Computer Help forum

Question

How Can I Fix This Dell?

by naran13 / December 20, 2012 5:20 AM PST

I have a Dell Inspiron 8200 laptop, with Intel Pentium 4, Windows XP SP2. It was given to me for free because it does not work. Here's the problem:

On startup, a blue Dell screen comes up. It is then followed by the message

Primary hard disk drive not found

No boot device available -
No bootable devices--strike F1 to retry boot, F2 for setup utility

When I hit F2, I am taken to the BIOS, where I see that the Primary Hard Drive is listed as None.

On the list of devices under Boot Order I have:

Diskette Drive (there's no physical diskette drive, though)
CD/DVD/CD-RW Drive (I don't have a bootable CD)
Internal HDD (can't be found)
Cardbus NIC (don't know what that is)
Onboard NIC (don't know what that is)
APR NIC (don't know what that is)
Modular Bay HDD (I assume that is external, but don't know what that is)

Any suggestions/help/explanations greatly appreciated.

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Clarification Request
Did you get the free EBOOK on laptop repair?
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / December 21, 2012 4:06 AM PST

All Answers

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Answer
You didn't tell if you installed a new HDD.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / December 20, 2012 5:23 AM PST

It's a common failure. But you didn't tell us if the HDD was installed or good/bad!

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It's the original drive.
by naran13 / December 20, 2012 5:36 AM PST

At least I believe it is. I did not install anything new. After failing to get it to boot, I did remove the hard drive a few times and put it back in, but it's all the same.

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So did you test the drive?
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / December 20, 2012 5:45 AM PST
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Re: So did you test the drive?
by naran13 / December 20, 2012 6:15 AM PST

Not sure what you mean by "test the drive."

This is the first time I've tried to fix a laptop.

I did try to open it and check if a cable inside was loose, but it's stuck shut.

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So here you have a HDD that is not detected
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / December 20, 2012 6:38 AM PST

And not tested and has not been swapped with a known good drive.

I think you should be clear on what to try next by now.
Bob

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Answer
I may have finally found the problem.
by naran13 / December 20, 2012 9:00 AM PST

I decided to try once more to open up the laptop and check for a loose cable. Turns out I didn't have to go far.

Near the hard drive is a panel that opens in the bottom of the computer. I opened it up (again) but this time payed closer attention to the small gray cable connected to it. I'm not sure, but I think the board it's connected to is the CPU. I disattached the cable, and noticed the circular "plug" it was connected to is actually broken. Plus, the connector on the cable looks burnt.

I think this may be the source of the problem (not detecting the hard drive).

So, I think I need a new board for the CPU, and a new cable.

Anyway, there are two circular "plugs" in this board. The broken one is marked "Main." The other one is marked "Aux."

Am I right? Is this the CPU board?

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I can't see what you see. What about?
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / December 20, 2012 9:03 AM PST

Did you try to boot and run some Linux off an USB stick? I've done that on old machine since repair is not worth it.

The P4 laptops had a lot of issues so unless you get the board for free I would not bother.
Bob

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USB Boot
by naran13 / December 20, 2012 10:01 AM PST

Thanks for all the replies.

This laptop does not have an option to boot from USB listed in the BIOS. I tried it anyway, and it does not recognize the USB stick. Just to check, I plugged a USB-powered book light in, and it turned on, so the port gets power, it's just not recognized by BIOS.

I guess I'll have to make a bootable CD and try that next. I don't have a burner, but the library does; I hope that does the trick.

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Mini PCI
by naran13 / December 20, 2012 11:05 AM PST

Okay, that part near the hard drive is not the CPU, it's the Mini PCI. Anyway, it has two connectors one marked "Main" one marked "Aux."

So I guess I have a lot to learn about Dell laptop construction.

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This on google?
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / December 20, 2012 11:52 AM PST
In reply to: Mini PCI

Dell (insertmodel and number here) SERVICE MANUAL

Tonight there's a free EBOOK offer on laptop repair. I posted it for all in the CNET Deals and Bargains forum as well as this forum and the Laptop Troubleshooting Forum (@cnet)
Bob

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Dell Service Manual
by naran13 / December 20, 2012 12:33 PM PST
In reply to: This on google?
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Almost all mini pci slots
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / December 20, 2012 12:39 PM PST
In reply to: Dell Service Manual

Were for the WiFi card. And a common mistake some did was to remove the card but forget to insulate and tape the antenna connections down. I've seen a few blown boards over that mistake.
Bob

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Answer
Microprocessor
by naran13 / December 21, 2012 1:19 AM PST

So I finally got to the microprocessor. I'm not sure it it's burnt-out or not. Any way to tell?

