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  • Hard Drive Problems - Help needed!

    Hello all,
    I volunteer for a small nonprofit in my town. We have two computers in the office... a few years old now but they get the job done just fine. They were both purchased at the same time and are (as far as I can tell) exactly the same.

    The problem began when one computer would not boot up. The issue was apparently with the hard drive, because I swapped the hard drive from the working computer into the broken one, and presto everything worked fine.

    Happy to have located the problem, I figured out which kind of hard drive I needed (IDE) and ordered what I thought was a good deal for an OEM drive. So the drive comes in the mail, and I put it in just as I had the drive from the other computer. I figured that you pop in the new drive, format it using the cd rom that came from Dell, and we'd be good to go. But... I pop it in, put the CD in, and all the computer does is beep a few times and then nothing. It just gives me a black screen, no 'Press F8 for BIOS setup' or anything like that. Is there a step I'm missing? Any help you could provide would be appreciated. Thanks!
    New Jerseyans- Beat Your Traffic Ticket!!
    http://www.njtrafficfines.com

  • #2
    Something to read.
    http://www.pcworld.com/article/id,34...1/article.html

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    • #3
      If you hear a series of beeps before your system locks up, note their number and whether the beeps are long or short. This audio error message from your system's BIOS provides information about a problem it has detected. Check with the manufacturer of your system to identify your particular error.
      This part was pretty interesting, thanks. It's a dell and out of warranty by now. I wonder how much they'll charge me for tech support.
      New Jerseyans- Beat Your Traffic Ticket!!
      http://www.njtrafficfines.com

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      • #4
        Is the BIOS detecting the drive?

        Do you mean restore to the drive from the dell CD? Or are you using formatting tools off of the CD to just format the drive, then use a backup to image to the drive?

        Also be sure the jumpers on the drive are setup the same as they where on the old drive, but even that don/t always work out.
        Sometimes you need to configure the master and slaves differently with different hardware manufactured HD's
        MCSE, MVP, CCIE
        Microsoft Beta Team

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        • #5
          I can't tell if the BIOS is detecting it or not, once I push the power button I get the beeps and that's it. The monitor's 'no signal' indicator disappears, but only gives me a black screen.

          I have a completely blank hard drive I put it, and was going to just use the Dell CD to restore the operating system like it was when I bought it, no imaging involved.

          I'm not sure what you mean about the jumpers? Sorry I have zero experience with this kind of stuff.
          New Jerseyans- Beat Your Traffic Ticket!!
          http://www.njtrafficfines.com

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          • #6
            Originally posted by dfinkle View Post

            I'm not sure what you mean about the jumpers? Sorry I have zero experience with this kind of stuff.
            Take a look at this

            http://www.helpwithpcs.com/upgrading...hard-drive.htm

            On the drive, there should be a diagram on how to set the drive to be a master.

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            • #7
              Thank you very much- I definitely had the jumper settings wrong. I've corrected them, but I'm still experiencing the same problem. When I try to set it up as the only hard drive in the computer, it starts up, gives me a black screen, and beeps as soon as I plug it in. It doesn't even get to the part where I can access the BIOS. I tried changing the jumpers and putting it in the other computer as a slave, but no matter what I do, the BIOS won't detect it.

              The computers are both Dell Optiplex GX270. Anyone know where I can find more information about the BIOS on these systems? Seagate's support page is no help. I have no way to record the beeps that the computer makes except on my cell phone. It came out pretty lousy but it's the only way I can record them. You can hear the sound file at http://finkdawg5.googlepages.com/problem.wav if it makes any difference.
              New Jerseyans- Beat Your Traffic Ticket!!
              http://www.njtrafficfines.com

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              • #8
                I just wanted to clarify my completely unclear statement, "When I try to set it up as the only hard drive in the computer, it starts up, gives me a black screen, and beeps as soon as I plug it in."

                When I set the jumpers as the master drive, install it, close the computer back up, and plug in all the wires... that is when the beeping episode takes place, as soon as I plug in the power cord.

