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hard drive not accesable?
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Inmate
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January 11, 2009 - 12:48 pm
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I have lost my operating system (XP-3 Media center edition). The config file was corrupted and I've been unable to load windows at all. Various recovery attempts have failed. To save my programs and files, I installed a new hard drive (WD 640GB). Then on another computer I downloaded from Microsoft, a set of floppy boot discs so I could reinstall my OS on the new drive. When I boot the computer with the floppy set to First boot drive, the floppy drive cycles and then the computer shuts down and reboots itself,the floppy runs and then the reboot starts again. I have to kill the power to shut it down.

With that failure, I decided to install Linux Ubuntu on the new drive. Booting into the DVD drive the Os started to install as normal until I reached the step asking for a hard drive partition. All the options on that screen were grayed out except the cancel and forward buttons. Clicking the forward button got me the error message that the hard drive had not been partitioned and to go back. Going back gets me the same me the same grayed out screen so the only alternative is to cancel the installation.

Checking the Bios shows that the new drive is set as the primary and only drive. I had already disconnected the original C drive (a WD 250GB) and it's backup drive (another WD 250GB).

What can I do to make the new drive usable?

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Inmate
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January 16, 2009 - 5:52 pm
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Addendum to the first post: My system is not usable at all. Here are the specs for my computer that I built myself about six months ago and was working just fine until it crashed.

Motherboard: Gigabyte EP45C-DS3R 1600
BIOS: Award Ver F2
CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 3.0 GHz 1333 MHz
Memory: Corsair 2Gb DDR3 1066MHz PC8500
Hard drives: WD 250 GB (2) Sata, WD 640 GB Sata
DVD Drive: Gateway OEM, 8.5 GB Double Layer Capacity
Floppy Drive: Generic, Mfg unknown
PSU: Antec Earthwatts 500 Watts cap.

Is there anyone out there that can help me get this thing up and operating again or refer me to someone that can?

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Nightowl78
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January 16, 2009 - 6:42 pm
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Hi inmate:

It sounds like a complete clean install is the answer. If you have the "orginial" Windows operating system disc you can boot from that and format the drive and install from there. Or if you have any "recovery discs" that came the unit, you could use those to recover the state of the PC when you first got it.

Not absolutely sure this is the answer but you might give it a try.

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Jim Hillier
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January 16, 2009 - 7:30 pm
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Hi Inmate - First up let me apologise for the lack of replies to your thread....This is not my forte but in the absence of any other input and just to let you know [i:2mgtd33q]someone is listening[/i:2mgtd33q], I will have a go.
Do you have access to a fully operational machine which has room for an 'extra' internal HDD? I think that may be the only way to overcome your problem. What you need to do is connect the new drive to a working machine (with Windows OS) and access 'Disk Management'......there, you should be able to see the new disk. Right click anywhere inside the new disk's window and select 'New Partition'. NB. If the right click context menu does not have the correct options or they are grayed out it means the disk needs to be 'Initialized'.....right click on the associated disk icon and select 'Initialize'.....now the option to create a new partition should be available. Just select that option and follow the wizard. When it gets to the size, you can choose to use the entire disk or just part thereof.
[attachment=0:2mgtd33q]DM.png[/attachment:2mgtd33q]
Now you can put the HDD back into your machine and it should be recognized by any installation CD/DVD, etc.
I sincerely hope I am on the right track and and may have been some help. If not, hopefully someone a lot cleverer than I will read this and offer better advice.

cheers......JIM

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Jim Hillier
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January 16, 2009 - 7:35 pm
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LOL.....It appears Nightowl has submitted an answer during the time I was compiling mine.....

JIM

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Inmate
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January 17, 2009 - 7:31 pm
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Nightowl78: Thanks for the input. The only recovery disks that I have are a set of recovery CDs that I had to make when I first got my old computer in '06. I've been trying to load from them but get the error message "can't find DOS". Looks like I'll have to buy another XP OS disk to get it to run. Thanks again.

