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HDD & WinXP Restarts

By sbrager ·
I recently added a new harddrive on the Secondary Master IDE port of a client's desktop. He had 2 drives on the Primary IDE chain. The drive was recognized and Windows XP Pro came up and I was able to partition and format the drive with the latest version of Western Digital's software.

Then, I noticed that datacable to the slave drive on the Primary IDE chain had become unplugged. When the drive was plugged in, Windows started to come up but rebooted the computer during the Welcome screen. When I unplugged the new drive, Windows booted without problem.

I tried going into Safe Mode but WinXP restarted as before. I make certain that WinXp was not set to "restart on error", yet WinXP restarted.

What's going on? Do you need more information? Does anyone have any suggestions about resolving this problem?



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by TheChas In reply to HDD & WinXP Restarts

What is happening, is XP is attempting to assign the same drive letters to 2 different drives.

Connect just the new drive.
Remove all logical drives and partitions.

Shut down, and connect all drives.

The system should boot properly.

Now, partition and format the new drive.

Or, if there is data on the new drive:

Boot with just the new drive.

Open disk management.

Assign new letter(s) to all logical drives on the new drive such that the letters will be different from those assigned to the second hard drive.

Shut down.

Connect the second drive and boot up.

All should work.


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by sbrager In reply to

Thanks for your response, TheChas. I should have mentioned that when I partitioned and formatted the new drive, I also assigned new drive letters to the new partitions which were high enough (M & N) to not conflict with other drives and their partitions, CD burner and DVD burner.

I should also mention that the CD and DVD burners are on a Promise Ultra IDE controller.

There is no data on the new drive. Do you still think that I should follow your procedure? or might there be some other factor at play?



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by sgt_shultz In reply to HDD & WinXP Restarts

yeah, i bet it was no accident the second drive was unplugged. are they saying it worked fine before you touched it? are you saying you saw it work fine with the primary slave drive attached?
is this cable select or jumper select. are you sure jumpers are correct.
is the drive being detected in the bios.
does this drive maybe have active partition on it? could you actually have single drive on primary ide channel and pair of drives on secondary ide channel and could that be affecting anything?
forgive if stupid, have bad gaps in my understanding of things sometimes...
if you study disk administrator in xp does that show you what you expect to see..
when you have primary slave drive cabled in, does windows start if you have the xp installation cd inserted?
could this be a balled up boot.ini file?

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by sbrager In reply to

Sgt Shultz;

All 3 drives were recognized by the BIOS. Therefore the jumpers are set correctly. The primary master drive always worked. The primary slave drive always worked (when the datacable was properly plugged in. The secondary master drive worked when the primary slave wasn't plugged in. It was my error which caused the primary slave drive's datacable to be unplugged.

Having worked with and built PC's since the 8088 IBM PC, I'm familiar with the hardware and the software. I was surprised when all three drives didn't come up right away.

Inasmuch as the system restarts from the "Welcome" screen, it's evident that it is not a problem with boot.ini. Boot.ini problems show up long before the "Welcome" screen.

I haven't tried to use the WinXP CD yet.


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by TheChas In reply to HDD & WinXP Restarts


Sorry for making any false assumptions.

Anyhow, since there is no data on the new drive, there is nothing to loose in trying my suggestion of removing the partitions and formatting the drive.

The only other thought I have as to the cause is the use of Western Digital's drive tools.

Not to say anything bad about WD, or any other drive manufacture, I just don't like using their drive tools.
The ONLY time I use the drive tools is when I have a system where the BIOS cannot recognize a large hard drive.

Out of curiosity, what are the makes of the other 2 hard drives?

I have run across many an instance where drives from different manufactures do not play together on the same IDE cable.

Come to think of it, it may not be a XP problem like I first suggested, but a Western Digital software problem.

It is possible that WD's software is what is locking things up when you have both secondary drives connected.

You may want / need to uninstall all aspects of the WD software.


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by sbrager In reply to


Sorry to take so long to get back to this question. The problem has been solved. I used some of your suggestions to resolve it.

First, the partion table was removed so that the drive seemed to be a new drive to the system. The first time I tried to work with the new drive, I had partially removed the datacable from another drive. This time I was more careful. All the drives came up and I was able to establish the partion table using Western Digital's tools. When the computer was rebooted, there were no problems. Thanks, again for your help.

I've never had any problems with the Western Digital tools and, if fact I've found them to be quick and effective. There diagnostic tools have enabled me to troubleshoot problems with their drives.

The other drives on the system are a 120gb WD and an 80gb Seagate drive. It's been many years since I've run across quirky drives which are not easily compatible on an IDE chain. Those days, fortunately, are long gone.

Other Hard drive problems I seen have been caused by drive overlay programs like EZ-Drive. These have been a great source of troubles in the past. It's been a while since I've run across a drive with a drive overlay program and those were used with older motherboards.


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by sbrager In reply to HDD & WinXP Restarts

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