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New Hard Drive Woes

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December 18, 2009 7:25:55 PM

I have a Pavilion a450n w/512MB Ram and I wanted to upgrade my HDD as I have filled out the original 160GB HDD that came with my Pavilion.

I went to a certain big box retail store (it is 2+ hours from my house as I live in a small town), and bought a 1TB Western Digital Caviar Black 7200rpm, 32MB cache.... so that I would have the cables and instructions that I needed.

Later after talking with a tech at a local computer store, I was told that I can temporarily connect the new HDD with the SATA cable and power cable converter that I bought from him that same day. My computer does not have a spare HDD cage and I was not sure what to do next.
I powered down the computer so that I could safely unplug the PSU and open the computer. I grounded myself using the metal on the case and set to work installing the new HDD so that I could copy the old HDD information (including the WinXP OS) to the new drive using Acronis True Image WD Edition. Since I do not have an extra spot for the new HDD, I decided to use the CD-ROM spot instead.

I removed my CD-ROM drive, as I already have a DVD-Burner installed, and used the power connection from the CD drive to power my new SATA HDD, I placed the new drive into the CD drive's old spot once I took it out of the packaging, placed the SATA power connector onto the drive, plugged the connector to the open power plug that used to power the CD drive, and placed the SATA data cable onto the drive and then plugged the other end of the SATA cable to the MB on the second available connection.

I have not touched anything else... the original drive is still sitting snugly in its spot, and the only change I have made is to take out the CD drive and put the new HDD in its spot. My troubles are such that now the computer does not boot up at all, though both drives are spinning up. After turning off the power again, I have tried to disconnect the power and data cables from the new drive and the new SATA cable from the motherboard to put the computer into the condition that it was in before I started, but still I get nothing. No HDD light on the front of the computer, my monitor stays blank and in sleep mode, I simply cannot figure out what I did/ what to do.

Can anyone help me? :sweat: 

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a b G Storage
December 19, 2009 4:18:04 AM

It doesn't sound like you caused any serious damage, so my theory is you may have inadvertently loosened a power lead or data cable when you were installed the new HDD. Unplug the power cable at the outlet. Place the case on a flat, stable table or counter. Open the case (ground yourself again - make a wrist-strap with a wire and an alligator clip).

Check all the electrical wires and plugs, and the data cables near the area where you removed the CD box to make sure they are securely connected to the DVD-RW, HDD, and the motherboard. Check that there are no or frayed broken wires, including the 20/24-pin main power connector (press on it to make sure it securely connected to the motherboard).

Check the remaining DVD-RW's jumper settings on the back of the box next to the IDE cable to make sure it is set to "Single" or "Cable Select," not "Master" or "Slave."

Check that the RAM is securely in its slot.

If everything looks ok, and the connectors are firmly seated, plug in the power cord, and see if it will start. Watch especially to see if the CPU fan starts and any LEDs light. If it looks like is going to run, turn it off, close the case, take back to its station, connect the monitor cable, etc., and start it.

Hold you mouth just right and cross your fingers.............
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December 21, 2009 1:47:04 AM

Thanks for your help treefrog07, I unplugged everything, I grounded myself as you suggested, I opened the case, I pulled every connection off one by one from the DVD Drive, the CD Drive, the old HDD and checked both power and data connections..... or rather PSU connections and then drive to Mother Board connections. I placed the cover back on the case and then re-connected every I/O connection, put the power connection back to the computer and then hit the on switch on the power strip ( there is no off switch on the back of my computer). I then hit power button on the front of the computer. . . I get spin-up on the DVD drive, CD drive and the old hard drive, but no OS. I did not even try to put the new hard drive into the machine this time as I would like to even see that my computer is alive. Every thing indicates that it is breathing and okay, except the fact that the computer does not boot. The LED on the front of the case for the HDD indicator simply stays lit as a solid light, I can wait for an hour, but the HDD just spins and nothing changes.

I am confused as to why this would be. I can understand if the old HDD is dead and does not work, but why the spin-up and no action? My computer is completely normal as far as I can see... everything looks as it should why I am I getting into this kind of trouble? I was trying to save the couple of hundred bucks that I was told it would cost me at the big-chain store to do what I thought I could do myself.

Anyone have any other ideas?
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a b G Storage
December 21, 2009 3:04:50 AM

You shouldn't be having this trouble. Adding an HDD is pretty straight-forward.

1) Please confirm that the operating system loaded and was shut down properly at the last boot to the OS before you tried to add the new HDD.

The HP site says the HP Pavilion a450n Desktop PC has an Integrated Graphics Processor on the ASUS motherboard.

2) Do you see a video display on your monitor?

.......... a) Can you see the monitor screen flash a picture, probably of the HP logo right after you power on the machine? If not, confirm the video cable is properly attached and the monitor is on.

.....................1) If you have the HP logo screen, we'll get you into the BIOS setup to make sure the system is booting from the original HDD. I cannot remember HP's method to access the BIOS, try hitting the F2 key. If that doesn't work try the F8 key. If that doesn't work try the <Delete> key.