Ozbloke: thanks to you also. Although I haven't got my machine running yet, I did learn something new from your post. I removed my C drive and took it to my wife's computer (a cheapie Dell that has been running since early 2006 without a glich or hiccup), opened it up and found that it only had one drive bay for an ide hard drive. She came in about that time and almost had a s**t hemmorage because I had her computer opened up. After convincing her that I was just looking, I connected my SATA drive to a USB/SATA adapter cable and plugged it in to the Dell usb port. I was able to follow your instructions and format new partitions on my drive. I re-installed the drive into my machine and ran through all my recovery and disk copy disks but to no avail. The set of XP boot floppys that I downloaded from Microsoft still won't do any thing more than reboot over and over. I'll try downloading a new set tomorrow. I may have to just bite the bullet and buy another OS disk. I really hate to lose all my files by doing a clean install.
Cheers

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Jim Hillier
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January 17, 2009 - 9:10 pm
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Hi Inmate - Is there room in [i:3mvsnmim]your[/i:3mvsnmim] machine for an extra (2nd) internal HDD. No need to loose all your saved data. If you install any Windows OS to the new clean HDD and then install the old HD which contains all your data (connect to spare slot) you should be able to access the old files and folders.......copy them across to CD/DVD (data disc), USB external drive or USB flash drive.

cheers.....JIM

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Inmate
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January 21, 2009 - 3:15 pm
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Hi ozbloke; I already have a 2nd drive installed that has multiple full backups made with Acronis backup software. I also have a 3rd hard drive installed with nothing on it. The problem is, without the OS, I cannot access any of the drives or use the software.
I'm just about ready to purchase a new copy of XP and start over. I had hoped to repair and restore what I have though.

Cheers

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Jim Hillier
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January 21, 2009 - 3:48 pm
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Hi Inmate - Didn't you 'create' an Acronis bootable recovery disc? The Acronis program includes a feature for creating a bootable CD to use (for restoring images) in case the operating system becomes unusable.....just like yours.
If you do not have an Acronis bootable CD, can you beg, steal or borrow one from somewhere? That would be your easiest, quickest and cheapest solution.

cheers......JIM

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Inmate
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January 21, 2009 - 4:31 pm
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Yes, I've tried that. The Acronis boot disk loads and when I get to the screen that asks me to "select an image archive from the screen below" the only thing listed under My Computer is the (A) Floppy drive. None of my hard drives are listed and the next button at the bottom is grayed out.

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Jim Hillier
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January 21, 2009 - 4:49 pm
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Huh?? That's just too weird......HDD's are definitely connected, both power and cable? HDD's are recognized in BIOS?

Inmate, had you ever tried the Acronis boot CD prior to this happening? In other words, did it work (recognize the drives) beforehand? When asking this, I am assuming you used the installed Acronis program to create the images.

JIM

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Inmate
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February 5, 2009 - 11:55 am
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Hi ozbloke; Thanks again for your posts. While they didn't solve the immediate problems that I had they did help to assuage the frustration of dealing with an unknown problem. I am happy to say that the problem has been resolved and this post is made using the repaired computer. After removing all my hard drives and checking their operation on another machine, re-installing them with confirmed secure cable connections and rebooting to find the same problem, I gave up.
I placed an order for a new XP-SP3 disk. Before it arrived we had a 12 inch ice and snow storm so I had to wait a week longer because UPS couldn't get to my house.
When I finally received the new disk, with crossed fingers, I put it in the CD drive and booted up. Setup took charge, the C drive was properly formatted and The OS was installed. As soon as everything was working again I checked the files on my backup drive and all files were there including three full backups.(Whew!) The Acronis recovery disk still does not work so I'll be taking that up with them.
I was Christmas gifted a 500GB USB external drive so you can bet your sweet bippy that I'll be making a disk clone of my C drive and the backup drive.
Again, thanks much, I have learned from the experience.
Cheers to you; Inmate

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