hard disk failure, insert system disk, no luck

I have read an imformative thread that is similar to my situation but slightly different. The gist of the matter is that I get to boot page and then, "hard disk failure, insert system disk" comes up. Ctrl-alt-delete just brings me back to the same spot again. If I put the Windows XP cd in the cd rom I can then boot to  the desk top.

I have checked the device manager, set a number of different boot seqences[ including the slow boot way from the other thread], reformatted my hard drive, reinstalled a fresh copy of XP, and finally tried a whole different hard drive that I have in reserve.

Both hard drives get to the disk boot failure which makes me guess if it is hardware related it must be something else. The power supply is faily new but it is an off brand from Frys. I was running my  g-force 6800 gt and playing Far Cry and Microsoft  fs2004 perfect at high detail.

I would say the one major difference between my situation and the other computer users problem is that I absolutely cannot boot into Windows from my hard drive.

Any sugestions?
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Gaud-woConnect With a Mentor Commented:
It's his OS drive, so he can boot from it.
Your boot table may be wasted, I had the same problem @ work a while ago - couldn't boot from a drive when it was set as Pri boot device, but I could boot from it when I put in a Win98 cd, booted from that, and selected 'boot from harddisk' in the CD's submenu.

In your case, both your harddisks have this problem - so I think your IDE controller on your mainboard is broken. Try tinkering a bit in BIOS; maybe a reset to factory defaults (do write down what your current settings are if you aren't too familiar with BIOS) and, if this still doesn't work, you're going to have to bring the mainboard in for repair by your dealer.

Good luck!

First I suggest you check the jumper settings on the drive. Try setting it to, first cable select and then to Master with no slave. Also have no other device connected to the IDE cable.
when you can boot to the desktop, can you see the drive?
Try C: ENTER, DIR and so on. If you need more commands, please post
If you see data on the drive, you can check if it looks ok; otherwise i recommend a low level format with the manufacturers utility, and try the reinstall again

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friedgenatorAuthor Commented:
Thanks for the quick responce. I am going to do some work  on these suggestions. I can see the drive in the My Computer section of Windows XP.

I also think the problem might be in the motherboard which means I better dig out my receits from Frys because this is a four month old,  expensive,  Abit Max 3  motherboard.

I will try some simlpler things first and report back.
I would suspect the power supply - you have a power-hungry video card, and I'd bet your cpu is power hungry as well.  Swap it out.

If booting from the CD gets you to the desktop, then you have a bad boot sector or master boot record.  It's strange that both hard drives exhibit this, but the fix is to rewrite the boot sector by booting with the WinXP CD into the recovery console and typing FIXMBR, followed by FIXBOOT.
friedgenatorAuthor Commented:
My computer is still sick. I followed the directions in the above suggestions, which included going in to the recovery console, and I unplugged  the floppy drive and the cd rom to see if power was an issue,....no cigar.

I am going to get a new name brand 480 watt power supply which couldn't hurt any way except in the bank account.

I also thought I'd report that I did some minor surgery on the the north bridge area recently after the cheapo Abit fan quit on me. I replaced it with a Zallman heat sink and everything was copacetic. I did run the pc however for a few days frugaly before doing the job on the chip set. That job was about three weeks ago.

I  may just get a new motherboard but I'll try the power first.

friedgenatorAuthor Commented:
This is a report on my final solution to my "hard disk failure, insert system disk".

First let me say thanks for all the ideas from everybody.  I learned alot about the boot up process of my computer and how to fix the master boot record.

Gaud-wo was probably right about the broken IDE controller on the motherboard, which I was suspecting as well since I tried two different hard drives and they both showed the same problem.

Trouble shooting a malfunctioning  computer is  painstaking work and at times it can be guess work. I spent $130.00 on a new MSI K8T Neo motherboard,  and  $115.00 on a 480 watt Antec power unit { probably not necessary but I'll keep it as an upgrade to my computer} but the job got done. I think this board {so far} seems real quick and stable.

I am somewhat dissappointed in the Abit Max 3 product  due to its short life span. The forums around have lots of threads about the bad fans used on Abit boards. If the north bridge heating up was the culprit then I think they should fix that problem soon or there will alot of people migrating to other brands. I had good luck with my earlier Abit boards but not this one,..and it was expensive!

By the way, I just thought I'd let people know that my Lian Li mid tower case is a dream to work with in rebuilding a custom rig. It has speed screw attached moduals for just about every part on a computer including the motherboard. I highly recommend that brand.

Well, if you bought that mainboard recently, you should be able to send it back to the manufacturer!

You can always try to, if you can't find the receipt, get support from Abit directly, and then they may give you a RMA (return material authorization) number - you send the mainboard to them with athat RMA number, and get it back repaired / get a new back.

You don't have to send it yourself, you can give it to a reseller and ask them to give it to their deliverer. Then you can pick it up at your reseller when they get it back. They mostly do this little effort, to keep the customer happy!

If you do send it, you should attach the (defective) original NB heatsink & fan, beacuase a lot of hardware manufacturers say you void your warranty when you make such modifications (you 'should' contact your mfg first if you have a prob...).

Finally, if you don't want to send it, have no other use for it, and live near Belgium, do send it to me - I'll pay transport ^_^

I use thumbscrews to attach mainboard, harddisk, case etc., makes a lot of cases "speed moddable" - I kinda remove & attach harddisks way too often :) Bu I'm looking for a Big tower now, want to experiment a bit with RAID... And my case won't support all those harddisks :s Or I got to find an external solution... Food for thoughts.
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