Primary Hard Disk Failure

texasrose used Ask the Experts™
I have an older pc but it was used and was working perfectly fine about 2 months ago. Since then has been in storage, I tried to start up and i got the error "primary disk failure". How would i start in safe mode so i can fix this or what do i do? I know this is a real wide open question and i apologize but HELP please.
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Safe mode requires an operational hard drive.  The message you are receiving is BAD NEWS!  In all probability the drive itself has failed and is unrecoverable.

But before pronouncing it dead, check:

1) BIOS settings and CMOS battery.  If the settings are wrong or the battery is dead, the drive may not be properly detected.

2) Cable and power connections.  If the cable has come loose or otherwise had been damaged, the drive could appear to be dead.  Check it out.

3) The primary IDE controller on the MB may be dead.  Try it on the secondary controller and see if that helps.

In addition to jhance's suggest, boot from a floppy disk which has chkdsk. Then chkdsk C: /f and see what you get.

Unfortunately you won't be able to run CHKDSK C: with a "Primary Hard Disk Failure".  

Since this is a BIOS level error, the BIOS will NOT report the drive to Windows and so after booting the floppy there WILL NOT BE a C: drive letter associated with this drive.


Thanks for your suggestions; I've pretty  much decided to chunk it as i've tried most everything  you all suggested. We were giving it to my grandmother but guess we'll figure out something ohhh a new hard drive. Thanks so much for your help.
well if it is really a failed hard drive, the good news is that replacement hard drives are very inexpensive these days.  My local paper has a 30GB Maxtor advertised for $89 with a $20 rebate.  So the final cost is only $69.

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