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Dell Dim 1100/8400 HD not found, CD "Unknown Device"

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April 8, 2009 10:59:30 PM

Current problem: Dell dimension 1100 Celeron 2.66, 1.5gb RAM (circa 2005)
Complaint: Drive 0 not found on boot.

Did: removed 80g HDD and ghosted drive to known good 160g IDE (using another system). System booted fine. Put back in original HDD, again booted fine. Ran WD Diagnostics, OK, SMART OK. CHKDSK and defrag ran fine.

Customer also complained of CD drive missing intermittently in "My Comp"
Replaced CD & cable with known good used one. Bios showed "Unknown Device" after rebooting, checking bios many times, ONCE, I saw the BIOS recognized the device as CD DRIVE.
Installed new LG Super Multi drive. Still showing "Unknown Device".

Funny... that the original HDD was not found, then all of a sudden, working fine again.

Hummm,
I then recalled last year, 2 Dell Dim 8400 systems (circa 2005) that I replaced the comps because of HDD errors that wouldn't resolve.


I'm thinking now that there might be some kind of issue with the I/O chipsets in these machines. It appears that the HDD's and optical drives are probably OK. It is the IDE interface that is the issue.

Thoughts please?
a b V Motherboard
April 9, 2009 12:24:00 AM

Sounds like the secondary IDE controller is intermittently faulty, a common fault, try putting the CD drive as a slave on the primary controller the performance of the hard disk shouldn’t be degraded much
April 9, 2009 12:37:32 AM

Go into the BIOS and hit CTRL+ALT+D
save and exit BIOS, the system should now redetect all IDE devices.
April 9, 2009 3:38:52 PM

Tried the "Go into the BIOS and hit CTRL+ALT+D " with no change. the Bios did not appear to do anything other than give me a beep.

"putting the CD drive as a slave on the primary controller " worked.

Just HOW common is this fault?
a b V Motherboard
April 11, 2009 1:31:35 AM

It is a quite common fault for one of (or both) the primary or secondary controllers to go faulty on a motherboard. Normally only one goes faulty unless you are unlucky. In my experience it is normally the secondary controller that is the one to fail, I don’t know why this should be. There are many other common faults on motherboards, but at least with this one you can work around it. Just because the secondary controller has failed or become intermittent in my experience does not mean that the primary controller will be any less reliable.
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