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Primary Master Drive Fails

This is a discussion on Primary Master Drive Fails within the Hard Drive Support forums, part of the Tech Support Forum category. I have a HP Pavillion 751n, that has kind of become my little project, its my Girlfriends PC from some


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Old 01-09-2009, 06:59 AM   #1
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I have a HP Pavillion 751n, that has kind of become my little project, its my Girlfriends PC from some years back and it quit working on her, originally I had the system32 hal.dll error in which it said the file was missing or corrupt, I got the home version of Windows XP and proceeded to try and install it, well after a few hours of frustration i finally realized how to get around the Hal.dll error but now everytime i boot up the computer it tells me the Primary Master Drive fails and gives me the options of F2 to continue or F1 to go into the system and try and manually fix it, i've tried everything i know to do but i can't get it to read the Primary... Subsequently when i get into the window's XP setup process after it unpacks and goes to the install mode it tells me Window's XP does not read a Hard drive... I can't help but think these two problems are related, and if so I'm at quite a loss, and quite frankly probably in over my head, any help would be greatly appreciated...

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Old 01-09-2009, 07:01 AM   #2
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Hello there...
check make/model of your HDD...
Visit manufacturers Web Site, download diagnostic tools and test HDD for possible bad sectors...
Either partition is corrupted and you need to wipe HDD, or HDD might be dying...
Keep us posted...

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Old 01-10-2009, 08:03 AM   #3
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Okay so here's the scoop, i suppose during the Hal.dll trouble there was a major issue and now i'm having to reinstall XP, so i cant get on the internet with that particular PC, I've considered borrowing a friends PC with a floppy Drive and downloading the RAID drivers and isntalling them as XP is installing but I have a feeling that will lead to only more disappointment because i'm betting this Hard drive is shot... So here's my next question if i were to go to Best buy and purchase a Seagate SATA/300 500G Hard Drive, (Shown Here http://www.bestbuy.com/site/olspage....=1172880157923 ) Will this Plug and Play and work even when i'm still installing XP and its not on there already?

I've done a lot of work with computers, well a lot of amateur work, and frankly this is my first Hard Drive replacement, so any help or tips would be greatly appreciated...
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Old 01-10-2009, 08:35 AM   #4
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You will need SP2 or better on the install CD for XP to recognize the 500GB disk. Should work tho assuming the SATA ports on the PC are SATA/300
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Old 01-10-2009, 09:00 AM   #5
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I'm at work now But i'm a 100% Positive its Sp2 or better in fact im almost 75% sure its Service Pack 3
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Old 01-10-2009, 09:11 AM   #6
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First of all, have you tried the hard disk utility from the manfacturer? If not, give that a shot.


Hard Drive Utilities

Then, this Seagate if retail should have a utility in it which MIGHT (not sure, depending upon the issue with your drive) be able to transfer that data over. The utility of the last Seagate I purchased was from Acronis (best on the market) which is excellent at cloning, so if the old drive can be read, maybe it can clone it and leave those old errors in the physical drive alone. NO guarantees, but worth a try.
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Old 01-10-2009, 07:55 PM   #7
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Here's the latest, Got the new Hard drive, Its Western Digital, EIDE 320, popped it in, check the Jumpers, hooked it up powered on and it worked like a dream, started the installation of XP with SP3, I got completely done with the first part partitioning the drive and so on, then it goes to the part where it "restarts" then will complete the setup, well after it restarts it reverts back to the screen where it says Primary Master Drive Fail, F2 to continue F1 to go to setup, if i hit F1 mess around or do whatever, even Reset to Factory Defaults, when it exits and restarts it simply states "Disk Read Error" Press Ctrl Alt Del to restart... if i shut the computer down, and restart it it reads the HDD again but it won't continue the install (takes me back to beginning like i never started the xp install), I'm afraid im frustrated and stuck, the only thing i know to do is try and do a repair because when i get into the xp screen for the first step (partitioning) it shows that the space is used up as normal... I am officially stuck...
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Old 01-10-2009, 08:12 PM   #8
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Download "Data Lifeguard" from the WD website and partition and format it from there and then try to load the OS on it. Here is a link to that utility:

