0

I browse around here sometimes and think you folks are terrific. But I have to ask if maybe someone can help me on this. :confused:

This is the 3rd time this has happened on 2 different drives.

I just bought a Western Digital 250gb in December, used it almost 2 months to the day and suddenly it wouldn't boot. The Win XP installation disk seemed like it was repairing the installation, and could see the drive, but after a number of attempts, I just reformatted it, and put all the software back on it. It worked perfectly for 2 months before it went down again.

At that point it went back to WD for a replacement. I formatted the replacment drive, put all my stuff back on it, and was just thinking last night, that it's been about two months although I haven't used that PC nearly as much lately.

Wouldn't you know it. This morning exactly the same thing. It's down again, Windows can't repair it, and I am looking at another reformat and reinstalling all the files.

I don't know why #2 has now failed, and does anyone have an idea as to how I might get that boot sector straightened out so I won't have to obliterate the files again? The XP installation disk sees the sub-dirs, and files, fixboot doesn't help.

Thanks,

ATF :)

5
Contributors
30
Replies
31
Views
11 Years
Discussion Span
Last Post by Chaky
0

Thanks!

The article outlines the basic steps I had gone throught to try to repair the installation, and of course when that failed, to go back and reinstall it each time. The author did mention something that might be helpful;

http://www.informationweek.com/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=185301251

But I don't know if that covers the whole scope of the problem. There is one other factor for a cause, but doesn't seem to occur immediately before the crash each time. An A3**.sys wireless driver from D-link ocassionally locks up the PC with a blue screen, (shuts Windows down to avoid damage message, etc.), requiring a cold start. That appears either as the drive is filling up, or when the PC is sending or receiving a lot of data over the network.

Another factor is that this is an older PC certified for 98', upgraded to Me, and then Win XP.

So I still can't be postive about the cause, but the complete reinstall will get everything working again.

0

It appears to be a problem with the driver for the Dlink wireless card, and a conflict with this Win 98 PC now running XP. There were enough incidents of blue screen death, but the last time I reformated I did not install the driver. This has been very inconvenient as this big HD in that PC was for backups of my other 2.

However it's now overdue for the boot to fail, and there have been no blue screen lockups.
ATF

0

Still a repeating problem with the replacement WD drive.

Error message that hal.dll isn't found, and more recently that ntsc.sys isn't found.

Chkdsk /p from Windows installation repair console shows a problem with one or more sectors. Chkdsk /f seems to get about 72% finished and then hang.

This problem has been fairly regular and consistent every few months all this year.

Thanks

0

Have you ran some memory tests? If different hard drives are having problems in the same machine, then it's not the hard drives.

There's really no easy way to check the motherboard, so if it was me who was having the problems, I would check the memory next. If the memory comes out fine and the problems still occur, it might be time to scrap the motherboard.

0

Sorry, I apologize. I thought I was set up to get email notifications on any replies to my thread, so thus my lack of a response until now.

Have you ran some memory tests? If different hard drives are having problems in the same machine, then it's not the hard drives.

There's really no easy way to check the motherboard, so if it was me who was having the problems, I would check the memory next. If the memory comes out fine and the problems still occur, it might be time to scrap the motherboard.

I did not run mem. tests as I left this a barebones system, anticipating another drive failure. I assumed running mem. tests would mean the system booted normally and therefore might not show a problem with mem. I wanted to use this system on a wireless system to back up my vast CD collection, (I leave them in the car and on my porch, but keep the originals safe).

Just a passing thought: you aren't using Norton GoBack, are you?

One of the last things I did was install my old, 05'? Norton Systemworks before I started having problems again.


Western Digital sent me a 300gb in lieu of the 250gb I returned to them. It formatted, and I walked out of the room at 97% done, came back a few minutes later at looked at a black screen telling me system wasn't found or something like that. Tried to reboot the XP Pro installation disk with no better results, so couldn't reformat it again.
WD replaced that drive with another 300gb. I just booted the Win XP CD, started a format, saw it was for drive "F:", rebooted and formatted it at "C:" this time. I forgot to delte the partition, so watched. At 100% a message came on screen telling me the drive won't take a format and might be damaged. It allowed me to restart the format, I deleted the partition this time and restarted the format. Hoping for the best right now.


