XP Pro won't load with 5 HD's


G

Guest

XP Pro SP2, Intel main board, 3.2 P4, 1 gig of RAM, 560 watt PSU - plenty of
fire power.

For 2 months I was able to run an 80 gig IDE HD with a DVD-ROM slaved to it,
and 4 250 Gig SATA HD's. It all ran on an Antec 430 watt PSU. Not too long
ago the system decided to go into a vicious re-boot cycle. It would POST,
the XP splash screen would come up, the screen would go dark (normally this
is when the "welcome" screen would come up) then it would re-boot.
Repeatedly. Thinking that all the naysayers at work were right when they
told me to buy a 600 watt PSU, I decided to reduce the load on the PSU. I
unplugged 1 SATA drive. XP loaded fine. Just to make sure I didn't get a
bad drive on eBay, I unplugged a different drive. XP loaded fine. Tried
again with all 4 SATA's - no load. Upgraded to the bigger PSU - same
problem. I have not done any significant installs or software upgrades -
just 2 games.

Any ideas, or any diagnostics that might lead me to an answer?

TIA!
 
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M

Malke

Tim said:
XP Pro SP2, Intel main board, 3.2 P4, 1 gig of RAM, 560 watt PSU -
plenty of fire power.

For 2 months I was able to run an 80 gig IDE HD with a DVD-ROM slaved
to it,
and 4 250 Gig SATA HD's. It all ran on an Antec 430 watt PSU. Not
too long
ago the system decided to go into a vicious re-boot cycle. It would
POST, the XP splash screen would come up, the screen would go dark
(normally this is when the "welcome" screen would come up) then it
would re-boot.
Repeatedly. Thinking that all the naysayers at work were right when
they
told me to buy a 600 watt PSU, I decided to reduce the load on the
PSU. I
unplugged 1 SATA drive. XP loaded fine. Just to make sure I didn't
get a
bad drive on eBay, I unplugged a different drive. XP loaded fine.
Tried
again with all 4 SATA's - no load. Upgraded to the bigger PSU - same
problem. I have not done any significant installs or software
upgrades - just 2 games.

Any ideas, or any diagnostics that might lead me to an answer?

TIA!

1. RAM
2. Video card
3. Overheating
4. Processor (least likely)
5. Various combinations of the above.

Here are general hardware troubleshooting steps. You can skip the one
about the psu.

1) Open the computer and run it open, cleaning out all dust bunnies and
observing all fans (overheating will cause system freezing). Obviously
you can't do this with a laptop, but you can hear if the fan is running
and feel if the laptop is getting too hot.

2) Test the RAM - I like Memtest86+ from www.memtest.org. Obviously, you
have to get the program from a working machine. You will either
download the precompiled Windows binary to make a bootable floppy or
the .iso to make a bootable cd. If you want to use the latter, you'll
need to have third-party burning software on the machine where you
download the file - XP's built-in burning capability won't do the job.
In either case, boot with the media you made. The test will run
immediately. Let the test run for an extended period of time - unless
errors are seen immediately. If you get any errors, replace the RAM.

3) Test the hard drive with a diagnostic utility from the mftr. Usually
you will download the file and make a bootable floppy with it. Boot
with the media and do a thorough test. If the drive has physical
errors, replace it.

4) The power supply may be going bad or be inadequate for the devices
you have in the system - this isn't applicable to a laptop, of course.

5) Test the motherboard with something like TuffTest from
www.tufftest.com. Sometimes this is useful, and sometimes it isn't.

Testing hardware failures often involves swapping out suspected parts
with known-good parts. If you can't do the testing yourself and/or are
uncomfortable opening your computer, take the machine to a good local
computer repair shop (not a CompUSA or Best Buy type of store).

Malke
 
T

Travis King

I've heard it's difficult to get IDE and SATA hard drives working at the
same time in the same computer.
 
T

Travis King

Not likely, but you may also have a bad driver installed causing the system
to reboot.
 
L

Leythos

I've heard it's difficult to get IDE and SATA hard drives working at the
same time in the same computer.

Nope, I do it all the time, you just have to setup the BIOS properly so
that you follow the MB vendors methods and you have to load the drivers
properly.

As an example, several ASUS boards allow both IDE and SATA, but you can
have a max of 6 drives between the controllers - they even had 2 Promise
SATA, 2 Intel SATA, and the normal 2 CH of 2 IDE controller (standard on
old boards). If you hooked them all up you would have a possible 8 drives,
but only 6 are supported and you need to choose between any two
controllers.

I run Promise SATA with dual 250GB drives in a hardware RAID-1 and then a
standard IDE secondary channel with DVD+/-RW drive and a DVD-R drive, then
a primary IDE channel with dual 80GB IDE drives. I ignore/disable the
Intel SATA controller.
 
