Is my hard drive toast?

Discussion in 'Computers' started by Jon_Are, Oct 12, 2004.

  1. Jon_Are

    Jon_Are Cinematographer

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    This is a back-up PC, so it's not the end of the world.

    Upon turning it on, the screen goes immediately to the BIOS setup screen, which is acting crazy. The curser scans rapidly and repeatedly across the three fields within the system 'date' area. No combination of keyboard strokes will change anything (although holding down ENTER momentarily freezes the cursor).

    I've tried booting from the OEM 'system restore' CD with no effect. I've tried booting from a Ghost boot disk (floppy) that I had made with no effect. I don't know if the Ghost disk is good or not.

    I'm running (trying to run, that is) XP. I don't know what else to try.

    Thanks,

    Jon
     
  2. Marko Berg

    Marko Berg Supporting Actor

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    A hard drive failure should be visible after the computer has performed its BIOS checks and starts loading the OS. Thus, I suspect your keyboard is faulty rather than the hard drive. Have you spilled any liquid on the keyboard recently?

    Unplug the keyboard and try to boot with another keyboard connected to see if the problem persists.
     
  3. Glenn Overholt

    Glenn Overholt Producer

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    Actually, if you unplug the keyboard, you'll get some 'beeps' at boot.

    I'm suspecting the battery.


    ..and adding, If you disconnect the hard drive, it should still be able to boot to a CD or floppy.

    Glenn
     
  4. Wayne Bundrick

    Wayne Bundrick Cinematographer

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    Some BIOS have the option to ignore a missing or faulty keyboard and attempt to boot anyway, to make headless servers possible. I always make sure the option is set to halt and report a keyboard error. If the keyboard is bad then I want to know about it.

    At this point I wouldn't suspect the hard drive, unless the problem goes away if you disconnect the drive as Glenn suggests.
     
  5. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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    Yeah, this sounds like it could be any number of things, none of which is the hard drive. [​IMG] Try booting with no keyboard - if the keyboard is damaged or defective you will get an error message instead of the garbage you're getting now, and that alone will tell you something. Or borrow a friend's keyboard. (Or just go out and buy another one. A basic keyboard will set you back all of $10 or less if you know where to shop. I always keep a spare around just in case.) If that's what's going on, problem solved. If not, you keep digging

    But try by all means try the keyboard first (before you open the case and start disconnecting things) and let us know what happens. If there's no change that's one thing, but if the system's behavior changes in any way, even if it doesn't boot up, it will give us a new direction for troubleshooting. And always remember the first law of fixing anything - change one variable at a time. [​IMG]

    Regards,

    Joe
     
  6. Jon_Are

    Jon_Are Cinematographer

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    OK...I unplugged the keyboard, re-booted, and all seems well (other than the fact that I have no keyboard).

    I'm going to run out and pick up a new one - after a trip to the dentist[​IMG] - and I will report back.

    Thanks for the help, you guys are awesome.

    Jon
     
  7. Jon_Are

    Jon_Are Cinematographer

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    Bought a $10 keyboard from Best Buy, plugged it in, and everything is both hunky and dory.

    Oh yeah...the dental procedure (crown) went smoothly too.

    Thanks,

    Jon
     
  8. Jason Adams

    Jason Adams Supporting Actor

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    You know once, I had a bad mouse, and the computer wouldn't boot for months. Then my father got the bright idea to switch the mouse. It worked perfectly. Odd that.
     
  9. Bryan Toth

    Bryan Toth Stunt Coordinator

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    A couple of months ago, I thought I had a really nasty virus on my system (Win XP Pro). CPU utilization would go back and forth between 0 and 100% almost at random. I ran Spyware removal tools, virus checks, (even an MS System Restore). It took me 3-4 days of messing with it to realize that I had a key that was getting stuck only some of the time when I hit it. I has *this close* to actually rebuilding the system from scratch when I discovered the keyboard problem. Funny how the smallest things can cause some of the biggest problems .... [​IMG]

    Bryan
     

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