hard drive dead or will boot disk help?

  old,slow &stupid 14:34 17 Oct 2005

I've got a Time PC, originally running Windows ME, successfully updated to XP home. No problem there.Computer will suddenly no longer boot up, and doesn't recognise any heads or partitions.
Can I boot from a boot disk, and if so , should it be an ME disc or an XP disc. Or has my hard drive died? I don't have boot discs for either ME or XP, (yes I know, serves me right). Where can I get them from if that is the answer. If it has got to be a new hard drive then I'll get a new PC, but can the old disc contents, photos etc, be copied to the new PC.
Advice gratefully welcomed. Thanks

  Diemmess 14:46 17 Oct 2005

Pretend you dont know what your computer is or what it should do........ Switch on and describe what happens next please?

Any SOUNDS of life? Any lights-(which ones)? Anything showing on the Monitor(What shows)?

It may not be what you think but these few details will help everyone to make educated guesses.

  keith-236785 16:01 17 Oct 2005

if you need the startup floppy disks, goto click here and download the one you want, double click the downloaded file and it will write the floppy for you (make sure you have a blank floppy disk in the drive before double clicking)

personally i would use a windows98se boot disk UNLESS your file format is NTFS, in that case you would need a winXP boot disk, or you could use the winXP cd to do the same, booting it to a command prompt.

doubt if it is your hard drive that has died but you never know, sounds like its lost its master boot record or maybe the bios has become corrupt.

either way, a new pc is a drastic step (unless its the excuse you need for the mrs....lol)

  Doire_Bhoy 16:06 17 Oct 2005

Boot up from XP floppy disks and go into the repair option. Try the FIX BOOT command and see what happens. Also run CHKDSK too

  old,slow &stupid 12:27 18 Oct 2005

Thank you gentlemen for your assistance.
I tried turning the PC on again last night. It goes through its' RAM check, beeps once and then tells me' Drive not ready Isert boot disc in A.
I also tried starting it up with the XP Home disc in the D drive, which then runs the Setup programme, but ultimately gives the message
'Setup did not find any hard disc drives'
I've opened the PC and pushed and pulled on the connections I can my hands on to make sure they're all seated properly. Same result.
What do think I should try next? I really start to think I'm living up to my nickname.

'Old, slow & stupid'

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 16:26 18 Oct 2005

Certain sounds like a drive problem although it could also be the jumper setting, IDE (ribbon cable) or power cable failed or Bios setting problem.

Check the jumper is set to master.

You Know the IDE cable for your CD is OK is the drive on the same cable or seperate if sepaerate then swapp the cables over also swap the power plugs over and retry.

Check BIOS is set to auto

click here may help

  Diemmess 17:53 18 Oct 2005

If you can acquire a Win 98 or ME boot disk on a floppy, then when you reach the stage where your computer says "insert disk in drive A:" it should continue to grunt behind the scenes for a short time.

In fact if it can use the contents of A: it will mainly load the basic Windows command.com and then the A:> prompt on the screen.

Now ..... the whole point...... If at the A:> prompt you type Dir C: and Enter, you will either have a list of folders on drive C: (which will show that your HD is working) or another "cannot read drive C:" (which probably confirms that your HD is dead.)

  old,slow &stupid 22:37 24 Oct 2005

Thanks again for your advice, but I'm still no further forward. Fruit Bat, the IDE cable goes to both the CD and the Hard drive. I've pulled them both out of the box and verified the connections. The computer won't read from the A drive other than telling me that I've inserted an invalid disk. If I enter the BIOS setup and go to 'Detect Hard Drive', the setting for USER shows no heads or sectors. It is possible toalter the USER setting which gives me up to 40 odd possibilties of different heads and sectors, but nothing seems to match the specifications on the hard disc, which are
Seagate U Series 5 20GB
16383 cyl
16HD 8
63 Sect
LBA 39,102,336
Model ST 320413 A
Firmware 3.54
My motherboard is a MS-5191 Ver 1.2 AMC
Are there special bios numbers than I should insert myself on the BIOS screen, and if so , how?
Does any of this help or is that new computer looming ever nearer?
Thanks for your brain time. I'm getting really frustrated with this.

  splork 22:49 24 Oct 2005

Can you hear the hard-drive `chatter` as it spins up when you switch the PC on? It ought to auto-detect the drive settings, just leave it on AUTO, otherwise it's adding another variable to the problem. I'd go along with all the previous advice, the most important being to get a bootable floppy to load and then doing a `dir c:`. I realise you're having problems with the A: drive too...if the light is on all the time the ribbon cable is on the wrong way round.
Have you tried disconnecting any drives other than the hard-disk (both power and IDE cable), switching on and seeing if the BIOS recognises the disk then?

  splork 22:57 24 Oct 2005

click here

Seagate diagnostic floppy click here

  keith-236785 10:52 27 Oct 2005

if there is a floppy in the drive, remove it and re-boot the pc....a non start up floppy would stop the pc from booting. sorry if this has already been covered but it is a common mistake

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