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Hello all, I'm at my wits end so I'm hoping someone here can help me, if only to confirm my worst fears, at least then I'll know.

I have a Packard Bell laptop, coming up to 2 yrs old. Basically he won't recognise his primary hard drive. He can recognise the external HD, but not his internal. I am hugely confused and praying that it's not a case of Hard Drive Death. I've tried numerous things, messed around with the BIOS settings, tried an XP repair, but XP just informed me that there was no HD to repair! It won't even install on my ext. (not that I really want to install XP on my ext. HD, but I would just to have a working laptop again. I'm having to use my parents desktop at the mo which is a lovely machine but no substitute for having your own).

Now for the details:-

My laptop froze out of the blue, no response to any key press so I had to perform a manual shutdown. When he rebooted a screen came up saying, "Non-system disk detected. Press any key...". This led to it saying, "Intel 2.0" and some other stuff, which I should've taken more notice of. I've managed to get various screens up. One that appears when I don't have the ext. HD plugged in is a Blue Screen Of Death informing me that there's a problem with the file, "partmngr.sys". What the hell does THAT mean?? Surely if it can't read the HD then how does it read partmngr.sys?? I'm so frustrated. I'm desperately hoping that it's something incredibly simple like a loose wire connecting to the HD and I've got a sneaky feeling that it's so much worse than that.

Any help would be greatly appreciated because I hate not having my laptop. Thanks in advance :)

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Last Post by jbennet
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Hi Jo

Well it seems your HD maybe at its end. Question do you hear any clicking noises from the computer when you switch it on. If so its what we call the Death Click for the HD.

Try replacing the HDD and reinstall XP and all drivers


HTH

Darren
South Africa

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its eithere the software has failed (Full Repartition, reformat, reinstall - YOU WANT TO SELECT TO CHECK FOR BAD BLOCKS WHEN YOU PARTITION) or your whole HDD has failed

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The messages you described mean that HD is still working, but the MBR (maste boot record) could be corrupted. That doesn't necessarly mean HD filure. Could be that the system froze in a bad moment, while it was accessing boot sector or while performing defragmentation.

There are couple of things you can do before dicthching the HD.

If it is still covered with warranty, I sugest you use it.

or

You can disable the HD in BIOS, and reinstall the windows. Or try repair, but I don't think it will do that on BIOS-disabed HD.

You can get (using your parents PC) a bootable CD image with HD repair utility. Try this one. It is straight from their site.

It is self-extracting .exe of an bootable CD image. Use nero or whatever you have to burn the image on CD. If you don't have burning software on your parents PC you can get this. (their site again, might not work on non PBs)


Boot you laptop with it and go with a folw. I have no freaking idea of what this utility looks like or what it can do. If the formating your HD isn't too big of a problem, than you can use number of bootable images that are free to download, like this baby. It will wipe your HD clean, as they say "bring it to pre format state". After that, it will be a virgin HD once again. No partitions, no nothing.

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can the bios detect it?

if so then the drive is fine, mbr is broken so wipe it and reinstall OS bootloader

if not the drive is broken, use warranty

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Hmm clicking noise, none other than I normally hear but it does repeatedly and continuously beep loudly, does that mean anything??

I reckon you're right, it could be something to do with that sudden freeze, so I'll try disabling it in BIOS. I can't be sure if it recognises the internal drive in BIOS or not, as in place of where I'd expect to find it in the boot order, it said Intel 2.0. I'm certain that's not what the hard drive was called in BIOS before all this happened, but I can't remember what it used to say.

Thank you all so much for your replies, I'll try them and let you know how I get on. If worst comes to worst I'll get a new HD, but I'm praying there's some way to recover my files. I do back up as regularly as possible, but you know how it is. Anyway, bless you all for helping this damsel in distress, many many thanks!! :)

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If you know the manufacturer of your HD, I'd suggest hitting up there website support. Most HD makers have utilities to help with such things..... MK2

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Intel 2.0......Intel 2.0.......*tries to focus*.... sounds like boot agent....or a mantra.....

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Yep God only knows what the Intel 2.0 thing is (I suspect it's the CPU memory, I've seen it in BIOS), but sod it whatever it is. I've remembered the HDD was just called by it's manufacturers name in BIOS, which in this case was Samsung.

I've come to the conclusion that it's definitely dead < sobs >. It doesn't make the death click, only 2 clicks when it's starting up but it's always made those. The beeping has ceased though, much to my relief. I've had the hard drive out, given it a clean and a look over, can't see anything wrong externally and I'm too chicken to go any further inside to have a better look. I'm buying a new hard drive instead. I'm not giving up hope of retrieving my data though. I've discovered an odd trick where you put the hard drive in the freezer and it contracts the components together enough for them to work for a short period of time. Sounds bizarre but worth a try! I've lost about 30-40 gigs of data and I'd sit in the freezer myself if I thought it would get me my stuff back.

Thanks for your suggestion DeviousRidr, that's not a bad idea about looking up Samsung's website :)

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Never tried THAT. It, kind of, makes sense, since there IS a mechanism that shifts the heads when the drive heats up (due to material expansion), and that mechanism can fail. If the freezer won't do it, maybe heating it up will? Can't lose much.

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one note. if your XP came preisntalled on the PC and you change the harddisk your licence will be invalid as the OS you have is most likely an OEM copy - it may or may not let you reinstall it on different hardware but doing so would be illegal

the good news is that if you buy a new hard disk and order the a new XP OEM with it off of a microsoft partner (in the uk i have used noavtech before - there XP Home OEM is 49.99)

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Regarding the legality of hardware change....
(copy/paste from http://www.microsoft.com/piracy/activation_faq.mspx)

Can hardware components be changed and upgraded?


Product Activation is able to tolerate a certain degree of change in a hardware configuration by allowing a current hash value to have a degree of difference from the hash value that was originally activated. As a result, users can change their hardware without the product believing it is on a different PC than the one it was activated on. If the user completely overhauls the hardware making substantial hardware changes (even over long periods of time), reactivation may be required. In that case, users may need to contact to contact a Microsoft customer service representative by telephone to reactivate.

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cards and ram and slave hdds and cdrom are ok but if you cahnge the CPU or motherboard or install windows to another HDD it wont work (i know this through experience)

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