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New HDD: installing xp and the screen turns black

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October 5, 2008 1:30:32 AM

hey guys, got a computer building question.

i bought my dad a new hdd (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...)

i thought it'd be an easy install, but ive run into some trouble. His old drive is an old 10 gig hdd out of a compaq he used to have. I've backed up that drive on my own comp. I hooked up the drive originally with the jumper set to cable select. I reformatted it, shut down the comp then changed the jumper to master. I dont know anything about the order of the ide cable or anything else, i just hooked it up to the spot where the old hdd was. i boot it up off the cd and try to install windows on it. it says boot from disc, press a key... i press a key then it says 'system is inspecting your hadware configuration' then the screen goes black and nothing happens. I let it sit there for a while but nothing loads up. any ideas what i did wrong?



system: old dell dimensions 8100

ram: 512 rambus

not sure what other specs you guys need. i tried hooking up the old hdd to the cable and everything booted up like normal, so i think i'm doing something wrong. when i checked the dell bios, it recognized both the new hdd and the cd drive thats plugged in.



i hope someone can help

blarg :) 
a b G Storage
October 5, 2008 5:57:53 AM

Get something like Ultimate Boot CD, run a disk test, then clear any existing partitioning fom the new drive;
Windows installer often crashes if the HD contains a corrupt or extended partition table.
October 5, 2008 10:35:10 AM

hm.. i thought it was a bios problem because my new hdd is 320 gigs, but i'm installing off of a windows xp pro corporate sp2 cd. i plugged in my dads old hdd and i got this message

'windows could nto start because of a computer disk hardware configuartion problem. couldn not read the selected boot disk, check boot path and disk hardware. please check the windows documentation about the hardware disk configuration and your hardware reference manuals for additional information'



i'm not exactly sure what that means.
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October 6, 2008 1:43:28 AM

hm.. i just noticed that there is also an orange/amber colored light on the motherboard. when i searched google, it said it might be a psu problem. if thats the case, why would everything still power up, i can hear the fan on the vid card, the cd drive still spins up to try and boot off the cd. maybe its not a psu problem and i just noticed the orange light :lol: 



anyone know anything about that error message i got when i tried to bootup off the old hdd. the one about the path?
October 6, 2008 1:55:57 AM

If the HD isn't recognized in Bios it aint getting power. I just had a sata power plug die on mine. I hooked it up to a molex to sata adapter and I'm back in business.
October 6, 2008 2:24:39 AM

hmph, here is a new random update. so i hooked up the original hdd to the ide cable and booted from the cd. it recognized it, reformatted and is currently installing xp on the old drive. i guess i'll get it all setup and updated then try with the new drive again. i know the new drive works/recognized because before i tried installing xp on the new hdd, i installed it as a slave and reformatted through windows :shock:

oye i dont understand whats goin on
October 6, 2008 2:26:38 AM

roadrunner197069 said:
If the HD isn't recognized in Bios it aint getting power. I just had a sata power plug die on mine. I hooked it up to a molex to sata adapter and I'm back in business.


thanks for the input roadrunner. i believe the bios is recognizing the new drive, but its recognizing it as a 137 gig hard drive i think (its actually a 320gig) , i'll check that next time i try to install on the new hdd which will probably be later tonight after i finish installing xp on the old drive
October 6, 2008 3:14:45 AM

ok, i checked the bio and it recognizes the drive

model: ST3320620A

drivetype: auto
capacity: 137 GB

is the bios not recognizing the drive as its full size the reason the screen turns black after i try to boot from cd and it says its 'system is inspecting your hadware configuration'
October 6, 2008 3:38:41 AM

Are you sure that the Windows that you installed has SP2? Because I think that pre-SP2 XP couldn't recognize more than 137GB on a hard drive.
October 6, 2008 11:18:36 AM

If the BIOS only sees 137Gb you need an update, or a drive overlay utility to use full capacity. Check Seagate web site for suitable program.

Mike.
October 6, 2008 11:54:56 AM

With a dell system that old I doubt they have a bios update that will allow you to use the full drive size.
a c 342 G Storage
October 6, 2008 3:06:30 PM

Here's the root of the problem. Beginning back in the 90's the standard way to handle HDD's was "LBA". But by about 2000 that system was changed. The original was "28-bit LBA", and that meant it could deal with a HDD up to 137 GB (where 1 GB really is one billion bytes), or 128 GB if you use the Microsoft definition of 1024 x 1024 x 1024 bytes. The newer version is called "48-bit LBA", and that can handle a HDD up into the Petabyte region. It can be confusing because older machines will say in their specs that the "suport LBA" with no mention of the "48-bit" part, because it did not exist then.

For 48-bit LBA to work, you need three things:
1. The HDD must support 48-bit LBA
2. The HDD controller on the mobo must support 48-bit LBA.
3. The OS must support it, too.

You have #1. You also have #3, because 48-bit LBA support was added to Win XP beginning with SP1. But you appear to be missing #2 on the older mobo.

Sometimes the manufacturer has issued a new version of the BIOS, IF the machine has a BIOS chip system that can be "flashed" or updated with a new version. If that is the case and the new BIOS does support 48-bit LBA, then you can fix it with a BIOS update. Otherwise you are going to be limited. Right now it appears your BIOS realizes it cannot make sense of the information it receives from the new HDD, because it does not understand the large size parmeters.

Even if you could force the system to start using the new HDD, there would be a risk. At some point the OS could specify that the info should be written to some area above 137GB. But the controller would not be able to pass along the highest address bits, so it would try to write it to a different location near the low end of the disk. Presto! Corrupted disk! You do not want to do that.

If you cannot update the BIOS to handle the new 320 GB HDD properly, Seagate can give you (free) a work-around. Download from their site "Seatools for DOS" and install it on a floppy. You boot from that floppy into a limited OS and it will let you run a bunch of diagnostics to test your Seagate disk. One of the tools will let you set a limiting parameter on the HDD itself that effectively resets its size to the 137 GB limit. (You will have to figure out the number you enter - it is the binary number, minus 1, of 512-byte blocks that comes to about 137,000,000,000 bytes.) From then on the HDD will tell any controller that asks that its size is whatever you set. (For future reference, Seatools also has a tool to reset the HDD later to its original default size.) Do this and your old machine's BIOS should be able to recognize the new drive and use it as if it were only a 137 GB unit.

Of course, the downside here is that you lose more than half of your drive. But it will work properly at the limited size.

The alternatives? Buy and install a new HDD controller for the PCI bus. Or buy another HDD that's smaller. For example, on an older system with this trouble I installed a 160 GB Seagate and limited it to 137 GB - not a lot of wasted space.
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