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Not always detecting Hard Disk + startup fails

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by IsaacA, Aug 14, 2006.

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  1. IsaacA

    IsaacA Thread Starter

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    Hi, I have a system here that does not always detect the harddisk during startup (Detecting IDE Drives ...). If it does detect it, it will show the primary and secondary drives, the HD led stays on for a few seconds, then the screen jumps to black with a cursor blinking in the upper left corner: _ (In those few seconds I can still access the BIOS).

    If it doesn't detect the HD, it continues the POST till it gives the BOOT FAILURE message.

    I was actually trying to fix the problem that the system locks up during some applications. I had already run the WD diagnostics tool for the WD HD and it showed that everything was fine yesterday. I also ran the Windows Memory Diagnostic tool (from a bootdisk) and that one did not show errors, but the pc did restart automatically during the test not at specific points. (just before that there is a short pitching sound). I removed the dust inside the pc and checked the cables. And it was still working after that. I closed the case and moved it aside a bit and this morning the problem started that it does not always detect the HD and that it doesn't startup even when the hard disk is detected. I have run the Windows Memory Diagnostic tool again when it failed to detect the HD and it still gives no errors, and now the problem that the system restarts automatically during that test, is gone.

    But I don't know what is wrong with it now and I've gone from a system that locks up regularly to a system that does not even starts up Windows. Can I just put in a harddisk from another pc (that is already installed with OS etc.), to check if it is the harddisk giving problems? (And also try the IDE cable from the other PC)

    I had run Everest yesterday before the problems so here are some of the specs:

    Code:
    OS  			Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition
    OS Service Pack  	Service Pack 2
     
    CPU Type  			Intel Celeron 4A, 2677 MHz (26 x 103)
    Mainboard  			ECS P4VXAD+ (5 PCI, 1 AGP, 1 CNR, 3 DIMM, Audio)
    Mainboard Chipset  		VIA VT8753A Apollo P4X333
    System Memory  			512 MB (DDR SDRAM)
    BIOS Type  			Award Modular (03/05/03)
    Video  				NVIDIA GeForce FX 5200 (Microsoft Corporation) (128 MB)
    Sound  				VIA AC'97 Enhanced Audio Controller
     
    IDE apparaat  			VIA Bus Master IDE Controller - 0571
    Floppy Disk   			Floppy Disk
    Hard Disk  			WDC WD400BB-00DGA0 (37 GB, IDE)
    Optic Station  			JLMS XJ-HD166S (16x/48x DVD-ROM)
    Optic Station  			LITE-ON LTR-52246S (52x/24x/52x CD-RW)
    SMART Status hard disk  	OK
    
    SPD Memory Modules:
    Nanya M2U25664DS88B3G-6K  	256 MB PC2700 DDR SDRAM (CL 2.5 @ 166 Mhz) (CL 2.0 @ 133 Mhz)
    BD256TEC400A  			256 MB PC3200 DDR SDRAM (CL 2.5 @ 200 Mhz)
    
    Tsystem  	38 °C (100 °F)
    Tcpu  		36 °C (97 °F)
    Fcpu  		2860 RPM
    Vcore  		1.49 V
    V2.5  		2.59 V
    Vio  		1.74 V
    
    CPU Core  	1.49 V
    +2.5 V  	2.59 V
    +3.3 V  	1.74 V
    +5 V  		3.17 V
    +12 V  		8.13 V
    +5 V Standby  	2.50 V
    VBAT Battery  	2.03 V
    Debug Info  	5D A2 6D 76 7F 93 6A 5D 7F 24 26 C9 (43)
    
    Are those Volt values above in the proper range? Or is there maybe something wrong with the power supply? They seem to be quite of the mark, but I don't know what the +3.3 V, +5 V, etc mean and if those values are normal. (I don't want to try hardware from another system if there's something wrong with the power supply.)
    Also when I auto detect the hard disk in the BIOS it says at Capacity: 8455 MB (While It's 40 GB disk)

    If anyone can help me with this, it will be greatly appreciated, thanks.
     
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  3. bowmar

    bowmar

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    Messages:
    618
    Hi Isaac,
    As you say it would be best to try another hard drive in the machine, if the new hard drive gives same problem it would probably point to the IDE channels on motherboard, and thus need replacement Mobo.
    Best to try another hard drive first to test !!!
    Bowmar
     
  4. rexgrant

    rexgrant

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2006
    Messages:
    1,769
    Hi Issac
    Looking at your 3.3/5.0/12.0 volts they seem very low to me.I would repost and ask one of the tec guys what the minimum should be.
    Regards.
    Rex(y)
     
  5. IsaacA

    IsaacA Thread Starter

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    Hi bowmar, I'm waiting with that untill I find confirmation on that the PSU is not defective, given those readings I posted:
    + 3.3V = 1.74 V
    +5 V = 3.17 V
    +12 V = 8.13 V
    +5 V Standby = 2.50 V
    Could someone confirm if those are OK? I have had a PSU blow up once and it took all the other hardware components with it. I wouldn't want that to happen again, especially since this one ain't mine. So if someone could tell me first if these readings are within normal range, that would be appreciated.

    EDIT: Rex, i'll do that, thanks.
     
  6. IsaacA

    IsaacA Thread Starter

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    Well the above sensor readings are bogus since the mainboard does not monitor these rails. So I'm gonna try a different hard disk and cable.
     
