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Old 08-11-2006, 11:40 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Help!!!

I've just hit my first solid wall with building computers.

I have a custom built rig which I'm selling to a good guy I know. He gave me some cash to get a 2nd hard drive for the computer, and last night was when the you know what hit the fan.

For starters, here are the PC specs -

Asus P4C800-E Delux Motherboard
Intel Pentium 4 3.0E Ghz CPU w/HT
2 GB Patriot DDR 400 RAM
1st HD - Western Digital Caviar SE, 160 GB (SATA)
2nd HD (where problems started to occur...) Western Digital Caviar RE, 160 GB (SATA)

There are other specs, but I don't think they have anything to do with the problem I'm having.

The other night was the eve before I was to give my friend the computer. The computer was running beautifully - speedy, no problems whatsoever. I powered it down, connected the WD Caviar RE HDD to the second open SATA port (NOT one of the raid ports), and began to boot up the computer. My plan was to format the RE HDD and put Windows XP Pro on it, and then once that was finished I was going to go through windows and format my old drive, so both drives would be 100% clean and devoid of anything I may have put on them.

When I went to boot it up, I had the OS CD inside the tray. It asked me if I wanted to boot from CD, so I did. It started to load all the files required to boot up Windows (this is on a blue screen at the moment), and when it was finished doing that it got to "System is starting Windows", and just hung there. I gave it about 10 minutes before I decided to reboot. I did the same thing again with both drives alone, with only one being connected to the motherboard at a time; I was afraid there might be a conflict with master/slave settings. On neither could I get past the System is starting Windows message.

I then decided that, if it didn't work there, I would try going through the RAID ports. I connected both HDDs to the RAID SATA ports, and booted up the computer. Since I had no array defined I had to create one, which I did, and it gave me a message about whether or not I wanted to do this because it would delete information on the hard drives. Since it didn't matter to me what was on them, and theoretically it shouldn't matter if I was going to format them via the OS CD anyway, I went ahead and did it. Then Windows didn't recognize the HDD's because I couldn't load the RAID drivers - they're on a CD that came with the motherboard and need to be put on a floppy disk, and the other computers in my home don't have floppy drives, so this avenue was exhausted.

I then disconnected both hard drives, and connected my old one back to it's original place, just as it was before I started messing with things. I went to boot up the system and skipped booting from CD, and the computer wouild start loading Microsoft Windows XP Pro, with the little sliding blue loading bar, and then would go completely black. After doing this a few times, it finally loaded the operating system and I was back to where I started.

Unfortunately, the computer was running MUCH slower than normal. With a 3 GHZ CPU and 2 GB of RAM, I was surprised - it was running slower than my mothers computer with 256 MB RAM and a 2.4 GHZ Intel CPU. I was extremely weirded out by this, and very worried. My internet is broadband, and when trying to visit the tech-forums website, it would take 5+ minutes to load a page with all of it's icons. While I was trying to browse the website for help, I connected the 2nd HDD (the RE) to the motherboard in the SATA (not RAID) port, as they're supposed to be hot plugable. The computer started to recognize and install the HDD, and then told me it was finished installing. I went to My Computer to see if it was there so I could format it, and it wasn't. I shut down the computer and thought about what to do.

After that, I haven't been able to even get back on to my original HDD. When I go to boot up Windows with it, it asks me if I want to boot in the various safe modes, start with what last worked, or start windows normally. If I start in Safe Mode, it hangs on loading an agp driver; if I start windows with my last good settings, the loading bar for Windows XP freezes, and if I start Windows normally it gets through loading and then the Computer restarts.

I had an old IDE drive laying around so I tried that out too, and setup hung on the "The system is starting Windows..." when I'm trying to load the OS from the CD.

When I started out, all my BIOS settings were on default. I've loaded the OS from CD onto my original SATA HDD (the SE) probably about 3 times before in the past and have never experienced a problem. I unplugged the computer and pulled the battery out of the motherboard in case there was something stuck in the memory that was messing with my drives.

I'm completely exasperated - I've never experienced this before. My last avenue of action is going to be taking a computer I built for another friend and checking my HDD on his to see if it's fouled (we have the same motherboard). I would check his on mine to see if thats the problem (my drives) but I don't want to do that in the event that something happens to his hard drive.

I'm SOL on this one, and I need to take care of this ASAP - any help from anyone would be greatly appreciated.

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Old 08-11-2006, 11:48 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Checking your hard drive on another computer sounds like the best bet. If the drive is good, go ahead and format it. Might as well transfer the RAID drivers while you're there, too.

If the drive(s) check out, pop 'em back in and install the RAID drivers, then install a fresh set of Windows.


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Old 08-11-2006, 11:51 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Would it matter if it was formatted? The Windows OS CD has a format tool for when you want to load the OS - I know the HD is good, I'd been using it 10 minutes before I started, plus a brand new hard drive. Still worth a shot though - ty
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