                I appreciate everyone's help! Hopefully we can get this straightened out soon.
                New Jerseyans- Beat Your Traffic Ticket!!
                http://www.njtrafficfines.com

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                • #9
                  Is there anyway you can test it in another system?
                  It is really starting to sound like there is a problem with the actual hard-drive itself.

                  Have you tried booting it with the jumper set to cable select??

                  What gets you into the BIOS normally? Pressing delete, or a function key??
                  MCSE, MVP, CCIE
                  Microsoft Beta Team

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    http://www.grc.com/sr/spinrite.htm

                    spinrite by steve gibson! best software ever for PC with harddrive problems saved a lot of family hard drives with this software

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Joe Gronlund View Post
                      Is there anyway you can test it in another system?
                      It is really starting to sound like there is a problem with the actual hard-drive itself.

                      Have you tried booting it with the jumper set to cable select??

                      What gets you into the BIOS normally? Pressing delete, or a function key??
                      Ok, so this whole thing has taken a strange turn. Someone I was talking to suggested that perhaps while I was doing all of this, perhaps static or something zapped the motherboard. So, to eliminate this possibility, I took the hard drives and switched them. To my surprise, the working hard drive produced the same beeping result in the 'broken' computer, while the blank drive functioned as it should in the 'working' computer.

                      When the computer first failed, this was NOT the case. The beeping occurred no matter which machine I put it in. Now, it's only one machine that's beeping, no matter which hard drive is in it. I'm completely confused.

                      So while I'm doing all of this, I noticed four lights on the back of the machine that I never really paid attention to. On the 'working' machine, all four are green, while on the busted one, the first one is green and the other three are yellow. So I went to dell.com and looked up the manual for that model.

                      Turns out the lights are diagnostic lights, and that the one green and three yellow means "A possible BIOS failure has occurred; the computer is in the recovery mode." The suggested recovery resolution is "Run the BIOS Recovery utility, wait for recovery completion, and then restart the computer." The problem is, there's no link to find the 'BIOS recovery utility' for this machine, a search of dell.com doesn't turn up anything. I found the recovery cd for the machine that supposedly has device drivers, diagnostics, and utilities on it (that were supposedly pre-installed on the computer) that are contained on a bootable cd that is for re-installing them. But the problem is, since I can get the computer to do anything close to booting up or even get to the bios setup, I don't know how to get these things to run. Even then, I don't know if the "BIOS recovery utility" is on there.

                      I don't know how tech support guys do it. It must require infinite patience! Does anyone have any suggestions where to go from here?
                      New Jerseyans- Beat Your Traffic Ticket!!
                      http://www.njtrafficfines.com

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by dfinkle View Post
                        I don't know how tech support guys do it. It must require infinite patience! Does anyone have any suggestions where to go from here?
                        Ohh, we handle stress very well..
                        I would seriously consider contacting Dell support and tell them you can/t access the BIOS, and tell them about the diagnostics lights:

                        1-800-624-9896

                        http://support.dell.com/support/topi...=us&l=en&s=gen
                        MCSE, MVP, CCIE
                        Microsoft Beta Team

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                        • #13
                          Guess I will have to.
                          New Jerseyans- Beat Your Traffic Ticket!!
                          http://www.njtrafficfines.com

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                          • #14
                            So I called them up... after all that, it was a memory issue. And the dimms werent bad, all I had to do was take them out, re-seat them, and put them back in. Hehe amazing. I should have just called them to begin with.

                            The original hard drive was still bad, I ran diagnostics on it and it had all sorts of errors.

                            But seriously, thank you so much -everyone- for all of your help. I really do appreciate it, very much!
                            New Jerseyans- Beat Your Traffic Ticket!!
                            http://www.njtrafficfines.com

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                            • #15
                              No problem,

                              Good to hear it is taken care of..
                              MCSE, MVP, CCIE
                              Microsoft Beta Team

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