General discussion

Is this an XP or a hard drive problem?

Specs: HP Pavilion 743c
HDD: Seagate 80GB

Started experiencing problems a month ago where I would get a blue screen
of death (usu. problems in atapi.sys or win32k.sys, or just 0x00000f4).
Got HP recovery CDs. But the recovery process would always fail
to extract certain files

Got Win2K cds and blew all partitions and then reformatted to NTFS.
Put the recovery CDs back in and did not create the HP Recovery
partition. The hard drive was not being detected, but I thought it was
some BIOS setting issue. So connected my secondary drive as well
and then the primary came up fine. After that the recovery went

Then trying to play with unhooking, hooking my secondary drive, I got
a S.M.A.R.T warning on my primary. I noticed that the IDE cable was
a bit loose. I tightened it and the warning went away.

The question is, should I pay any heed to the SMART warning given this
scenario. I downloaded Western digital's diagnostic tool and ran a
detailed check, which turned up fine. It had some bad sectors that it
said it repaired successfully.

I tried running their quick test and it failed. I believe it is because
my hard drive is not a Western digital hdd. Their quickTest seems to
be specifically meant for their drives as it checks for Data Lifeguard
information, which is a WestDig feature. In the SMART disk info all
the SMART attributes show a green checkmark.

The question is, should I trust the HD and go my merry way? I still have
no clue to why I started getting the blue screen of death in the first
place. I thought that it may be due to a Virus that messed up some system files, or an SP2 issue with XP
and the device drivers.

I have replaced all the cables and detached drives, and by process
of elimination, the only hardware possibilities that were left, were:

- That I have bad RAM
- That my HDD is bad
- That I have a faulty motherboard

Now since the computer has been behaving OK after an XP reinstall, I am
thinking that the last one has been eliminated.

Can anyone help me think this one through?

Will appreciate your help.


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Have you run a ...


I may have missed the make of the drive, but look on the maker's web site for the hard disk tester to see if it's failing.


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Ran the test and it was OK

I ran the Seagate test. The quickTest failed, but
the extended test passed.

So one can really have SMART warnings over loose
cables? huh ...

Troubleshooting is hell Sad

I just wanted to find out what the real cause of the
problem was. Not sure about it now, and feel quite
powerless in avoiding it in the future.

Thanks for looking into it.

Any other ideas?

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A fail is a fail.

I'm calling this "not a XP" issue. You have some flighty hardware and my advice is to get a shiny new IDE cable if this one wiggles loose so easily.


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IDE Cable was fine, my eyesight is bad

There is hardly any wiggle room in there. I thought
I had pushed it in, but when I looked again, I had
not secured it properly. So the cable is fine, it was
not being used well.

I got the blue screen of death from an IDE cable that
works fine in another computer. So I am sure that the
cable is fine.

May be my hard disk is flighty? What do you think?
Given what I have written, can you rule out HDD problems?


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Start from the top...

An inventory of the machine would be nice, as well as being "spyware free". For now I'd leave the cover off, look in the event viewer for errors and tell the story about this machine.


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Inventory details for PC

HP Pavilion 743c

BSOD = Blue Screen of Death

(Booted with one or the other - BSOD persisted)

(Booted without it - BSOD persisted)

IDE cables
(Took a working one and used it for both HDD and
the optical drives, still got the BSOD)

Intel Integrated media Graphics card
(I do remember upgrading the firmware for this one
from HP website, which I have not done since the
reformat - still under suspicion)

When I used the Seagate SeaTools, it also checked my
main memory and declared it healthy.

RealTek '97 audio

The HP recovery kept failing. Surfing their website
only tells me that some hardware problem can cause it.
Not very helpful. Only the Win2K assisted f ormat helped me in getting the HP recovery right (as noted earlier, could only have one partition "c:\" , otherwise the HP_Recovery partition was causing problems with recovery!!)

What is and event viewer? Does it generate a log that
can be viewed after a crash?


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The Event Viewer does have the event (BSOD) and is noted not only on but in Start, Help.


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