), the 850Mb is (EIDE). Then try to see if the harddisk works in any other computer.
Also check to see if the partition is at the begining of the harddisk. If it's not that should be the reason, this together with checking the ide cables, that they sit right should do the trick.
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Expert Comment

by:rmarotta
ID: 1135742
If Disk Manager can't find the drive, it's probably not connected properly.  If it is set up incorrectly in CMOS, D/M should offer to change settings to something usable.
When booting with floppy, are you using one created with the overlay driver on it?
Regards,
Ralph



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Author Comment

by:RHarrison
ID: 1135743
Hi Typhoon
The present controller card I have installed is a VESA EIDE but works no better than the previous (two!) ISA controller cards.
It worked originally with the ISA card and with the ontrack software installed.
I can't find any problems with the connections but how do I check  wheher the partition is at the beginning of the hard disk?
I,ve deleted and reset the partition a couple of times using FDISK but without any improvement.
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Accepted Solution

by:
seychell earned 600 total points
ID: 1135744
I assume you still have the "good" drives - as backup.

1. you can see the drive in your BIOS...
2. you can boot to floopy...

FIRSTLY
Before we go any further - Try and get an update for your BIOS. OTHERWISE - ADD THE DRIVE MANNUALLY.  The 486 BIOS Auto detect feature in some BIOS versions made the assumption the 518MG was as big as was going to ever get (a throwback from the 386 days).

IF the above fails
- this should work ...

goto WWW.maxtor.COM and download MAXDRIVE. (a bootable floppy image)  on this floppy disk is a program called EZdrive. I have used both these programs thse oler drives.  EZmax will also allow you to have one partition of 850.

It seems your computer can see the partition -
Is the above correct ?

Stabbling the dark here...

try coping sys.com from \windows\command.. A:It should still be on the harddisk you can access when you boot from floppy.

then type A:\SYS c:

Once it is bootable, and a C:\ then make the other drive(s) D:\(a slave) and just copy....

 
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Author Comment

by:RHarrison
ID: 1135745
Thanks for the suggestions I'll get the EZdrive software and see if that works
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