Hmmm This can be a real tough question because it can be anything from an improperly aligned cable to just plain old having a bad drive day. Like women have a bad hair day, except it is probably far easier to fix the hard drive.
First things first, my philosophy is to stay out of the innards of the computer first, don?t crack case open (don?t open up the case). That is to do everything without getting into the physical mechanics of the computer, so we will pretty much stay on the outside of the computer for the time being.
Let us get down to finding out what might the problem might be from the out side without going inside or to even find if it is really ?Intel Inside?. Here are some software utilities, depending upon who manufactured your hard drive: NOTE: anytime you see ?>?, means to go to the next item on the dialogue menu. If it is in quotes ??, it means to look for or to click on exactly that spelling or in the case of a text box to type in exactly what is between the quotes.
Go to the BIOS (Basic Input Output System) on you computer. In most instances keep pushing the ?Delete? button until the BIOS comes up then you will have to find where set up would set up the sequence for your computer to check for how you would want your computer to look for the boot sector on the different devices. Some systems will even look for nowadays on a USB Flash Drive, Set the sequence. If that proves not to be the problem then go on to the next section.
DRIVE DIAGNOSTIC UTILITIES
chkdsk This is a utility comes with Windows 2000/XP. ?Start? > ?Run?, type ?chkdsk /r? for full scan. This can be run from recovery console. NOT RECOMMENDED FOR DIAGNOSING DISC PROBLEMS.
Hitachi/IBM - DFT "Drive Fitness Test"
CAN BE USED WITH ALL HARD DISC DRIVE MANUFCATURES!
Western Digital "Data Lifeguard"
WESTERN DIGITAL WD HARD DISC DRIVES ONLY!
WORKS WITH ALL HARD DISC DRIVE MANUFACTURES
TO BE USED WITH FUJITSU MODELS ONLY
FOR USE WITH
FOR USE ON SEAGATE HARD DISC DRIVES ONLY
Toshiba - N/A
There are no tools available for Toshiba, but you may be able to use IBM or Maxtor's drive tools as well as other third party programs
TackTech is a very informative section on Hard Disc Drive utilities.
OTHER USEFUL DRIVE UTILITIES
HDD Regenerator - Repair bad sectors
Repairs most bad sectors by re-magnetizing the disk surface without losing your data, works independently of the file systems. Making it compatible with all PCs, operating systems and hard drives.
Recovers most deleted, lost or formatted partitions.
Fast and easy partitioning, Supports all Windows and most Linux file systems. Great for ignoring bad sectors and for advanced partitioning schemes.
GPL/Freeware partitioning program for use with Windows, Linux, FreeBSD and more. Not much on eye candy, but it works.
GPL/Freeware partitioning program for use with Windows and Linux. Nice, intuitive interface and comes available as a bootable CD image.
Acronis Partition Expert
Easy to use interface, supports Windows and Linux partitions.
DRIVE BACKUP TOOLS
Symantec Norton Ghost
Ghost 8.0 or less runs under DOS, but extremely reliable. Ghost 9.0 and 10 requires Windows 2000 or XP. 9.0 & 10 are Windows-centric. Ghost 9+ supports full "hot imaging" of system partitions while in Windows, but not incremental imaging.
Acronis True Image
Supports Windows and Linux file systems. Allows "hot imaging" of system partitions while in Windows, supporting full and incremental (fast) backups. TI 7 & 8 are reliable and excellent. TI 9 has a number of serious bugs reported, but has worked fine for me over the past few months -- Recommended.
Drive Secure Erase Utilities
Darik's Boot and Nuke
Securely erases all data on your hard drives, beyond the point of possible recovery. Be careful with this utility! Tip: You might, if you do not want to erase those disc?s you intend to keep intact, not leave them connected to the EIDE cable.
I thought I would add some disc utilities other then recovery.
Hard Disc Terms: An explanation
FIXBOOT writes the "boot sector" to the specified partition. FIXMBR repairs or replaces the master boot record of the disk.
You will also want to ensure that your partition is active, because Ghost will not make a partition active unless you do a sector-by-sector backup and complete restore.
Here's what to do...
Boot from the XP / 2000 CDROM and allow the setup to begin. Once the beginning files are copied, you will be asked to Install Windows or use the Recovery Console. Please choose "r" here, to run the recovery console.
You will now type in the following commands when the prompt appears:
chkdsk /f * This will repair any obvious file system damage, which could complicate things.
diskpart * This will run the XP disk partition utility. We will be checking to see if your partition looks OK. If you see your partition, and the information diskpart provides appears correct, then that's a good thing.
Press [ESC] to exit Diskpart, when everything looks peachy.
fixboot * We'll write a new boot sector, so the computer knows how to boot the computer
fixmbr * We'll write a new boot record, so the computer knows how to boot Windows
If it still does not work, you may need to delete your partition(s) using diskpart, then recreate the partition(s) (using diskpart, again).
NOW YOU CAN CRACK OPEN THE CASE, NO WAY TO AVOID IT
Here are other problems that might be a problem. Most people assume that if they pick up an EIDE Hard Disc cable that it is going to work. A broken wire in the cable can mimic a bad Hard Drive. It is not easy to diagnosis.
Round vs. Flat
There have been systems that have had problems when I have used round cables to increase ventilation for the sake of the CPU only to find it would not address the C:\> (drive0). Change to the flat and the problem cleared up. Use the same round cable on another computer and have no problem with the cable. Go figure! It also could be a defective cable, whether it is round or flat EIDE cables, you cannot beat a broken wire in a cable.
NEWER DRIVES ARE HELD TO TIGHTER SPECS
The newer drives are held to tighter specs then the older drives. What you used to be able to get away with on the older drives you cannot get away with today. If the instructions say dot your I?s and cross your T?s, then you should do it otherwise your drive might not work
Hope this helps you to understand what the problem might be, Rick