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Help-My hard disk has disappeared!!!

Hi! I use Windows ME and a few days ago my computer froze, I restarted it and suddenly I got the message 'type in hard disk password'. As far as I know, I don't have a hard disk password.

I then tried to restart the system with my start disk and a recovery disk, but it didn't work. I got the message that my hard drive was not partitioned and to run FDISK.

I tried FDISK and got the message 'no hard disk found'.

Funnily enough, when I use scandisk, it checks my C: drive and doesn't find any problems.

Any suggestions on this? I don't know too much about computers, so if you could explain this in plain, non techie language for me, that would be really great and much appreciated!
Thanks so much!

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(NT) (NT) Does the BIOS list the drive?
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Can you tell me where exactly?

Sorry, sure this is a stupid question as well, but where would this be listed exactly? When I start up my computer I get some BIOS info, but it says nothing about the hard drive...How would it be listed????

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The BIOS lists it...

Either in the BIOS boot screen or in the BIOS setup. When a hard disk is disconnected or fails, you won't see it in these BIOS screens.

Drives do fail, and it shows how prepared the owner was for the eventual demise. You've heard about BACKUP. Now you may get to test yours.


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Corrupted files

Sounds like the FAT is corrupted. Can you start in Safe Mode.

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safe mode doesn't work

No, I tried to start in safe mode and followed all the steps listed on my help disk, but it didn't work....I still got the message 'no hard disk found'.
Excuse me if I ask a very silly question- but what is the FAT??

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File Allocation Table

It's the directory on the Hard Drive that tells where everything is located. That's usually what is corrupted when you get that kind of error. The puter can't find the disk. Although it could be something else, like a virus.

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Whats does the screen look like......

when you boot up the machine? Have you tried to interupt the computer booting up by tapping the F8 or Delete or ESC key. It's different for different computers. On a Compaq is the F8 key. If you could get to that point(the bios)you might be able to get it to load in safe mode.

You might also try a virus recovery disk like Norton or McAfee. AVG antivirus allows you to run the software in DOS mode as well. However if the startup disk wouldn't boot the machine your probably looking at reformatting the machine and loading the operating system again. I mentioned the virus theory because that is the sort of damage some of them do. It' a pain in the @## when that sort of thing happens. I had a computer running Windows 98 do that to me last year. I don't think it was a virus but I was never able to access the drive. I ended up loading XP on the machine and wiping the disk.
Sometimes it just happens as a HD gets old. I keep 2 hard drives in my machine. One for use, one for backup. Important files, docs, and pics I save on CD. You might consider a similar setup if you indeed can't get the machine to recognize the HD.

What kind of computer and how old is the Hard Drive? Can you hear the disk spinning? Have you tried to run the defrag. program or can you get far?

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Thanks for your reply

Thanks very much for your reply. I do you usually get to the bios screen with the start-up disk or by holding down the ctrl key, but it doesn't go any further from there.

I might use the antivirus software you recommended, that is something I should test. It might have been a virus, as my computer kept freezing before it broke down completely and also wouldn't shut down properly. But then my machine is pretty old- about 5 years and was also purchased at ALDI, it's a 'Lifetec' laptop, 5 years is probably good for that! And yes, I can hear the disk spinning. Do you think that means it has died of old age?

Thanks very much for your help, I really appreciate it!

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It's difficult to say....

According to surveys five years is about the life expectancy for laptops, especially for one purchase five years ago. I would bet that hard drive would be expensive to replace if it has died. You could probably almost buy a new laptop for what it would cost to fix it. After you have exhausted all means of trying to get it to boot I would try to reformat the drive and reinstall the operating system. My old laptop did the exact same thing. It locked up(froze)like yours. When I rebooted the machine I could hear the drive running but the keyboard would not respond and the screen was black. There was no way to get into it. The estimate to repair it was $600 minimum, because the drive by itself was like $550. Probably closer to $750 if I had decided to have it repaired. Hate to give you bad news like that but that is probably what your looking at. When you consider the capabilities of a new Laptop today it doesn't make sense to repair it. I have a new HP pavillion 4400 that makes my old laptop seem archaic. Bigger brighter screen, 40 gig HD, wireless, I could go on and on. Got it for about $900 so thats why I say paying a lot to repair the old one is money wasted. Of course that depends on the specs. of your machine. Good luck. Let me know if that works.

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