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Spaz101

bios annoyance!

15 posts in this topic

So I was dropped off this old computer (compaq presario sr1210nx) from someone who was throwing it away for whatever reason. I decided to take it and see whats going on and maybe make... I don't know a firewall or something out of it. I just wanted to get it up and running (engarde maybe?) I have not been able to install any OS and it runs VERY slow. I can manage to get it to run LiveOS's though. It has no OS on it currently either. I was thinking maybe the HDD was going out so I ran spinrite. YES! no hard drives found. I opened it and saw clear as day 2 were wired in. Go to the bios and of course didn't identify either of the hard drives. It also looks like the CMOS battery was removed because everything was zero out. Date was far from what it should be too. Try and try again it wont detect the hard drives hooked up either!!! AGH! So I was thinking maybe flash the bios.... um yeah. Factory board! very generic. nothing to identify what it is and compaq's website isn't very helpful. The only help i got from them was a .exe for updating the bios. If it were any other computer I would have no problem updating it but this one is kicking me in the balls.

So my question is: How can I get that damn Bios to see the HDDs!

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My first thought is that even with no battery the BIOS should be able to see the drives, you just might have to go to setup each time you boot for the BIOS to see the drives. The second thought is that the drives might not be getting power, do they spin up at all?

I've also had certian combinations of hard drives that some BIOS's seem to barf at, it won't see either one when both drives are installed, but will see them one at a time.

good luck

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You should also check your drive jumpers -- if two drives are set to the same channel, you may get a situation in which neither drive is recognized. Also, if the drives are set to "cable select" and your system doesn't support it (some old ones don't) they may not work.

In general, if the machine will boot from /something/, the BIOS is OK.

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The BIOS probably doesn't have anything to do with it. Unless it's a very old computer, the BIOS will automatically detect the hard drives when it loads up with its default settings. So the problem is probably elsewhere.

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I had the same problem with one computer I had come in my shop. It turned out to be the IDE controller.

Just saying, it might me the same.

Try putting in a PCI IDE controller and see what happens.

Good Luck.

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Could you provide more information about the hardware you're running?

Technical details?

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Okay lets start the question drilling to get to the bottom of this.

1) When you power on the system do the hard drives spin?

2) What Brand & Capacity are the drives?

3) Have you attempted to replace the IDE Cables?

4) Have you checked the jumper settings on the drives?

5) Have you tried other drives?

6) Have you tried the drives in other computers?

7) What is the BIOS information on the board (on boot when you enter the BIOS you will see this)?

Please get all these answers and I will see what I can do to help you out mate :)

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-yes drives are spinning.

-Maxor 40g westerndigital 80g (system original hdd)

-yes IDE cables were replaced by me so brand new ones are in

- Jumper settings were wrong I found out so thats why the bios couldn't see the drives I believe. I'm guessing the person put in the second drive and didn't know about the jumpers.

-No i haven't tried pulling on of my harddrives out of any other machines yet. I was going to try this before you suggested it but its hard to make a lot of time to sit and work for a few hours

-I get that beautiful Compaq splash screen going into the bios I see Phoenix bios setup. bios revision 3.11 05/17/2004 core version v6.0

Hard drives work now... now as far as installing an o/s on them..... this is odd. Say I try to install ubuntu on it. it'll take like 5 mins just to get past the meter bar spash screen. and it'll eventually just stop during installation freezing the computer. they are old hard drives so i'm sure it may take a bit of time since i'm sure they have very slow speeds but this isn't like anything I've seen before.

[edit] I just noticed after the meter bar im getting DRDY errors. maybe i need to fsck. [/edit]

Ok booting up into spinrite to try a hdd data recovery i seee both drives I see linux native then.... ahhh! why is it red. Ok

"drive dos c: 12-bit fat

Unable to access the entire range of sectors occupied by this region of the drive. the systems BIOS may be deliberately blocking access to this region if it is a "gap" at the end of the drive. In this case, Spinrite's inability to access is normal"

Edited by Spaz101
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Does this have a 3 1/2" Floppy Drive? Have you tried opening a DOS boot disk and attempting to fdisk this puppy? It looks like someone wrote a legacy (FAT12) file format on there.

