Windows XP Home Edition - hard drives unknown in BIOS settings

Discussion in 'Computer Support' started by W Tsui, Aug 31, 2003.

  1. W Tsui

    W Tsui Guest

    My PC (Dell 8250) locked up, I turned it off, and now when I try to
    boot, I get this error:

    Strike F1 to retry boot, F2 for setup utility

    When I go in setup
    I see
    Primary Drive 0 Unknown Device
    Secondary Drive 0 unknown Device

    When I toggle to Primary/Secondary Drive 0 and hit enter, it is set to
    "Auto" for both, but it still won't boot.

    I read another thread on this board, which suggested that the battery
    on the motherboard might need replacing, but it sounds like it should
    still be able to boot from the setup menu each time if that's the

    I tried booting off the Windows CD, at which point I tried to use the
    "Recovery" option. I can't seem to get that to work (since I don't
    know what the admin password is -- anybody know what the default for
    that is on a Dell?); however, I ultimately end up at a C:\windows
    prompt and can do a DIR, so I don't think the drive itself is dead.

    Any ideas? Thanks very much in advance!
    W Tsui, Aug 31, 2003
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  2. W Tsui

    °Mike° Guest

    As you have discovered, your drive is recognised, so why don't you
    just change the CMOS battery, like the other thread suggested?
    °Mike°, Aug 31, 2003
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  3. W Tsui

    Suenet Guest

    Your hard drive kicked the bucket
    Suenet, Aug 31, 2003
  4. W Tsui

    Suenet Guest

    As you have discovered, your drive is recognised, so why don't you
    Huh? Not likely the battery has expired on a new PC.
    Suenet, Aug 31, 2003
  5. W Tsui

    °Mike° Guest

    Why not? And where was it stated that the PC was new?

    °Mike°, Aug 31, 2003
  6. W Tsui

    °Mike° Guest

    I ultimately end up at a C:\windows prompt and can do a DIR, so I
    don't think the drive itself is dead.
    °Mike°, Aug 31, 2003
  7. W Tsui

    Suenet Guest

    Subject: Re: Windows XP Home Edition - hard drives unknown in BIOS settings
    A dell Dimension 8250 is a pretty friggin new PC seeing they sell them
    with a 2.4 GHZ P4.
    Suenet, Aug 31, 2003
  8. W Tsui

    Suenet Guest

    I ultimately end up at a C:\windows prompt and can do a DIR, so I
    don't think the drive itself is dead.

    Well then Mikey, tell us all what's wrong :)
    Suenet, Aug 31, 2003
  9. W Tsui

    °Mike° Guest

    I already did, fool.
    °Mike°, Aug 31, 2003
  10. W Tsui

    °Mike° Guest

    Again, where was it stated that the PC was new, and what difference
    does that make to a dead battery, hmm?
    °Mike°, Aug 31, 2003
  11. W Tsui

    Suenet Guest

    I already did, fool.[/QUOTE]

    You did no such thing, moron :)
    Suenet, Aug 31, 2003
  12. W Tsui

    °Mike° Guest

    You can't read.
    °Mike°, Aug 31, 2003
  13. W Tsui

    why? Guest

    X-No-Archive: Yes
    Batteries could have been sitting in the packets on a shelf somewhere
    for months before use.

    If you go into the BIOS settings for the disks can you enter the
    geometry settings instead of auto? Are they remembered?

    Have you tried the Reset CMOS jumper there should be one, in case there
    is an incorrect setting somewhere.

    Do you have another drive you could use as a test, disconnect the
    current drives put in the test one in, is it detected.

    Guessing then it's 80 conductor cables, are they okay, can you swap one
    with another set.

    As you said Pri/Sec you mean interface , so each is on on a different
    cable rather tham Master/Slave on the same cable. What about other
    devices on the cable(s)? and the support forums?

    why?, Aug 31, 2003
  14. W Tsui

    Suenet Guest

    You can't read.[/QUOTE]

    Oh the irony.
    Suenet, Aug 31, 2003
  15. W Tsui

    Suenet Guest

    Lithium batteries last for years. Although it is possible to manufacture a
    battery incorrectly I've never changed one on any Dell Optiplex,
    Dimension, Latitude, Inspiron, or Poweredge. I did see a problem with the
    battery on a Dell PERC2si RAID 5 controller discharging prematurly but it
    was solved by flashing the controller's BIOS and installing software that
    allowed the admin to manually recharge it once a year. And the battery was
    NiCAD and not LIon

    A Dell dimension 8250 will autodetect good drives, and won't detect drives
    it's controller can't communicate with. It will detect drives with
    partition errors. It will detect drives with FAT errors. It will detect
    drives with no partitions.
    That's good advice. Something in the BIOS could have got scrambled
    although I have never seen it in my 5 years of installing/setting
    up/repairing Dell desktops/laptops/workstations/servers. Dell was the
    -only- machine that I recomended to the 15 industrial/point of
    sale/non-profit/goverment clients that I had. That's over 300 Dell
    machines I managed. I don't even think I replaced more than maybe a dozen
    Dell hard drives in 5 years.
    More good advice. That would have been my very first diagnostic step, not
    suspecting the CMOS battery given my VAST experience with Dell products.
    I'm not saying that it is not a possibility but it is bad advice to steer
    someone who doesn't have the technical prowess and trouble shooting skills
    required to undertake said diagnostics in a logical manner.
    It is 80 conductor. Dell has been using them for maybe 3 years. I've
    worked on a ton of Dell PCs. I have -NEVER- seen a CMOS battery go bad.
    Some of these Dells were going on 7 years old.
    The primary boot drive will be the master on the primary controller with
    the jumper set to -cable select- The CDRW if so equipped will be the
    master on the secondary controller jumpered for CSL.
    Bah, I know more about Dell than Dell. :)

    One thing that bothers me besides mike thinking he can flame, is that the
    original poster stated that the Dell didn't see the drive in BIOS yet
    during the rescue attempt, the C: partition was visable and the SAM was
    accessable because the original poster said she needed a password. One
    final word of advise, You can boot an XP box with a Windows 2000 disc and
    you'll not need any passwords. Nice of Microsoft to include that in their
    "Most Secure" operating system to date.
    Suenet, Aug 31, 2003
  16. W Tsui


    Dec 22, 2009
    Likes Received:
    dead cmos batterY?

    I hope i don't get flamed like this mike guy seems to be doing. When someone goes to a forum for help, they expect advice, not attitude. If the pc will boot into setup then dead battery or not, it's obviously functining, if it's readnig "unknown device". This is a nasty problem, as there doesn't seem to be much online about the issue, possibly configuration issues, of mast/slave, or conflicting rare firmware on 2 drives (ever have a pc that simply doesnt like 2 particular drives at the same time?). I have tried:

    2 seperate hard drives
    2 seperate cables
    playing with mast/slave settings

    nothing seems to work, it's as though the BIOS or motherboard is broke. If ne1 has had success geting by this issue, please post resolution. I have a PIII for sale that was working a week ago, then put in a closet and now gives the same problem "unknown device". Will try another hard drive tonight n cross fingers.
    Coryk, Dec 22, 2009
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