Desktops forum

General discussion

Primary Master Drive = "Unknown Device"

Hello all,

I am not a computer expert, but I think my problem is easily corrected. I thank you in advance if you can help.

I have a Dell Dimension 2400 Series desktop. It has been plugged in via ethernet to my network at work for the past three years (when I purchased it new). There, our IT guy set it up so that when I turned on my computer, I was prompted for a username and password to access the computer, as well as all network drives and printers, etc.

I have left the office and I took the computer to set up operations at my home. However, now, when I turn on the computer, I get the following error:

"Primary drive 0 not found" "Strike the F1 key to continue, F2 to run the setup utility."

I have culled from other posts here that I should be looking in the BIOS, and more specifically, the "Drive Configuration" menu. Under that menu, the following appears:

"Diskette Drive A:...............3.5 inch, 1.44 MB

Primary Master Drive..........Unknown Device
Primary Master Drive..........OFF
Secondary Master Drive......CD-ROM Device
Secondary Slave Drive........OFF

IDE Drive UDMA..................On"

When I go into Primary Master Drive, it is set to "AUTO."

The seemingly obvious problem is the computer is not detecting the internal hard drive as my primary master drive -- maybe (hopefully) because it is set up to search for my network drive at work which, as I've explained, is no longer connected, and which hopefully someone here can help me correct. OR, maybe (yikes) the tower was damaged during my move from the office to the house, and the hard drive is busted up in 98 pieces inside the tower. That would be bad.

I would appreciate your thoughts on how I can force the computer to look for the internal hard drive, rather than the network drive which is no longer connected.

My many, MANY thanks for your assistance in advance.

Discussion is locked
You are posting a reply to: Primary Master Drive = "Unknown Device"
The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Please refer to our CNET Forums policies for details. All submitted content is subject to our Terms of Use.
Track this discussion and email me when there are updates

If you're asking for technical help, please be sure to include all your system info, including operating system, model number, and any other specifics related to the problem. Also please exercise your best judgment when posting in the forums--revealing personal information such as your e-mail address, telephone number, and address is not recommended.

You are reporting the following post: Primary Master Drive = "Unknown Device"
This post has been flagged and will be reviewed by our staff. Thank you for helping us maintain CNET's great community.
Sorry, there was a problem flagging this post. Please try again now or at a later time.
If you believe this post is offensive or violates the CNET Forums' Usage policies, you can report it below (this will not automatically remove the post). Once reported, our moderators will be notified and the post will be reviewed.
Collapse -
Primary Master Drive = "Unknown Device"

In reply to: Primary Master Drive = "Unknown Device"


I brought the machine into Geek Squad. Wouldn't you know it that when they plugged it in, the computer recognized the hard drive. Perhaps the ride in the car jostled some connection back into place, I don't know. It appears that the hard drive is on its way out. However, now a new problem has arisen:

I have the computer at my home. When I start it, it searchs for the network it *used* to be connected to. Since it can't find the network, I cannot enter a network password, so can't get into the hard drive. The guy at Geek Squad says there is no way to hack into the machine. He says the best I can do is reformat the hard drive. If I want to save the data, I am told I can detach the hard drive, hook it into a piece of equipment (can't remember the name of it), which will turn it into an external drive and can access the folders. That's all well and good, but it also means I'd have to re-install all my old software. (Alas, I don't have the software any more.)

Anyone know of a way to hack into a computer that's been taken off the network (which formally required my password)?

Thanks for your assistance.

Collapse -
The hack.

In reply to: Primary Master Drive = "Unknown Device"

The hack I use is to boot my Ubuntu CD then I can copy out my files. Now that my files are safe I can reinstall the OS for home use.

Popular Forums

Computer Newbies 10,686 discussions
Computer Help 54,365 discussions
Laptops 21,181 discussions
Networking & Wireless 16,313 discussions
Phones 17,137 discussions
Security 31,287 discussions
TVs & Home Theaters 22,101 discussions
Windows 7 8,164 discussions
Windows 10 2,657 discussions


Best Black Friday Deals

CNET editors are busy culling the list and highlighting what we think are the best deals out there this holiday season.