Primary Master Drive - ATAPI Incompatible

By PaulAugust ·
I have a Dell XPS desktop running Win7 64bit. It is about 2 years old. The computer first showed irregular freezing problems. Then eventually it stops working. When I press power button to turn it on, I get a message

Primary Master Drive - ATAPI Incompatible
Press F2 to Resume

If I press F2, it enters BIOS. After quitting BIOS, I get the following message:

SATA 1: Installed
SATA 2: Installed
SATA 3: None
SATA 4: None

This message repeats if I keep pressing Enter key. I wonder what will be the problem of the computer. I bought a brand new hard drive to replace the existing hard drive, and the same problem is still there. That means the existing hard drive is ok. What else could go wrong then? Could it be memory, motherboard, or DVD drive problem? I noticed that the DVD drive cannot burn disks properly when the computer works. But will it cause such a problem? Any help is appreciated.

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With any HDD in the computer

by OH Smeg Moderator In reply to Primary Master Drive - AT ...

Pop in a copy of the Ultimate Boot CD available free here


remember to remove the space from between ultimatrebootcd and the .com for a working link.

Then boot the system and run some Diagnostics. I would start with the HDD Testing Utility for your Make of HDD and work from there.

You also need to make sure that the BIOS is correctly Set to recognize the HDD fitted so that is in the User Manual provided with the system or available from Dell to download if you no longer have the manual. You need to also Save the Changes as you Exit the BIOS after correctly Seeing the New HDD in the machine. If you do not do this the system thinks that the Old HDD is the one fitted.

Along with the HDD I would also have replaced the Data Lead as they can fail and if the Ultimate Boot CD is unable to see any HDD fitted you only have 4 real possibilities,

1 The HDD itself is faulty and that could just as easily apply to the new one it needs to be tested in a Known Good Computer.

2 The Data Lead has failed.

3 The Power Lead is faulty and here that generally means that the Power Supply needs replacing so if you have a Known Good Power Supply you should connect that and see if there is any difference to the way that the unit is functioning or.

4 The M'Board has failed. While it's possible I would first be checking the Data Lead and Power Supply simply because they are cheaper in the first place and easier.

Though you really do need to know if the replacement HDD actually works. It's not very common to get a Dead on Arrival HDD but it can happen so that needs to be ruled out first.

Also when you enter the BIOS with the new HDD fitted is the HDD correctly recognized?


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Reponse To Answer

by PaulAugust In reply to With any HDD in the compu ...

Thank you for the detailed information. I will follow the steps and report back what I find soon.

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by hrisan In reply to Primary Master Drive - AT ...

Did you try to boot the system without the DVD plugged in? If that does not work try with no DVD on different SATA port on the motherboard.

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