View Full Version : Is this hard drive dead?

09-10-2004, 04:43 PM
I can't remember now what I was doing at the time, but this hard drive running Windows XP Pro suddenly could no longer be found on boot up.

It's a 2 year old 40 GB Seagate ST340810A

I've tried it as master drive on three different functioning computers and each gives the same error on boot up:

"Detecting IDE Primary Master - NONE"

Followed by:

"Verifying DMI Pool Data.......Disk Boot Failure, Insert System Disk and Press Enter"

Surprisingly, if I attach it as the slave H.D. the error message is the same,. Neither the good master nor the dodgy slave is found.

After much searching the web and trying various remedies and diagnostics (Seagate Tool) I'm just about to rubbish it.

Before I do, is there any way to be sure this drive is dead?


09-10-2004, 04:54 PM
have yu tried to fix the mbr on it
sounds like a similar drive error i had on a maxtor 80gb and i repaired it that way
first fdisk /mbr in dos then used diagnostic tools

09-10-2004, 04:55 PM
My judgement would be: It's gone.

But first, check it is getting power correctly.


09-10-2004, 04:58 PM
Did u check in the BIOS to see if the hdd was set to AUTO??

And that it was set as the bootdisk?? Or something like a non-system floppy isnt in the diskdrive. That Insert system disk error can also appear if there's a non-bootable/system floppy in the drive.

09-10-2004, 05:20 PM
Thanks for the suggestions.... any are welcome.

Remember that the HD cannot be accessed to do anything to it, so fdisking the MBR is just not possible.

There is no possibility of a fault with the power or ribbon connector, as I've been switching those between a good HD and the dodgy one endless times. The good drive always works perfectly - except, as I said above, when I attach the dodgy HD as slave. then neither drive is recognised

No disk in the floppy drive spacemannz, and the bios is set to auto

09-10-2004, 05:36 PM
Are the jumpers set to master on the HDD?

09-10-2004, 05:39 PM
If the drive prevents the master or slave on the IDE being recognised, its because the data buffer chips on the IDE have probably failed, and are grounding the entire bus.

Drive is dead....

09-10-2004, 05:49 PM
Yes, hsv-b0y

Terry Porritt
09-10-2004, 05:50 PM
I don't suppose it is still under warranty, but it would be worthwhile checking. There may be a warranty date on the drive.

09-10-2004, 07:35 PM
Thanks godfather.

After a quick read-up on IDE's and data buffering, your diagnosis sounds spot on.

One last question before I follow Terry's suggestion about looking at a warranty claim. Does it seem likely or even possible that I have caused this chip failure by poking around inside the computer?

Although I am usually ultra careful I may have got careless, and in fairness to the supplier I shouldn't want to blame the product.

09-10-2004, 07:43 PM
Unlikely to be user induced....

That's your story, and you should stick to it.

09-10-2004, 08:12 PM

11-10-2004, 01:12 AM
If you go to the Maxtor Web site you can download "Power Max" which fits on to a bootable floppy.
Disable the offending drive in the Bios.
Boot with "Power Max" and do a low level format.( Power Max will see the drive even if it is disabled.)
The low level format takes about 1 hour per 10gig, so yours will take 4-5 hours to do. After this the drive will partition & format in the normal way. Remember to re-enable it in the Bios.
I have recovered several drives that had been "tossed" in the bin, by using Power Max.

11-10-2004, 09:24 AM
Thanks for the suggestion Mzee. I had a look at the Maxtor website and the PowerMax tool. I'll remember for the future.

Seagate have what I thinks is a similar utility, the Seatool, that I tried with only negative results.

The problem is most likely to be, as godfather says above, a physical short in the components. The bios can't see the offending drive, and all connections to it have been tested by swapping it for a known working drive - several times.

An interesting development is that Seagate have a facility on their Support site. By entering the product and serial numbers the warranty status is given. My dead drive is still under warranty until Aug 2005!