Primary Hard Disk Failure, Press F1 to Continue...


I'm having a problem with the HDD (or other component) on a computer, and I'm wondering if anyone would be able to assist me. So, my friend's computer would no longer start up, and he asked me if I could fix it, as I fix computers often, and build my own, etc, so I said sure. When I first got the PC and tried finding the problem, I decided it was the HDD, as the HDD had the "click of death", and was not working or showing in the BIOS. I also put my own HDD in his computer and took it all the way to the "choose partition to install Windows" portion of the Windows 7 set-up, and all seemed fine, but as I had data on the drive I stopped there.

So he ordered a new HDD, as I told him that's the part he needed, and it just got here the other day, and upon installing it, the computer would not recognize it, and was giving me the "Primary Hard Disk Failure, Press F1 to Continue", so I took the drive out of his PC, put it on my main PC as a slave drive, and then ran chkdsk, which turned up no errors. After that I decided to try a different SATA cable, in a different SATA port, and it finally started up fine, and went through the Windows 7 install, but not without problems.

During the first try installing Windows 7, when it got to the point where it needed to restart the computer, it did, but when it came back on, nothing displayed on the monitor, but the computer was running, so I had to hold the power button for a Hard Shut Down, and when it came back on, it said "Windows encountered an error and shut down improperly", or whatever the exact words are of that message. Anyway, I clicked "start windows normally", and when it got back to the install process it said, "Installation cannot continue as Windows shut down improperly during install process" or something to that effect, so I shut down, and started the install all over again.

This time, it installed fine, and started up, so now come some more errors. First, I couldn't get the audio to work for the life of me...I suppose this is minor, but it just didn't seem to recognize the onboard audio no matter what I did. The other problem, is every time I shut the computer down, it wouldn't start up the next first try, you'd have to turn it on, then hard shut down, then turn it on again, to get it to start up. It was doing the same thing where the computer was on, but there was no display on the monitor.

Anyway, I went to bed, after that, and when I got up this morning, to look at it again, I tried to start it up and now it says, "Disk Read Error Has Occured, press CTRL+ALT+DEL to restart", which all that does is restart it, and repeat the same message, over and over again. So after that, I switched it to a new computer case, with a different motherboard/ram/PSU/CPU, but I kept the video card, DVD drive, and HDD the same. It started up the first time, and tried to load Windows, but had an error, stating it could be caused by "changing of hardware", which I figured was likely, so I restarted with the intention of re-installing Windows 7, but not the computer would not come on, it would power on, but again, would not show a screen.

So now, I put everything back in my friends case, and back with all of his hardware, but I left the video card out, and tried the on-board video. Upon trying this, it got to the Windows load screen, but then blue-screened, and continued blue-screening every attempt after that.

Finally, I took the hard drive out, and put it in my main computer, disconnecting my HDD's, and doing a fresh install of Windows 7 to the hard drive, and everything went smoothly, in fact, I'm on it right now, and even restarting, the computer turns on fine, and starts up fine, every time I've tried. So I definitely don't think it's a problem with the HDD, so it must be a problem with some other component in my friends computer.

I'm just wondering though, why would "Primary Hard Disk Failure", and "Read Disk Error Occured" show up, if it doesn't have anything to do with the HDD.

And could it be the video card? I have no other way to test that at the moment, as, like I said, my friends on-board video doesn't work either, and I have no spare GPU's that will work in his system, nor do I have any spare motherboards that actually have on-board video, so I really have no way to test if it's the video card, other than the fact that his on-board video didn't work either, but that could be another problem entirely.

So what's the next step to finding out what the problem could be.

It wouldn't have anything to do with the fact I am installing a 6.0GB/s (Sata III) HDD in his computer, that only has 3.0GB/s (Sata II) slots, would it. It was my understanding that Sata III HDD's and Cable's are backwards comptaible with Sata II ports.

Oh, and something else I can add, that may or may not be an issue, is when you turn his computer on, the CPU fan starts at 100%, and slowly (over a minute or so) goes down to I'd say 10%-20%, until you can barely hear it. I don't know if that's how his fan is supposed to work, his CPU is a Core2Quad (Q8600 IIRC), but I've also noticed, when rebooting or turning the computer on, if the CPU fan doesn't do that (start at 100% speed and go down to 10% speed), then those are the times when the monitor will not turn on. So it could be a power issue, though, as I stated, I tried another PSU on it, with no success, although it's quite possible that PSU isn't strong enough (only 450W) or is damaged as well.

Thanks for ANY help!!!
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  1. for the hard disk error it could be the mb chipset or a third party controller is going bad.if you can google the mb info online see if there two sata controllers. if there are try using the other one and see if the error happens. with the onboard video if it not the chipset (video) then you could have a bad ram dimm. most older mb used the onboard system ram as video ram. I would start by pulling 1/2 the ram and see if the errors get worse or better. very few times unless the cpu fan fails will a cpu go work or it wont. one thing you can do is see if someone has a post card. if it the mb hanging with no video you be able with a post card see where it hanging. if it the mb itself then he can replace it and have the same speed pc or build a new one.
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