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Old 01-09-2009, 03:21 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default HDD not found.

Ok, I know the title was kinad vague, so here's the long version. I have an Alienware laptop set with a RAID 1 array on a promise fasttrak 387 BIOS. The system came into my shop because windows was blue screening during OS boot. I determined that not only were the boot files corrupted, but one of the HDDs were bad. So, replaced both disks and tried to boot to my reinstall disc. Both drives are 120GB. I installed my 3rd party RAID drivers and my HDD was not found. So, here's everything I did. I set the BIOS to ATA attempting to boot to only one disk. I deleted the array and did not define one in the promise firmware. Still no luck. I switched the jumper on the HDD to CS instead of master, no luck. I set the array back up and attempted to install with jumpers set to both master/slave and master/CS and it still didn't work. The CS selection was a shot in the dark, but hey. I then pulled the old disk that wasn't damaged out and set that as the master in a hope that I could perform an in place repair/chkdsk/fixboot/fixmbr in the recovery console and rebuild the other HDD using the array. That didn't work I still couldn't see my drives. The promise firmware sees the drives, but the BIOS does not. If I attempt to boot to the corrupt windows installation I get my windows boot options which I find a little odd. So, after trying that, I went back and tried to switch OS install discs thinking that could possibly be the problem. It wasn't. So, I then set the BIOS boot order to see a USB HDD and I plugged in a test drive with Windows XP home. That didn't work either. So, I got a bug up my butt to try using the new blank HDD as the USB boot priority #1. Still to no avail. I couldn't find anyone else having this issue, so I had to ask here. Here are my system specs, I'm installing Windows XP Pro service pack 2. The system is an alienware Area51-M 7700? The model number was rubbed off and these specs are as close as I could find.


Processor Intel Pentium 4 550 / 3 GHz Data bus speed 800 MHz Processor features Hyper-Threading Technology , Execute Disable Bit capability Chipset type Intel 915P Express Cache Memory
Type L2 cache Cache size 1 MB RAM
Installed Size 4 GB (max) Technology DDR2 SDRAM - 533 MHz Memory specification compliance PC2-4200 Storage Controller
Storage controller type IDE Storage
Floppy Drive 3.5" 1.44 MB floppy - External Hard Drive 120 GB (two) Storage Removable None Hard drive type Portable Optical Storage
Type CD-RW / DVD-ROM combo - Plug-in module CD / DVD read speed 24x (CD) / 8x (DVD) CD / DVD write speed 24x CD / DVD rewrite speed 10x Optical Storage (2nd)
2nd optical storage type None Card Reader
Card reader type 7 in 1 card reader Supported flash memory cards Microdrive , CompactFlash , Memory Stick , MultiMediaCard , SD Memory Card , SmartMedia Card , Memory Stick Pro Display
Display Type 17 in TFT active matrix Max Resolution 1400 x 900 Widescreen Display Yes Video
Graphics Processor / Vendor NVIDIA GeForce Go 6800 PCI Express x16 Video Memory GDDR3 SDRAM - 256 MB Audio
Audio output type Sound card Audio Input Microphone Input Device(s)
Input device type Keyboard , Touchpad Features Built-in numeric keyboard Telecom
Modem Fax / modem Max transfer rate 56 Kbps Protocols & Specifications ITU V.92 Networking
Networking Network adapter Data link protocol Ethernet , Fast Ethernet , Gigabit Ethernet Expansion / Connectivity
Expansion Bays 2 x Front accessible Expansion Slots Total (Free) 4 ( 3 ) x Memory , 1 ( 0 ) x Processor - LGA775 Socket , 1 ( 1 ) x CardBus - Type I/II , 1 ( 1 ) x SD Memory Card , 1 ( 1 ) x Memory Stick , 1 ( 1 ) x CompactFlash Card , 1 ( 1 ) x SmartMedia Card Interfaces 1 x Parallel - IEEE 1284 (EPP/ECP) - 25 pin D-Sub (DB-25) , 1 x Serial - RS-232 - 9 pin D-Sub (DB-9) , 1 x Display / video - DVI-Analog/Digital - 29 pin combined DVI , 1 x Display / video - S-video output - 4 pin mini-DIN , 1 x Keyboard - Generic - 6 pin mini-DIN (PS/2 style) , 1 x Mouse - Generic - 6 pin mini-DIN (PS/2 style) , 2 x IEEE 1394 (FireWire) - 4 pin FireWire , 4 x Hi-Speed USB - 4 pin USB Type A , 1 x Headphones - Mini-phone stereo 3.5 mm , 1 x Audio - SPDIF output , 1 x Microphone - Input - Mini-phone 3.5 mm , 1 x Audio - Line-in - Mini-phone stereo 3.5 mm , 1 x Modem - Phone line - RJ-11 , 1 x Network - Ethernet 10Base-T/100Base-TX/1000Base-T - RJ-45 , 1 x Infrared - IrDA Miscellaneous
Included Accessories Mouse pad Features Security lock slot (cable lock sold separately) Power
Power device form factor External Battery
Technology 12-cell Lithium ion Installed Qty 1 Battery capacity 6600 mAh Operating System / Software
OS Provided Microsoft Windows XP Professional Edition
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Old 01-09-2009, 03:29 PM   #2 (permalink)

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Default Re: HDD not found.

If the original disk that has the corrupted files still boots it sounds like A) the RAID array has in fact not been erased fully or B) the new hard drives you installed are bad. Those are the only two things I can think of since you've tried so much already.

Since the original boots have you tried performing a repair install on the good drive?
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Old 01-09-2009, 03:35 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: HDD not found.

Yes, I tried doing a repair on the original disc, but the OS install disc still wil not see the drive either as RAID or ATA. The promise firmware tells me that the array has been deleted at boot each time. I tested the new HDD's in my bench machine which brings me to another thing that I attempted to do. I tried to format and initialize the discs and that worked on the bench, but the laptop still does not detect my HDDs.
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Old 01-09-2009, 03:38 PM   #4 (permalink)

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Default Re: HDD not found.

Could be the promise controller is a goner then.
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Old 01-09-2009, 08:12 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: HDD not found.

I'm a little late on the reply to the previous post, but that was because it was time to close up shop and I didn't get home from my errands until just now. I don't see how it would be possible that the promise controller is gone. The firmware will let me build new arrays and that actually does see my disks. I also wonder if it's possible that a track on the motherboard may have burnt out. I mean I'm reaching here, but I'm low on ideas lol.
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Old 01-10-2009, 02:40 AM   #6 (permalink)

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Default Re: HDD not found.

What do you mean by a track? The controller could have still gone even though it runs the drives. Onyl because you said it only runs the old drive. The whole problem just sounds like the controller to me.
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