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Dell IDE bad (?), PCI IDE not working

By semmelbroesel ·
Hi,

A client's Dell Dimension 8250. A few months ago it was rebuilt from scratch because of a HD failure. A few days ago it failed again - bad sectors, also in the boot sector. I suspected the IDE controller (2nd HD damage). I tried one more new HD since I can't replace the motherboard. I started the XP install, and it did the first reboot - and suddenly the Dell couldn't find the HD anymore. The BIOS shows unknown and complains about not finding anything.
I switched the IDE controllers between HD and CDs, and the fun thing is that it still recognizes the CD drives, but not the HD.
I put the HD into a USB case, and it worked on my PC without problems.
So I tried a PCI IDE controller, but the Dell doesn't seem to recognize it, and I found no setting in the BIOS that would make it work.

Just out of curiosity I tested the power supply with a new tester I had just bought, and I found there is no -5V on the main power plug. I tried a new power supply on which -5V works, but the BIOS still didn't recognize the HD. No clue what that means...

I wouldn't be so confused if the HD hadn't work up until a reboot, and I know XP setup had nearly finished formatting without a problem. Next time I looked when the PC beeped before the restart complaining it could not find any IDE device on that controller.

I have about 16 more hours to figure out how to fix this piece of $%&* :-( And I am out of ideas.

I talked to a Dell representative via Chat for a bit - waste of 30 minutes - he told me to use FDisk (huh?!?) and then to contact the drive manufacturer (although it had worked 20 minutes prior to my call).

There has to be a way to fix this without replacing the whole motherboard.
My hope is that either someone will recognize this and have a BIOS setting or some other fix that will make the new drive work, or there is some fix to get the PCI controller to work.
I really hope someone can help me...

Thanks in advance!

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by mjd420nova In reply to Dell IDE bad (?), PCI IDE ...

I have encountered the same problem, using FDISK
to at least see the HD status. IDE controller chip was intermittent and after numerous retries and partial function(would only go part way thru format) it finnally dumped completely and couldn"t see any HD at all, new or used or know
functioning drive. Yup, had to scrap the MOBO.

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by semmelbroesel In reply to

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by ctrservices In reply to Dell IDE bad (?), PCI IDE ...

When a new PCI IDE controller is installed, the old MB controller needs to be disabled (usually in the BIOS). Also, sometimes the firmware of the new card needs to be upgraded. Try this before replacing the MB.

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by semmelbroesel In reply to Dell IDE bad (?), PCI IDE ...

mjd420nova, this is what I fear, but I am still hoping for a solution...

Thanks, ctrservices, I'll try your suggestion tomorrow.

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by 3xp3rt In reply to Dell IDE bad (?), PCI IDE ...

I have 3 suggestions.
1. For the first time go in BIOS and disable the motherboard IDE controllers.
2. The next steep is to try setting with jumper different HDD settings (Master or Cable select)
3. Try to plug in the PCI IDE controller in other slot.
Good luck and merry Christmas!

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by semmelbroesel In reply to

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by semmelbroesel In reply to Dell IDE bad (?), PCI IDE ...

Weird thing:
I replaced the IDE cable - nope.
I disabled internal IDE to get the external controller to work - nope.

Then I added a second hard drive that I had used to create a backup of the corrupted original disk - and now Windows XP setup is continuing as if nothing had ever happened.
Does that tell anyone anything?

3xp3rt, thanks for the suggestions. I tried disabling the internal IDE without success. But I have not tried different PCI slots, and I have not played with jumper settings. So far I am running the drives in regular Master/Slave mode. Maybe I have to set the drive in Cable Select while it is alone, or the drive could have a Stand-Alone jumper... I still think this behavior is weird.

If anyone can make something of these new symptoms please let me know! Thanks!

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by semmelbroesel In reply to Dell IDE bad (?), PCI IDE ...

Got it working (or at least: It APPEARS to be working), it was the HD jumper. It was set to MASTER WITH SECOND DRIVE, now it's set to MASTER STAND-ALONE, and it seems to work.

... but now I found that the network card is messed up :-/

Thanks to all of you!

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by semmelbroesel In reply to Dell IDE bad (?), PCI IDE ...

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