Dell HDD Problem


I have been trying to repair what seemed like a HDD problem for a dell Dimension 3100.

When booting up, the computer would go past the windows logo screen but then would blue screen with the error message

"Stop: C0000218 {Registry File Failure} Registry cannot load the hive (file): \SystemRoot\System32\Config\SOFTWARE. It is corrupt, absent, or not writeable."

I had read a fix online, however decided the best thing to do would be to remove the HDD plug it into an external caddy, plug into another machine via usb and copy all the important files off the HDD which i managed successfully.

It was then my intention to plug to HDD back into the original PC and reinstall the operating system.

The problem has come with plugging the Drive back into the original machine. The original machine will not recognise the drive and just gives the error Drive 0 not found. I have checked in the BIOS and the Drive is enabled however under drive id just says unknown.

I thought the drive may have just given up, however if i take it back out and put it back into the caddy the drive starts up fine and i can access all of the files, so i am inclined to say the drive is ok.

I tried a replacement sata cable, but still nothing. I have not replaced the power cable but I can feel that the disk is starting up.

Has anyone encountered a problem like this before? where plugging the drive into an external caddy has caused an issue?

The only thing I can think to try is a new HDD but I am agains going out an purchasing one for that to not be the problem.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. If you need any further information please let me know.


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CallandorConnect With a Mentor Commented:
If you are able to copy files using a USB caddy but you can't install an OS on it, the hard drive may have developed a defect in the boot sector, which means you can only use this as a non-bottable drive.  The corruption of your registry was a sign of some kind of problem.  It's probably better to replace the drive than to trust it with important data.  You should always back up any essential data as a matter of course.
Did you plug it into the same Sata port?  Have you tried different Sata ports?

The original issue can be fixed fairly simple if you can get that drive recognized again.
Brandon2k1Author Commented:
I did plug into the original sata port. Unfortunately the machine only has one port.

My understanding of the original issue was to use xp recovery console but was not recommended for OEM versions. I just thought copy important files and then reinstall xp would be cleanest.

Any further ideas on the drive issue?
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Why, if you suspect a problem with the HD, are you trying to use the same disk again? A bad disk should be replaced!

Test the HD using it's manufacturer's diagnostic utility. You'll find it on the UBCD (put the disk in the other PC internally, not using an USB caddy, then boot to the CD and run the tests):

Then if the test shows errors either use the utility to repair them if it gives you such an option, if not, replace the disk. If no errors are shown, use the same utility to erase the disk (Often an option like lowlevel format or write zero's or similar). Once that is done put the disk back into your original Dell and try again.
thegu99Connect With a Mentor Commented:
Chances are that if you were able to copy off your files with no problems at all then there is likely another issue going on either with the SATA port or the power connector.  
If you have access to another computer, plug it into the SATA port there and see if the correct drive info appears in the BIOS.  If not, then replace the drive.  If the info is correct, then you will need to further examine the sata and power on your existing computer.
nobusConnect With a Mentor Commented:
a couple of possibilities :
1- the drive died during last use (not recognised in bios)
2-bad cable, or connector; solutions : use other cable, swap sata connection for disk and cd drive to test, or test the drive on another PC
3-bad disk controller; if you can still see the CD drive, and boot from it, connect th disk to that cable to test

use my guide for troubleshooting further :                  (Short-overview-of-how-to-troubleshoot-bad-hardware-when-a-pc-does-not-post)

here is how i handle bad drives:
noxchoGlobal Support CoordinatorCommented:
Make sure that you connect it to the machine correctly and all the cables are connected tight to the HDD and motherboard.
Also, if you connect different HDD to the same machine - does it see that?
Brandon2k1Author Commented:
Thanks for all your comments. Sorry its taken a while to get back, but was out of the office all day yesterday.

Its been a strange problem but taking the advice in some of you solutions I connected the HDD to another machine and it reacted exactly the same way. Which obviously led me to believe that it must need a new drive.

Drive now replaced an all working again.

The strange thing is the old HDD is still working in the caddy! I can still copy any files i need from it. I gues it means it is on its way out though so atleast i managed to catch it before it completely died!

Thanks for all the solutions and I think i have acccepted the solutions which led me down the correct path.

Thanks for the help.
tx for feedback -  i would run HDDReg on that "strange" drive
I'm not sure if you missed my comment? I pointed out you should replace the drive, which you did, and also that you should run the drive's diagnostics on it (I even posted a Link to a utility CD which includes those diagnostics) which would most likely have given more details on the drive's state? I'm not sure whether you did those diagnostics, but you did replace the disk so I would have expected to be included in the split.
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