Friends Dell Dimension 3000 stopped working. Bios no longer sees IDE hard drive but sees the CD drive. I've swapped hard drives, cables, IDE channels, put both drives on same cable (and altered the jumpers as needed) and reset BIOS. Can the mobo drive controller be bad and still allow the optical drive to function? The problem seems odd to me. What am I missing? Any thoughts?
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When an IDE controller on a motherboard goes bad it can give some very peculiar symptoms indeed. One of the common symptoms of a bad controller is that DMA modes stop working but PIO modes still work or visa versa. This may account for the hard drive not working, although I think that modern IDE hard drives should still work in PIO mode. Often with a bad IDE controller you find that some drives will work with it but others will not or they work for a while and then fail. I have had many inexplicable strange faults with bad IDE controllers so your problem is not that unusual.