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Bios won't detect my harddrive

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April 27, 2010 4:52:48 AM

My friend asked me to fix her pc b/c she was getting a system fan failed error, as well as her windows vista crashing on her.
I cleaned out the fans, and they are running fine, but bios is still posting failed fan, so i unplugged each fan one at a time, and rebooted etc. anyway, i was recommended to clear my cmos, and maybe that will get rid of the error posting. it didn't work, and then when i cleared the cmos, then it wouldn't detect my harddrive anymore. so i took the harddrive out of her pc and placed it into my pc, and ran the western digital data lifeguard diagnostic tool on it, and it had errors, but the tool repaired all of the reported errors. so i thought i was good to go, so i placed her harddrive back into her pc and still the bios wouldn't detect her harddrive anymore. i cleared bios, set default settings in cmos, and still it won't detect harddrive, and i don't know what to do at this point. her pc is a compaq presario SR2173WM with no windows currently on the drive anymore. system recovery wasn't working either, and her recovery discs can't help when the harddrive isn't being detected.
can anyone plz help me? any suggestions are greatly appreciated!! thanks in advance for any input!!

More about : bios detect harddrive

a c 342 G Storage
April 27, 2010 5:08:00 AM

Go into BIOS Setup and look for two important things. First is to find the place where you configure the hard drive ports. If the hard drive is IDE, go there. But I'm guessing it is SATA, so look at the SATA ports. In each case make sure the port you are trying to use is Enabled. On some BIOS's the default setting (which you restored by resetting the BIOS) may be Disabled.

Once they are Enabled, you still have Port Mode to set if you are using a SATA drive. On a machine such as you describe the OS MAY have been installed (almost certain if it is Win XP) using the SATA drive with its port set to IDE (or PATA) Emulation. So close by where you Enable the SATA port, look for a port mode selection and make sure it is set to that Emulation mode. If you are able to see the drive within the BIOS Setup screens, then the BIOS is detecting them OK. To confirm, find the BIOS screen where you set the Boot Priority Sequence. A common choice is to set it to try the optical drive unit first, then the hard drive next, and no other choices. In this screen, most BIOS's will not even let you choose a drive it does not "see". So if you can choose a drive as a boot device, then the BIOS has no trouble seeing it.

Save and Exit to preserve your new settings, and see if Windows boots. If not, report here exactly what the screen does say about devices found and errors why it is not booting.
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April 27, 2010 5:39:03 AM

First i want to thank you so much for responding to this thread!
Yes this is a sata connected harddrive, and yes the bios shows that the sata controller is enabled, by default. i had to check it once u mentioned this, just to make sure. The PATA controller is set to "both" and i'm not exactly sure what that means, but that is what it says in the bios. i cannot see the harddrive in the bios at all, not even in the bios screen, or the cmos utility. under my boot sequence, first is cd then hdd, which is not showing, says not installed as well.
after resetting my bios, it tries to boot, but then i get the black screen which says boot disk failure, insert system disk and press enter. when i do this with the recovery disc in the cd drive, it loads windows files, then gets to windows recovery, and when i tell it to recover to factory settings it starts it, then i get errors, one was error 1002 then one was 1005, and the last one was 100a. one other time it was err2err3 as well. but that last one err2err3 was when the bios once recognized the harddrive earlier today.
i'm hoping u understand this, i know if i was trying to read this i might not...lol
thanks again so much for all of ur help!!
i sure hope we can fix this mess i made! i don't even know how it came to this, i didn't do anything i haven't done before when repairing a pc.
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a c 342 G Storage
April 27, 2010 5:48:15 AM

From what you say the BIOS is not recognizing the HDD. That could be a bad HDD, or maybe just a bad power supply or data cable to the HDD. Try changing to other cables just in case that helps.

Who is the HDD manufacturer? Both Seagate and WD will let you download for free from their website a disk diagnostic testing package. Other makers probably have similar free tools. I prefer to download the version that has you burn your own bootable CD disk containing all the tests. Then you put that CD into the machine's optical drive and boot from it. It loads a mini-DOS into RAM and lets you run all its tests completely without any other Operating System required. It can test many aspects of a hard drive and tell you what errors it may have, and what can be done about them. If you get error codes and messages, write them down and call the HDD maker's Tech Support people for advice. You may have simple hard drive errors that can be fixed. And even better, IF you just have a cable problem (including simply a loose connection where one plugs in to the drive or the mobo), swapping to other cables may help.

