Boot up error!

vbimport

#1

hi all. i just tried to switch on my PC 1/2 an hoour ago, and it got to that screen where u can go into bios.
it deltected my 3 ide devices as usual, but it stayed there for 30 seconds and came with a message primary master hard disk fail
i rebooted - no good.
i switched it all off - no good.

i left it for 10 mins and it booted windows as normal.
i am now checking for viruses, but does anyone know what is going on??

i have a feeling it could be somethnig to do with my cheap ish Hard drive.

TIA


#2

I’ve seen that on some old (really, really old) hard disks. Once, I was able to fix it by performing a low level format using the utility provided by the manufacturer. It worked for a good 6 months after that.

Other times I’ve seen this happen, it’s been the end of the line for the drives.


#3

If it’s a relatively new drive :

Enable the S.M.A.R.T. option in your bios setup.
The bios will tell you then if the disk is going bad on the first reboot
There are windows tools for this as well

If it’s a relatively old drive :

It could be a spinning problem. Old disks need some time to spin up and when you quickly power off and on again you give the disk an extra "spark’ when it’s still running.

Usually you can delay the timer in the bios setup for this. I can’t recall its exact name.


#4

thanks 4 the help. it is a reltivley new drive - about 18 months old .

do all bios versions have s.m.a.r.t. , because i have v4.51.

where can i enable this option (in bios) and what does it do?

also, is the disk ‘going bad’ and do you think i will need a new HDD, or can the problem be fixed. btw, it happened just now , again, 2 times.

TIA


#5

Originally posted by shuebhussain
[B]thanks 4 the help. it is a reltivley new drive - about 18 months old .

do all bios versions have s.m.a.r.t. , because i have v4.51.

where can i enable this option (in bios) and what does it do?

also, is the disk ‘going bad’ and do you think i will need a new HDD, or can the problem be fixed. btw, it happened just now , again, 2 times.

TIA [/B]

All latest award bioses have the 4.51 version.
The SMART technology checks your harddisk constantly to see if errors might occur. On tucows there are a lot of handy tools to monitor this under windows. There should be an option with your IDE settings somewhere in the bios setup , depends on the brand and type of the motherboard.

The problem could be fixed if you low level format the disk , the bad sectors will then be relocated to the spare sectors in the harddisk. (Search for maxllf.exe in google).

Also a nice format c: /AUTOTEST will check the disk for bad sectors. Mind you that the /autotest option does not give any warning and starts formatting directly when you type enter.


#6

if i just reinstall windows, will that make the problem go away? (i have been meaning to format the HDD for a whil now)


#7

Originally posted by shuebhussain
if i just reinstall windows, will that make the problem go away? (i have been meaning to format the HDD for a whil now)

if it’s a hardware problem even the mighty drivers of windows will not solve it :smiley:


#8

i think i have mis-understood. are the other post telling me , in a nutshell, how to see if my HDD is busted (or not) ??


#9

I believe Mr. Belvedere means you have to work on it in pure DOS using low-level (close to the hardware) techniques and that your problem may be indeed hardware. Does your disk make the same noise as usual when you boot up?

I’m certainly no expert in the field but I have used SpriRite with success on an iffy disk that turned out to have many undetected ‘weak’ sectors and it corrected the instabilities. Apparently this program works by detecting areas that are poorly magnetized, moving the data in them somewhere else then somehow magnetically enhancing the the affected area to restore it almost to its original, ‘fresh’ state.

HTH.


#10

SpinRite is 50% crap (check www.grcsucks.com for a thorough explanation of it).

If a disk starts to fail there can be certain various problems on it. Usually it’s a combination of all.

As we all know an harddisk is made of electronics and metal components ;In basic :

The platters (this is were the data physically is. One platter has two sides which are both rewritable magnetic surfacess)
The servo motor (this is the positionmotor for the comb)
The platter motor (this is the motor that drives the platter around)
The comb (this is the array of heads for the harddisk)
The print circuit board (This is where the electronics are and the IDE/SCSI interface for the translation is. Also there is firmware here in one of the chips , the control of the servo motor , the power and much more)

Now , how does a crash take place ?

  • A dust particle has flown on top of the platter , setting a contact between the heads and the surface of the platter. Making a physical scratch… Since the disk spins quite a lot (7200 rpm) the scratch is a nice line in no time.
    If the dust decides to move , another line and so forth… Disk is beyond repair.

  • Climatic conditions. Though this is very very very very unusual as we all might know from science class some metal components tend to shrink or grow in size if climatic conditions change. Also think about humidity. Usually have the hardisk in a normal dry place (20 degrees Celcuis , below 80% humidity) and there’s no problem.
    Again … this hardly ever takes place since all harddisks are now made of metal hybrids.

  • Heat. If prints , electronic circuits, and stuff like that get heated they can perform differently. This can have various results. The best method is to cool it down as well. Are there other devices that generate heat in the neighbourhood ?

  • Control interface or malfunction of the operating system. Every harddisk has its own self check. If you connect a harddisk to the power … the spinning and tick tick sounds you here in the first seconds are also the Power On Self test of the disk. This could go wrong due to power fluctuations , combination of heat , humidity and so forth. (That’s why you need a power supply that can deliver a STABLE power even when more power is asked (for instance , during the spinning of the disks)

  • Recalibration of platters , heads , comb , servo motor and all. As we all know moving parts deteriorate over time. In harddisk technology a micrometer of position shift can give disasterous results.

Now , how to control these things ? Usually you can’t. But there is the option called S.M.A.R.T. that checks how many times a disk has to re-read the data and with nice cool looking formula’s the program decides if it’s gonna fail or not. If the SMART technology says the disk is gonna fail… it usually will within a week.

What’s also quite handy is that all harddisks have a spare data built in. This means that if a place on the disk is going faulty , the internal translation changes. The sector is relocated to another sector. This however is always on the end of the platter , so if it’s a sector well within the beginning of the platter , your harddisk will go slower. If this error is occured during dust or something and the dust particle changes position , you would have to reformat it over and over again. This is so annoying that buying a new harddisk can cost less than trying to repair an old 5 year old harddisk.

Another myth is that the interrior of a harddisk is vacuum. It’s NOT ! It’s dust free , but not vacuum. (Seen those little breathing holes some quantum and maxtor disks have ?)

So in your case i’d try maxllf.exe. Let the harddisk low level format. It will check all the data on the disk by writing it , reading it , rewriting it and rereading it. In this case all the data is overwritten.

Then partition the disk with FDISK. The fdisk will check the size as well.

Then do a FORMAT C: /AUTOTEST. The autotest option will check the sectors and clusters when they are formatted.

Good luck


#11

thanks :cool: