hard drive problem maybe?

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oortam

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Hi all,
I have a strange problem which may be hardware, but it may also be S/W related. My son was playing a game over the internet on the home PC. The PC froze for no reason so he rebooted it. At startup the first message was "error loading OS". We're running XP on an Athlon 64 3000 CPU with 1GB RAM, a 160GB master HDD and 200GB slave HDD, both SATA. I checked all the cables were working by swopping between drives. I checked the BIOS and the system recognises both drives. I put the original Windows disk in the DVDdrive and booted off that with the intention to do a repair. After loading all the files into memory the screen tells me it recognises the two partitions on the 200GB drive(where I store must keep data) but on my boot drive it tells me it is 160GB unpartitioned. This says to me that I'm in deeper doo doo than I first thought. Any suggestions as to where I go from here as I don't want to have to go through the days of work to install the OS (and updates) and all the applications etc which I would need to do if I partitioned the drive. The only sofware installed recently was a copy of Norton Internet Security 2006, upgraded from 2004 2 days ago, and my son installed Battlefield 2 deluxe, which he was playing when the PC Hung. That was installed the day before the problem and had been used for " a while with no problems", teenagers!
Any help would be much appreciated as I'm stuck.
Cheers
 

oortam

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I tried the diagnostics from WD and got "Test completed with no errors" for both drives using the extended test. I don't know anything about how a drive is partitioned and what makes a partition bootable but does this point to a software problem?
 

oortam

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Unfortunately I can't get anything to load to get as far as the recovery console. If I boot from the windows CD it tells me I need to install windows and lists both drives. By telling me that the original boot drive is unpartitioned it seems to me that it is the partition information that's corrupt and that is what I need to restore. I was hoping that there is a utility somewhere that does this. Or it might be something else. My son is hoping for a quick fix as I work away from home and am due to go away in 6 days for a month. He would have to go cold turkey on shooting bad guys if I don't get to the bottom of this before I go.
Thanks for all the help so far.
 
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As these are Sata drives, you are probably missing the F6 command and installing the sata driver with the XP cd is what is happening so setup cannot see the hard drives.
 

oortam

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Setup can see the hard drives. The drive which had windows installed on it is now labelled as "unpartitioned" by setup. The other drive has the two partitions as originally setup. The pc hung in the middle of playing a game and after a bootup reported "error loading OS" so something changed. The BIOS sees the drive, the diagnostics says the drive is OK and windows setup sees it but tells me it is a virgin drive. It's a puzzle.
 
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That's not a puzzle at all, for whatever reason the drive was wiped clean and an electrical or magnetic shock can do that on a very weak hard drive. I would replace it and if under warranty, they will send you a new one.
 

oortam

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It would be my last resort to start from scratch as I want to avoid the hours of downloading the windows updates and reloading all the other programs, not to mention the associated data. The hard drive has passed the manufacturer's drive utilities extended test with no problems so I'd be surprised if it was a "weak" hard drive, however I'm open to try anything so suggestions of other utilitues would be welcome.
 

oortam

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Unfortunately I don't have access to another machine, I'm using a laptop to access the internet at the moment. As I said the pc sees the drive but thinks it is a virgin drive. If I partition it I'll lose all the data that is on it. If it just didn't see the windows installation I could do a re-install and would be able to rescue most of it. This is a strange one for me. I used to work in Wang Laboratories in the PC manufacturing division as an engineer so I'm not green but I've been out of the industry for 10 years so I'm not as up to date as I might be but I've not come across this one before. It couldn't be virus activity could it? My son was playing a game on the internet at the time and he told me it had just finished loading a map when it hung.
 
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oortam said:
It would be my last resort to start from scratch as I want to avoid the hours of downloading the windows updates and reloading all the other programs, not to mention the associated data. The hard drive has passed the manufacturer's drive utilities extended test with no problems so I'd be surprised if it was a "weak" hard drive, however I'm open to try anything so suggestions of other utilitues would be welcome.
Then you have arrived at the last resort as there is nothing on the drive. You can choose to think what happened is normal and reinstall Windows on the drive, but I would hope you value your time more than that, because I have never seen a hard drive lose everything on it, and then not do it again before long. Oh and I have never seen a weak drive fail to pass mfgr software tests with "flying colors".
 

oortam

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Jul 25, 2006
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36
Just to let you all know the result. I tried partition recovery but the demo version just let me see the partition and not restore it. I was reluctant to buy as I wasn't sure about it. I tried test disk and managed to retsore the partition information, it was almost too easy. I have accronis disk manager on order but it seems test disk is enough to do the job. I'm not confident about the hard disk so I'm returning it to the supplier for repair or replacement so we'll see. At least I managed to save all the data I needed from the disk before it goes back. Thanks for all the help guys.
 
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