Hard drive not found

Posted on 2004-08-03
Last Modified: 2010-04-25
My daughter's computer is a Microexpress with an Intel motherboard, P4 1.6 gig proc, 512 mb rdram and Maxtor 60 gig hd.  She is running XP Pro SP1, NAV 2002, Sygate PFP, Cybersitter parental control software and is behind a router.  BootIt NG is also on the computer.  All are updated regularly.  She uses IM, email and goes to kid sites like Neopets.  Her computer stopped working suddenly.  She thought she saw a virus warning but has no details.  Now when the computer is turned on, there are 4-6 clicks that sound like the hard drive, the VGA card (Nvidia GEforce 5200(?)) info shows on the screen but no bios or ram info.  The computer then says "Boot failure, system halted".  I can get to the bios setup via the delete key, and can get it to boot from a setup floppy.  I can get it to boot from the XP cd via F8.  I can't get to advanced startup options at all.  In neither the bios setup nor the XP cd is the hard drive detected.  It also isn't detected by the BootIt NG floppy.  I'm an intermediate user.  I have no experience tweaking the bios and enter the registry with some trepidation.

Help please.

Question by:DavidM10
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Assisted Solution

FieldIT earned 300 total points
ID: 11705386
First things first...start with hardware.  Make sure that you're cables are working properly (swap HD for another formated HD and see if it boots)  If the problem persists, then there could be issues with the cabling or the motherboard itself.  If hardware appears to work okay, try to use Ghost software to get onto your hard drive and retrieve crucial data.  I'm led to believe it's a Mobo malfunction since you're failing to see your BIOS or RAM Info.

Good luck!
LVL 69

Expert Comment

ID: 11705492
Try booting with the WinXP CD and get into the recovery console.  Type FIXMBR, followed by FIXBOOT.  If the problem was with the boot sector, this will fix it without changing programs or data.

Author Comment

ID: 11711762
The cables are all in place.  I'll try swapping hard drives.  When booting off the XP cd, when I try to open the recovery console, it gives me no options other than typing exit to restart the computer.  That just leads to the boot failure, system halted state.
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LVL 69

Accepted Solution

Callandor earned 125 total points
ID: 11712049
Try these instructions to get into the recovery console:

Expert Comment

ID: 11722969
If you can boot to a floppy then it must have passed POST and the motherboard most likely should be ok. Sounds like the HD just bit the dust or a Virus altered your MBR making it un-bootable.

Author Comment

ID: 11743903
It was a defective hard drive.  Thanks to Callandor for some great tips on the recovery console.  I took the opportunity to replace the Maxtor 5400 rpm 60 gb with a WD caviar 80 gb.  $40 after rebate at Fry's.

Thanks to all.


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