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Solved: No hard drive detected, BIOS "frozen"

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by sweeticeblue, Dec 5, 2008.

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  1. sweeticeblue

    sweeticeblue Thread Starter

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    Hi,

    I'm new to the forum and somewhat familiar with computers (enough to get into the BIOS, wipe a hard drive & set up Windows, those types of things).

    I have a Dell Inspiron 1501 laptop that was left on a fleece sweater for 3 hours last night. Needless to say, it overheated and has been giving me the error message "no operating system found" ever since.

    I was running Vista home basic (32), so I tried booting from my recovery disk, but no operating systems were found. When I went into drive options through the recovery disk, only the d: drive is listed.

    I went into BIOS and a hard drive is listed, however, I can't cursor through the BIOS. I can only move between time and date on the main screen, unless I hit the left/right arrows about 50 times, causing the cursor to eventually (erratically) move to another screen. Of course, I have very little control over where I'm going.

    I work as a freelance writer and while there are no pictures, music, etc. that need saving, there is a pile of articles (hopefully) trapped on there somewhere that are all in progress. I'd rather pull a tooth out than attempt to rewrite them all.

    I found a few forum problems that were similar to mine, but none with the freezing BIOS problem.

    Help (and please be gentle with the techie-nese). ;)

    Thanks, Jayne
     
  2. Parkman

    Parkman

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    You need to test all your hardware components. Bios is freezing because your RAM is probably bad now as well as your hard drive. See if you can run the dell diagnostics, press F12 during bootup and run the full diagnostics. If you cant even run that try taking out a stick of RAM if you have multiple. If you only have one then you might need a new stick before you can start testing for your hard drive. Also if you dont care about your OS and just want those files, you can just take out your hard drive and connect it to another computer
     
  3. sweeticeblue

    sweeticeblue Thread Starter

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    Thanks, Parkman.

    I tried running the Dell diagnostics and it tells me "no drive found" when it comes to the hard drive test. It's the only test that fails.

    Someone else had managed connecting to another computer (no, I don't care about the OS - I still have my Vista CD), but I've never done that. Can it be done through USB (without removing the actual hard drive)? If not, is it something that a non-expert could pull off?

    J.
     
  4. Parkman

    Parkman

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    If your laptop cant see the hard drive at all you will need to remove the drive from the laptop. You can then connect it to another computer via USB if you have the correct connector,which you most likely do not. Depending on the type of hard drive it is, SATA or PATA, requires different connectors as well. If you have SATA then most computers made within the last 5 years should be able to connect directly. If it is PATA then you will need a PATA to USB cable like this one
    http://www.buy.com/prod/cables-to-g...op-drive-adapter-kit/q/loc/101/202539574.html
     
  5. sweeticeblue

    sweeticeblue Thread Starter

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    1. How do I find out if it's SATA or PATA?
    2. If I manage to get the right cord and connect it to my desktop, will it just appear as another drive?

    Thanks again.
     
  6. sweeticeblue

    sweeticeblue Thread Starter

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    ...and is this worth all the trouble - is there a chance that my docs are still sitting somewhere within the laptop?
     
  7. dustyjay

    dustyjay

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    Jay
    the only place they will sit in your laptop, is on the hard drive unless you have one of them open at the moment. I would agree, that if your laptop passed all of the diagnostics except the hard drive test, the first thing to check is the hard drive. You will first have to identify whether it is a Sata drive or a Pata drive, this will detrmine the adapter you will need to test it on a desk top computer.
     
  8. sweeticeblue

    sweeticeblue Thread Starter

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    So I gave up on the data recovery (since SATA cables and hard drive enclosures are completely sold out of every store in my city) and decided to plow ahead and reinstall Vista. At the beginning of the install, I was stuck on the missing CD/DVD driver, which I managed to find/install from my Dell Drivers & Utilities CD. Now it's asking me for a mass storage device driver before it can continue. I've checked the Dell CD and I can only find modem drivers. My gut tells me there must a driver on there somewhere... any ideas?