Try a real Linux Operating system like Debian, CentOS or Slackware. Or try a BSD system ;)

If none of these work, try a liveCD and format the machine manually then perhaps try a dd command on it to clean it all out. :P

You may have a buggered HDD though. But I doubt it. I have only had three hard drives fry in my time in computers...Hell I still have an old Western Digital 450MB Hard Drive sitting around!

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no 3 1/2 but I have one that I may be able to hook up if i can fund the sumbitch. As far as making fun of ubuntu. hey it works! try to tell me it doesn't. plus it was the only o/s within arms reach excluding opensuse. yeah slackware and debian would take to much of my time up. but it may be better since I might turn this into a server machine though. ftp or mail or firewall I donno' just wanna get it running first. I'll get a copy of debian and try to install that (yeah debian is my favorite). I never have tried BSD come to think of it.

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Well sad to say I put way to much time into it. yes the hdd was fucked. I didn't want to believe it but i ended up replacing it with one of my others that already had an o/s on it.

what I learned: I'm retarded!

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Well sad to say I put way to much time into it. yes the hdd was fucked. I didn't want to believe it but i ended up replacing it with one of my others that already had an o/s on it.

what I learned: I'm retarded!

If you have the model numbers and shit for it, most OEMs have a retail counterpart thats close enough to grab a bios from, that means secret options, overclocking, all kinds of cool stuff.

:) But alas, its kinda dangerous, I bricked my little P4 mobo that I use to run Stepmania and my videocard, but now the ATI Radeon X300 Converted to a X1050 runs fine, maybe I can get the machine running the same way since it boots from USB...

~Phinger

Edited by IndexPhinger
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Well sad to say I put way to much time into it. yes the hdd was fucked. I didn't want to believe it but i ended up replacing it with one of my others that already had an o/s on it.

what I learned: I'm retarded!

If you have the model numbers and shit for it, most OEMs have a retail counterpart thats close enough to grab a bios from, that means secret options, overclocking, all kinds of cool stuff.

:) But alas, its kinda dangerous, I bricked my little P4 mobo that I use to run Stepmania and my videocard, but now the ATI Radeon X300 Converted to a X1050 runs fine, maybe I can get the machine running the same way since it boots from USB...

~Phinger

Could you elaborate on what you mean by grabbing BIOS from counterparts? Installing different a BIOS which allows one to do more things?

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Well sad to say I put way to much time into it. yes the hdd was fucked. I didn't want to believe it but i ended up replacing it with one of my others that already had an o/s on it.

what I learned: I'm retarded!

If you have the model numbers and shit for it, most OEMs have a retail counterpart thats close enough to grab a bios from, that means secret options, overclocking, all kinds of cool stuff.

:) But alas, its kinda dangerous, I bricked my little P4 mobo that I use to run Stepmania and my videocard, but now the ATI Radeon X300 Converted to a X1050 runs fine, maybe I can get the machine running the same way since it boots from USB...

~Phinger

Could you elaborate on what you mean by grabbing BIOS from counterparts? Installing different a BIOS which allows one to do more things?

Ok.

Many OEM boards have Retail counterparts that are similar (usually not identical) to them...often going on refrence designs.

OEMS often remove features that they do not want or need from a particular design, therefore some other stock motherboards have that feature.

such as Overclocking, secret settings etc.

Heres a good example of reference board designs.

These are virtually identical to eachother, exept that one has a 500Mhz CPU and the other has a 1Ghz CPU, both run on the same chipset, exept the newer one (to the right) is PC99 Compliant, it has a few extra features.

100_5880.jpg

Edited by IndexPhinger
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You should also check your drive jumpers -- if two drives are set to the same channel, you may get a situation in which neither drive is recognized. Also, if the drives are set to "cable select" and your system doesn't support it (some old ones don't) they may not work.

In general, if the machine will boot from /something/, the BIOS is OK.

pretty right !

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