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Disk Boot Failure error on every hard disk I put on the system

Posted on 2004-08-25
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Last Modified: 2010-05-19
Hello,

I have been trying to figure out if the Motheroard is trashed on this computer I am working on or not.

It is a a 500mhz PIII Compaq presario. The error message that comes up after you see the "Compaq" Slash screen is:
"DISK BOOT FAILURE INSERT SYSTEM DISK AND PRESS ENTER".

I have tried replacing the chords between the MB and the HD. No good. Then I put in another Hard drive and still get the same error message. Then I realized that the CD ROMS (one CDRW and one regular CDROM) won't even open and are receiving no power. The Bios shows no Hard drives or CDROMS. It does however boot to a floppy and I am able to access DOS and FDISK (which shows no drives).

Could this MB shot? Or could it be something simple? Any suggestions are greatly appreciated!

Thanks
Vinny

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Question by:vinzzo
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by:dis1931
ID: 11899868
Usually in the BIOS you can set the Primary IDE Master and Slave as well as Secondary Master and Slave to auto, which will detect automatically, make sure these are set correctly and that they are not set to none.  Maybe try resetting BIOS to default settings.  Otherwise it may be an IDE controller or motherboard issue.

Dis
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by:cyrnel
cyrnel earned 150 total points
ID: 11899892
That last part about the CDROM drives is worrisome. Try to isolate this to a single drive. Remove the other drive cables from the MB (all: floppy, cd, other HD) and connect one HD. Attempt to auto-detect, and move forward from there. If you can't get a known good HD powered up and auto-detected something is wrong with power or the controller/MB, or possibly the process.

Dave
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Author Comment

by:vinzzo
ID: 11900127
OK I tried the first suggestion from Dis about Auto setting the Hard drives but unfortunately that option doesn't even show up in my bios for some reason.

Then I tried the 2nd suggestion from Dave and I removed all of the drives but the HD and still no good. The only thing this time is that both CD's lit up blinking off and on ( i left the power plugged into bothe of them) and I tried to open the drives and they barely opened. They opened very slowly and the CDRW couldn't even open all of the way.. very strange

Any other ideas?

Vinny

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by:cyrnel
ID: 11900174
Disconnect the CD's completely from the MB and from power. Disconnect the floppy cables. Any improvement?

I'm suspicious that power supply is angry. If things act slightly better with the CD drives removed and nothing is connected incorrectly (check the cabling carefully) it's time to swap supplies. I would suggest that before removing the CD's but don't know if you have a spare.
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by:nobus
ID: 11900277
The replacement disks, do they contain an operating system, and if so which one? Not all accept other hardware to run on (xp does not)
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by:cyrnel
ID: 11900330
He can't see the HD's from the BIOS scan or  FDISK.
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by:nobus
ID: 11900359
Ok, and is there an option to detect the ide drives?
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by:pani_i
pani_i earned 50 total points
ID: 11901213
I would suggest that you replace the power supply.
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by:tmj883
ID: 11901412
Compaq uses a proprietary method of storing BIOS information on a hidden partition on the HDD that is created using a Compaq ROMPAQ diskette when the HDD is first installed and unpartitioned. This is why you only see the floppy and limited BIOS options. You need the appropriate ROMPAQ for this system, and an unpartitioned HDD in order to restore the BIOS functionality, before trying to install the OS. Refer to Compaq.
T
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by:crazijoe
ID: 11901742
I agree with pani_i, replace the power supply.
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by:lexicon_dominus
ID: 11901943
Vinzzo;
In my opinion, probably your power supply doesn't supply at all. I don't think there is a MOBO problem because evet just with a power cable, CDRom's should have been openining...
Cheers...
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Expert Comment

by:Ruelnov
ID: 11903414
As you can boot to the floppy, try using AMIDIAG or Toolstar Test to avoid guessing what's wrong with your system.

These are reliable hardware diagnostics utilities which have demo versions that can test HD/CD drives as well.
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by:rid
ID: 11907699
Take a look at suggestion from tmj883. Search the Compaq web site for info and possible downloads for creating special boot floppies for your system.
/RID
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Author Comment

by:vinzzo
ID: 11908044
Thanks all for your help. I will try everything this evening and get back to you and let you know how it goes.

Vinny
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Accepted Solution

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nukeme369 earned 50 total points
ID: 11908644
tmj883 speaks the truth, however, a 500mhz Compaq typically doesn't have the unique partitioning system. On those Compaqs newer than around 1998 they stopped the weird boot partition and moved to a standard single primary partition for the C drive.   Around 2000, they moved to putting a first (main) and a second (backup) partition which would be accessible from the utility preinstalled on the machine, or from the Quick Restore CD.  In 2002, they moved again to providing a "Restore CD", which only functions as a boot disk, and contains only the data necessary to access the backup partition.

