Compaq Presario with Phoenix BIOS Boot Error: "Error Loading OS"
July 6, 2004 11:22 AM   Subscribe

IDE hard drive conundrum: "Error loading OS" (more inside)

I have two 160 GB WD hard drives on an IDE bus on my XP system. The master drive is all my "stuff" -- separate partitions for multimedia, for OS/programs, for OEM recovery files, etc. The slave drive holds the backup files for all this. The drives are jumpered correctly.

The problem is that I keep getting an error at boot, appearing in a truly random way: The BIOS sees both drives, and then all goes dark, and the line appears "Error Loading OS," and nothing further.

I can make this go away consistently by removing the slave drive from the cable -- or even by just unplugging the power to that drive. I can also make the problem go away -- sometimes -- by disconnecting both drives, and then reconnecting them again in the exact same way. When this solves the problem, it's only temporarily -- the very next reboot may bring it back again.

Anybody seen this problem? Any suggestions?
posted by luser to Computers & Internet (13 answers total)
What model of WD HD? What motherboard? What BIOS?
posted by Jairus at 11:32 AM on July 6, 2004

I've actually just started getting this error in the last couple weeks--my hard drive is going on my laptop. I freak out, wait 10 minutes, and then it somehow works again. Currently on hold with a CSR right now.
posted by gramcracker at 11:33 AM on July 6, 2004

Response by poster: They're EIDE drives, 8 mb cache, 7200 RPMs. The mobo and BIOS are whatever comes stock on Compaq machines.
posted by luser at 11:36 AM on July 6, 2004

What model of Compaq, tho? They've got a few hundred different PCs out there.
posted by Jairus at 11:44 AM on July 6, 2004

Does it still have the Compaq IDE cable in it? If so, it probably supports "Cable Select" mode. Try setting both drives to CS (Cable Select) - that might do the trick. I believe the connector on the end of the cable is for the master drive, but I could be wrong.
posted by internal at 11:48 AM on July 6, 2004

More more thing. Has it always done this? If not, you may just have a drive that is intermittenly failing, and it may turn into a permanent failure soon.
posted by internal at 11:50 AM on July 6, 2004

Change the cable. Also, consider putting the drives on different channels; master/slave arrangements can get very iffy sometimes, even with identical devices on the same channel
posted by majick at 12:11 PM on July 6, 2004

Response by poster: It's a Presario, sorry not to be more specific than that. I'll try swapping out the cable and jumpering for cable select. If that doesn't work I'll assume imminent failure and begin looking for a new drive.

Thanks for your thoughts, all.
posted by luser at 12:19 PM on July 6, 2004

luser: Often times, it's a motherboard/ide issue, and not a drive issue. However, it's impossible to tell if the motherboard has a known issue or is known for IDE failure without knowing what kind of MB it is. Compaq has been making Presario's for a very long time -- I owned one ten or twelve years ago. Knowing what model of PC you have would be very helpful in fixing it. :)
posted by Jairus at 12:46 PM on July 6, 2004

it definitely can be a motherboard issue, i was having this problem and it cleared up after getting a newer, better mb
posted by yeahyeahyeahwhoo at 2:13 PM on July 6, 2004

Response by poster: BIOS is Phoenix Technologies LTD 6.0

Motherboard is still unknown. Unless there's a way of reading it right off the board itself without taking it all apart.

Model is S4000NX.
posted by luser at 3:12 PM on July 6, 2004

Response by poster: Motherboard is TriGem Glendale, that's all I can figure out.
posted by luser at 3:17 PM on July 6, 2004

WD makes a bootable diagnostic floppy that can tell you if there is a problem with the drive itself.

Other issues may be:

jumper settings (try CS as suggest above)
The cable you're using (it should be an 80 wire, not a 40)
The motherboard (Some older IDE controllers don't properly support drives over 127GB)
posted by borkencode at 5:00 PM on July 6, 2004

« Older Wood Stripper   |   In Flash, what happens when fonts are nested... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.