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Old 08-25-2009, 01:07 PM   #1
jbarnes8
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Computer does not boot. WITH harddrive connected. (Not linux specific)


Hi. This is my first post here. Yes, I signed up to ask a non-linux specific question. But I have been a long time linux user although I still consider myself a newbie. Anyway, linux people seem to know a lot more that windows people - that's why I am asking this question here.

(I know very little about hardware.)

I have concluded that either my power supply has partially failed, or I need a new mother board. I was wondering what other people may think about my situation.

Before I begin, I have done my "diagnostics" with four different hard drives and also tested them on another system. The problem is NOT my hard drive.


Problem:
With a hard drive connected, when I power it on, it beeps, and then I guess it times out and restarts again. While the power is on there is also a noise like my hard drive is spinning out of control. But I can't confirm where the actual noise is coming from. I can't even get into my bios.

History:
My computer used to have two IDE hard drives and two IDE cd drives (r/rw). I had linux installed on both harddrives. Everything was working great. Then one day my computer started having a hard time booting. It would had the problem I described above, except it would eventually boot into the system and work normally. Now, it does not. During one of those boots I caught the message "hard drive failure imminent" (I don't remember exactly, it was a year ago). Nonetheless, aside from the hard time it had booting, the computer still worked great after that. It got progressively worse. At first it took about 3 or four restarts, then 6, then 9. Now it will just beeep and restart over and over again if I have ANY hard drive connected to it in any configuration.

Diagnostics:
1. I put a new hard drive and configured it to single drive jumper setting. Same problem.
2. Removed HD's completely leaving only cd's drives. Works great. Able to boot gentoo live cd and us it normally.
3. Removed cd's drives and connected HD to primary ide AND also tried secondary ide. Same problem.
4. Configured master/slave setup in every conceivable fashion on secondary ide with HD and cd drives.. Same problem.
5. I have tried most different combinations of power supply 'legs' to each of the drives.

Basically, no matter how I hook up a hard drive, it has the same problem. But without a hard drive. It works fine. (I did JUST NOW realize that I haven't tried only my cd drive on connected to primary ide.). Again, I have tried this with 4 hard drives. All of which work on other computers.

If you have any suggestions please let me know. I would really like use my good computer again.

On a side note, I have never tried this with windows, but it's pretty damn sweet how I could just move my hard drives to a different computer and it works fine without doing ANYTHING to linux.
 
Old 08-25-2009, 02:11 PM   #2
tredegar
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Quote:
During one of those boots I caught the message "hard drive failure imminent" (I don't remember exactly, it was a year ago)
I don't know why developers have their software issue warning messages when users just ignore them.
Quote:
At first it took about 3 or four restarts, then 6, then 9. Now it will just beeep and restart over and over again if I have ANY hard drive connected to it in any configuration.
... Until complete failure.

Quote:
I did JUST NOW realize that I haven't tried only my cd drive on connected to primary ide
Try it.

Quote:
Again, I have tried this with 4 hard drives. All of which work on other computers.
Then there's nothing wrong with your HDDs. It must be one of:
- the disk controller
- cables (most likely) (check both IDE and PSU)
- MoBo wiring to the IDE interface pins / connector.

To diagnose any hardware fault you need to be absolutely methodical.
Keep swapping stuff around, in a methodical manner, until you have isolated the fault. Then replace the relevant part.

Usually there is only one fault, it is rare for there to be more than one (except with a new build of hardware, or when you have ignored error messages for a long time).
 
Old 08-25-2009, 02:22 PM   #3
TB0ne
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tredegar View Post
To diagnose any hardware fault you need to be absolutely methodical.
Keep swapping stuff around, in a methodical manner, until you have isolated the fault. Then replace the relevant part.

Usually there is only one fault, it is rare for there to be more than one (except with a new build of hardware, or when you have ignored error messages for a long time).
Agree totally....but this caught my eye:

Quote:
I can't even get into my bios.
If your system doesn't even post, I'd suspect your motherboard, or system BIOS. If it doesn't, and your controllers are on the MOBO too, that kind of points to one central 'fault'....BUT...