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Why did you think it was?
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / December 21, 2012 1:23 AM PST
In reply to: Microprocessor

The CPU was working well enough to boot and display so it was not a suspect item.

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Re: Why did you think it was
by naran13 / December 21, 2012 1:47 AM PST

There is a thin amount of black substance that resembles wax. When I looked at a photo of the microprocessor online, this substance was evenly aligned around the square; on mine, it seems to have run in one direction.

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And since it booted up and displayed.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / December 21, 2012 1:55 AM PST

That told us not to consider the CPU at all. The CPU is that big chip made by Intel. Maybe your terminology is off a little.
Bob

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CPU and microprocessor
by naran13 / December 21, 2012 2:14 AM PST

I'm looking at the CPU right now after having removed the video graphics board.

The part I'm talking about is identified in the service manual as the microprocessor module, which is a different part near the CPU.

Anyway, I've pretty much completely disassembled the laptop now (finally), and don't see anything disconnected or broken; so that means my problem is either the microprocessor or the hard drive.

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Sad to read this.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / December 21, 2012 3:25 AM PST
In reply to: CPU and microprocessor

I would have left it as-is since the cost of the board with the burn marks unless free means I could have booted any of the bootable OSes and used USB for storage. When I read such above, better than half the time the laptop is then left in a pile of parts. Worse than before.
Bob

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Re-assembled
by naran13 / December 21, 2012 3:59 AM PST
In reply to: Sad to read this.

Well, I've gotten it mostly re-assembled, except the keyboard and display. Those are next.

The keyboard is tricky. Everything else was easy.

I'm hoping it's just a hard drive problem, because that would be easier to replace than the microprocessor.

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See the FREE laptop repair book?
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / December 21, 2012 4:07 AM PST
In reply to: Re-assembled

And I never found where you tested the drive.
Bob

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Test the drive?
by naran13 / December 21, 2012 5:00 AM PST

I never tested the drive; how would I go about that?

I don't see a link to the book.

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Free E-Book
by naran13 / December 21, 2012 5:35 AM PST

Okay, I see the link at the top.

However, I don't have a Kindle.

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Don't need a Kindle.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / December 21, 2012 6:38 AM PST
In reply to: Free E-Book
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Okay, I get it now
by naran13 / December 21, 2012 6:57 AM PST
In reply to: Don't need a Kindle.

I don't have such an adapter, but that sounds like a good idea to get one. Only thing is, how do I make sure the hard drive doesn't have any viruses, before connecting it to another computer?

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Since autoplay was disabled long ago
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / December 21, 2012 6:59 AM PST
In reply to: Okay, I get it now

And we can scan in if it comes up, what's the worry?

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Answer
Beep Codes
by naran13 / December 21, 2012 5:29 AM PST

Okay, so, I think I fixed something by accident Happy

The computer is still giving me the same error message on startup:

Primary hard disk drive not found

No boot device available -
No bootable devices--strike F1 to retry boot, F2 for setup utility

The difference this time is the error message is accompanied by two beeps. Before, it was silent. Also, when I adjust the volume in BIOS, it is accompanied by a beep to indicate the selected loudness. Before, that was silent also.

So I guess now my focus should be on the hard drive, and making a bootable CD.

I'm going to look into the beep codes, too.

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Sounds like more troubles.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / December 21, 2012 6:39 AM PST
In reply to: Beep Codes

All the disassembly was uncalled for given the story. If nothing else you know what's inside.
Bob

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Well it was worth the experience.
by naran13 / December 21, 2012 6:59 AM PST

And it's been quite educational.

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Thanks
by naran13 / December 21, 2012 9:58 AM PST

Bob, thanks for all the replies.

I'm now convinced it's the hard drive and that I'll have to replace it.

This has been a great project, I've sure learned a lot!

Again, thanks for all the help.

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