hard drive not recognised by bios

  Aswad 10:39 16 Jun 2003

two computers were running perfectly, 1 athlon 1800 and 1 pentium 2 - both windows ME. After upgrading son's computer, attempted to install his old hard drive (IBM deskstar 40 gb) in athlon system as 2nd hard drive. All jumper settings were correctly reset. Computer would not boot into windows from c drive and bios reported as "no fixed disk present". Did also not recognise the transferred IBM drive as secondary. ME boot floppy used and possibility of virus mentioned.
I then tried (foolishly) to install the IBM disk in the old Pentium as secondary, with the same results. I now have two computers where the C drive is reported as " no fixed disk present.
If the old drive had a virus, is it possible that it infected the C drives before windows was started? Can the motherboards now be infected? Would it be safe to try to replace the C drives with a clean drive, or will this too be affected? Finally, as I cannot get into windows to run anti-virus program, does anyone no of an anti virus program that can be run from DOS prompt? Or any other advice to resue these machines, please.

  ©®@$ђ 10:45 16 Jun 2003

not an answer to your question as such, but have you entered the bios and checked that the ide's are set to auto detect.

this needs to be set for the hardrives to be picked up by the bios, for some reason they may not be set or have been changed and may need to be set again..worth a try

  Aswad 12:37 16 Jun 2003

Thanks for that - unfortunately I rechecked each bios after this occurred and checked that the settings were correct.

  ©®@$ђ 12:56 16 Jun 2003

how have you got them setup

i.e are the hardrives on 1 ide cable

if so are the drives setup as master and slave, and in the bios is it set to primary master and primary slave (auto detect)

if they are on seperate ide cables then both the drives should be set to master aslong as the cd-roms are slaved.

the bios recognises the hardrives is this correct, but when you boot the computer it doesn't find them and says no fixed disk, is that correct.

in the bios what is the first boot device set to, if its set to floppy disk, make sure theres no floppy in the drive..also make sure that the hardrives are listed as a boot device.

another thing to try is get a windows startup disk if you havn't got one download one from click here

and make sure the first boot device is set to floppy, start the computer with floppy in and get to the A:\ prompt and type sys c: it should look like this below

A:\sys c:

press enter

you should see files transfered.now take the floppy out of the drive and reboot the computer see if that helps

  Aswad 07:45 17 Jun 2003

Thank you - Hard drives are set up as Master and slave on IDE 1, IDE 2 is set up as DVD master, cd slave. (IDE 2 not touched during attempted install of second hard drive). Bios correctly set up.

Original config before disaster was 1 hard drive set as master on IDE 1, IDE 2 DVD as master, cd as slave, so only change made was to set the jumpers on 2nd hard drive to slave and intall on primary. Bios was correctly set before this to boot from ide, cd, floppy in that order. (Autodetect set on.)

Bios post now shows No Primary master, no secondary master and correctly shows IDE 2 DVD & cd.

I have start up disk, and have tried booting from this after altering bios to boot from floppy first. Installs standard program OK and virtual CD drive, but reports standard long microsoft message " No valid partition etc, or virus present".Attempted to run fdisk - this failed and message was "no fixed disk present" - which ties up with bios post of not recognising any fixed disks on IDE 1.

What is puzzling me is that after this happened, I removed the second hard drive, reverted to original settings with original untouched Hard drive and had the same problem and report. (Unlikely to be hardware, as the same thing happened on two different spec computers, which were both working OK previously. That is why I wondered if merely connecting the second hard drive could transfer a virus to the mainboards or bios's without ever getting windows booted.

  Bodi 10:14 17 Jun 2003

"Original config before disaster was 1 hard drive set as master on IDE 1, IDE 2 DVD as master, cd as slave, so only change made was to set the jumpers on 2nd hard drive to slave and intall on primary. Bios was correctly set before this to boot from ide, cd, floppy in that order. (Autodetect set on.)"

This is a long shot, and probably no help, but you could try setting the jumper settings on the slave to "cable select" and see if that works.

I have found, in my limited experience, that if the BIOS won't recognise a hard drive, (apart from the obvious, a duff drive) this is usually down to the jumper settings. ie. some Master drives require settings of "Master with Slave present" and some Slaves require that all jumpers be removed etc. etc. Depends on the make of drive.

Hope this helps,


  Bodi 10:18 17 Jun 2003

Are you using an "80" flat pin cable? You could check that you have that connected correctly. Might help.


  Bodi 10:23 17 Jun 2003

Do you have an emergency virus boot disk? You could try putting both drives in independently and run that. For instance, the Norton Virus installation CD will also act as an emergency disk and can be used to scan for viruses on your hard drives.

Whether your motherboard has been infected would depend on the virus - but if you BIOS is working it doesn't sound like it. Maybe wrong.


  ©®@$ђ 10:24 17 Jun 2003

you have probably done this, but check that the ide cable from the hardrives and the power cables are correctly in place,aswell as the ide cable connecting to the motherboard..

No, modern PC hardware is not susceptible to damage from software, and any
computer virus, no matter how devastating, is merely software. A virus
can remove all the data on your disk drive, and theoretically could erase
a tape, but neither the disk drive, tape, or tape drive would be
permanently damaged.

Years ago, some computers and some equipment for PC's could be damaged in
specific way via software. This is no longer possible on any machine you
are likely to encounter.

There is a partial exception to this: the BIOS. Recent machines
incorporate a "flash" BIOS. Traditionally, the BIOS is stored in an EPROM,
which like all ROM memory cannot be altered from software. However, to
facilitate easy upgrades, BIOS's are now being stored on "flash" memory, a
type of memory that can retain data indefinitely, like ROM, but can be
erased and re-loaded a limited number of times.

The upshot of that is that a virus _could_ erase or, in theory, infect a
BIOS. I believe one virus attempts to erase flash BIOS's, although I
don't know whether it actually succeeds. I don't know of any that
attempt to infect a flash BIOS.

In any case, the solution is simple: any decent motherboard with a flash
BIOS will also include a jumper that disables any changes to the BIOS.
Make sure this jumper is set so that the BIOS cannot be altered, and only
switch the jumper when you specifically want to upgrade the BIOS. This
jumper is hardware, and no virus will be able to bypass it.

In summary: check your motherboard for a flash BIOS. Other than that, you
do not have to worry about a virus damaging your hardware.

i don't know of any virus scanners that can scan through dos and is small enough to fit on floppy, with some antivirus programs when you install it, they ask you to create a floppy rescue disk incase of a disaster but as you havn't got one , i don't know sorry!

  DieSse 10:38 17 Jun 2003

As has been said above, in practical terms you can discount a virus.

Have you been changing cables and generally pottering about inside the system with the mains still connected - the front panel switch does not turn of all the power to the motherboard, and if you change things with the mains cable still plugged in, and the mains not switched off at the plug or on the back of the power supply - you can damage components.

If you revert to a single drive, correctly jumpered, and the BIOS will not even recognise it, then you have a major problem.

You should double check everything - cables the correct way round, all securely fitted etc etc.

It's vital that the IDE cable is correctly fitted. The red stripe on the cable must go to pin 1 on the connectors at both ends. If it's an 80 wire cable, it will only work one way round - the end on the motherboard must be the connector furthest from the centre connector. Check and double check both these points.

  Aswad 10:56 17 Jun 2003

Thank you all for help. Main additional points: all cables correctly fitted and are correct type (80pin). All work done with anti-static surface and mains power disconnected from case. Have reverted to single hard drive, correctly jumpered (original working config) Bios still does not show drive!

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