Computer Help forum


Boot disk failure after installing new RAM?

by samantha8910 / January 24, 2013 11:49 AM PST

I installed a new 1G RAM to an XP which had 516MB. I afterwards started my computer and got a boot disk failure. I had gone into the BIOS and it read the 1G card. Thinking it might not be compatible; I removed it again and only left in the original RAM. I received the boot disk failure again.
I did a SMART short self-test. It failed at 7 (completed with the read element of test failed).
Is there something I can do to fix this? Do I really have to replace the hard drive? How could I have damaged the HD by inserting new ram?

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All Answers

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Were you properly grounded when doing the install?
by wpgwpg / January 24, 2013 12:07 PM PST

Normally you wouldn't expect installing RAM would affect your hard drive, but if you weren't properly grounded and touched a circuit board, you could have possibly fired a component causing unpredictable results. Were you properly grounded? It's also possible that your hard drive was on the verge of crapping out anyway, had you gotten any warnings? How did you run the SMART self test? Was this some boot option or did you run a disk diagnostic you got from somewhere? What diagnostic was it that you used?

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reply to questions: grounded, warnings and smart test
by samantha8910 / January 25, 2013 7:11 AM PST

I believe I was grounded; I was touching the metal frame casing while inserting the RAM.

For a while now, every time when I started the computer, it always did a drive consistency test. So I suppose something was possibly wrong. This is the only type of warning, if it even really is one.

I have 3 options when I start the PC.
ESC: boot menu, allowing me to choose my HD or CD-ROM group, which doesn't help me because the HD one gives me"boot disk failure, insert system disk and press enter" and I don't have a disk.
F1: setup, leading me into the bios. F10: system recovery, which doesn't work.
The smart test was done by going through the bios. I selected the "first channel device" which was my hard drive and had the option "SMART support". Both the short and extended smart give me: 7 (completed with the read element of test failed)

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Failed Drive
by huzedat / January 27, 2013 4:26 AM PST

Since you were getting drive consistency tests on each boot prior to the boot disk failure, it is most likely that your drive has died.

My experience with consistency tests is that they are due to information not being properly recorded on the drive. Most of the time I get these because the computer did not shut down properly, or because of a program didn't write the correct data to the drive. These are usually a one-time event.

However, I had one drive that kept giving me write failure notices just before it totally crashed. Windows frequently ran consistency tests on that drive, so I had warning that it was going bad. In your case, the SMART test shows there is a problem reading from the drive. You could test the drive by trying to reformatting it. Of course, you would have to reload the OS and all your programs, but you would have to do that if the drive is bad.

Since BIOS shows the drive is there, and attempted to run a SMART check, chances are very good that the connections are OK. However, it would be a good idea to reset both ends of all connections, just to make sure.

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Common occurance
by mjd420nova / January 25, 2013 11:29 AM PST

I've seen hundreds of fractured plastic connectors that the RAM mounts into. Like all plastics, they degrade and become brittle over time and the plastic frame helps hold the soldered in pins that connect to the RAM board edge. Sometimes shuffling the RAM around to different connectors. I have also seen brand new MOBOs destroyed by a gorilla that FORCED the RAM into their slots. This can also create a plate through hole to fracture and make the board useless.

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Double check Hard Drive Connections
by 2iron / January 25, 2013 12:17 PM PST

You might have bumped a hard drive cable loose when you installed the new ram. Check all hard drive power and data cables (on both ends) to make certain they are properly connected. Then, make certain that your boot drive shows up in the BIOS and that is is selected correctly as the boot device. Good luck!

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