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Part I:

I have a computer with 4 hard drives built in a RAID 5 array.

Powering on the computer gets a disk boot error message.

The raid controller is only recognizing 3 of the 4 hard drives.

I loaded an optimized bios default and enabled raid options. Still getting Disk boot failure, insert disk, enter.

Checked cables and all are connected to HD's and motherboard appropriately.

Motherboard has a 6 SATA device capacity; so I moved the cables around in the 6 slots; then used the BIOS SATA enabled/disabled function to adjust for all 4. Disk boot failure message still persists.

Went through BIOS in onboard device configuration and disabled one of the 4 SATA drives, then rebooted. Used this process on each HD separately; 3 of 4 HD's reported a "degraded array" warning when I did this. Disabling the BIOS for the #1 HD, produced no warning -- Array reads as healthy. Same Disk boot failure message occurs.

Part 2:

As a temporary fix, I decided to run the computer from one HD.

I bought a new Seagate Barracuda 500GB HD-- adjusted bios, installed windows just fine, re-installed necessary programs and updates.

3 days later computer takes 10-15 attempts to boot into windows normally. On a normal boot it shows a dim Windows loading screen and stops; or a regular screen with the green windows loading bar which never stops moving or moves jerkily and stops.

The dos loading screen: where it shows drivers and PCI devices loading, has dissapeared.

Safe-mode not booting at all; hangs up on drivers loading screen.

Except for new HD, all parts are only 2 years old.

Rethinking whether this is a RAID array problem given the complications with operating on a single drive…

Part 3:

After trying a few workarounds; I have some new information that will hopefully focus on the exact part I am most likely in need of replacing.

I replaced the SATA cable connected the HD to MB.

I ran Astra32, Everest Ultimate, and Hot CPU Tester 4.4 today. None of the programs gleaned any help in identifying a defective component.

(The report from Everest is rather lengthy; however nothing strikes me as being abnormal.)

Just to be sure of my software integrity on the new HD, I ran a Windows repair console (chkdsk /r) from CD; the computer then booted Windows.

I went into msconfig and loaded a diagnostic startup. Restarted Windows and the computer booted perfectly* (*except that the devices/pci loading screen still does not appear).

Loaded msconfig again and did a selective startup; choosing only essential Microsoft processes and enabling all the programs I wanted at start up. Rebooted and computer entered Windows perfectly*.

Enabled the rest of Microsoft services (except remote desktop) and rebooted. The Windows loading screen started freezing again.

The Windows loading screen would always flicker briefly and the Windows loading bar would stop 1-2 seconds afterwards.

Turned off the computer and attached a Molex to SATA converter so I could run a different power cable to my HD.

Powered on and the Windows loading bar behavior changed. It would start, stop, start, stop. In about 30 seconds Windows did load.

Thought a bad AVG anti-virus install might be affecting Windows. Un-installed and rebooted. Same start, stop occurred but Windows booted without hassle. Installed avast home and rebooted-- same behavior.

Rebooted once more for good measure and the screen froze.

Left the computer off for 10 minutes and powered on; got back into Windows.

Almost everything in Windows worked normally; however in dragging the mouse cursor over the screen, it would jump. I moved the mouse from right to left, instead of the usual motion; the cursor stayed on the right part of the screen and then suddenly appeared at the appropriate place on the left screen.

The mouse did follow all Windows commands and I checked the physical connection.

Wondering whether my issue is multi-component?

Perhaps it is an issue with the PSU or graphics card or Mobo?


Custom Computer

Motherboard ASUS M2N32-SLI Deluxe Wireless Edition AM2 NVIDIA nForce 590 SLI MCP ATX AM

Processor AMD Athlon 64 FX-62 Windsor 2.8GHz Socket AM2 125W Dual-Core Processor Mode

Memory 4 Sticks of CORSAIR XMS2 1GB 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 675 (PC2 5400)

Video Card EVGA 768-P2-N831-AR GeForce 8800 GTX 768MB 384-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16 HD

Hard Drive #1 Seagate Barracuda ES ST3750640NS 750GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Hard Drive

Hard Drive #2 Seagate Barracuda ES ST3750640NS 750GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Hard Drive

Hard Drive #3 Seagate Barracuda ES ST3750640NS 750GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Hard Drive

Hard Drive #4 Seagate Barracuda ES ST3750640NS 750GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Hard Drive

Optical Drive #1 Pioneer SATA

Power Supply COOLMAX CTG-750 750W ATX12V SLI Certified CrossFire Ready Active PFC Power

Floppy Drive? Yes

Internet Connection DSL/Cable

Modem/Router? Via a Router

Operating System Win XP Pro

32-bit OS
 
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