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laptop does not recognise hard drive

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by dellhell, Aug 1, 2006.

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  1. dellhell

    dellhell Thread Starter

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    I have a Dell inspiron 1100 notebook. When booting the computer goes into bios, but then the boot process stops with an error because there is no hard drive or bootable disk. There is in fact a hard drive. Thinking that perhaps (hopefully) the hard drive failed somehow - I ordered a replacement hd and installed it using all the normal precautions. The same error persists. I have checked bios and everything looks ok, I can boot DOS off of a cd, but the hd is not recognised.

    I am taking a guess that this is a mobo problem and that I will need a new one. If anyone has any other ideas of what to try before the considerably painful process of swapping mobo's on a laptop please let me know.
     
  2. qldit

    qldit

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    Good Afternoon dellhell, when you enter BIOS can you see the hard drive parameters at all?
    It would be expected that the drive would be master on the first position, is it set for auto or can you autodetect the IDE at all?
    Does the date and time remain retained properly in BIOS.

    When all else fails was there a defult setting for the actual BIOS, if so have you tried it?

    qldit.
     
  3. dellhell

    dellhell Thread Starter

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    I did spend quite a bit of time in BIOS prior to posting this thread. I made sure that the device was enabled, auto detect, first in boot sequence, etc. The bios is displaying information indicating that there is no Hard Drive at all.

    The bios battery is ok- the computer was not on for about 6-10 months and I am not sure if the time was re-set (this is a friends computer) but it is able to store information. Defaulted settings with no results. Ran the Dell diagnostic tool and it also said that there was no hard drive detected.
     
  4. JohnWill

    JohnWill Retired Moderator

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    Sounds like the hard disk may have died. I'd consider taking it out and using a 2.5" to 3.5" adapter to connect it to a desktop machine and test it.
     
  5. qldit

    qldit

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    Good Morning All, yes excellent suggestion JohnWill, these adapters are quite cheap and easy to get.
    They simply plug the drive to a standard IDE ribbon cable and it then behaves as if it were and ordinary hard drive.
    Be extra careful when you fit one of these adapters to ensure the Pin 1 side is to the red trace.
    You only get one chance to get this correct!

    It is probably easiest to fit this drive in place of the normal hard-drive in a desktop machine, temporarily disconect everything off the first IDE ribbon cable and use the end connector.
    Confirm the drive is detected in the machine BIOS.
    It should appear as master.

    If you can get it to be detected and appear, you may run a bootable disk with sofware to perform some tests.

    If not, commisserations, sadly it has likely passed to drive heaven.

    Cheers, qldit.
     
  6. justfoo

    justfoo

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    You fellows may have missed a point dellhell made? He/she stated that there was a second HD purchased and installed using normal install precautions. Is there really a chance that both HDs would be dead and exhibit the same symptoms?
    Just a thought....
    DF
     
  7. qldit

    qldit

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    Good Morning Again All, yes justfoo, anything is possible, but the strategy was to try to discern if the component was serviceable.

    Your inference obviously suspects the laptop M/B or drive socket connection, but these are pretty difficult to dismantle and troubleshoot. Power could also be a problem.

    I hate pulling the damned things apart and don't personally have all that much experience with the rotten things. I actually dislike working on them. (as in really hate!)

    This option simply appeared easier. (and options are naturally limited)
    When you use one of these drive adapters it makes things so simple.
    Mine gets regular use for cleaning and testing these little drives.

    The adapter idea would have been my next suggestion if JohnWill hadn't beaten me to it!!!

    You would appreciate what the next suggestion might be if the drive functions normally in a desktop configuration.

    Any input is appreciated, I am wrong most of the time!! (as in 99% LOL!)
    Cheers, qldit.
     
  8. justfoo

    justfoo

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    Sorry qldit, I wholly agree with the test mentioned, just wanted to make sure was all, thanks though.
    DF
     
  9. qldit

    qldit

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    Good Morning justfoo, no worries old chap, yes they can be a pain to work on!
    The way I see it is that if the drive did check OK in a desktop then the machine possibly needs to go back to the agent for repair.