  7. IsaacA

    IsaacA Thread Starter

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    Tried it with another hard disk and that worked, so I'm hoping all those initial lock up problems were also caused by the hard disk.

    But is it not strange that the day before SMART status was all normal and that the WD Data Lifeguard Diagnostic for Windows passed both the Quick Test and the Extended Test?

    I think I'm going to ask my neighbors first if they want a new hard disk (with the risk that it's not the only component not working properly).
     
  8. Rich-M

    Rich-M

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    Very likely as the hdd utilities for the most part are worthless, smart can cause more harm than good and it sounds like it is a dying or dead hard drive to me...though it could be psu also causing some of this...
     
  9. IsaacA

    IsaacA Thread Starter

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    D'oh, I got a new hard disk, gets detected just fine, so I try to install Windows XP but then the problem of the automatic restarts appears again during the Windows Setup. I've gotten as far as the menu where you need to decide to do a new Install, repair an existing installation, or quit. If I get that far, it restarts just after that, if I'm fast enough I can just press ENTER to do a new Install. But most of the time it doesn't even get that far. A couple of times I got the impression that the monitor didn't get a signal anymore while the system continued loading files probably up to the point that it reaches the menu and then it restarted again.

    Could it be just a coincidence that the hard disk and at least one other component are malfunctioning at the same time? Could some component have caused the HD to fail, other than the PSU?

    What would be the best option from here? I think I should try to take a PSU from another pc and try if that gives better results. What could trigger these automatic restarts? (What about hooking up the HD in another PC and install Windows XP and then put it back, would that work?)
     
  10. Rich-M

    Rich-M

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    I wonder if we missed heat as a possibilty. Can you try again leaving side off pc and blowing a small fan into it while you try your install. Also still could be psu interruption of power from weakness...also is XP cd clean? Check it for scratches too. Also possible that cd drive is having problems.
     
  11. IsaacA

    IsaacA Thread Starter

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    I have tried it with both sides off, but not yet with a fan blowing, I'll try that. Also used two different recovery CD's in both the CD and the DVD drive, all combinations have the same problems.

    I have removed the PSU from another pc, to hook that one up, it's a MAV-300P model, does that mean it's 300W? That should be enough I think?
     
  12. IsaacA

    IsaacA Thread Starter

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    Well, so far so good. I hooked up the other PSU and it installed just fine, so apparently the PSU was defective. I don't know if it has damaged other components as well, so I'm going to install everything and run it and see if more problems show up. If there are no further problems I'll buy a new PSU tomorrow and install that one and hopefully I'll be able to disconnect the floppy drive. (The floppy drive is now not connected to the 'running' PSU, but I don't think the floppy drive was giving these problems, so i think with a new PSU all these problems should dissappear...for now). And I'm also going to ask the neighbors if they have a power surge protector , otherwise I'll pick up one of those as well.

    Does anyone know what the average life expectancy is of a standard PSU? They are not very expensive, yet they can damage all your expensive hardware components. Would it be smart to replace your PSU say every two years? Or should one just get a proper (more expensive) PSU? Thanks for the help!
     
  13. Rich-M

    Rich-M

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    Well congratulations on solving it, but your premise they are not very expensive may be part of the problem because you should never pay less than $40 for a psu.
    Most of us add to that Antec, Sparkle, Enermax and TYhermaltake are the only decent acceptable ones besides. Great value right here:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16817153023
     
  14. IsaacA

    IsaacA Thread Starter

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    Yeah I thought I did, since it ran for hours on end without problems, but I have been cheering to soon, because suddenly it shut down. And it didn't start again when I tried, so I cut the power to it, put a fan on it, waited a few minutes and then I tried it again and it went OK for like 10 minutes and then it shut down again. On startup the cpu temp was around 40 degrees C. I had run it for hours before that without problems. But I didn't install the PSU, I just set it next to the case with the sides of the case removed. So maybe the airflow is not right and something overheated? Maybe it's related to the auto update in XP, it shows some serious CPU activity. It started jig-sawing /\/\/\/\/ between 5% - 99%, and was stuck at 100% for a whlie.

    Could it be something else than overheating? Or is it due to my setup with the 'external' PSU?

    I will see what it does tomorrow, at least it should be completely cooled down when I start it and I'll monitor the temperature. I will also try to stop the auto update, to see if that helps. D'oh, I really believed I solved it. It's like Eric Sevareid said: "The chief source of problems is solutions."
     
  15. Rich-M

    Rich-M

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    Not being "installed" is irrelevant for psu. Could there be a wire in the case that is loose and maybe touched something and caused shut down?
     
  16. IsaacA

    IsaacA Thread Starter

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    I thought that maybe the not being "installed" would reduce the airflow, since if the PSU would be installed in the case it would suck some air out. The system is up and running for more than an hour now, the hard disk temperatur is rising from 24°C to 39°C now, so that is well within the normal operating range 0 ~ 60°C.

    I think the cpu is at 40°C on average, but it is rapidly jumping up and down in the range 17°C ~ 64°C (within seconds, according to the readings I get with Speedfan), the cpu fan is blowing at 2722 rpm. But I've done nothing yet with serious cpu usage, there were also no more auto updates this morning. The neighbors had the system tested/looked at by the local computer shop, maybe they detached the heatsink and put it back on without new paste? Could that cause it to overheat, even when there still is old paste on it? (I don't have any paste).
     
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