This PC is of Win 98' vintage, worked for a time with the 250gb before regularly scheduled failures.

0

Thhis time the XP format finished, and XP copied out files to the HD.

It won't boot the XP installation CD, removing the CD states, there is a read error. So, I am stuck again. The last thing setup says is checking the system configuration if I choose to boot off the CD.

I'm staring at a blank black screen.

0

You should check your BIOS settings for the HD. Make sure it's set on LBA. In the on-board chip settings turn off all the enhancements and set data transfer on PIO. Also check the jumper settings on the HD. Especially ones referring to no. of cylinders/heads/sector to see if different settings are required for your IDE controller.

Also disable the "Quick POST". It will make your BIOS to do more checks of things when it powers up.

Some BIOS-es have low level formatting utility. If you have one, use it to format the drive. It will also report any bad sectors (I doubt there would be any on the new drive)

0

You should check your BIOS settings for the HD. Make sure it's set on LBA. In the on-board chip settings turn off all the enhancements and set data transfer on PIO. Also check the jumper settings on the HD. Especially ones referring to no. of cylinders/heads/sector to see if different settings are required for your IDE controller.

Also disable the "Quick POST". It will make your BIOS to do more checks of things when it powers up.

Some BIOS-es have low level formatting utility. If you have one, use it to format the drive. It will also report any bad sectors (I doubt there would be any on the new drive)

BIOS setting are all correct.

While the 250gb clearly had issues with this PC, both 300gb drives after formatting and copying out Win XP files, won't boot. It now remains dead as I can't get back into the XP setup disk again. I get as far as "checking configuration" if I boot off the CD and it then sits on a blank screen. I think it might be time to trash this PC, I just hope the 300gb isn't blown as well. If I buy a new one to replace it with, it would be a Dell most likely with Vista, but I think they use a non standard cable or pins to connect hard drives?

0

You don't have to jump to conclusions right away.

I can tell you from my expiriance that corrupted windows XP registry can render your HD (and the rest of PC) useless, unless you have a spare one to install another copy of XP.

Having said that, (I take we're talking about IDE HD's) if you installed XP on one HD and installed XP on another HD you are making athe cofusion for your PC. Thing is, when you create partition in Windows setup program, and the HD is only HD plugged in and operational at the time, win. setup program marks that partition as "active". Without "active" mark your PC couldn't boot from that partition regardless if it is NTFS, FAT16, FAT32... and regardless of the OS. So, when you plugg in another HD with active partition already on it, you make the confusion for the BIOS and for the windows setup program. So it's no wonder your PC wouldn't reboot after copying the files to the HD if another HD with active partition was plugged in when rebooting.

My suggestion is to install (or resume installation) on single drive, install all the drivers that didn't came with XP, make the system happy and comfy, and then:

- shut down PC
- plugg in HD's
- upon booting enter BIOS
- disable the 2 HD's in BIOS (you'll still have them in windows)
- boot to windows

Try this, might just work.

0

Thanks. :)

I'm going to look at your post more carefully in the morning.

I dropped the drives off at a shop where the owner is semi-regular call in guest on a local radio show. He agreed to check both 300gb replacment drives, gratis, (I don't have a test machine), although I pretty well suspect they are both good. He is strongly suggesting a faulty power supply although I don't think that can be the case as when the 250gb worked, it worked fine for a while, and a fresh format would get reliable performance again, for about 2 months at a time, (the original reason for starting this thread).

The 250GB's have taken a full XP installation, the recent 300gb's will not. Compaq claims the drive size limit is 40gb on this PC. I've also found the drives had about 100gb of backup data before failing. As I said, the 300gb's won't complete an XP installation like the 250gb's did, and I can't get back into the XP setup CD as I think I mentioned. I always could with the 250gb's. Western Digital says the circut board is virtually identical on the 250g that always completed the full XP installation and the 300g which will not.

