win 98 failing to boot no master/slave found

  hors 12:45 01 Aug 2003

The system will not boot, I had got an error message reporting problems writing to the hard drive immediately before it crashed. On start up it does not always find the primary master and slave and on attempting to run Norton Utilities boot up to perform disk diagnosis it did not recognise that I had a hard drive. I tried to reinstall windows but the screen prompt told me my drive was not partitioned and I would lose all my data if I continued, which I didn't.
Someone suggested it might be faulty cabling from the hard disk.

Any ideas?

  sil_ver 14:55 01 Aug 2003

Suggest you check that the cabling has not worked loose by removing and refitting it or try another IDE cable. Are both HDDs on the same cable? if so try removing the slave. then check in BIOS that your hardware is recognised. I suppose it's possible that the PSU is failing.

  A15 17:04 01 Aug 2003

On an Athlon 600 system just before I upgraded. It was my hard drive controller going bye bye's.

The problem started out every now & then but slowly got worse until I got a HDD controller failure, you could also check for this, though I hope not to bring bad tidings!

  hors 19:27 01 Aug 2003

thanks for the responses
sil_ver: useful advice, how would i recognise the master and slave and what's a PSU (and what would its failure mean)
A15:Thanks, what would that scenario mean practically, would I be able to access any of my data. My wife has a lot of emails and documents that we did not back up. (oops!)

  sil_ver 00:34 02 Aug 2003

When you first boot up, the first screen will tell you the master and slave HDD. The PSU is the power supply unit and if, for instance, it was starting to fail you might get a drop in voltage. You say that you get a failure to recognise either drive which seems to say that the problem is not a faulty HDD as you would have to be very unlucky to lose both drives. When you say you tried to reinstall Windows I hope you tried to install it from within Windows as this will refresh windows but keep all your personal files. If you reinstall from a bootdisk it will probably reformat first which will wipe it clean.

  hors 09:14 02 Aug 2003

I think I cancelled that process when the dialog box warned me that if I continued, I would lose data. I guess this is a salutory lesson in the importance of backing up. I am out today but will try cable idea this evening.

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