    If it doesn't check OK in a desktop then there is a chance the new drive was kaput on delivery or the machine has possibly killed it along with the other.
    But the ability to test the previous drive also exists with an adapter, so more inteligence gathered helps.

    In that a similar problem was evident previously it kind of alters the circumstance.

    It is possible the problem is a flat battery or something like that where the BIOS settings are lost or incorrectly set.

    But either way JohnWills suggestion to try the drive in another machine is best. (I feel)

    One very interesting thing about this site is the demonstrated effect of "parrallel thought" (and back-check) which is suitably demonstrated by your suggestion.
    It is so easy to focus and miss things.

    I put a bit of clear stickytape on the neutral spade of a power plug on a co-workers machine when I was involved in industry on one occasion, a couple of hours later I returned to find a massive stripdown and he was in the process of replacing its large power transformer.
    I had to very carefully remove the tape when he wasn't watching and slink off!!
    So narrow focus can be dangerous! (LOL!)

    I saw him a few years later and asked how he analysed the problem, simple he said, "Just measured the input AC line to chassis at the transformer"!
    "Open circuit primary"!
    "Changed the transformer, problem fixed"!

    "I must remember that"! said I. (I couldn't bring myself to tell him, no guts!!)
    Cheers, qldit.
     
  10. justfoo

    justfoo

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    Bravo qldit ! lol
     
  11. dellhell

    dellhell Thread Starter

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    Thanks fella's. The ribbon cable is a good suggestion, but I suspect that it is not the drive that has failed but rather another component. I was hoping there would be someone out there who knew some oddity with this laptop that caused the issue.
    Any incantations? ...sigh..

    power supply, mobo, etc are all things I don't like to play around with on Laptops, because as stated above by others: that is very distasteful. (IT FLIPPIN SUCKS). Well it looks like I am breakin out the screwdriver set.

    I have not played with the innards of a laptop in some time. If anyone has suggestions on how to trouble shoot the powersupply, drive connection to the mobo - i would by very happy to hear it. I don't work in a computer lab anymore so options like swapping parts are a huge pain. (and sometimes expensive)
     
  12. DoubleHelix

    DoubleHelix Banned

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    There really isn't anything you can do at this point if the hard drive is in perfect working order although you haven't actually said that it is.

    Laptops are not like desktops. You can't just swap parts like a power supply or drive connections. I hope it's under warranty, if not, the cost of fixing it could be higher than replacing it.
     
  13. dellhell

    dellhell Thread Starter

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    Yeah, I know it's not like a desktop...i was thinking mobo's really. Troubleshooting at this point is figuring out if it is the MOBO or not- It's all embedded stuff and i am not excited about buying a new one just to see if that is the problem - to swap it out is not only a pain but would run a few hundred bucks. I was thinking of the good ol corporate workshop days when i just grabbed another one and swapped stuff to see what was not working. I figure it's a lost cause myself, but I figured I would try.
     
  14. qldit

    qldit

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    Good Morning Gentlemen, yes DH that simple action of grabbing a part off the shelf to try is an incredible benefit, which is not realised until you don't have it.

    The only other thing I can think of is to check the battery voltage, I can't find batteries in half these machines these days even if they are present!
    The possibility I was suggesting is that the BIOS settings have altered somehow.
    I have had a problem where I was adamant the AC power would still allow BIOS to function properly.
    One of these little old wise dickheads said just give the battery a try. "Impossible"! Said I.
    I did and it fixed the problem!
    I refuse to speak to the smartarxxx any more!!! (LOL!!)

    What is the bet if you pull the thing completely apart and re-assemble it, you will find at least one screw left over and it would be an important screw!!
    This is on the proviso that you don't manage to break some incredibly expensive little flimsy component like a RTC battery holder or something like that!!

    Better you than I "Gunga-Din"!!

    Enjoy the moment, qldit.
     
  15. dellhell

    dellhell Thread Starter

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    Well I guess the battery is worth a shot- you are talking about the battery for the flash bios right? Well - I appreciate all the suggestions guys! I am wondering how it would help though? When you tried the new battery what problems did it fix for you?
     
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