.....................2) When you get into the BIOS, tab or scroll through the screens to become familiar with them. We'll need to find the screen where you can select the first boot device, set it to your HDD, save the configuration, and exit BIOS. The system will automatically re-start.

........... b) If your monitor doesn't show the HP logo screen at power-on, we'll work on resetting your BIOS to the default configuration (bottom of the linked webpage). It is pretty easy. Shut off the system power at the power strip, move the J19 jumper cap from pins 1-2 (normal) to pins 2-3 (clear CMOS), leave s little while, put it back into its original position, re-power the strip, and power-on the system - looking for the HP logo screen. At that point, we'll go to 2) a) 1).

Let's see if this helps.

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a c 342 G Storage
December 21, 2009 2:58:27 PM

I'm wondering if the machine was set to boot from the CD-ROM drive first, and the old HDD second, before all this began. Once the CD-ROM was removed and replaced with the new HDD, maybe it simply could not figure out how to boot with no CD_ROM to access - it got stuck trying to use a non-responsive device. Following treefrog07's steps will address this by re-specifying to boot from your original HDD only.

Careful, however, about treefrog07's notes about setting jumpers on the DVD-RW drive. That only applies IF that drive is on the IDE port. If your DVD-RW drive is a SATA device, do NOT change any of its jumpers (if there even are any) because there is NO Master or Slave on SATA devices.

Looking forward to success, did the HDD package you bought contain a CD of utilities? If so, you will have the tools needed to Intitialize (i.e., Partition and Format) your new drive. If not, tell us and we can advise how to get those from the WD website and use them. Once the drive is recognized in BIOS, You have to do these small steps before Windows can use your disk.
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December 22, 2009 1:07:25 AM

Yes, I shut down the system normally before I started, I turned the surge protector off, I disconnected each of the cables after waiting a few seconds for the system to totally power down.

Okay..... you were right the first time, my mistake. I am not sure what I must have bumped or jiggled, but when I checked the connections for literally the fifth time, it just worked! I pulled the IDE ribbon cables off of the motherboard and the disk drives, and I pulled the power plugs to all of their respective connections, including that which I have not touched in the past..... and then I reconnected them one by one, closed the computer up, reconnected the power cable and the various I/O connections..... it simply worked!!


When I was having trouble, I was not seeing anything on the monitor at all, except for the note saying it was going into sleep mode since there was no input. Maybe I jiggled the graphics card, or maybe it was one of the other power connections or even the RAM which I also popped out and re-inserted into the motherboard. I even went through and disconnected and reconnected the power cables for the CPU and case fans..... I disconnected and reconnected the HDD LED/ speaker and other indicator cables. I made sure everything was disconnected and reconnected, including the AGP Graphics card...... something must have worked!!


Thanks so much for your help treefrog 07
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December 22, 2009 1:41:29 AM

Paperdoc said:
I'm wondering if the machine was set to boot from the CD-ROM drive first, and the old HDD second, before all this began. Once the CD-ROM was removed and replaced with the new HDD, maybe it simply could not figure out how to boot with no CD_ROM to access - it got stuck trying to use a non-responsive device. Following treefrog07's steps will address this by re-specifying to boot from your original HDD only.

Careful, however, about treefrog07's notes about setting jumpers on the DVD-RW drive. That only applies IF that drive is on the IDE port. If your DVD-RW drive is a SATA device, do NOT change any of its jumpers (if there even are any) because there is NO Master or Slave on SATA devices.

Looking forward to success, did the HDD package you bought contain a CD of utilities? If so, you will have the tools needed to Intitialize (i.e., Partition and Format) your new drive. If not, tell us and we can advise how to get those from the WD website and use them. Once the drive is recognized in BIOS, You have to do these small steps before Windows can use your disk.


Yeah, I re-installed the CD drive when I worked on resetting all of the connections earlier today. I thought that might have caused a problem also. I put things back the way they were before I had the new HDD, just to see if I could boot the machine first, and now I have the new HDD in the machine and I am cloning the old HDD to the New.

I did not reset or change any of the jumpers as I didn't think that was necessary. When I bought my new HDD from the big-box retailer, it did not come with any cables or a CD of utilities. That was part of my earlier frustrations. After checking the cables again, the system started right up, I powered down and plugged in the new HDD and shut the case, plugged the various I/O cables and the power cable back into the machine and it, once again, started right up.

Thanks for your help!
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December 22, 2009 1:49:58 AM

Looking forward to success, did the HDD package you bought contain a CD of utilities? If so, you will have the tools needed to Intitialize (i.e., Partition and Format) your new drive. If not, tell us and we can advise how to get those from the WD website and use them. Once the drive is recognized in BIOS, You have to do these small steps before Windows can use your disk.[/quotemsg]


I forgot to tell you that I did get the Acronis True Image software off of the WD website to start the partitioning and formatting of the new HDD. After I started to select to partition and format the drive, I backed up and started over and saw the button to simply automatically clone the old drive to the new drive. It seems to be working pretty good as the new HDD is 88% finished. The only weird looking part is the partition where Windows XP was on my old drive took up 5.95 GB and now that partition on my new drive is many times that.... is that okay? Does the cloning program simply expand the partition because the new drive has so much more capacity? The old drive is 160GB and the new drive is 1TB.
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a b G Storage
December 22, 2009 10:44:57 AM

Yeah! :bounce:  Congrats! :ange:  Original Issue Resolved!

