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No HDD Drives nor Optical Drives recognised in BIOS - MOBO Gigabyte GA-71XE4

Strange one this.

PC of a friend, set up with two oldish Maxtor HDDs (usual Cable Select jumper settings) on Primary Channel plus two optical drives (master / slave config) on Secondary channel. PC refused to recognise the HDDs.

I tried replacing the HDDs with a new single drive (no joy), tried different IDE cables, different jumper settings etc and then decided to replace the Motherboard and CPU as I was going to upgrade the PC for him anyway to something a bit better.

Reassembled, but still the same problem persists only now the Optical Drives are not recognised either. Have replaced the PSU, still no joy. Have reset the BIOS, cleared the CMOS and again no joy.

No evidence of power getting to the HDDs (no disk activity at all) however the optical drives are getting power although they're still not recognised. I've been careful re static.

In summary, I've replaced the mobo & CPU, PSU and tried a new HDD but nothing. I'm sure it's something small I've overlooked but any assistance would be greatly appreciated.

Larry
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For info:

Gigabyte GA-71XE4 Motherboard (AMD 750 AGP Chipset)
AMD Duron 850
192MB RAM
2 x Maxtor HDDs
2 x Optical Drives
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larryj2000
Asked:
larryj2000
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1 Solution
 
nobusCommented:
i would test the drives one by one, and with the jumper set to master for the disc drives; the optical drives i would test on the other ide channel, also one by one.
Make sure you got power to the drives, it can be a loose pin in the connector.
If you have power to the drives, and a good ide cable connected, they should show in the BIOS.
If they do not show, you probably have a motherboard or bios problem.
Can you do me a favor? try testing the memory, if you can boot from a floppy, with memtest86+ from :

http://www.memtest.org/

Thiss will ensure we have no other problem here.
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larryj2000Author Commented:
Hi thanks for the suggestions. I've tried the drives on both channels as single master drives etc, but still no joy. Power seems ok, and I've tried IDE cables from another machine that is working.

Memtest passes, shows no problems..........this is weird........
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nobusCommented:
if the drives power up, and do not show in the bios, i fear your motherboard is gone haywire; sorry...
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ridCommented:
"No evidence of power getting to the HDDs (no disk activity at all)..."

Is that including no spin-up? If so you should concentrate on power issues. Power connector(s) on drives damaged or something. Also check the power cable drive connectors; sometimes a connector sleeve may be pushed into the plastic rather than onto the drive's connecting pin. This can cause weird problems.

Re-check BIOS setting for IDE channels; verify that they're enabled and set to auto-detect.
/RID
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larryj2000Author Commented:
Hi

Well power gets to the optical drives ok, and having replaced the PSU I'm happy that it's not a power issue as such. The motherboards (old and new) both failed to recognise both old and new HDDs and I've checked the BIOS that the channels are set to Auto Detect.

Still stuck though  :-(
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nobusCommented:
IMHO, there is something else wrong here :
if you have 2 mobo's  and power supplies, and both fail to recognise the HDD and the optical drives, i think you have turned the connector for it to the wrong side; check for the HDD's and Cd drives that the ide cable has the marked (red) next to the power plug.
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larryj2000Author Commented:
Hi there

Thanks for the guidance, these are well worth trying.

No luck however - tried different IDE cables correctly inserted, still nothing. I'm fast coming to the conclusion that the mobos are dead, though it's a bit of a coincidence that both have the same problem. In summary, I've tried 2 mobos with 2 different HDDs, 2 different optical drives, 2 different PSUs and even 2 different processors. All fairly old (working) components so I'm happy that the load on the PSU isn't onerous, indeed I've been trying with only having the one HDD powered. Memtest was clear.  BIOS certainly set to Auto-Detect but not detecting any of the drives (or combination of them) on either channel. HDDs don't show any activity, although power gets to the optical drives ok (trays open fine).

Am I look at giving up here, do you think?

larry
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nobusCommented:
i would start with testing the components on a WORKING system; hook the drives up and test them : partition and format the discs; read or write a cd with the optical drives.
Then , once you're sure about them, you can draw your conclusion on them and the board.
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larryj2000Author Commented:
Ok, sorry about the delay.

Right, I've decided to dump the 2 existing HDDs and instead install a fresh (old) FAT32 8Gb one instead. The drive has been verified as working in my existing system, and I took the opportunity to quick format it whilst connected to my main system under XP but still in FAT32 format.

