BIOS not reading/remembering my hard drives?

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Puritan

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On my old desktop (a Gateway P2-266... yeah, a dinosaur, I know :)), my BIOS does not seem to be detecting or remembering my hard drives. If I go into the BIOS, it says, under primary and secondary master and slaves, none, none, none, none. I manually enter in the information about my hard drives and tell the BIOS to save the settings, but then when it restarts, it still can't find the hard drives (or the CD-ROM, or anything) and everything is, once again, none none none none. What's going on? The BIOS is up-to-date and I don't think it's a battery problem -- the BIOS is still remembering the current date and time correctly -- it just has Memento-style memory loss and can't remember any of my drive settings. Anyone know how I would go about fixing this? Thanks.
 
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The BIOS will be auto-detecting the drives.

That suggests that the drives are not being auto detected (they appear to be missing) and the BIOS updates itself accordingly.

Reseat all IDE and power connections to the drives.
 

Puritan

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I've done that several times...

Well, the computer is making a weird loud whirring noise occasionally, I don't know if that's related... maybe it is just a huge hardware flaw of some sort. I don't know what it could be: I had the computer in storage for a year, so I guess something could've gone wrong in the interim, but all the IDE cables and power supply and everything look tight and intact to me...
 
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And the CMOS battery is OK?

That could be a major cause of amnesia, and the first and simplest thing to fix (just replace it)
 

Puritan

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Can the BIOS battery is dead even if the computer's clock and calendar still being accurate?
 

Puritan

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Replaced the CMOS battery just to be sure, but no, it's still the same old problem... *sigh*

Anything else I can try for? Also, can I disconnect the slave part of the IDE cable and just leave it dangling to try to just get the master drive to connect, or does the slave part need to be terminated? :( Don't know how to fix this at all...
 
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Slave does not need to be present or terminated.

It could still be a motherboard/IDE problem
 
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