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Boot problem

by The ancient one / May 11, 2010 8:14 AM PDT

When I booted up my computer, it wouldn?t boot quite all the way and when I tried again the following message came up: ?Reboot and select proper Boot device or insert Boot Media in selected Boot device.? After trying several ?F? keys and even the original OS CD, I finally received this message: ?Pri Slave Hard Disk: S.M.A.R.T. Command Failed.? This then gave me a clue so I opened up the computer case and removed the cable and power source to the slave drive and then pushed the on button and it booted up fine. Then I turned things off and reconnected the cable and power source to the slave drive and everything worked just fine. Though this is a six year old computer the master hard drive is only a couple of months old with the original version of XPSP3 installed. I have also installed a USB ?Card? in a vacant PCI slot. It is my understanding that the S.M.A.R.T. Command is connected to the BIOS but I have not found anything in the BIOS that refers to it. If this happens only occasionally, I guess I can live with opening the case and disconnecting things and then reconnecting them. But I am hoping that someone knows how this problem can be fixed.

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The Slave Drive Is Probably Failing..
by Grif Thomas Forum moderator / May 11, 2010 8:24 AM PDT
In reply to: Boot problem

That's why the SMART warning is coming up.. And although it worked after reseating the cabling, there are probably only two probabilities.. Either the reseating the cabling has fixed the problem (because it wasn't plugged in correctly), OR...the slave will continue to fail till it dies completely..

Be sure to make backups NOW.

Hope this helps.


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update to original
by The ancient one / May 11, 2010 9:48 PM PDT

Just happened again. This time I rebooted to the BIOS and noted that (under ADVANCED - IDE Configuration) the Primary IDE master was marked as [not detected] and was grayed out. So I disconnected the slave drive and rebooted without any problem. If I understand your comments correctly, you believe that this is a hard drive problem with the slave drive and it should be replaced. I will back up what is on the slave drive to an external hard drive for the time being until I can purchase and install a new internal slave hard drive. Am I on the right track? I am an octogenarian and am technologically impaired. Can't figure out how to set my watch and the only reason I know some things about a computer is that I have been using one almost daily since 1993. Much of what I have learned has come from CNET forums.

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Another Thought..
by Grif Thomas Forum moderator / May 12, 2010 9:29 AM PDT
In reply to: update to original

Although I still believe it's the slave drive causing the issue, sometimes a bad ribbon cable can cause connection problems which show the same symptoms. You might try replacing your current one with a new 80 wire ribbon cable, plug your current slave drive in again, then see if your current slave drive still throws the error. If so, you know it's the drive.

Hope this helps.


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Thanks, Grif
by The ancient one / May 12, 2010 10:45 PM PDT
In reply to: Another Thought..

I am still copying files from the slave drive to an external hard drive, but as soon as that is completed I will try your suggestion of changing the ribbon cable before I invest in a new hard drive. Although the ribbon cable I have is only a 40 wire cable.

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40 wire versus 80 conductor.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / May 12, 2010 10:56 PM PDT
In reply to: Thanks, Grif

Unless those drives are well over 10 years old, 40 conductor cables are a bad idea.

Using a shiny new 80 conductor cable is the best idea here. Cheap too.

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