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Is my hard drive gone?

I just got back from vacation and my computer wont boot up. When i turn it on, i get a black screen and it says "strike f1 for retry boot, f2 for setup utility" I am using a Dell Dimension 2400, which is only two years old. I pressed F8 to try going into safe mode and it says keyboard failure. I then tried reinstalling windows xp, while installing i got a bluce screen with a long message on it saying there was a problem with the setupdd.sys file.I dont know what else to do. Is the hard drive gone? any suggestions on anything else to try?

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Some have noted a problem with....

In reply to: Is my hard drive gone?

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tried that

In reply to: Some have noted a problem with....

I tried switching around the rams and all that, didnt help.

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I DON'T THINK

In reply to: Is my hard drive gone?

I DON'T KNOW IF DELL ARE THE SAME AS HP BUT MY HP HAS AN INTURNAL RECOVEREY WHEN IT STARTS TO BOOT UP I HAVE TO PUSH F10 , AND XP HAS AN RESTORE POINT IF YOU GET THEIR , AND IF YOU PUSH F8 IS THEIR SOMETHING THERE CALL " LAST KNOW GOOD CONFIGORATOIN OR SETTINGS TRY THAT THAT WORKS FOR ME... THEN TRY NORTON SYSTEM WORKS 2005 AND A RAM IDLE (NORTON HAS A WIPE CLEAN PROGRAM IN AND OTHER UTILEDS TO HELP FREE UP SPACE ON YOUR HARD DRIVE AND THE RAM IDLE TO HELP FREE UP SOME RAM... IT SOUNDS LIKE YOU NEED TO UP THE RAM FOR YOUR SYSTEM FILES

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Please,

In reply to: I DON'T THINK

Goinggreen, do not shout. It is poor etiquette and makes your messages somewhat difficult to read.

Frank

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Re hard drive gone ?

In reply to: Is my hard drive gone?

I would think about retrieving important files from the HD first. If you have not backed up, hope that your attempt to reinstall Windows did not wipe out the HD. You can then attempt to recover your files by *using a KNOPPIX CD, * use the HD as a slave on another PC, or * put the HD in a External Box and connect to another PC to access the files.

Now- did you strike F1 as instructed ? What happened ?

Keybord failure ? Get another similar keyboard and try F8 again.

If you have the XP CD (with SP2, if you have updated) try sfc /scannow .

If you want to reinstall XP, you have to boot from the XP CD, meaning that you have to set the boot sequence at BIOS for your CD ROM at top place. Then boot with the CD, make your choice and follow the on-screen instructions.

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still no go

In reply to: Re hard drive gone ?

an it friend of mine thinks without looking at the computer that i have a bios problem. Any help or suggestions with this? I saw on a different website someoen with similar problems said to clear the bios cache. I have no clue how to get to this or how to do it.

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Re: still no go

In reply to: still no go

The BIOS might be at least part of the problem. For example, if there was a problem with the CMOS battery on the motherboard (maybe the battery is dying) and the computer was off for an extended time (like when you were on vacation), the saved BIOS settings might have been lost. For that matter, BIOS settings have been known to just go away spontaneously (you turn the computer off and when you turn it back on, the saved BIOS settings are gone). When the BIOS settings are lost you'll usually be prompted to press something to go into the BIOS setup to fix things, so that could explain the "f2 for setup utility" prompt you mentioned in your first message. And the BIOS settings include the hard drive configuration, which could explain some of your other problems.

FWIW, if the clock in your system was still right, that would be a good indication that the BIOS settings had _not_ been lost, but it sounds like you haven't gotten far enough to see the time.

I don't think there is a BIOS "cache". There are saved settings (as I mentioned above) and in at least some systems you can clear the saved settings by putting a jumper on a particular spot on the motherboard. Where that is will depend on your motherboard, but I think that's mainly for situations where the settings are so screwed-up that the system won't boot up at all. If your system will boot, try to get into the BIOS setup and check the settings. This is normally done by pressing a key early in the boot process, before the OS (in this case Windows) starts to boot. The most common key is Delete, but it might be something else like F8. Since the message you posted mentioned F2, you might try that. If you can't find a key that works, you might also be able to get the computer's attention by holding down a key while it's booting, forcing a "keyboard error" that then gets you the prompt to press F2, or whatever, to load the setup utility.

If you can get into the BIOS setup utility and you think the settings may be wrong, or just aren't sure, there should be an option to load default settings. That would be a good place to start. Then select the first hard drive and see if there is an "auto" option that will try to pick settings based on the hard drive.

You also mentioned a keyboard error. What kind of keyboard are you using? If it's a USB keyboard then it may not be working, or working properly, if the BIOS setup is wrong. If it's a regular PS/2 keyboard (round connector that plugs into the back of the computer), then the BIOS settings aren't likely to be an issue.

James

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Re: Hard drive gone?

In reply to: Is my hard drive gone?

Can you hear the hard drive? Do you get the normal boot up sounds? If you can't hear the Hard Drive, it may be dead, though it could be you've got a quiet one.

Things I'd try:
1. Contact Dell for support. If this is a less than two year old computer, they should be able to help.

2. Open the case and power on the computer - listen and watch the Hard Drive for LED activity (some do/don't have leds) listen/gently feel for vibration to indicate it is spinning.

Note the make and model of the HD. - info may be useful if you need to set the bios settings manually.

3. substitute another HD. OR Put the boot drive in another computer as a slave.

4. Check out the bios settings. Usually visible on the boot screen before windoze appears. Some computers will say 'Press Del' to access the BIOS menu, others it's a different key (F2), or something else.

- Check the Hard Drive detection settings. Usually 'automatic' is the default, and it usually works.
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Possible causes of this problem IMO:
1. Dead harddrive. Solution: SOL. buy a new one and restore from backups.
2. Damaged data on HD - boot area toast. HD May be salvagable, though some/all data may be lost. Could indicate a deteriorating HD that's on it's way to being dead...
3. loose connection - HD is ok, just effectively unplugged.
4. Bad HD controller.
5. Bad BIOS setting

Good luck.

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