"The only weird looking part is the partition where Windows XP was on my old drive took up 5.95 GB and now that partition on my new drive is many times that.... is that okay?"

First, let's see if your cloning worked, it sounds like your old HDD had multiple partitions. System sellers typically create 2 partitions on the original HDD:

-- 1 for the OS and for your documents and files, and

-- 1 that is hidden (often about 5-10 GBs!) and contains the files needed to restore your system to its original condition should you have problems.

"Does the cloning program simply expand the partition because the new drive has so much more capacity? The old drive is 160GB and the new drive is 1TB."

Well, it doesn't expand the 1TB partition, it formats the entire 1TB HDD into one parition and clones the 160GB HDD files and settings into the larger-capacity drive, creates a new Master Boot Record for the 1TB HDD, and sets it to "active" so it can be your new boot drive.

Let us know when you have successfully booted to the OS from the new HDD, and that you can find all your old files and documents.



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December 29, 2009 11:59:29 PM

treefrog07 said:
.....-- 1 for the OS and for your documents and files, and

-- 1 that is hidden (often about 5-10 GBs!) and contains the files needed to restore your system to its original condition should you have problems.

"Does the cloning program simply expand the partition because the new drive has so much more capacity? The old drive is 160GB and the new drive is 1TB."

Let us know when you have successfully booted to the OS from the new HDD, and that you can find all your old files and documents.


:pt1cable:  I can now find all of my old files and documents... the hard drive boots correctly, but as I stated before, when I click on My Computer, the partition that has the Windows recovery software on it went from 5.95GB on the old drive to 35GB on the new hard drive.... Is there any reason for this? I used the Acronis True Image Software and there was a few choices on the main menu once I loaded the software to my computer and then re-started the computer. The very first choice was a button called "clone drive", so I cloned the old drive to the new one, and that is what I got in return... a whole lot of space eaten up by the Windows Recovery listed under the D drive... the C drive is 895GB or so.....

Any suggestions as to how this happened or how to fix it?
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a b G Storage
December 30, 2009 3:06:03 AM

1) You successfully cloned the drive.
2) You can boot from the new HDD.
3) You can access all your old files on the new HDD.
4) You have gained experience and knowledge.

I don't know why the cloning software would increase the hidden partition size - maybe it scaled relative to the new HDD capacity.

You can fix it with partitioning software.

I use Partition Magic in WinXP to manage my physical drives - partitions, etc. It doesn't work in newer versions of windows, I'm told.

In another forum, I've read of others having great success in managing their HDD partitions with a program called: EASEUS Partition Master; it is free for home use and you can download it here, and works in all recent versions of windows. Install it and it will show you the HDDs, each partition on each HDD, and the used and empty space in each partition. If your new HDD's 35GB partition has 5.95GBs of data, it will show the remainder (29GBs) as empty.

If you haven't used partitioning software before, use the help file and the software's descriptions for the operations you are selecting. You can use the software to re-size the partitions on the new HDD, reducing the size of the 35GB partition (now the D drive) and adding that capacity to the other partition (the 895GB - now the C drive). Maybe resize the partition called D to 7 or 8 GBs, and add the recovered space to the partition called C.

If you don't want or need to keep the old "hidden" partition - you can format it -losing all data- and merge that "now-empty" space to the partition called C.

None of this is complicated, but pay attention to make sure the software is going to do what you want it to do. Even if you ended up really messing it up - you can still re-clone the new HDD from the old HDD, just as you did before, and try again.

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a c 342 G Storage
January 5, 2010 8:15:00 PM

Many cloning programs have one mode (might even be the default mode) in which the Partitions on the new larger drive are created with sizes PROPORTIONAL to the sizes on the old drive. So a 6 GB Partition on a 160 GB drive, moved to a 1000 GB drive is going to be made at about 30 GB in that mode. I agree it was NOT necessary to do this. However, fixing it might be more trouble than you want.

With good Partitioning software you could examine that Partition to determine how much wasted empty space it has and shrink it to only the necessary size around 6 GB. However, that would leave an island of 24 GB of Unallocated Space sandwiched between the first and second Partitions that already exist. You can't use that to add to any other Partition directly, although you could conceivably create a small separate Partition to use by itself as a drive. The only way you could add that space into another existing Partition, I believe, would be to use software able to move all the existing partitions down in a cascading effect until the Unallocated Space, in essence, was relocated to the END of one of the other Partitions. I am not at all sure whether there is Partition management software able to do this job.

The other route I can imagine is to start all over again to make your cloned copy to the 1 T B unit. But this time you take manual control of the size of each Partition being created. You specify the first little one for restoration as the minimum it needs - about 6 GB - and make the other Partition(s) the size(s) you want, too. Then you clone to that structure and end up where you really wanted to be.
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