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Hard Drives or Power supply?


I have a strange question that has baffled me and I am afraid to put my 'good' hard drives back in my system.  

I have 2 IDE drives and 1 SATA drive in a p4 3.0, 2 GB RAM system.

The other day I started having errors on one of my physical drives.  Controller errors and 'slow' response.  The next day I woke up and there was a windows bubble that stated that windows had more or less lost the drive and showed some error like MS$C: or something like that.  I cannot remember.  When i rebooted the computer wouldnt load the drive, kernel error, BSOD.  I didnt pay tooo much attention and I just pulled the drive and accepted the loss of my data.

I foirmatted the SATA drive and installed windows to this drive and was able to restore some of my data from back ups.  Went to sleep and woke up to find that my other IDE drive had failed with the same 'type' of message the MS$C:\.. and that it couldnt find the drive in my computer.  

I rebooted and unhooked the IDE master.  The SATA did not boot and I tried to fix the drive in recovery console but no avail.  

I have since reformatted the SATA drive again and I have been able to fully access the IDE drives via a USB/external  hard drive connection.  All the data on the IDE drives is intact, yet the MB does not recognize them anymore / BSOD on boot.  

In a seperate yet perhaps related issue, I've been experiencing lockups and power supply failures for a little while.  I read on another message board a few days prior to now that the power supply may be causing these errors / frying the drives?  Or is it possible that the mother board is going?  

I have a 250 gb IDE hd with most of my data on it, but I dont want to lose it too.. so I am afraid to put it back in the computer..  

Any suggestions?

Avatar of David-Howard

It very well could be the power supply and for about $35.00 you could buy a spare power supply (which I always keep on hand anyway) and test your theory out. If your system is not on a surge suppressor or at the very least a power strip I would suggest that you place it on one. You may even want to attach your pc's power to a different power outlet. Keep in mind that if you have a laser printer attached to your system and they are attached to the same outlet power drains could be effecting you. I know when I turn my printer on my lights dim for about three seconds. At any rate, a power supply test is cheaper than a motherboard test. ;-)
Avatar of jamietoner
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assuming it is the ide controller, how exactly would this fail?  Could it have been shocked?  If it is the IDE controlller, the primary, should I be concerned that the CDROM / Secondary IDE will soon not function either?  Would it be safe to hook a hard drive up to the secondary? or do i risk losing it as well?

Usually finding out the exact cause is next to impossible, to could have been a shock, something may have shorted it, it could even be a bad cable (forgot to mention that earlier). If the optical drive(s) are working looks like just the 1 ide channel has been affected. You could hook up a drive to the other ide channel with an optical drive but the access time will be dramasically slowed down on the hdd.
Better yet, connect an optical drive to the primary IDE channel and see what happens.

It could be insufficient power to drives.  If optical drive works on primary channel, power supply replacement would be warranted.  What is your current power supply?
Avatar of scadart


I have a 420 power supply... its been working for awhile...  At one point I had 4 hdds in there, and it seemed to work well..  would you all suggest an external USB connector for the other IDE drive?

The ide cables i have used to test are new and old..  tried 3 different ones and had same results.  
Avatar of scadart


I thank you all for your help.  I did some research on the net and found that a new mother board would be way too much to justify this old system.  Like I said Socket 478.  I went ahead and got a PCI IDE/SATA add-on ide controller card.  and a cheaper PSU unit.  Together the cost of them plus shipping was less than a new motherboard.  Hopefully this all works out.  Thanks for your assistance!