What did I do wrong?
December 4, 2008 9:02 AM   Subscribe

So I was trying to install a slave drive into an old Gateway box and now it won't see the OS. Help! (Long, confusing story ensues)

(disclaimer: I am a novice, at best, hardware guy)

I recently dumpster-dove an old Gateway Essential 500.
-Pentium III
-Windows 98
-20 Gig HD
-128 RAM

I deleted everything I didn't want off of the machine. I found it surprisingly quick. So I loaded my audio editing software onto it (Cool Edit Pro 2.1, Audacity, etc) and discovered that it performs much faster than the Dell Dimension I have been using. (I am a ghetto-tech audio engineer. I record music onto a Fostex DAW and then dump the files into CEP to mix/edit/etc).

After installing a Dio 2448 soundcard (for monitor reference) and an Ethernet card (it still had a dial-up card when I found it), and finding the drivers and getting those to work correctly, I found the machine will work great as a stand-alone music-editing work station. I only installed the ethernet card to facilitate data transfer from my network, not to connect to the internet.

I also installed a faster CD/RW drive and a DVD/RW drive. After a few days of frustration, I also got those working fine (somehow). The machine then ran like a song. Booted up in like 20 seconds, worked great.

Well, a 20-gig HD isn't a lot for audio processing, as far as data storage goes. (I have already ordered more RAM, two 256-sticks for even faster processing).

So I decided to install a Western Digital 450AA 45 gig HD as a slave. I figured I would install that, clone the 20 gig HD onto that, turn the 450AA into a single drive, replace the 20 gig drive with a Western Digital WD400, and use that as a slave, making the 450AA the master.

Well, I installed the 450AA. Found the correct jumper pin locations for a slave drive, hooked it up and fired the machine up. Went into BIOS and it recognized both HD's. So I configured them as Primary (20-gig) and Secondary (450AA). But I forgot to change the jumper on the original 20 gig HD to "master" from "single."

Now the computer won't boot. I can get into Bios, have played around a little bit, but realize I don't know enough to mess with it too much.

After the Bios initial start up, I get the message "Operating System Not Found."

I removed the 450AA and tried again, same result.

I have reset the Bios to default settings and get still the same result.

I have tried safe mode.

Still with me?

Question one: Did I blow the original 20 gig HD by trying to boot with the 450AA hooked up like that?

I tried running a boot disc (three, actually, that I have found and downloaded) but I can't get the machine to boot from either the CD nor the DVD drive. It wants to boot from the floppy, but I have no way to make floppy boot discs. In BIOS, it says the CD and DVD drives are secondary drives and that there are no primary drives. I cannot seem to make either a primary drive, if that even matters. I also cannot get the BIOS to boot from the "boot" menu.

Question two: Am I in way over my head?

I have also tried installing both the 450AA and WD400 drives as single drives, and have had the same results, though I have no idea what are on them. All three drives spin up when started, ,but after the 'Gateway" /enter BIOS screen, I get the same result.

This is the first time I have ever messed with the internals of a machine, other than installing sound cards.

Question three: Why does this old Gateway with 128 RAM run CEP much smoother and faster than my Dell Dimension that has 512 RAM? (The Dell has a 80 gig master drive and a 20 gig slave). I have removed as many back ground processes as I could off of the Dell and it is still slow, compared to the Gateway.

Any thoughts? Ideas? Or should I just STFU and leave such things to people who know? (Remember- key word here is GHETTOTECH).

Thanks very much in advance for any advice, ideas, and or knowledge.
posted by peewinkle to Computers & Internet (10 answers total)
Oh yeah, I have spent the last three days googling any and everything about this. Nothing to be found. I even spent six hours last night taking an e-course on hard drive installation, and though I learned a lot, I am still stuck.
posted by peewinkle at 9:09 AM on December 4, 2008

"I have tried safe mode."

Is this a typo, or were you able to boot into Safe Mode somehow?
posted by niles at 9:13 AM on December 4, 2008

Typo....... cannot boot into safe mode........
posted by peewinkle at 9:19 AM on December 4, 2008

I also cannot get the BIOS to boot from the "boot" menu.

Sorry, another typo.

I meant to say, that I can't get anything to boot from the BIOS aside from the floppy.
posted by peewinkle at 9:21 AM on December 4, 2008

Check the jumpers. Sounds like you managed to set both drives as masters, or both as slaves, or something. One should be set as master, the other as slave.
posted by Captain_Tenille at 9:46 AM on December 4, 2008 [1 favorite]

To boot from the DVD/CD drive - select the boot device order in bios to select the DVD drive first ... if that fails, then have it only select the DVD drive.

If you can boot from the floppy drive, try booting with a windows startup floppy from bootdisk.com - then navigate to the DVD drive and initiate the setup program on the disk you want to install your OS from (assuming this is what you're up to). If you're trying to repair, then initiate that disk's repair process (i.e., windows rescue, etc).

To book from the hard drives, try altering the original hard drive from master to cable select then slave. Then try with the second drive. Try the two in various states (master, cable select, slave) at different IDE connections.

Try boot device select during startup - varies depending on which mother board you have - try different f# keys, escape, delete, etc until you find it.
posted by unclezeb at 9:47 AM on December 4, 2008

Have you tried setting the jumpers on both drives to cable select?
posted by Willie0248 at 10:00 AM on December 4, 2008

I wouldn't say you were over your head. Identify all variables and start testing 1 by 1. I would pull out all drives (or just disconnect cables). Then I'd plug one cable into the mobo and the other into a known functioning device (cd-rom maybe). Can you see it in the bios? Ok cable is good. Unplug CD-rom and hook up original hard drive, see if it will boot. Definitely check cable connections on both ends. As for jumper settings, I'd go with 'cable select' if it's an option. But I'm not a hardware guy, I just never set jumpers.

Make sure the bios is set to automatically detect the drives. I've had some computers "disable" a "slot" (primary-master, slave-slave) after I removed a device (or maybe I did it) and I had to set that slot back to "Automatic".

Also I was unclear on whether or not you were able to clone the drives, if so was it on this computer? My first reaction was maybe the power supply couldn't handle the additional drive, but again, not really a hardware guy.
posted by syntheticfaith at 10:02 AM on December 4, 2008

Check your cables. They can be pretty easy to damage, and little nick or scuff can expose enough conductor cause a drive to be unusable to the system, especially on the 80 conductor cables. If you have spare cables, use them. Otherise, try the cables from the CDROM drives. Even if they are only 40 conductor, they will work - just not at the higher speeds.

Also, as a general rule, the master drive should be at the very end of the cable. You can get away with it in the middle - but I just always put it there and save myself the doubt.

I would not expect that you have lost any data, although there does exist a non-zero probability that the original drive died during this time.

You're not in over your head. :-)
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 10:38 AM on December 4, 2008 [1 favorite]

Also, your myspace profile doesn't say where in WI you are. But if you are near Madison, I can provide you with some additonal cables and hardware of that vintage - and help too, if you want it.

Send me a mefi mail, and I'll hook you up.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 10:41 AM on December 4, 2008

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