This entire setup is identical the one that has always been working. There are 2 drives and 2 CD/DVD's in the system, but Windows was never on the second of the two drives. That I think eliminates what you're thoughtfully suggesting. The only thing that changed was the replacement of the primary boot drive, and that's been the only one in the system formatted with XP. Jumper setting is of course as before, primary master. Other then the drive size, this setup is identical as the one that works before crashing every 8 weeks or so.

The original 30gb, didn't age well, but worked without any of these crazy failures and reformats until it started clicking on boot up one day. Even then, it worked for a time with a few attempts of the on/off switch. Unfortunately, I didn't really have a lot of good luck with this PC.

ATF

0

Correction to my previous:
Part that says:
- shut down PC
- plug in HD's
- upon booting enter BIOS
- disable the 2 HD's in BIOS (you'll still have them in windows)
- boot to windows

should be :
- shut down PC
- plug in second G HD
- upon booting enter BIOS
- disable the second HD in BIOS (you'll still have it in windows)
- boot to windows

I thought, for no apparent reason, that you had 3 HD's.

Tip:
- Make sure there is only one (primary master) HD plugged in when Installing XP. (this does not apply to optical drives)

- Make sure booting sequence starts with CD. If this fails you, try disabling HD in BIOS. (worked for me)

If that fails to start windows setup then something is not working. HD, controller (mobo) optical, memory, CPU, PSU ... it's anybodies guess. Or I'm not that smart:p.

- (If you get to this point) delete the partition(s) and make single partition to cover 100% of the drive. The 40 G limit can be overridden software-wise and probably is with windows setup program. Do not be concerned with it.

If your PC wouldn't boot after file copying, try enabling the HD in BIOS. Otherwise enable the HD in BIOS after the installation is completed.
This should help you jump-start you PC.

Now, try plugging in second HD. If it isn't active, you shouldn't get any conflict between two of them. (don't have to disable it in BIOS)

I'm not sure, but if your config. turns out to be
C (HD1)
D(optical1)
E (optical2)
F(HD2)
you would want to change the drive letters for the opticals and 2nd HD in disk management.


I, myself, had a long night trying to install windows on my machine.
That's when I learned that trick with disabling HD in BIOS. Turned out it was the only way to make windows setup to format HD.


Note: some HD's have different jumper settings for "master" when in pair with another drive. (Master, slave and single drive)

0

Thanks,

The only thing I didn't do was disable the HD in the BIOS but the jumper settings are correct.

The current config is;

C: Primary Master, 300gb HD
E: Primary Slave, CD burner
D: Secondary Master, 13gb HD
F: Secondary slave, DVD burner

The odd thing was once I plugged back in the failed 250gb as"C:" I was able to get back into the XP setup, but not with the 300gb. That of course maybe suggests power supply limitations. Although when it works, it's consistent, then suddenly and like clockwork, it fails at either 100gb on the drive, or, every 2 months, (or a consistent amount of running time, let's say 100 hours average).

I had also once gone through a lengthy repair using XP system recovery, (the DOS looking commands), to copy registry files from the system recovery, SAM, software, etc. to the \system32 folder. That worked, and got the system up again, although it only lasted about 4 days before going down again.

http://webcast.broadcastnewsroom.com/articles/viewarticle.jsp?id=8658-3


I have to call the tech guy up the street and pick up the drives later today.

0

If your current PSU is anything under 500W, get the new PSU while you're at it. $30 tops. Unless you like typing in the repair console.

To clarify:

When your power fails, for that split second all kinds of WRONG things go on. Your CPU power fails, it does something wrong... Memory power fails.. it stores something wrong... HD power fails.. it writes something wrong.. and if it is in boot sector, it's format time. Also power failure with HD sometime causes one drive's head to scrape the surface of the disc. I have one with bad sectors just because of that. Only, in my case, whole city block was out. If the bad sector appears in the "system area" or boot sector you can throw the thing away for it can not be formated ever again.

So, $30 for 500W or $100 for a HD?

