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Disk I/O Error
jeff Mar-04-01 09:16 PM
A guy from work asked me to look at his home computer that his kids use to play games. His story is it used to work until the kids tried to install a new game and now it won't boot. This is what I found.

486DX4
Award BIOS
32 MB RAM
512 MB HD
CD-ROM

When powered on there are no POST beeps but there is a LED display that reads 20. The BIOS message screen will display the processer, RAM and HD but then stops booting with the following message:

Disk I/O Error
Replace the disk and then press any key

If I boot with a Win95 floppy I can get to the A:\ prompt but I can't get to C:\. If I use a little utility called the "Ultimate Boot Disk", I can see the C:\ drive. I can also see the drive using FDISK. If I type FORMAT c:\ I get an invalid drive error. Also if I just try to CD c:\ I get an invalid drive error.

I have swapped HD's and HD cables with the same results.

Obviously this is an old system and if it has to be trashed it's not a big deal. But I would like to learn something from this and rather enjoy the challenge of bringing an old computer back from the dead.


1. RE: Disk I/O Error
lbyard Mar-05-01 03:24 PM
In response to message 0
Check the jumpers on the drive. Is the CMOS setup correctly for the hard disks? What is the make and model of the hard disk? Larry

2. RE: Disk I/O Error
jeff Mar-05-01 11:38 PM
In response to message 1
Larry,

The HD is a Seagate ST3660A, no jumpers, which according to the info on the HD is correct for "Standalone and No Slave".
I'm not sure if the CMOS is correct.I have gone into Std CMOS Setup and set the Primary Master to AUTO. There is another catagory called IDE HDD Auto Detection. This has 3 options: 1=Normal, 2=LBA, 3=Large. All 3 options have cylinder and head settings that do not match what is printed on the HD. I've tried all 3 with no luck. I don't see a way to change those settings. What should I try next?
Jeff


3. RE: Disk I/O Error
jeff Mar-06-01 02:32 PM
In response to message 2
Larry,

There is a 4th option under IDE HDD Auto Detection, N=None. I tried this also with no luck. In the course of trying to isolate the problem I've disconnected the CD drive completly and reseated the HD cable several times. Originally the CD and HD were on the Primary Controler, and I thought by eliminating one variable, the CD, I could simplify the situation. Unfortunatly I don't know if it makes a differance which connector the HD is plugged into on the data cable, when it is the only device.
Jeff


4. RE: Disk I/O Error
lbyard Mar-06-01 04:40 PM
In response to message 3
LAST EDITED ON Mar-06-01 AT 04:42 PM (GMT)

According to http://www.seagate.com/support/disc/ata/st3660a.html, the specs on the drive are:
Capacity: 545.5 MB
Cylinders: 528
Heads: 32
Sectors: 63
The installation guide in .pdf format is at http://www.seagate.com/support/disc/iguides/ata/630idmra.pdf
You should be able to Set the CMOS for Auto and LBA. If not there should be a way to enter User Defined parameters which would be the above with LBA (needed for drives larger than 512 or 508 Mbytes). If you hear the drive making the "Seagate" clinking sound (clink pause clink pause clink), the drive is more than likely bad. Larry


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