Installed the drive in the system, and have successfully managed to get the HDD (Primary) and both optical drives (Secondary Master and Slave) recognised in the BIOS. Progress!

On trying to install Win98 however, I'm now getting the usual message saying that a DOS Partition is not recognised and that I need to use the FDISK command to set the appropriate partition. On using FDISK, message says 'No Fixed Disks Installed'. Have used Maxtor's MAXBLAST II program to verify the installation of the HDD and also carry out another format, but still same problem with FDISK.

I'm wondering if it IS possible that the system has some kind of BIOS virus - is this possible and if so how can I get rid?

Larry
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nobusCommented:
ok - try this : swap the ide cables on the ide0 and 1 connectors, now your disc sits on the secondary ide, and the cd on the primary ide . Report the outcome please.
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nobusCommented:
>>   I'm wondering if it IS possible that the system has some kind of BIOS virus - is this possible and if so how can I get rid?   <<< never saw one in the flesh, but i think all things point to the mobo (disc controller and such; if everything works on another computer, i would think that the mobo has a problem.
However, if you want to try , you can use the default or optimum settings in the bios, check if all is listed ok, CPU, memory, disc, onboard controllers etc...
or you can try a bios flash.
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larryj2000Author Commented:
Ok, have swapped the IDE cables, and have the optical drives on Primary, and the HDD on Secondary. All show up correctly in BIOS. However, booting again with WIN98 boot disk still shows the same problem - no partition, and FDISK does not recognise any fixed disks as being present.

Motherboard could be the culprit however on the basis that I swapped to this one (which I knew was working last time I used it) from the original one, I'd be surprised if it is.

That said, I really do appreciate the help I'm getting here from you all.

As regarding BIOS flashing, never been that comfortable with it however on reviewing the Gigabyte website, there are two updates that appear to specifically address different issues -   http://tw.giga-byte.com/Motherboard/Support/BIOS/BIOS_GA-7IXE4.htm .  Not sure if I should just try one of these anyway, probably NOT the beta one mind you.

Are there viruses that attack BIOS - this could explain the original problems perhaps?

Larry
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ridCommented:
Can you try, but with the hard drive on the primary channel (as master)? Any difference?
Have you tried a freshly made boot floppy?

As for BIOS viruses, I'd chances are remote. Since it doesn't work properly at all, a BIOS flash may be worth trying, even if that is not a fix-all. Flashing with the present version again may work if there is indeed some kind of corruption in BIOS code, meaning you don't have to "update". A beta version shouldn't be used, as you say.
/RID
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larryj2000Author Commented:
Yup, same problem with HDD on Primary as Master - I only have the one HDD now installed. I'll give the BIOS flash a try RID, and will also d/load a new bootdisk.

Thanks again - really appreciate your help. Will let you know how it goes.

Larry
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larryj2000Author Commented:
Another thought -

Would it be worth reconnecting the HDD in question to my own XP system, then running Partition Magic and setting it up that way?  I'm also wondering whether it would be as well to install Win XP but not convinced the PC will be up to running it - Duron 850Mhz, 190Mb RAM.
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nobusCommented:
>>    I'm also wondering whether it would be as well to install Win XP but not convinced the PC will be up to running it - Duron 850Mhz, 190Mb RAM.   <<< i would recommend a memory upgrade to at least 256 Mb, 512 would be better, or 256 + 192 Mb
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larryj2000Author Commented:
Yeah that's what I thought to be fair........I think I'll stick with Win98 as it's not my PC anyway!  What do you think of the idea of trying to set the drive up using Partition Magic on my own PC, then moving it back to the other one?
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ridCommented:
Generally I'd recommend to use the native O/S tools for disk preparing, unless something very odd is being done. Also, preparing the drive in the computer it will be used in is preferable, unless the machines are (almost) identical. Very generally, that is. If a drive can't be prepared properly in a machine, there is a problem with the system. This problem may manifest itself in other, unexpected ways later. Best sort out the problem thorougly first.
/RID
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larryj2000Author Commented:
Good advice RID, thanks.

I actually reconnected the drive to my own system, then carried out FDISK that way. On returning the drive to the original system, guess what - on booting from floppy, system does not recognise the active partition.

I'm starting to think that a BIOS flash might be worth a try, failing that will go back to the first MOBO and see how I get on with that.

Larry
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larryj2000Author Commented:
SUCCESS !!!!!

Well guys, a BIOS update did the trick. Bit of messing about thereafter to get the HDD partition set up and formatted, but thatnks to your advice, this frustration is behind me !

Well done all !

Larry
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