[SOLVED] Is harddrive dead?

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Whittibo

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Hello!
I have a friend whos computer was acting weird. It's older, so the local shop wouldn't look at it for her. she said she couldn't get it to say ON. I told her I would look at it, (but I know next to nothing)
when I started it up the first few times, the only thing odd I noticed is the background was blood red with a butcher knife on it. Just weird for her. I didn't try to get online.

I called her to ask if the background was normal, and exactly the problem she was experiencing was. she said the background wastn' normal, and that when she got online, it would restart her computer.

Thinking I had the answer, (virus) I headed down with my Norton in hand. I started up the computer as I have a few times before, but this time it didn't even recognize the hard drive.. checked for it.. then said.. "master NONE".. :(

I opened it up, checked all the cables and tried again.. nothing. I tried to put one of my old harddrives in, and it did recognize mine..

my question is.. would a virus have killed this harddrive.. and is that what it probably is? is there any way of getting the data back off? I have an old hard drive here, but I had used it as a back up for my digital pictures... there isnt' a OS loaded on it. so it won't start up the system either.

I just dont' know if i should cut my losses or keep trying. :confused:

thanks for any advice!!
 
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I don't know what to make of the blood red background or the butcher knife, but it does have the symptoms of a dying hard drive. You could download the Maxtor diagnostic utility and check out the drive. It's free and you can get it Here:

http://www.maxtor.com/en/support/downloads/powermax.htm

Be sure to read the instructions on how to use it.
 

Whittibo

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THANKS.. I went to the site.. and am currently downloading it to my system!!

problem is.. if the harddrive isn't even seen.. will this even work?? :(

the blood red screen could POSSIBLY be the fault of some house guests?! she was going to check on that.. but I just thougth that might have some significance, like maybe a trademark of a virus?!

If the harddrive was going bad, would that have kept rebooting her system after getting online? when I started it up, it was VERY SLOW.. but I am used to my quick new computer too. thougth it was my imagination?! but then it all seemed to come up.. I just couldn't get online.. (no phone line available where the computer was)

I appreciate your help sooo much! I have enough parts and pieces to build her another "LIKE kind/quality" of a computer.. but I am sure she would like to get her old data off her harddrive if possible.
 
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If it isnt recognized in bios the odds are that it is dead
Put in a boot disk and see if it can be accessed with the c:\
 

Whittibo

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tried the boot disk.. only had one for WinME, and this is Win98... but that shouldn't matter should it?

nothing happened anyway.. :( I mean.. it went through the 'stuff'.. and I think I got a message about the partition not being there?! if it would help, I can try again..
 
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Here's my two cents......

First thing is check to make sure that the drive is even spinning up after powerup. Turn on the computer and put your hand on the hard drive and see if you feel it spinning. If it's spinning we know its not the motor that went bad. It is possible that the hard drive controller went south.

Depending on how critical the data is to her. There is an option to replace the controller. Although, i have not done this personally. You can only accomplish this by replacing the controller with an identical hard drive.
 

~Candy~

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You don't want the bootdisk, you want the Maxtor utility program....It still should 'see' the drive and run diagnostics....unless it is stone cold dead and not even spinning up.
 

JohnWill

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If I want to monitor a mechanical item, I touch the end of a screwdriver to the case, and put the other end right in front of my ear. Any mechanical sound is very apparent, try it. It's an old mechanic's trick. :)

As far as replacing the circuit board, I've done that twice with good results. Most modern drives are very easy to do, the contacts are just fingers that contact when the board is in place, no connectors or anything. :)
 

Whittibo

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WELL.. I'll tell you one thing.. I don't know WHY I get myself into these things! what a PAIN.. but guess I thrive on the challenge?!

I downloaded the program, loaded on a disk, and went down to try it.. THEN.. I couldn't get her floppy drive to work either.

sooo.. I took all of her components out and put them into my old computer.. which I still think is newer then hers. I would be more then willing to just take the two and combine them if I could get them to work. my old computer is just sitting there missing a few odds-n-ends..

anyway.. nothing! floppy still didn't work.

I tried a number of different things.. put my hard drive into her computer hers into mine, mine into mine.. etc.. the universal thing I found was.. I CAN HEAR MY HARD DRIVE SPIN.. (duah) hers there isn't one sound. and no vibration either.

sooo.. that tells me her harddrive is a lost cause. now.. what I need to do is get the two, combined to one and call it GOOD. :)

now, when I start up my computer with my harddrive.. I get this error..

Conflict I/0 Ports : 2F8
CMOS Checksum error - Defaults loaded

anyone know what that means?
and if my drive doesn't have an OS, do I have to put it into my current system and format it first? I am sure there is pleanty of room on there to load an OS.. only old pictures on there now.

thanks so much! you guys are GREAT!!
 
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If you are getting a checksum error with your old computer its a good chance that the onboard battery on it has died. Replace the battery and start the system with only the floppy, connected with a boot disk. Enter the CMOS and set the floppy, etc up in it and be sure to save the setting when you exit. Then add the hard drive, see if it has an operating system on it. If not you can use a boot disk to partition and format the system at this time. Then add a cdrom and install an operating system. Finally add any modems/ sound cards and install the drivers for them. BOL
 

JohnWill

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The CMOS checksum error is typical if you're removing and replacing expansion boards on some systems. I've seen it a number of times, I just fix the BIOS options and move on. :)
 

Whittibo

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ok.. I know for sure the onboard battery is dead.. it was dead about 6 months after I got the dang thing in '98! I will replace the battery, use the disk like you said.. and then if all else fails, will fix the BIOS (which I have limited experience with.. shoot.. come to think of it.. I have limited experience with everything except emails.. :) )

thanks so much.. maybe I'll make my friend happy with a new(er) system to make up for the fact she lost her hard drive.. ;)
 

~Candy~

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You can continue on with everything else by loading the bios defaults. When you turn the machine off, it'll forget everything again, so you'll have to keep doing that until you get the battery ;)
 

Whittibo

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Aug 18, 2003
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*UPDATE*..
I am so proud of myself.. with your help.. I was able to put together a WORKING little computer!! :)
It's not the greatest one.. but heck.. it's free and it works.
My old system was a AMD166 (I think that's what it is) but it all works great! and for just email and surfing.. she'll be just fine.

there were a couple glitches, all because I had no idea what I was doing, but just kept changing stuff till it worked. I would freak most people out.. just because I dont' know what I am doing, but not afraid to try either. but if you guys actually sat and watched me, you'll probably burry your head under a pillow just to avoid screaming.. **STOP**

anyway.. I haven't gotten ahold of her yet. I know it's sad her HD crashed.. (Lord Please don't ever let that happen to me) but I think she'll be suprised she has a replacment at least.

thanks so much for your help.. now I am looking forward to the day that my system has to be rebuilt.. no more 'computer guy' for me.. I'll do it myself next time!! :D
 
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