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Hello everybody. Hopefully someone can help my friend’s problem or isolate the problem. This is what happened.

We go to a multimedia school (but there’s no more technicians at our school for the moment…) and we have portable IDE Hard Drives (20 gigs, Western Digital), which we can put into our work, stations at school or at home. (Here’s a picture of a portable HD http://pages.infinit.net/jbb/portableHD.jpg)

While coming back from our break, my friend when back to her station, moved the mouse, and then the PC rebooted… The screensaver wasn’t active; the pc was not used for about 10-15 mins…. Anyway, when it got to the boot screen, it froze there with no ERROR message. We checked carefully and we noticed the pc didn’t detect the Hard Drive anymore on the primary slave. The hard drive has crashed and we can’t access it anymore. But the good thing is, my friend already made some backups. So it doesn’t matter if we have to erase everything on the drive to make it work again.

My other friend tried the HD at home, and wasn’t able to access it or detect it as well. I just got the HD today and tried it here. And I can sort of access it. However this is what’s happening.

When I insert the HD, The primary master (c:) and slave (d:) have all sorts of STRANGE ASCII Symbols and Characters during the boot process. What would this mean??? It does the same thing in the BIOS. But it knows it has 20 Gigs though during the boot, but it hangs afterwards on a black screen.

When I take out the HD…everything is back to normal…my primary master is detected as a Quantum HD…boots to window…

I found a couple of dos utilities on the net.

So I booted the pc with the crashed hard drive, with a boot disk. However I noticed I couldn’t access my main drive (c:). It doesn’t recognize the partition. Probably because of the strange ASCII characters it got during the boot.

In the prompt, when I try to access the crashed drive, this is the error I get.

Invalid media type reading drive d:

And when I used a dos utility program, this is the errors I got while trying to read the crashed drive.

Boot Sector Unknown
Error reading sector #0 or Boot sector is invalid.

With the same program, I was able to search and access some files and save them to the floppy disk.

I tried fixing the partition with fdisk, or make a new one and then format it. But I wasn’t able to. It wrote me “format complete. Unable to write boot. Format terminated”

I don’t know where to go from here besides bringing the disk to a computer shop…

Any help would be greatly appreciated and thank you for taking the time to read this.
 

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Are you sure that the hard drive is properly jumpered to work in all of those systems? What you describe sounds like two drives jumpered as masters. Of course, the drive could have simply died.

Another issue with these drive drawers is high speed DMA sometimes fails to drives like these, I use a similar setup, and I've had problems in the past at ATA-100 and ATA-133 speeds.
 

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Sounds to me like the drive had died. I'd invest in a new drive and install it in the drive drawer...
 

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Discussion Starter #5
looks like it. but it's still working...looks like the boot record isn't working.

some person said "the drive type info stored on the drive is corrupted. The info for heads, cylinder, and sectors for that drive is messed up so it can't be auto detected"

some people sugguested to do a low level format...but im not sure how to do that.

I tried running some diagnostics tools from WD. but i get errors reading the drives...so i cant use them.
 

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If the drive is a WD, and the WD diagnostics can't function with the drive, I'd consider that it's pretty likely that the drive is indeed dead!
 
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