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Hi, everyone. I'm begging for help here, so frustrated. I apologize in advance for the length of this post.

First some background on what I THOUGHT the problem was.

Last year, we purchased a custom system from a guy I know at work (big mistake), and it was set up with 2 SATA hard drives in RAID. When I went in to add a third drive (IDE) from my old PC, I knocked one of those touchy SATA cables loose, the one to my C: drive, and chaos ensued.

For a few hours, I was stuck in a loop of jiggle the cables, reboot, drive doesn't show. jiggle, reboot, jiggle, reboot, etc etc. Eventually, the guy I bought the PC from suggested I pull the a battery from the mobo and reset before rebooting. Finally, that did the trick, and all was fine since then. (The drives are no longer in RAID, I use them separately now)

I generally leave the PC on, and it will sometimes reboot itself from Windows updates and whatnot. So last night, I get home and the pc is frozen in the middle of a reboot.. it can't find the operating system because the PC is once again not recognizing my 2 SATA drives.

Grrr... so here we go. open it up, jiggle cables, pull the battery.. no success. Then, on a whim, I open up the BIOS when rebooting. Searching for the drives manually in the BIOS is also a no-go... but without changing anything else, I reboot the PC, and there my SATA drives are! Woot!

So, glowing with satisfaction, I watch the system boot. It hangs for a little bit at the windows logo screen with the progress bar, but, I'm not too concerned. Then it goes to black. After about 5 minutes, I get a mouse cursor. After about another 15-20 minutes, I'm still stuck there. Time to boot to safe mode.

I'm not convinced I ever booted all the way to safe mode, and what I got took 15-20 minutes. This is the first time I tried it in Vista, but shouldn't I have gotten the windows toolbar with the start button at the bottom? All I got was the black screen with the white "safe mode" text at the top and bottom. I was able to boot to safe mode with command prompt and ran a successful chkdsk/f (it corrected a bitmap problem, no other errors found). I can get the ctrl+alt+del menu, no other system shortcuts work. I verified via command prompt that the file structure on all three drives seems to be intact.

I decided to throw in the towel and reinstall Vista, so I booted from the vista DVD (which took about a half an hour). I got into the "Repair Windows" section of the DVD and it doesn't see my windows installation. When I use the "Load Drivers" button, it shows me my drives... it sees my IDE drive, but thinks both of the SATA drives are removable disks with nothing currently in them. I'm not sure how to locate drivers for these drives to see if I can get any further with this option. I currently have no way to get files that aren't already on the PC. (no floppies, CD/DVD writer is in the PC)

Here's what I know about the PC:
Intel Core 2 Duo Processor (2.4 GHz)
Windows Vista
2 GB DDR2-667 MHz dual channel SDRAM (4x512MB)
2 SATA Hard Drives (including my Windows drive)
1 IDE Hard Drive

I would really really appreciate any ideas. Did I mess things up by pulling that battery? Is this a virus? Did it overheat and mess up the mobo/processor? I'm a little out of my depth here.

Thanks again...
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