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Intermittent Hard Drive Problems on Boot

Last response: in Windows XP
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May 23, 2004 9:59:43 PM

Archived from groups: microsoft.public.windowsxp.hardware (More info?)

Weird things going on here and haven't found much to help me:

System is P4 2GHz on an Asus P4800 running XP SP1, latest updates. Two
hard drives on Primary IDE Channel; Plextor CD writer on Secondary IDE
Channel, and 2 HD's on an IDE ATA/133 PCI controller card.

1. Recently, boot-up started to get slow: each stage of the boot
process caused an audible click from the Primary Master;

2. Sometimes get a message: MBR error during bootup, which seems to be
ignored and bootup proceeds;

3. Sometimes get "Disk: unable to find NTLDR error, but not often;

4. Event Viewer reports: The driver detected a controller error on
\Device\Harddisk 1 (or 3) [Primary Master and Slave]. And: ATAPI: The
device, \Device\Ide\IdePort0, is not ready for access yet;

5. SMART and manufacturer's disk utility failed to find problems
either with Disk 03 (Primary Slave) or Disk 01 (Primary Master;
Windows chkdsk reported no problems either. Also ran up-to-date
anti-virus program (AVG Pro) without finding any problems;

6. Bought True Image 7 (www.acronis.com) in anticipation of a HD
failure and used it. (BTW, this program is absolutely first class, and
had a great interface: it permits fast, full disk image backups on the
fly while still using Windows, and it creates the image in a secure
area which can't be touched by Windows or viruses. It also allows
scheduled incremental backups while still in Windows. To say I'm
impressed by this program $38-48 would be an understatement - see
below).

7. Replaced Primary Master drive with a new 120 Gb Western Digital
yesterday and restored the backup of C:\ I did using True Image (40Gb)
to my new HD in 40 minutes flat! All was well till I restarted, when
the same problems which caused me to replace the HD started to recur -
intermittently, eg MBR error 3 and the NTLDR issue. Rebooting usually
solves the problems though, and everything runs OK - like now.

8. Updated my BIOS a few hours ago. Same problems.

Any ideas greatly appreciated.

Anthony
Anonymous
May 24, 2004 3:28:59 PM

Archived from groups: microsoft.public.windowsxp.hardware (More info?)

"ant" <lound@charter.net> wrote in message
news:f9996a82.0405231659.14268d8c@posting.google.com...
> Weird things going on here and haven't found much to help me:
>
> System is P4 2GHz on an Asus P4800 running XP SP1, latest updates. Two
> hard drives on Primary IDE Channel; Plextor CD writer on Secondary IDE
> Channel, and 2 HD's on an IDE ATA/133 PCI controller card.
>
> 1. Recently, boot-up started to get slow: each stage of the boot
> process caused an audible click from the Primary Master;
>
> 2. Sometimes get a message: MBR error during bootup, which seems to be
> ignored and bootup proceeds;
>
> 3. Sometimes get "Disk: unable to find NTLDR error, but not often;
>
> 4. Event Viewer reports: The driver detected a controller error on
> \Device\Harddisk 1 (or 3) [Primary Master and Slave]. And: ATAPI: The
> device, \Device\Ide\IdePort0, is not ready for access yet;
>
> 5. SMART and manufacturer's disk utility failed to find problems
> either with Disk 03 (Primary Slave) or Disk 01 (Primary Master;
> Windows chkdsk reported no problems either. Also ran up-to-date
> anti-virus program (AVG Pro) without finding any problems;
>
> 6. Bought True Image 7 (www.acronis.com) in anticipation of a HD
> failure and used it. (BTW, this program is absolutely first class, and
> had a great interface: it permits fast, full disk image backups on the
> fly while still using Windows, and it creates the image in a secure
> area which can't be touched by Windows or viruses. It also allows
> scheduled incremental backups while still in Windows. To say I'm
> impressed by this program $38-48 would be an understatement - see
> below).
>
> 7. Replaced Primary Master drive with a new 120 Gb Western Digital
> yesterday and restored the backup of C:\ I did using True Image (40Gb)
> to my new HD in 40 minutes flat! All was well till I restarted, when
> the same problems which caused me to replace the HD started to recur -
> intermittently, eg MBR error 3 and the NTLDR issue. Rebooting usually
> solves the problems though, and everything runs OK - like now.
>
> 8. Updated my BIOS a few hours ago. Same problems.
>
> Any ideas greatly appreciated.
>
> Anthony

Whenever one of my disks plays up or makes clicking noises,
I run the free diagnostic program that all disk manufacturers
make available on their web site.

If you still have problems with your new disk then there
could be something wrong with your disk controller or the
ribbon cable.

To test your primary IDE controller, you could make your
system disk the secondary master. Some BIOSs will boot
off it; others won't.
May 24, 2004 7:15:26 PM

Archived from groups: microsoft.public.windowsxp.hardware (More info?)

"Pegasus \(MVP\)" <I.can@fly.com> wrote in message news:<#pQ5#5SQEHA.3596@tk2msftngp13.phx.gbl>...
> "ant" <lound@charter.net> wrote in message
> news:f9996a82.0405231659.14268d8c@posting.google.com...
>
> Whenever one of my disks plays up or makes clicking noises,
> I run the free diagnostic program that all disk manufacturers
> make available on their web site.
>
> If you still have problems with your new disk then there
> could be something wrong with your disk controller or the
> ribbon cable.
>
> To test your primary IDE controller, you could make your
> system disk the secondary master. Some BIOSs will boot
> off it; others won't.

Thank you. My post stated that I had ran the manufacturer's
diagnostic. I have swapped out the cable, to no avail.

I'm pretty certain now (after 5 re-boots to get working tonight!) that
it's the IDE ATA controller on the mobo. And if that's the case, I'm
not sure whether making the system disk the secondary master will work
since I'd expect a failing I/O chip (Southbridge) to evidence problems
across both IDE channels. I wonder whether installing updated s/w for
this chip will repair it? I doubt that removing the controller in
Device Manager and having XP reinstall its own drivers will work
either since the problems start at the time the BIOS is trying to
recognise the drives.

I'll give your suggestion it a try though, even if it won't offer a
permanent solution (where shall I attach my CD writer?). Thank you for
your help.

Anthony
!