Oh, one other thought. Some mobos have several SATA port connectors, and some of those are operated by a different mobo chip that requires installation of a driver. Make sure you are using the SATA ports with numbers like SATA_0 or SATA_1, etc., that are controlled by the mobo's main chipset.
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April 27, 2010 5:58:51 AM

Western digital is the maker of this hard drive, and i burned to cd the diagnostic utility tool, and ran it and it fixed the hard drive errors. In the above conversation, i commented on doing that. i actually put her hard drive into mine tower, and ran the utility then, and then placed it back into hers. I already switched sata connectors, to see if that was the problem, but unfortunately it wasn't, they both work fine, mine and hers. after i ran that tool, it did find errors and fixed them. her hard drive is detected in my tower, but not her tower. weird huh? if i could somehow get a dos screen on this pc, i might be able to get to run the fixmbr or something, but it won't let me get to a command prompt. idk if that will help, but i have seriously exhausted all that i can think of....ugh! LOL if u can think of anything else, that would be great! i have all the error codes written down, and have looked them all up, but their solutions are just putting me into this viscous circle and i am right back where i started...according to directions online at hp.com...make since? LOL
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a c 342 G Storage
April 28, 2010 2:49:54 AM

You're right, I missed your original note about using the WD utilities when I wrote last. so you ran the utilities on her hard drive while it was installed on your machine and it found and fixed some errors. At that point it appeared to be just fine in your machine, but still would not work in hers. Did you try running the Ed utility package on her machine with the drive installed, to see if that set of tests can tell you anything? You have the advantage of knowing (from tests on your machine) that the HDD itself does NOT have any significant problems.

So in her machine what do the BIOS Setup screens show? Where you Enable and configure the SATA ports, do the ports all show up OK? Are they all set to IDE Emulation mode? Back on the first screens, does the SATA drive show up there at all as a detected storage unit? Do you have any other storage units, like an optical drive, that does show up? IS it a SATA unit, too, or not?

How many SATA ports are there? Have you tried connecting the HDD to each port in turn and seeing if it shows up OK? Maybe there is one or two faulty ports, but not all of them (hope?)

I just thought of something you did NOT mention. You said you cleared the CMOS and after that this problem became evident. There is an important further step needed when you do that, and you can do it now. When you go into BIOS Setup, you need to go to some of the last screens on the last tabs and find the place where you can Load Factory Default (or other) settings. Just clearing the CMOS does NOT automatically set everything to the right place. Usually your best choice is Factory Default or Optimized Settings. AFTER you have done this you then go back through BIOS and set specific items as you know you need. That's things like making sure the SATA ports are Enabled, the modes are set to what you need, CPU voltage is set to the correct value for your CPU, RAM voltage likewise is set properly, etc. NOTE that there are times when the automatic detection systems that set CPU and RAM voltages for you make an error. So it is always good to go the the part manufacturer's website armed with the exact model number of your CPU and RAM modules to get the correct specifications.

While doing this, make sure you also get timing specs for the RAM in her machine, and check whether those are already set right in the BIOS you have reset.

You might also consider downloading and running Memtest 86+. It is an excellent memory tester that can run by itself from a floppy or CD. Oddly, there are times when a machine misbehaves in an odd manner and it turns out to be problems with memory functions - bad RAM modules, incorrect RAM voltage, or wrong timing settings. Memtest 86+ can help you verify good RAM performance.
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April 28, 2010 7:04:38 PM

I haven't tried running the ed utiltiy package. where do i find this software? when i ran wd diags tool it fixed all errors. her hdd ran fine in my tower. which is y i thought this whole thing happening was odd. anyway, in the bios setup screen it only shows the dvd-r drive, and SATA is enabled in the cmos, and pata says Both, and i don't know what both is referring to. what is the emulation mode u are talking about? i don't see anything in the cmos about emulation. my cmos utility is Phoenix awardbios cmos setup utility. if this helps u see what mobo/cmos i have....here is the specs of my motherboard:
http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc [...] 2589#N1327
4 total sata ports on mobo.
the only device that shows up in cmos and bios is my optical drive. however all of my memory is reporting, and everything else in cmos looks good. under advanced in cmos is where the sata is showing enabled as well. in main, all that is reporting is just the optical drive set as the 1st drive. and memory banks are correct. in advanced the cpu is reporting fine, sata's enabled, and in boot the boot sequence is in order, but again no hdd.
also under the cmos i did push f5 to load factory defaults and saved them, then reboot and checked them again to make sure everything was right. b4 i reset the cmos/bios i wrote everything down, so that i could double check it after the reset to make sure everything was right, and that is when i noticed that the hdd wasn't reporting.
i will now try to plug sata in the other available ports like u suggested. i did already change the sata cable, used mine from my pc, no change tho.
Could this be a power supply problem? or do u think it is the mobo? i have a feeling it's one of the two.
thanks again so much for trying to help me solve this issue/issues...ugh! ur awesome!!! i sure hope we can narrow it down and find the problem.
i look forward to your response!!
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a c 342 G Storage
April 28, 2010 8:50:31 PM

I'm presuming you are asking about the WD Diagnostics package I mentioned, and I think you already have used it. It is called Data Lifeguard, and this link

http://support.wdc.com/product/download.asp?groupid=613...

will get you to where you download a version to put on a CD. What you download is actually an .iso image of the CD, so you need a software tool like Nero able to burn an .iso image to a CD. There's also a version you can get to make your own bootable floppy disk if you prefer.