It could also be your power supply. If you're getting flaky voltage, that would cause the MOBO to not power up, or be 'faulted' into not posting, and explain your HDD 'overdrive'....

Last edited by TB0ne; 08-25-2009 at 02:23 PM.
 
Old 08-25-2009, 02:58 PM   #4
tredegar
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Quote:
Quote:
I can't even get into my bios.
Good point TB0ne. I confess that my eyes glazed over at:
Quote:
While the power is on there is also a noise like my hard drive is spinning out of control. But I can't confirm where the actual noise is coming from... .. .
So we can now add PSU to the list of things that need to be swapped in / out in a methodical way to pinpoint the faulty hardware.
We'll await developments ...
 
Old 08-26-2009, 06:45 AM   #5
cgtueno
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Hi

Hmmm

May I suggest a methodical start from the beginning.
All things start with checking the physical cabling and inspecting the system BIOS.

Determine the PC brand and model (eg. HP, IBM, etc), motherboard manufacturer's name (if possible) and motherboard model number.
Locate the setup manual/instructions on either the manufacturer's site or by using Google, Bing, etc.
Using this information determine the correct sequence for entering the system BIOS on cold boot; or ascertaining the procedure to clear the BIOS settings.
Once you can gain access to the BIOS then you will be able to check that the motherboard is able to detect and recognise the installed hard disks, CDROMs, etc.

Try setting the system up with one bootable hard disk as Master on the primary IDE channel, and one CDROM/RW as master on the secondary channel. Or better still if the system has a floppy omit connecting the CDROM/RW drive entirely.

Check that the hard disk is configured as master, and that you are using the correct end of the connecting cable (master end). Similarly with the CDROM/RW.
Ensure that the hard disk drive is on the PRIMARY IDE channel and NOT the secondary IDE channel (a common mistake that bites everyone in the backside at some time or other).

The error "hard drive failure imminent" may in fact be a SMART diagnostic message. (Google 'Hard Disk SMART' to discover how the SMART system works). If it is a SMART warning then the hard disk is at risk of failure.

Hard disks draw a reasonable load from your systems' power supply, by disconnecting the other devices and keeping the system hardware in a simple configuration during testing you will be unburdening the power supply (if it is misbehaving under load). Obviously if you have a working spare compatible power supply you could replace the existing power supply as a test.

It is possible that:
(a)
The BIOS is mis-configured
The drives are not detected (not showing up as expected in the BIOS)
The IDE controller on the motherboard has been disabled (ie. one or both channels flagged as disabled), etc).
The boot device order is incorrect.
(b)
The master slave assignment of the drives (on the drive, or cable socket order) is incorrect.
(c)
The master hard disk is plugged into the secondary IDE channel instead of the primary IDE channel.
The flylead plugs from the power supply are not making a solid connection.
(d)
Disable SMART in the BIOS (if possible) in case it is blocking post BIOS test use of the hard disks.

If the system BIOS correctly detects the hard disks, the boot order is correct, then consider booting the system with a Linux live distribution (eg Knoppix) and see if the hard disks are present and accessible.

Questions:
(1)
Have you tried testing the hard disks in the system by plugging in power only (leaving the IDE cable unattached) and feeling the drive for vibration indicating that the hard disk motor powers up and is stable ? Make sure to switch the system off when plugging and unplugging drives to avoid destroying the power supply!
(2)
When you tested the hard disk drives in question on another system were you able to boot that system with the hard disk in its present state ? - ie was the hard disk still bootable ?
If not then the contents may be corrupt.

Will be interested to hear how you get on with your testing/fault finding

Regards

Chris

Last edited by cgtueno; 08-26-2009 at 06:55 AM. Reason: minor correction
 
Old 08-26-2009, 09:42 AM   #6
allend
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Probably not applicable in this case, but do conduct a thorough investigation of the cleanliness inside the case. I had a computer that would power on but would not let me into the BIOS setup. After removing a small piece of fluff that had lodged on the edge connector of a memory module all returned to normal!
 
  


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