0

Okay, I'm back. :)

The tech guy up the street says both WD 300gb drives are good.

The latest problem I was having, (for those of you that don't want to watch all the reruns), is the 250gb would boot with a fresh format and XP installation, but would regularly crash after about 2 months or 100gb of data. It was replaced twice with a 300GB, which would format, but then appeared dead on the reboot part of the installation. Yes, in the BIOS, setup, but dead to the XP CD, diagnostics tools on a floppy, etc. There was no normal running of the XP setup disk. It would try to read the drive and stop.

I got my hands on another PC, a Dell 2.4ghz with an 80gb drive. Like the Compaq at the heart of this tragedy, it also has a 250watt PS. It boots and works fine. No problems. I pulled the 80gb it came with and stuck in my 300gb, (pulled the jumper for single drive). Same problem. XP CD says "press a key to boot CD", then "checking drive config", and nothing but a blank black screen. Same thing, dead as a doornail, and this Dell has HD diagnostics available before a boot. Like the BIOS, they also see the drive ID, but won't run up the drive. Putting the 80gb back in where it belongs, the PC boots right up, so that eliminates any cable/connector problem.

While the 250gb worked but regularly on schedule failed, (like a part on a used car warranty), it accepted a reformat/installation from the XP setup CD every time I tried it, the 300gb, runs only the format part of the setup installation from the same CD, one time, before it fails completely and doesn't respond again.

Now while each of two 300gb drives did start the format part of the iinstallation once before responding like a piece of dead wood, does this sound like the PS in both PC's can't handle the additional load produced by the 300gb vs. the 250gb? Here are two 250Watt PC's that the 300gb won't work in, and the tech guy says both 300gb's are good when he tested them.

Thanks,

ATF

0

250W? Right now I have 150 W lightbulb over my head. 2 of them eat up more power than that sorry excuse for PSU can provide for motherboard, 2 HD's, CPU, memory, 2 optical dives, fans....

Get the point?

I suggest you dich it and put some real power in it.

0

Yes. :o

This all started when I thought the drive had failed after taking a format and working fine for 2 months. These are the largest drives I've ever had, and never ran into this before. I think compuvest has some 500w PSU's.

After this my next biggest HD is a 60gb in an old HP just to get it working as another wireless storage device. A little like an old station wagon parked on your lawn. Ugly, beaten up, no wheels, broken glass, but it's just great for storing all that household junk when the garage is packed to the ceiling. (Besides, the neighbors really like that kind of thing in an upscale neighborhood). :cheesy:

This 2.4ghz Dell is actually a nice machine to work on, although needs more then the 256mb RAM it has now. Case opens easily, and I'd like to dump my burner and the 300gb in there and it's current 80gb into the old Compaq where the story began. Then I'll have 4 PC's networked that only I use. Hey, why carry that piece of paper across the room when you can send it wirelessly? :lol:

0

I would like to ad one thing to my replies here.

PSU's tend to loose power over long period of time. That would explain how it worked before and, all the sudden, BAM. No soup for you. (Seinfield)
The thing is. it was working @90% capacity or so. Didn't need alot of capacity degrade to cause problems.

Hope that 500W would solve your troubles.


P.S. HD's capacity is not a crucial factor when it comes to power consumption. What you want to pay attention to is RPM's. The difference between 5000 and 7200 RPM's is alot when the juice is needed. Not to mention 10000.

0

Haha! I guess I can't have my soup and eat it too! :lol:

I didn't get a lot of use out of the Compaq, so am miffed that I had to replace the vid card, modem, and HD.