Is the optical drive on her machine connected via SATA or IDE? I see the mobo has 2 IDE ports or channels, and 4 SATA ports. You say in BIOS the "pata says both". Look at what other options it has for that setting. I am guessing that on this line you can choose to Enable the IDE (or PATA) ports, the SATA ports, or both. Or maybe "both" means just both of the IDE channels, and NO SATA ports. But do look closely at what it says. Some mobos had restrictions so that things like only some SATA ports could be enabled and used if the PATA ports already were also in use. Or, maybe you can only use SATA ports if one of the PATA ports is turned off. That's why I asked about the optical drive connection. If everything is on SATA ports you could set the BIOS to use ONLY those ports and see if that helps. In fact, just as an experiment, you could do that anyway even if the optical drive is IDE. You just would lose ability to use the optical drive temporarily, but it would be interesting to know whether that made the SATA drive unit appear in BIOS.
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April 29, 2010 3:34:48 AM

i said ed software above, and asked u what ed was when u wrote that, but i just figured out u just misspelled it, yes i ran the wd diag tool on her harddrive in her pc. sorry for the confusing. her optical drive is an ide drive.
i am going to enable pata and try it like u mentioned. at this point i have nothing to lose right? lol thanks for the suggestions i'm going to go and try it now! :D 
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January 15, 2013 3:51:23 AM

Hello,
I had a problem similar to yours where the hard drive in a Dell computer wasn't recognized. I received an error message saying hard disk cannot be detected and I was unable to load Windows 7 Home premium 32bit. I tried using my Windows installation disk, but it would stop at the blue load up screen. I had to reformat the disk from another computer but after that still received this error. However, it let me use my Windows installation disk to reinstall Windows. I still get this error, but now I can enter bios, do nothing, exit bios and it will load Windows perfectly. This problem occurs when the computer is shutdown, not rebooted. I believe it may be a motherboard issue. Power supply, hard drive, cables checkout and no virus, malware or boot sector viruses present. I'm currently waiting on a replacement motherboard.
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April 9, 2013 6:47:05 AM

If the optical drive is an IDE and the jumper settings are set to anything but select disk it's not going to read the other hard drive .. Sorry it's been years but I just learned that myself from this post..
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April 28, 2013 1:12:08 PM

I expect Amyc's question is well out of date now (she wrote in April 2010) but I see people are still posting - I came to this page myself thro google because I had a query - so in case it helps others, here's the solution to a related problem I had for months.

On my computer, (Acer T180) my IDE (PATA) optical drive wouldn't work. Sometimes, as in this question it wouldnt be recognized by BIOS, or BIOS would simply hang after finding the CPU. If i removed it, everyting else worked worked OK. I had months of practical working round the problem (a borrowed SATA drive would work, but that meant taking one of my SATA drives out of action; I would save files on my computer, put them on a data stick and write them on a different machine with a working optical drive etc etc)

The simple solution, hit on by chance after months of annoyance was that everything worked OK if I disconnected a USB external drive before switching on (I had this external drive connected via the back of the computer and I used just to leave it in - its only function was as my backup. It had not interfered with anything else, or even, for months, with the optical drive as far as I can remember). I've no idea as to the logic of this solution, but it works.




amyc57 said:
My friend asked me to fix her pc b/c she was getting a system fan failed error, as well as her windows vista crashing on her.
I cleaned out the fans, and they are running fine, but bios is still posting failed fan, so i unplugged each fan one at a time, and rebooted etc. anyway, i was recommended to clear my cmos, and maybe that will get rid of the error posting. it didn't work, and then when i cleared the cmos, then it wouldn't detect my harddrive anymore. so i took the harddrive out of her pc and placed it into my pc, and ran the western digital data lifeguard diagnostic tool on it, and it had errors, but the tool repaired all of the reported errors. so i thought i was good to go, so i placed her harddrive back into her pc and still the bios wouldn't detect her harddrive anymore. i cleared bios, set default settings in cmos, and still it won't detect harddrive, and i don't know what to do at this point. her pc is a compaq presario SR2173WM with no windows currently on the drive anymore. system recovery wasn't working either, and her recovery discs can't help when the harddrive isn't being detected.
can anyone plz help me? any suggestions are greatly appreciated!! thanks in advance for any input!!

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