    J.
     
  9. jazz3000

    jazz3000

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  10. sweeticeblue

    sweeticeblue Thread Starter

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    There's no end to this. Called Dell and they said there would be a $50 charge for them to help me find the driver, since my warranty expired last month. I'd gladly pay it if I felt confident that the other person on the other end of the phone actually knew what they were talking about.

    It's a Hitachi Travelstar 5K160 (HTS541680J9SA00). The Hitachi website says the driver's not available for download because it's already included on the hard disk itself. Thanks, Hitachi. I Googled it and found a pile of people looking for the same driver, but not the driver itself.

    I tried running the Hitachi Fitness Test but it says "no floppy drives" and shuts down. I've tried every partition manager I could get my hands on and they all start to install and shut down. EASEUS partition manager seemed like it was about to go ahead, but they only way I can access these programs is by booting through my Vista recovery disk - and after doing so, I never have enough space to run the programs. I'm only showing about 30MB of free space and the program is slightly larger. EASEUS progresses, tells me there's not enough space to install and, you guessed it, shuts down.

    I can't format it, I can't partition it, I can't run any diagnostics. I had 12 articles due on Thursday and I'm now on hour #22 (with a short nap in between) of trying to solve this.

    I'm about to lose my mind, just knowing that if I had the hard disk driver, I might be able to go ahead with the Vista installation.

    Any more ideas at this point? Does anyone know of a partition manager that I can run from DOS that's Vista compatible (other than EASEUS)?

    Sigh.

    Jayne

    Thanks, Jazz - Yes, I checked Dell Support online and found several other drivers, but not this one.
     
  11. jazz3000

    jazz3000

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    http://en.community.dell.com/forums/t/19162562.aspx From what I read here someone at Dell is yapping nonsense. Even out of warranty Dell should provide the disks or information you need. Jazz

    ps: I'm thinking even after all of it you've probably killed the hard drive.
     
  12. vicks

    vicks

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    Many drivers are available free at www.driverguide.com. You must register to download from the site.
    vicks
     
  13. sweeticeblue

    sweeticeblue Thread Starter

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    Jazz, tried calling Dell again and the rep told me I have everything I need on my Dell Drivers & Utilities CD, EXCEPT a hard disk driver, stating this is not something Dell provides. He offered to sell me a new hard drive but it would take close to 2 weeks to arrive, which I don't have.

    I notice in the BIOS, it now says "fixed disk = 0". Am I right that this means the BIOS is no longer recognizing a hard drive?
     
  14. Rich-M

    Rich-M

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    Well hard drive 0 is how the hard drive would be listed.
    I have been listening to this search for a hard drive driver and there is no such thing. On a pc this new there isn't a sata driver issue either as recognition of the drive is in the chipset. I fear this is more than a hard drive but more than likely the motherboard. But as for reading the drive this is all you need and regardless of whether it is sata or ide and it really has to be sata if it is new with Vista on it, this adapter will read either.
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16812156102
     
  15. sweeticeblue

    sweeticeblue Thread Starter

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    Rich-M, I think you're right. The driver is just nowhere to be found (and yes, it's a sata).

    I just got back from buying a new hard drive. It took me 20 minutes to open it, only to find out it doesn't fit my laptop, even though the rep assured me that it would work. It's a different connection (a row of prongs instead of my two divided sections). Now the stores are closed and I have to wait until tomorrow to return it... leaving me another day or so until I can (hopefully) get any work done.

    As for a motherboard issue, all of the Dell diagnostic tests are coming back fine, including the motherboard tests (with the exception of the hard drive test, of course). Can I rely on these tests and assume the motherboard survived this meltdown, or is that just wishful thinking?!

    ...and would the Vista install be requesting a mass storage driver if there was another problem (ie. other than the hard drive)?
     
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