I've been trying to get an old system running for a little bit now and after a lot of testing I've found that when the hard drive is not plugged in, it will POST fine but if it is, it freezes during the Detecting IDE part. I have tried to different IDE ribbon cables and the same thing happens both times. I suspect that the drive is bad but I don't have a second drive to test with. Is there any way to know whether a drive is dead? It's not VERY old and was actually in pretty good condition, so I don't want to throw it out without being 100% sure.

Edit: Something else I noticed. Removing the jumper has teh same effect as unplugging the IDE cable. Not sure if this information means anything but thoght I would throw it in there.

Old System? Like Win98? If the filesystem on the HDD is FAT32, try getting hold of an older (DOS 7) boot floppy. Change the HDD jumpers to slave, boot up on the floppy and try running the old scandisk utility to test it. On the other hand, have you got a friend who will let you attach the HDD to his/her machine and use the XP management console to repair it. then try it as a boot drive again on yours. You've probably thought of all this already. Hope this helps. Andrew

It's a windows XP machine. It's probably about 5 years old. It wasn't being used and I wanted to revive it and install Ubuntu on it.

I think I'd want to try the drive as a slave in another machine and use the managment console to diagnose rather than persevering with the old box.

Hmm... ok. I don't really have another machine to try it in, except the one I'm using now, but the data on here right now is too important to me for me to feel comfortable tinkering in it. I guess I'll see if I can't buy another cheap drive, like a 100GB drive or something, since really all I want is something that I can use to learn Linux.