What would make a hard drive not be seen by the BIOS?

By chisao101 ·
I have been working with computers for 15 years and have never seen this. My wife's computer was doing fine one day. We left the house for an hour and when we got home it had "Disk read error:Press ctrl, alt, and del to restart."

Well, I did and it came right back to the same thing. I used my BART CD to run a cmd prompt and tried to look at the drive's files, but I couldn't find any. Next I tried booting with WinXP cd and it stalled during the POST and didn't detect the drive. I swapped out the drive and it wouldn't see that one either. So I put the old drive back in and it all the sudden it said "no 80 wired connector" or something like that for the CD ROM and STILL didn't see the HDD!! So I swapped out all the cables and got rid of the 80 wire connector message, but I still can't get any HDDs to detect.

My guess is, it's the IDE ports, or the mobo, but what in the world would make that happen within an hour's time while we ran to the store? And if anyone has seen this before, please, let me know if I'm on the right track.


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Check the BIOS

by Jacky Howe In reply to What would make a hard dr ...

If the Drive is detected in the BIOS it would rule out a faulty IDE slot.

You've swapped cables of the same type with known good ones.

Your PSU is in good condition?

Is there only one IDE slot on this board? If not try the drive in the secondary IDE slot.

Can you check the drive in another System? That would let us know if the drives controler board is damaged.

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With any message like this you need to check the hardware

by OH Smeg Moderator In reply to What would make a hard dr ...

Start off with the Ultimate Boot CD available free from here


The first thing to test is the HDD with it's makers Testing Utility. If this Utility is not on the UBCD download it from here


Or directly from the HDD Makers Web Site.

Test the HDD with this and if it fails the test remove from the computer and test again in a different computer. If it still fails the HDD is faulty and needs replacing but if it passes the second Test the M'Board, Power Supply, or Data Lead is faulty and needs replacing.

To test the possible faulty parts change them one at a time into the second computer and test again till you either have the PS and Data Lead int he second system and just the M'Board left in the original system.

If the HDD still is passing the test by that stage the M'Board is faulty and need replacing.

As to what can make it go to Silicon Heaven in under an hour the most obvious is a Power Spike which the substandard PS didn't stop but allowed into the inside of the case and destroyed the M'Board. This is quite common with Propriety Systems where they use cheap components that do not offer the protection of the better Name Brand components.

Or the Power Spike killed the PS in at least one of it's main Supply Rails. Just because fans spin or LED's Light doesn't mean that all of the Voltages of the PS are actually working or that there is the correct current available on the different Supply Rails.

The other thing that can happen with a existing system is that the dust that gets sucked into the case absorbs moisture and allows a Short Circuit to occur destroying the M'Board.


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