I thought how I'd like to find an old parts machine with a small HD somewhere, just to get it running. Now with that in mind, I was out walking and someone had the Dell parked next to a garbage can and garbage bags. No one home, so I put it up on my shoulder and walked back to my house. I mean I see them here and there on the side of the road, (usually flying by in heavy traffic), so that was just what I was looking for. Didn't see a monitor and wasn't going to go through a load of trash looking for a mouse and keyboard. (Next time I'll keep this in mind when I see another). :idea:

That PC albeit circa 2004 is far better then the Compaq circa 2000, so that will be the top dog after my laptop. Lucky, I found it and it works like new, but max RAM is only 2 slots with 256mb each. Fortunately it has a filled slot with a 256mb, so I only have to buy one more strip. Works perfectly. Someone offered me a monitor back when they got a new PC, so that was that, I added a circa 1929 mouse and a Flintstones era keyboard. Altec Lansing speakers cheap at WalMart sound great and completed my Xmas present to myself. :cheesy:

0

Probably.

I plugged it in and expected my garage to explode. Most I had hoped for was to find a small working HD to reformat and put back into my Compaq temporarily.

No terrorist bomb or anything when I opened the case, so right now it's working perfectly on my network.

Maybe someone just got fed up with Windows and bought an Apple? :lol:

0

Reminds me of one monitor my brother.. errrr.. "acquired". Same store you just got that PC.

0

PC is working fine and became the main one of 4, and I added 533mhz RAM greatly shrinking the swap file and boosting overall performance. Luckily it's working well.

The Compaq that kept failing on boot got a drive swap to a smaller 13gb after the last failure. Compaq's notes said the PC can't handle anything over 60gb even with Win XP, so the 200gb I bought for it is now the slave. Knock on wood, it still seems to be booting fine.

0

I have this same exact problem on a new HP pentium with a serial (SATA) hard drive.
It looked like the problem might be the drive itself, until you mentioned you got the same problem with a new hard drive.
So maybe something to do with the controller(?).
I wouldn't think bad RAM would corrupt the boot sector, but who knows.
These intermitant problems are hard to fix. Mine may work for 2 weeks, and then crash, with a bad boot sector. Sometimes just fixing the MBR with a bootable utility CD fixes it.
Sometimes the whole drive needs reformatting. But the fact that it's formattable suggests the problem is something else.
None of my other machines does that

0

I have this same exact problem on a new HP pentium with a serial (SATA) hard drive.
It looked like the problem might be the drive itself, until you mentioned you got the same problem with a new hard drive.
So maybe something to do with the controller(?).
I wouldn't think bad RAM would corrupt the boot sector, but who knows.
These intermitant problems are hard to fix. Mine may work for 2 weeks, and then crash, with a bad boot sector. Sometimes just fixing the MBR with a bootable utility CD fixes it.
Sometimes the whole drive needs reformatting. But the fact that it's formattable suggests the problem is something else.
None of my other machines does that

My problem turned out to be a problem with the D-Link wireless card and wireless router. This is undocumented and D-Link's customer support is superficial to the point of sheer annoyance. Return it under warrranty doesn't solve a problem internal to their components.

Apparently one tech website suggested turning off the "Turbo" mode on the router, and a number of users said that solved the problem. In my case, that was the fix and it's been running happily ever after.

I would never recommend D-link due to poor tech support with a product that was never fully tested. If you need references to the source links, I will look for them, but if you don't use D-link wireless stuff, this won't help you.

0

Much appreciate your feedback. My network card is a built-in Realtek PCI ethernet NIC. There are some bootable settings in the BIOS, and power management settings, that I will look at. That's very interesting. Will follow up when I find out.

0

Good luck.


That issue with the D-link failure and blue screen of death still exists if the router is set to turbo mode regardless of what PC the wireless card goes in.

This thread was posted over a long period of time and the original problem was a Compaq 7395 that kept crapping out a 250gb Western Digital drive. Compaq people said the mainboard wasn't rated to handle a drive larger than 40gb, and consequently I swapped in a small boot drive and set up a 200gb as a slave. I have never had it go down again.

The 250gb WD (upped to 300gb in a swap with them), went into an external case. Other than Ultra enclosures not being very well made, it works fine.

Turbo mode was turned off on the router and the found Dell works like a champ. I recently bought a 22" WS monitor for it and an external 500gb.

This topic has been dead for over six months. Start a new discussion instead.
Have something to contribute to this discussion? Please be thoughtful, detailed and courteous, and be sure to adhere to our posting rules.