I have a computer which seems to be killing Hard Disk Drives. For background, take a look at the following open questions and also read below.
Read this one first:
Then this one:
To summarize, I had a PC that was locking up, someone on EE suggested that it may be overheating. I took a look at the system and, in fact, there were no fans installed. The fan on the PSU didn't seem to be connected or working. Next, I purchased a 3 pin case fan and went to install it. Because of the configuration of this system's hardware, the HDD was blocking the hole usually reserved for the case fan. I decided to move the HDD and I installed the fan. I booted up, go to the desktop, no problems. Because I noticed that this case supported mounting the HDD on the top of the case, I decided to move it again (to allow me to keep the 3 1/2 floppy). So, taking all the normal precautions, I moved the HDD to the new postion, reconnected it and No boot (Insert Disk in Drive A). You can read the above threads for more detail, but I tested the HDD and It appears to not be detected by any system (including known goods).
Ok, so today, I bought a brand new HDD. My plan was to load it up and then reinstall everything. Before doing this, I checked the PSU's output with a volt meter (To further rule out a PSU problem). All of the voltages were correct here. So I installed the new HDD, and the BIOS detected it just fine. I proceded to set up Windows XP without any problems. XP installed successfully. I had to run some errands, so I left the PC booted to Windows XP desktop and went out for a few hours. When I returned, I noticed a balloon in the system tray that said "Unexpected Hard Error." I clicked on the ballon and got the blue screen of death with the same error. So I rebooted the system and wouldn't you know it, I got the same "Insert Disk in Drive A" error as I was getting with the previous HDD. So I rebooted again and watched the BIOS test memory, Detect keyboard and mouse and then "freeze" for about 2 minutes. No error message, no nothing. After two minutes, it booted to Win XP desktop without problem. In fact boot time is not even slowed (about 30 seconds to desktop) once POST has happened. Now I have this two minute "delay" every time I restart the computer (This never happend to the system when the old HDD was installed).
Here are some tests that I have performed and what I feel their results mean (please correct me if necessary):
Swapped a known good HDD with OS into the system in Question and the system booted. I assumed that this means that the Onboard IDE Controller Works.
Ran several memory testing programs. I assumed that the memory at least checks out ok, without any major errors. (I did not perform a physical swap of RAM per CrazyOne's suggestion, but I will as soon as I come by some more RAM chips)
Tested the PSU with a voltmeter to determine that it is producing the appropriate levels of power. Since the power levels checked out (5V and 12V) it seemed that the PSU was functioning properly.
I changed IDE Cables. Nothing indicated that any of the cables in use were bad.
So if you actually made it through both threads and then my lenghty explaination, what else should I check here? I'm kinda at a loss.