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E520 completes POST but will not boot raid drive

Last response: in Motherboards
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December 15, 2010 8:01:40 PM

This is an odd issue, I can usually solve my own issues but this one is really strange. I have been repairing pc's for over 15 years and this one has me stumped.

A week ago I fixed a machine bsod with Combofix and cleaned out a lot of spyware it was running great.

Yesterday I upgraded the memory and now it will not boot or even try to access the hard drive. I can access BIOS and make changes and reboot but still will not access the HDD or even try to boot. It completes POST fine. Will not boot to a Winxp cd, it starts but after it loads all of the drivers it just gives BSOD and statues an error that I should run check disk /f. I checked the xp disk in other machines and it works fine. I also tried other Winxp boot disks and they don't work either. Booted to Ubuntu and can it boots fine. I can even see the HDD and open up files. Boot sector looks to be intact. It even surfed the net with no problems. I do find it odd that the default is to have Raid on. However, After reading a lot of posts on the Dell site they do that so they can be easily changed to different arrays depending on the original order.

Here is what I have tried Thus far:

Downloaded the bootable Memtest and ran 100% with no errors.
Removed hard drive and checked in another system, Scanned drive all came up clean.
Ran the Hardware check under the F12 Dell start up with no errors.
Downloaded the upgraded BIOS to and installed with a floppy boot disk.
Downloaded the Dell boot and in depth hardware check iso. Ran check and all good
Loaded CMOS default values.
Removed the CMOS Battery and reset.
Changed CMOS battery with a new one.
Changed SATA operation from "Raid ON" (default) to "Raid Autodetect/ATA" and back.
Checked motherboard for bad Caps but all look fine.
Checked power supply and it is working fine with test unit.
Removed and cleaned processor and memory contacts and reinstalled.
Reseated all connectors.
Swapped Cables and drive location connections to MB

Machine info:
BIOS 2.4.0 5/24/07
Dell E520
Pentium (D) 3GHz
Dual Core
Processor Buss 800Mhz
L2Cache 4mb
Memory 3gb 667mhz DDR2 SDRAM*
250gb Seagate SATA hard drive (controlled by Raid Bios, default)
Raid on (default)

*Started with 1gb and added 2gb more (now removed and back to 1gb) no change

At this point I guess I may be looking at a motherboard issue, I just find it hard when it passes all tests.
December 16, 2010 12:26:55 AM

As stated in the original post "*Started with 1gb and added 2gb more (now removed and back to 1gb) no change "
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December 16, 2010 10:37:12 AM

No, It only has winxp on it. I was going to try a winxp repair but it will not boot to the winxp setup CD. It will boot with a ubuntu cd
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December 16, 2010 10:41:12 AM

it hangs at this point

No area available for Command List/Command Table/FIS
AHCI BIOS not installed
Intel(R) Matrix Storage Manager option ROM v6.0.0.1022 ICH8R
Copyright(C) 2003-06 Intel Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

and hangs after not listing the SATA bus devices.
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December 16, 2010 10:53:21 AM

By the way it will not boot to a winxp disk even if the Sata Hard drive is removed (the CD/DVD is Sata also).
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December 16, 2010 12:09:31 PM

Yes, I did as noted in the original post:

"Will not boot to a Winxp cd, it starts but after it loads all of the drivers it just gives BSOD and statues an error that I should run check disk /f. I checked the xp disk in other machines and it works fine. I also tried other Winxp boot disks and they don't work either."
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December 16, 2010 7:25:58 PM

I put in a spare SATA Drive with some data on it formatted to NTFS under the same bios configuration "RAID ON" (default setting and how it was originally set up) and got the same BSOD error. Then changed it to the only other option "Raid Autodetect/ATA" and the xp setup disk booted and I could read the new test drive.
This, however, is not the way the disks were originally set up so I question setting up another drive under this configuration. I am also scanning the original drive again in my bench system and running other tests to include drive errors, spyware and viruses.
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December 16, 2010 8:14:38 PM

No, the default on the bios was Raid. this setting causes the BSOD. I modified it to Auto and it booted with the set up disk. The original drive was set up under RAID. In order to get it to boot I had to put it in an ABNORMAL condition.
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December 16, 2010 9:23:17 PM

I don't think it is the hard drive because the new drive does the same thing when the bios is set up in the original configuration. The only difference is the new drive will allow the cd to boot when the bios is set to auto instead of Raid. Either way the new drive should work if the BIOS is set to RAID.
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December 16, 2010 10:54:27 PM

I think I need to try a clean fresh Sata drive set up in RAID format.
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December 17, 2010 3:19:59 PM

Brand New fresh SATA drive. configured BIOS with format. Same issue.

I have a question, If I boot with BIOS set to "Raid Autodetect/ATA" and can boot with the CD. Can I then repair the windows installation then switch back to "RAID ON" and have it boot? The BIOS warns me that changing it will cause it not to boot.
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December 17, 2010 3:32:37 PM

I meant to say Configured BIOS with RAID format
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December 17, 2010 3:38:17 PM

Another Question, If the Raid is controlled by the mother board should I be loading a Raid driver, and it will not boot with a WINXP install disk with RAID on, Should I be loading a RAID driver when it asks during the start up of the winxp boot disk?

If so how do I find one that will load during setup? All of the files from intel seem to only run after you boot to windows.
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December 17, 2010 6:04:15 PM

With the BIOS set to RAID, I got it to boot with the xp setup cd using the F6 RAID driver loading utility. It took some digging to find the correct chipset because it is not listed in the bios. I had to find the Matrix Storage Manager ICH8R driver to load. WHAT A PAIN. This was not found on the Dell website.
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December 17, 2010 6:07:45 PM

Do you have to have the original Dell OEM XP cd for the Product key on the box to work? I have a shop copy with SP3 slipstreamed and it won't accept the key on the box. I know I have used this disk before with the key on other Dell's and had not problem.
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December 17, 2010 6:49:13 PM

You are not going to believe this but I got it running again. By the way I found out that OEM Product keys do not work with retail version disks (FYI). This actually worked to my favor.

Anyway I decided to rename the "Windows" directory and the "Documents and settings" directory and reload windows to see if I could get it to boot.

Well after it failing with the product key I had I decided to remove the hard drive and put it in my bench system. I deleted the new "Windows" directory and the new "Documents and settings" directory. Then I renamed to original directories back to their original names and reinstalled the drive back into the system. Turned it on and it booted to the original installation! All the original programs were installed and working fine. I think the whole issue is from to factors.
1. You need to load the Raid Drivers if you use the setup cd and your BIOS is set to RAID
2. I had a bad boot sector infection from spyware or a virus.

I am now going to do several scans and make sure this does not get reinfected again.

By the way how do you get rid of old restore points that may reinfect your machine?
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December 17, 2010 7:35:57 PM

Thanks for the support.
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December 25, 2010 12:59:18 AM

Best answer selected by mholly600.
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!