View Full Version : Hard Drive won't be detected

19-10-2006, 02:35 PM
I'm trying to put a hard drive in the computer but it will not detect it at all. I've tried 6 different hard drives, even the one i'm using in this computer now. I've tried using several different ide cables, including the one's in this one, so I know they nore the hard drives are bad. For some reason it just won't detect the hard drive on either Primary Master or Secondary Master but it detects the Cdrom drives just fine on both of them, i'm completly stumped as to what could be the problem? Someone please help! I can't think of anything else to do, I've also tried switching the memory out with the computer i'm using now as well. It will detect the Cdrom drives on all of them, Primary master, Primary Slave an Secondary Master and Secondary Slave. When the boot screen comes up it says that it don't detect anything sept the cdrom an when I press f1 to continue it says Disk Boot Failure, insert system disk an press enter.

19-10-2006, 03:04 PM
sounds like your motherboard isn't too healthy.

i dont think you can put bith a hdd and cd drive on the same cable if thats what you're doing

have you set all the jumpers correctly on the hard disks?

if so, i think it's time to upgrade to SATA - none of this master/slave bs

19-10-2006, 03:13 PM
I am not sure if you can see it here :
control panel > computer management > Storage > Disc Management

If not, there are somethings to check i.e making sure that jumper pins are in correct places, HDD has power cable plugged in, serial cable is plugged in.

I am guessing if you cant see the HDD name under primary master/slave during boot up, my first point is immediately thrown, out.

you may also want to go into Bios during boot and see if HDD is there.

These are my suggestions. Let us know how you get on.

19-10-2006, 04:07 PM
Uh, his hard drive isn't being detected by the BIOS, so why would Windows detect it?

Graham L
19-10-2006, 04:17 PM
Exactly. There's no point in doing things in Windows untiul the BIOS sees the drive. (Windows might not sdee it until its formatted, but that's a different matter).

Also, of course you can put a CDROM and ordinary HD on the same interface. In some systems it slows the hard disk down a bit, but it will still work.

If all your cables are "Cable select" ones, that might be the problem. Set the BIOS to disable CS, or if you don't have that option, set the drives to CS.

Make sure that the stripe side of the cable goes to pin one end of the drive connector (nearest the power supply connector) and to the pin one end of the motherboard connector.

A rare (but possible) cause of this problem is a drive from an idiot manufacturer who installed the IDE connector (with keyed housing) housing in such a way that a cable with connectors with keys could only be plugged in the wrong way. :( (this can be fixed by filing the (plastic) key off the side of the connector). I don't remember ever seeing a cable with keyed connectors fitted the wrong way, but cable makers would usually be consistently wrong, so it wouldn't matter. The "stripe" doesn't do anything electrical. ;)

A more cause of this problem with IDE cables is a user who plugs a cable in the wrong way round ... it's easy enough when the drive is from a manufacturer which doesn't put a keyed housing on the drive connector.
Anyone who hasn't done this at least onvce is telling porkies. ;)

19-10-2006, 05:01 PM
I don't need a key - I use the stripe and pin 1 to help me. :thumbs:

Graham L
19-10-2006, 05:48 PM
But some header housings and cable connectors are keyed so they will only fit one way. If the combination forces connection the wrong way, it's time for the file. Some disk manufacturers don't install header housings --- it might be cheaper. ;)

The (40 pin) IDE standard specifies the use of one pin position to make the orientation idiot-proof, and allow for the upper/lower PCB side problem. One pin should be missing from the header, and the matching socket postion in the cable connector should be blanked. But that's only the standard. :(

19-10-2006, 11:01 PM
Just for the record Win XP can detect hardware that hasnt been identified in the BIOS. I am gonna assume you have a relatively new PC with WinXP installed

Gonna need a bit more info to totally identify the problem, the best thing to do is start with the basics.

1. Make sure the HD is connected correctly with the power cabel, ribbon cabel and or SATA cable.
2. Make sure the jumper is correctly positioned on the HD to suit the installation
3. On boot up, enter the BIOS and see if the HD is being identified. Some versions of the Pheonix bios will only let you see it has been identified when you change the boot sequence.


1. Try booting from a Win XP install CD as the DISK BOOT FAILURE? type message will appear if there is no bootable OS on any of the drives in the boot sequence

2. You dont say, but if you can boot into windows on your existing drive with the additional drive installed, go into Disk Management and see if it shows up. It will even if it is not formatted.

Some possible problems......

You have an old machine, with an old BIOS that doesnt support the new drive size.

Your power supply is not powerful enough to power the new HD

The IDE/SATA controller you are connecting to is having aproblem. ie disabled in BIOS, driver problem

Can you provide as much info as you can?


20-10-2006, 01:46 AM
how old is this motherboard? i suspect (as i said earlier) that it's buggered... speaking of which i generally try to keep files, box cutters, angle grinders and other such tools away from my computer hardware lol

but i suppose the hdd could be too large

and i'm sure cdrom drives cannot share ide cables with hard disk drives..... i must dig up an old ide hdd and test this

20-10-2006, 09:47 PM
Uh, his hard drive isn't being detected by the BIOS, so why would Windows detect it?
Not always the case - I had an old Win98 PC with a secondary HDD that was not detected by the CMOS setup but when 98 booted, it was there - no doubt it would not have been able to boot from this drive though.

21-10-2006, 05:19 AM
and i'm sure cdrom drives cannot share ide cables with hard disk drives

lol.....totally incorrect.......they're both ide devices and they'll share the cable quite happily indeed........

21-10-2006, 03:07 PM
and i'm sure cdrom drives cannot share ide cables with hard disk drives

lol.....totally incorrect.......they're both ide devices and they'll share the cable quite happily indeed........

actually both!

they can share ok BUT it often causes problems including causing the pc to run very slow especially any time the cd drive is used. some system do not like have cd and HD on the same IDE. for best performance and compatibility keep them on separate IDE.

21-10-2006, 03:36 PM
Ok I'm gonna have a go ;-) First up How old is the computer as it may not be able to detect the larger new drives without the use of an overlay program.

2nd make sure you go into BIOS first and detect it there. Once it is detected there you cannot boot on that drive until you actually Prepare it using either F-Disk or the Windows 2000/XP install cd.

The reason you are getting and I quote "Disk Boot Failure, insert system disk an press enter" is because the disk has not been formatted and setup with a system boot sector (eg windows/dos) What you need to do is Boot using the Windows install CD and install the OS to it.

Your description of the problem has left a few things out. Are you installing the drive and a 2nd harddrive with the OS on another one. Or are you installing a new hardive on it's own and want to put the OS on it.

If it is a 2nd Hard drive and you already have a hardrive with an OS insatlled my guess is that it is conflicting with your main drive, make sure the slave master jumpers are set correctly and check the boot sequence in the BIOS.

Could you be a little more specific as to what you are trying to do.

Some of the above posters are correct, Windows will detect the drive provided it is a 2nd hardrive and you are running windows from another, things should function fine.