Hard Drive Utilities
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Old 01-10-2009, 08:57 PM   #9
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Only problem is there is no OS on this PC at the time so I cant download anything to it unless i can somehow put it on Floppy and put it in during the XP install, subsequently why I'm trying to hard to get XP on there...
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Old 01-11-2009, 09:03 AM   #10
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If you go to their website you can download a bootable DOS version that does not require an OS on the rig to check the drive. Go take a look.
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Old 01-11-2009, 07:43 PM   #11
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Okay sorry I had no idea that Data Lifeguard Tools CD would boot without an OS but after booting and running setup it reaches the point where its partitioning and Setting up the HDD and it hangs on 0% then gives me an error saying there was an error and it was unable to set up your new Hard Drive, consider running diagnostic software or consulting your manual... other than that im not sure how to proceed, everything seems to be in working order and it does read the HDD if i completely turn the PC off wait and turn it back on so Im under the impression that there is nothing wrong with the the HDD its in the BIOS or something along those lines, perhaps a setting thats tweaked, I will say this, after i went in to BIOS checked my config and hit save and exit, after it rebooted it said "Press A to Reboot" (Which is new), then of course after it reboots it says Primary Master Drive Fails...
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Old 01-11-2009, 08:24 PM   #12
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Wait a minute, I need some clarification. You have a WD EIDE hard drive and it is Western Digital.

How do you have it hooked up, to the primary or secondary IDE connection?

Is it alone on the ribbon cable or is something else on that cable?

How do you have it jumpered?

Where is it located on the ribbon cable, the middle or end connector.
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Old 01-11-2009, 08:45 PM   #13
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I do Have an EIDE Western Digital (specifically Blue Caviar) 320 GB Hard Drive, it is hooked up on the Primary, it is on the end of the cable (master) and is the only one on the cable, its jumpered as Cable select (only one jumper on the far right)
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Old 01-11-2009, 08:59 PM   #14
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Also my BIOS version is 3.04 I wasn't sure if this might make a difference... I ran the Diagnostics Diskette created by Lifeguard Data tools, and even on the Full test there was no errors at all...
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Old 01-11-2009, 09:20 PM   #15
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Aha, that really helps. If a Western Digital drive of that type is ALONE on the ribbon cable, it must be placed on the END of the ribbon cable and ALL JUMPERS REMOVED. Try that and report back.
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Old 01-11-2009, 10:45 PM   #16
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OKay so here goes, I went in to partition and set up the drive using Lifeguard, when it had me select my OS i selected XP because thats what i intended to put on there and i didnt see a spot for None, well it didnt work again... for some reason i went in again and accidently selected windows ME well it worked, so i thought hey maybe it'll be fine, well when i went to install XP it just kept saying No OS recognized, enter Disk and press ENTER, or something along those lines, I rebooted one more time and this time it seemed to work, got all the way through the set up and when it restarted what do i see, my good friend Primary Master Drive Fails.... So I'm not sure what to do, my instincts tell me maybe the HDD didnt recognize the jump from ME to XP with SP3, but thats just a shot in the dark, perhaps wishful thinking...
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Old 01-12-2009, 09:04 AM   #17
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I heard, that sometimes if the processor is too old, especially if its only a single core that people are running into this issue, I need to check on my lunch break and see what kind is in there and possibly order a dual since this computer is so old, i'm not sure what its going to have in it....
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Old 01-12-2009, 10:28 AM   #18
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Multi core processors should have no issue on what you are seeing, if you find a reference to that somewhere I would love to read it.. I'm starting to wonder if it may be a port issue. If this is the only drive on the system try moving it to the secondary IDE port and try the install
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Old 01-12-2009, 11:09 AM   #19
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raptor_pa is exactly correct, there is no cpu issue here at all. Buying one hoping it might do the job is a waste of your money IMHO.
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Old 01-12-2009, 11:58 AM   #20
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Thanks for the heads up, the guy at Office Depot or Circuit City told me that when i called to make sure they had IDE Ribbon Cable (Replaced that, and MOBO Battery Just in case) he mentioned it, but i wasnt sure how much i trusted him, thought i'd run it by you guys just in case, I'm going to try switching the IDE ports on lunch in about 20 mins, i'll let you know if that works... Could it be a driver problem? I mean I'm just assuming its Plug and Play, especially with XP SP3, I dont know, after i try the IDE ports I'll let you know the results and maybe can go from there...

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