G

Guest

Thanks for the replys -

As I stated in the original post the system ran fine for at least 2 months
with all 5 HD's. Then, out of the blue, it decided it didn't like 5 HD's.
Definitely not a PSU problem, because it acts the same with a 430watt or a
560watt. None of the HD's is the cause, I tried all combos, every one of
them has been low-level formatted and reads/writes just fine. It better not
be the RAM. I have done nothing with the bios - it is stock and has worked
all this time. Oh, Windows lives on the IDE drive, and the system looks for
IDE before SATA, so I know they can peacefully co-exist. I just can't help
thinking that Windows is up to something.
 
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S

Steve N.

Tim said:
Thanks for the replys -

As I stated in the original post the system ran fine for at least 2 months
with all 5 HD's. Then, out of the blue, it decided it didn't like 5 HD's.
Definitely not a PSU problem, because it acts the same with a 430watt or a
560watt. None of the HD's is the cause, I tried all combos, every one of
them has been low-level formatted and reads/writes just fine. It better not
be the RAM. I have done nothing with the bios - it is stock and has worked
all this time. Oh, Windows lives on the IDE drive, and the system looks for
IDE before SATA, so I know they can peacefully co-exist. I just can't help
thinking that Windows is up to something.

In Windows have you looked at Disk Management to see if the
drives/partitions are at least seen there? In some cases you need to
"write a signature" to a drive before Windows recognizes the drive or
partition. Why Windows would suddenly not recognize drives I can't
answer but I'd start looking in Disk Management.

BTW, you cannot do a real low-level format on modern drives. You can do
a zero-fill which some mistakenly call a low-level format, but it's not
the same thing.

Steve
 
J

Jimmy

Tim said:
XP Pro SP2, Intel main board, 3.2 P4, 1 gig of RAM, 560 watt PSU -
plenty of fire power.

For 2 months I was able to run an 80 gig IDE HD with a DVD-ROM slaved
to it, and 4 250 Gig SATA HD's. It all ran on an Antec 430 watt PSU.
Not too long ago the system decided to go into a vicious re-boot
cycle. It would POST, the XP splash screen would come up, the screen
would go dark (normally this is when the "welcome" screen would come
up) then it would re-boot. Repeatedly. Thinking that all the
naysayers at work were right when they told me to buy a 600 watt PSU,
I decided to reduce the load on the PSU. I unplugged 1 SATA drive.
XP loaded fine. Just to make sure I didn't get a bad drive on eBay,
I unplugged a different drive. XP loaded fine. Tried again with all
4 SATA's - no load. Upgraded to the bigger PSU - same problem. I
have not done any significant installs or software upgrades - just 2
games.

Any ideas, or any diagnostics that might lead me to an answer?

TIA!

IMO to begin with it is never a good idea to have so many HDDs in one case
for heat considerations alone. I would recommend using removable drawers.
Removing all but the most necessary hard drives would increase their
longevity many times over. Next comes the ratings of the PS. Be aware of the
actual capacity not the advertised ratings. Then I would start on the
problems that arise from that point on.

J.
 
L

Leythos

IMO to begin with it is never a good idea to have so many HDDs in one case
for heat considerations alone. I would recommend using removable drawers.
Removing all but the most necessary hard drives would increase their
longevity many times over. Next comes the ratings of the PS. Be aware of the
actual capacity not the advertised ratings. Then I would start on the
problems that arise from that point on.

Jim, since you don't know what type of case he's got you can't really
suggest a problem with heat. Many full towers can handle 6+ internal
drives, and many Chenbro can handle 12+ drives. If a person can get 5
internal drives in their machine, and then CD ROM, they are not running a
smallish case.

Many of the boards that support 6 drives do so only in certain
configurations and with certain settings in the BIOS. Running 6 IDE/SATA
drives should not be a problem in any of those systems as long as the BIOS
fully supports it.
 
J

Jimmy

Leythos said:
Jim, since you don't know what type of case he's got you can't really
suggest a problem with heat. Many full towers can handle 6+ internal
drives, and many Chenbro can handle 12+ drives. If a person can get 5
internal drives in their machine, and then CD ROM, they are not
running a smallish case.

Many of the boards that support 6 drives do so only in certain
configurations and with certain settings in the BIOS. Running 6
IDE/SATA drives should not be a problem in any of those systems as
long as the BIOS fully supports it.

Thank you for this clarification as I was addressing a standard usual
condition one would expect to find. I of coarse was forgetting about servers
also that use many drives.

J.
 
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L

Leythos

Thank you for this clarification as I was addressing a standard usual
condition one would expect to find. I of coarse was forgetting about servers
also that use many drives.

Jimmy, I have several workstations, not servers, that use 5 hard drives
and 1 CD ROM, if the motherboard supports 6 active devices the next
challenge is getting a case with 5 or 6 internal bays and a large enough
power supply.

In many of our developers workstations we use Dual IDE drives for the OS
and then Dual SATA drives for the applications and development projects.
We have several that have 1 IDE drive for the OS and then 1 CDROM and then
4 SATA drives in a RAID-5 config that run various development tools and MS
SQL.

Heat is a very big problem with that many drives, but I've yet to purchase
a case with 6 internal drive bays that doesn't already come with a case
fan in addition to the one/two in the PSU.
 
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