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Boot problems with custom PC

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April 14, 2012 3:45:54 AM

This is a machine I'm building for my girlfriend, PLEASE someone give me some advice, I'll try to keep it brief while including all important details but I am almost in tears from frustration at this point. I really need some assistance. :cry: 

First: Some of the parts used (MoBo, CPU) were used in a past computer. Also important: The CD Drive uses a ribbon cable and the old HDD did as well, although the case restricted it and the cable was stretched a lot to reach both the HDD and CD drive.

Second: We got the PC up and running, installed Windows and everything, but then after trying to wire manage and get all fans plugged in, etc, we managed to ground the old Hard drive (also previously used), or something like that, as it no longer seems to work at all.

Now, after messing with wires and killing the old HDD, I bought a new SATA HDD which alleviates the ribbon-stretching issue, BUT I am getting errors while booting the PC: Either "BOOT DISK ERROR: INSERT SYSTEM DISK AND PRESS ENTER", or "Media Test Failure, Check Cable." From what I understand, it seems like both of these issues involve the Hard drive not wanting to work. Is that true, or could it mean something else is the problem?

My best guess is, since we got the system running once, it is having issues because it can't find the copy of Windows that it installed, or there is some silly wiring issue that would cause this issue. Please someone, give this a read and let me know what I can try!

The CD drive is currently plugged into the Slave connector on the ribbon cable, and the HDD is plugged into a SATA slot on the MoBo. Both are detected by BIOS, at least.

More about : boot problems custom

a b B Homebuilt system
April 14, 2012 3:55:07 AM

you put the os on the old ide drive so the new sata drive do not have a os you will have to install it on the new hdd sata drive so you wont get that boot disk error for system disk
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a b B Homebuilt system
April 14, 2012 3:56:48 AM

As you said the old harddrive which had windows is gone. you need to reinstall it
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April 14, 2012 3:57:53 AM

I can't install the OS, because every time the system boots I get one of those error messages.
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a b B Homebuilt system
April 14, 2012 3:59:56 AM

the cd drive should be set first boot in bios to install os on the hdd
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a b B Homebuilt system
April 14, 2012 4:08:14 AM

if you have cd set first its possible, although unlikely, you actually messed up the ribbon cable since you managed to break both the CD and harddrive at the same time. i doubt it though since it show in bios. Don't suppose you can borrow a CD drive from another PC and try?
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a b B Homebuilt system
April 14, 2012 4:08:56 AM

you can also install from a flash development using Microsoft's bootable USB tool for windows 7
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a b B Homebuilt system
April 14, 2012 4:15:23 AM

1. Since the CD is the ONLY device on the IDE port now, its jumper MUST be set to make it the Master on that port. Then you really should plug into it the END connector of the ribbon cable. These things MAY be why the system cannot find a boot device if you're trying to boot from the CD drive.

2. Do NOT try to adjust the jumper (if there is any) on the SATA drive. There is no such thing as Master or Slave settings for a SATA drive. SATA unit jumpers are for other things, and usually need to be left alone.

3. You say, "...it can't find the copy of Windows that it installed, ...". Installed where? Your description indicates that you never got the new SATA HDD to work, so it appears there is no OS installed on it.

4. Make sure in BIOS that the SATA port to which you have connected the drive is Enabled. (I suspect it is already, since you say the drive is detected in BIOS.)

5. I am guessing you need to install Windows from an optical Install disk (CD) to your hard drive. To do this you should FIRST make an adjustment in the BIOS that depends on which version of Windows you are installing. The adjustment is made in the same area as where you ensure the SATA port is Enabled. Look for a line for something like SATA Port Mode, with options like IDE (or PATA) Emulation, Native SATA, AHCI, or RAID.

5a. IF you are installing Vista or Win 7, set the Port Mode to AHCI or, if that's not an option, to Native SATA. Do NOT set to RAID. These more recent versions of Windows have their own "built-in" drivers for AHCI devices and can use the drive properly.

5b. IF, instead, you are installing Win XP in any version, it cannot deal with an AHCI or true SATA device. So your easiest option is to use a simple work-around in the BIOS Port Mode. Set it to IDE (or PATA) Emulation. This has the BIOS intervene and make the actual SATA port behave exactly like and IDE port and device that Win XP fully understands, and it will work just fine.

6. In BIOS, set the Boot Priority Sequence to the optical (CD) drive first, and the SATA HDD second, and NO other devices allowed. Don't forget to Save and Exit to save your BIOS changes.

7. Now go ahead with Install. Put your Win Install CD in the optical drive and boot up. It should boot from the CD, then find the HDD and propose to Install to that device. IF you have any old data or anything already on that drive that you don't need, use the options to Delete any and all Partitions on that drive before installing to it. I presume you will want to have it create the Partition on that drive to use up all of the space available as one large drive.

