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Problem detecting drives on 1 pc, problem installing XP on another

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December 20, 2007 7:12:13 AM

Somebody at work brought me their computer to fix today. They installed a new hard drive and it wont detect it. They also messed with the cd drives moving them around and they wont work either.

I set the first optical drive to master and the second to slave on the secondary (is that the word?) IDE cable and the hard drive to master on the primary ide cable.

This is an eMachines (ha) somebody brought me at work, I am not a computer tech I just like to help. When I opened it I found the ide cable going to the CD drives missing two of the black connectors like it was really abused. Could this have caused the IDE slots (is that the word again?) to short out?

I have always been fairly confident in this stuff Im starting to think it isnt me. I have tried multiple IDE cables and tried cable select on every device. I tell the bios to detect it and it doesnt. The hard drive is spinning too.



On my laptop I just formatted to do a fresh install of XP and now when I try to install windows it just turns itself completely off when it gets past the partition screen. I have tried multiple XP disks too. Any idea how this could happen? Its a HP with an AMD in case it matters. Its been running fine for over a year. I did test that checked every sector of the hard drive and it didnt find any problems. Any ideas?

Thanks a lot
December 20, 2007 4:37:53 PM

Have you tried just the hard drive or just a CD Rom on it's own in both IDE slots? With regards your laptop, why are you re-installing XP? Was there a problem with it?
December 20, 2007 11:01:57 PM

I'd start with a new cable for the optical drives if that looks damaged. Double check the jumpers especially the hdd. As to the laptop, did you use the Windows CD to format the hadd?
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December 21, 2007 6:43:09 AM

I tried multiple cables and multiple configurations of hooking up just the hard drive or just the optical drives :( 

I dont know why it matters why Im reinstalling XP but I do it every 6 months or so just to make sure its running as good as it can. It is a slow laptop with only half a gig of ram I want to make sure it runs smoothly.

I did not format originally using windows, I went to install linux media center edition and it fried my old XP setup somehow. It just formatted without my knowledge and partitioned so wierd that even partition magic said "woah we cant operate on this!"

I got it formatted using a modified version of fdisk and installed Vista just to make sure my computer was still capable. I then formatted again and went to install XP and it crashed at the same spot. It crashes either at the partition selection screen or immediately after. I just cant figure it out. Vista works fine, makes no sense.
December 21, 2007 11:30:48 AM

I believe you can boot off the Partition Magic disk or at least create Floppies to boot from. If you don't have data on the 2nd partition suggest you format the entire drive but be sure to format to NTFS using Partition Magic. As for the E Machine, 1st download the diagnostic/repair software from the hdd mfg website and run it off a Floppy. If it's not recognized, try a different hdd, possible it's bad. Check the hdd mfg site for jumper settings, likely if the hdd is the only device on the cable it should be set to Cable Select. Usually the mobo cable connection for the hdd is the first one, the one nearest the edge of the board and generally cables are marked for hdd and optical drivers. I would totally disconnect the optical drives, both data and power cables, until you get the hdd recognized. If you don't have the E Machine manual, should be able to get it on line. Suggest you upgrade the RAM to 1GB, probably best to just get a GB of RAM rather than running 2 different sticks. Really shouldn't have to reinstall Windows every 6 months unless you're a masochist :) 
December 22, 2007 4:22:22 AM

g-paw, thanks for the response I really appreciate it. I have formatted completely using partition magic. I dont understand why you say it would help though, I still have to install XP the same way and it always crashes no matter what. Thanks a lot though, is there a way to install windows without going through the installer? I know it sounds bad but like install it on my external with another computer and copy the contents to my primary drive somehow? Sounds unlikely I guess because OS's barely ever work right when a hard drive from one comp is swapped for another. Any kind of working manual install?
December 22, 2007 1:02:34 PM

You could image the hdd drive and put it on the other computer but you'd have to delete the drivers and install the one's for the new mobo and you're right, it's not the best idea. It sounds like either the hdd is bad or you have a corrupt copy of Windows. You can download the installer from the Microsoft website and use floppys and then install Windows off the CD, have done this with Windows 2000 but never XP. Once the installer files have installed, they should read the CD. Have you tried a different Windows CD or hdd?
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