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Connecting HDD renders computer unbootable

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by datamatrix, Sep 20, 2004.

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  1. datamatrix

    datamatrix Thread Starter

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    I have an old 4.3 GB HDD that I was using to install DOS and ZipSlack (slackware that runs from UMSDOS filesystem) It was working fine till a few weeks ago, then when I re-connected it to one my 486 motherboards, it stopped booting, only emmitted long continuous beeps.

    I thought it was a RAM problem, so I got new RAM and tested on another motherboard, I did not realize that the other motherboard too stopped booting due to the HDD! And today (about 45 minutes ago) I did the worst possible thing - I connected it to one of my work computers as the primary HDD - the regular HDD was disconnected at that time. And POOF! Now this one doesn't boot either - only long contunious beeps.

    Now I have checked out the possibilities of CIH / Chernobyl being the culprit, but it attacks only on 26th of a month - that too if it finds a file uninfectable. Even if that part is ignored, then the PC I was using to install DOS and ZipSlack on the disk (the latest one to fall prey) should had been rendered useless weeks ago.

    I'll once again check all the wires after taking some rest - it's 2:34 AM here at my place - because that coo could be the possible culprit, but doesn't seem to be - after knowing that 3 computers met the same fate...

    Another possiblilty is that the RAM is being corrupted, but I don't think there are any viruses that can affect the hardware (except the eprom).

    What steps may I follow to check if the system is useable or not.
    If yes, then how may I make the system to boot?

    I have also written to HP for support, but I trust open minds and big experiences more than flowchart yeilding tech support people!!!

    I am very much in a fix, because I will need the computer running by tomorrow afternon (abour 10 hours on my hand, out of which I am reserving 4 for sleep!) - such is life if you administer systems :p

    Anyway, thanks a million in advance, if it is possible a live chat wil be helpful - my browser does not seem to help much... how about meeting up on irc.freenode.net in #techguy ? (that's just a thought... and may be neglected gladly)
     
  2. lemondrop

    lemondrop

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  3. Triple6

    Triple6 Moderator

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    First disconnect the bad drive. Then find the Clear CMOS jumper on the motherboard and use it to clear the BIOS settings. You can also pull the batter out for several minutes to clear most CMOS settings. Don't forget to to move the jumper back or re-install the battery. Then try powering up the computers. Hopefully its as easy as that.

    You can also double check all connections of the cables and cards. To boot a PC all you need is a motherboard, CPU, 1 stick of RAM(unless its using 72PIN RAM then yoiu need 2), video card, CPU, and Powersupply. You don't need to connect any drives or any extra PCI cards so disconnect them are see what happens.
     
  4. datamatrix

    datamatrix Thread Starter

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    First of all, THANKS! Just woke up, felt good to find two replies!

    I tried taking out the battery for about 15 to 20 minutes (while the CPU was totally isolated - not a single outside wire connected) , but it apparently did not help. I am unable to locate the jumper for BIOS, maybe i'll have peer harder at the mobo. :)

    The exact beep codes can be summarized in our morse code format as " - - - - - - - - - - - " ad infinitum.
    Just one long beep, then a long pause, then a long beep then a long pause...

    Now even my Internet connection is giving me the problems - reason why I woke up early. That's a different problem - dialup over CDMA phone connection, I hope it is solved soon. But the fact that I may not be able to follow up made me quickly write this reply and then proceed to checking the wires.

    Thanks again.
     
  5. datamatrix

    datamatrix Thread Starter

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    Alright, all awake, I'm better at seeing things - the RAM and probably IDE cables were a little loose it seems.

    The machine now does not make those awful noises. I'll take it to it's place, connect the whole thing up and then report back.
     
  6. datamatrix

    datamatrix Thread Starter

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    This problem is solved.

    I feel a little stupid for making a fuss out of it. But I still don't get it, why did those two other motherboards stop working then! And I'm absolutely not trying to connect this HDD on my work machines right now. Not as primary at least :p

    Ine the end, I must thank Triple6 and LemonDrop for replying and giving me the confidence to go ahead and find a solution - which was pretty straightforward. Take everything out and put it back in, one by one and check if the computer booted. It did!

    Thanks.
     
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