8. You say you already installed Windows on this machine, but then it crashed and now you'll have to install again. If Microsoft gives you a hard time about trying to Install this Windows twice, explain to their Tech Support guys what happened so you can Register your OS properly.
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April 14, 2012 4:42:44 AM

Paperdoc said:
1. Since the CD is the ONLY device on the IDE port now, its jumper MUST be set to make it the Master on that port. Then you really should plug into it the END connector of the ribbon cable. These things MAY be why the system cannot find a boot device if you're trying to boot from the CD drive.

2. Do NOT try to adjust the jumper (if there is any) on the SATA drive. There is no such thing as Master or Slave settings for a SATA drive. SATA unit jumpers are for other things, and usually need to be left alone.

3. You say, "...it can't find the copy of Windows that it installed, ...". Installed where? Your description indicates that you never got the new SATA HDD to work, so it appears there is no OS installed on it.

4. Make sure in BIOS that the SATA port to which you have connected the drive is Enabled. (I suspect it is already, since you say the drive is detected in BIOS.)

5. I am guessing you need to install Windows from an optical Install disk (CD) to your hard drive. To do this you should FIRST make an adjustment in the BIOS that depends on which version of Windows you are installing. The adjustment is made in the same area as where you ensure the SATA port is Enabled. Look for a line for something like SATA Port Mode, with options like IDE (or PATA) Emulation, Native SATA, AHCI, or RAID.

5a. IF you are installing Vista or Win 7, set the Port Mode to AHCI or, if that's not an option, to Native SATA. Do NOT set to RAID. These more recent versions of Windows have their own "built-in" drivers for AHCI devices and can use the drive properly.

5b. IF, instead, you are installing Win XP in any version, it cannot deal with an AHCI or true SATA device. So your easiest option is to use a simple work-around in the BIOS Port Mode. Set it to IDE (or PATA) Emulation. This has the BIOS intervene and make the actual SATA port behave exactly like and IDE port and device that Win XP fully understands, and it will work just fine.

6. In BIOS, set the Boot Priority Sequence to the optical (CD) drive first, and the SATA HDD second, and NO other devices allowed. Don't forget to Save and Exit to save your BIOS changes.

7. Now go ahead with Install. Put your Win Install CD in the optical drive and boot up. It should boot from the CD, then find the HDD and propose to Install to that device. IF you have any old data or anything already on that drive that you don't need, use the options to Delete any and all Partitions on that drive before installing to it. I presume you will want to have it create the Partition on that drive to use up all of the space available as one large drive.

8. You say you already installed Windows on this machine, but then it crashed and now you'll have to install again. If Microsoft gives you a hard time about trying to Install this Windows twice, explain to their Tech Support guys what happened so you can Register your OS properly.


To #3, that was unclear, I meant that I thought the system was confused because it had previously had a copy of Windows 7 installed on it, but now that it had a new HDD in it, it got messed up.

Alright.
1) I've changed the ribbon to the Master cable slot, which is also the end connector.
2) I haven't attached any jumpers to the SATA...
3) We just covered.
4) I am pretty sure the default in BIOS is set to auto enable SATA, since as you said, the drive is detected.
5) I'm installing Windows 7, I'll try to find this SATA port mode setting in BIOS, I'll be back when I give this a shot. Also, if it helps, the BIOS is "Phoenix."
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April 14, 2012 5:05:45 AM

Question on step 5a: Do you know where I could find this "Port Mode" setting in Phoenix BIOS? I don't see anything by that name, or anything about AHCI really.

I'm starting to wonder if the CD drive has an issue...? The green light blinks a couple times during booting, but I can't open the drive and I feel like I should be able to, even if it's not getting too far into startup. I can try my own disk drive...
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a b B Homebuilt system
April 14, 2012 5:26:27 AM

RE: Item 1. Did you check the jumper on the CD drive and make sure it was set to Master?

It can be hard to find info on a Phoenix BIOS. But if you can tell me the maker and model number of your mobo, I can probably find an on-line manual to look this up.
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April 14, 2012 6:33:54 AM

Don't worry Paperdoc, I solved the mystery. So, I had a hunch... I couldn't open the CD drive and it kept asking for the system disk. Well, I took that drive out, busted it open... Burned smell like you wouldn't believe. We must have fried it by messing up the wiring with the old PSU, but that sucker was fried. I put a different disk drive in, started it up, popped windows in and off she went. Good times, eh?
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a b B Homebuilt system
April 14, 2012 8:49:54 PM

Love it when you get it all to work!
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!