Short answer:  Any Compaq described as a "500Mhz", will boot without modification to any working hard drive with a boot sector that works in another computer.

Long Answer:  Your hard drive is not getting power... Quite possibly evidenced by that your CDROM's do not have power either.   Check the power supply.  If the computer appears to be on, and you unplug and plug in a CDROM, you should normally see the status light flicker.  Try having the machine on, and unplugging and plugging the hard drive in. You should hear, as well as feel the drive motor spin up.  If both of those tests fail, suspect the power supply.

Rare possibility exists that both the CDROM and hard drive are bad.  That would typically be the case after a very serious power surge.  Such a surge would likely leave your motherboard and powersupply working at all.
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by:cyrusuncc
ID: 11909645
i'm about 80% sure its the power supply.

try only having the hd plugged and powered.
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Author Comment

by:vinzzo
ID: 11909927
It definetly could be the power supply, the person who it belongs to said there was a power surge at there house a while back. The thing is they had a power strip connected to their computer and it didn't pop the fuse on it. Do you think that this could still cause something like this even though it didn't blow the fuse?

I unplugged all drives including the floppy and left the HD in and i still get the same error. Also as I plugged back in the chord into the back of the box it was making a crackling sound if I moved the plug at all. I am thinking for sure the Power Supply is blown if not also the other stuff.

Any ideas about the power strip and fuse theory?

Thanks again for everyone's responses.

Vinny
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by:crazijoe
ID: 11911846
It could have been in a Brown-Out. Where the electricity fell below 110v for a period of time. This is hard on all household electrical items.
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Expert Comment

by:skiippiie
ID: 11912487
Test to see if power is coming to the HD power connector with a multi-tester. If it is getting power, change IDE cables - it is very common for these to get shorted. If you have been removing and replacing them frequently they will fail. They are cheap to replace. Next check all PIN settings (try every combination) some hard drives and CD roms have incorrect information printed on them regarding PIN settings.
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by:FCCU-MIS
ID: 11918611
It is possible you could have a bad power supply.....however look on the back of your pc where the power supply is located and make sure the switch is set to 115V instead of 220v.  Replace the power cord of your PC and try other outlets.  You may have a bad outlet plug or bad power cord as well.  If that dosent help, for your hard drive  If you only have one hard drive make sure there is not jumper on the hard drive and if you have more than one make sure its on primary.  Also go to compaqs website to see if they have any update for the BIOS.  Hope this helps
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by:nukeme369
ID: 11919090
RE: the power strip fuse issue...

I live in south florida.  During the summer every single day we have serious colossal thunderstorms in the afternoon, complete with wicked thunder and torrential rain.  
One afternoon, during a storm, I was watching TV, and happened to look at the cheap walmart box fan sitting on the floor about 6 feet away, and watched what can only be described as a mini-lightning bolt arc from the center of the fan, and hit the metal frame of the sliding glass patio door! (theres still a mark there, and the fan has a "funny" spot there as well) Right after that hit the cable went out, and my cpu rebooted to a blinking cursor.   Turns out that day I lost a 128MB stick of ram (my only fricken one!) Mind you this was 1999, and it wasn't that cheap yet, the power supply to my webserver, the cable box, one (but not the other) network card, and the motherboard from the DVD playing computer in the living room. Not a single fuse blew anywhere.

All of them had a "power strip".  I learned very well from then on out the difference between a good surge protector, and one with a silly fuse.

<quote>
It definetly could be the power supply, the person who it belongs to said there was a power surge at there house a while back. The thing is they had a power strip connected to their computer and it didn't pop the fuse on it. Do you think that this could still cause something like this even though it didn't blow the fuse?

I unplugged all drives including the floppy and left the HD in and i still get the same error. Also as I plugged back in the chord into the back of the box it was making a crackling sound if I moved the plug at all. I am thinking for sure the Power Supply is blown if not also the other stuff.

Any ideas about the power strip and fuse theory?
</quote>
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by:FCCU-MIS
ID: 11921653
The error indicates that the motherboard cannot find the DOS system files on any of the drives. Be sure the BIOS is set to boot from the floppy drive. Be sure it is set for the right kind of floppy drive as drive A: Check the floppy drive cables. The end with the twist plugs into the drive. If the floppy drive LED stays on all of the time, the cable is plugged-in backwards. Check your boot floppy and make sure it boots on another computer. Unplug all expansion boards except video and all drives except the CD-ROM and hard disk. Hope this helps
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by:Hammadian2
ID: 11940921
enter BIOS settings
change "HDD Block mode" to enabled
change "IDE mode" or whatever they call it to LBA
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by:konek2r
ID: 12090631
*********************************
REPLACE THE HARD DISK OF YOU COMPUTER
*********************************
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