Sunday: 26.December.2004

Hard Drive Problems for Christmas

Hope ya'll had a merry Christmas. I came home Xmas eve to find the normally-invincible Rad Rig locked up (that never happens). Restarted fine. Christmas morning, it took several tries to get 'er up and running (not a good sign).

Today, the system wouldn't boot at all (ugh, you know that horrible feeling). Kept getting the dreaded Blue Screen of Death, with error > DRIVER_IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL specifically mentioning IdeChnDr.sys. This is one of the drivers that's part of the Intel Application Accelerator for the IDE controllers (both Primary & Secondary).


On the IDE bus(es), I have 3 hard drives: one Primary-Master, a Secondary-Master and a Secondary-Slave. Only was Primary-Master was giving me trouble. It even disappeared from the BIOS. But it is also my newest drive (a Western Digital). And actively cooled. So, it shouldn't be the first to die. Shouldn't.

Heck, I even still have one of those old IBM Deskstars (Deathstar) installed, the drive that forced IBM to sell their Disk division to Hitachi following a class action lawsuit.

So today I went to the local CompUSA (CompUseless), and picked up a Seagate 7200.7. Installed it, but the system would not see the new drive either. Now I'm getting concerned, cuz I'm thinking maybe the IDE controller is krapping out on me, which means > new motherboard.

But before I replace the mobo, I disconnected and reconnected all the cables. I talk real pretty to the computer ("Who loves you, baby?"), blow kisses at it, and say a quick prayer of desperation ("Oh, please, God. Please let this work.") Lo and behold, it now sees the drive, which I quickly partition, before he changes his mind.

Then I got curious and put the old drive back in, and the old drive shows up fine, too. So, who knows what happened. Maybe the Primary IDE cable came loose during the move. Doesn't seem to be a problem with the drive itself, because I had the same problem with a brand-new drive.

I doubt it's a problem with the IdeChnDr.sys driver file, because only was Primary-Master was affected, and this driver is also used for the drives on the Secondary channel. I really don't know what happened. When in doubt, blame the cats. Or maybe there's a ghost in the box.

Got a bunch of emails today from folks saying they used the Rad Rig as a model to build their own beasts for the first time. Some are still waiting for a few parts to arrive.

Posted by Rad at December 26, 2004 12:09 PM


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Interesting that RAD would have drive problems so soon after my own Deathstar went whako.

Since replacing the drive, have had none of the boot up failures that were becoming more frequent, nor any crashes and lock ups that I can not explain.

Not home free, as I took the opportunity to reorganize a poorly structured system, but not done yet. Put fresh copy of XP pro in Disk I, partition 1 that is unfortunatly known by the newly installed OS as drive l: rather than c: That partition is still drive c: in the old OS which is on partition 2 of Drive 2, known as h:

I partitioned from the XP CD, and not sure why the lettering came out that way. Perhaps I should have disconnected drive 2. I did disconnect drive 3 which was running on Fire Wire, or the lettering may have started even furthur downteh alphebet.

The new OS has plenty of room and I plan to put the apps in carefully, keeping a diary, unlike inthe past.

Having problem with the free photo program Picasa from Google. I installed and then decided to uninstall and the uninstall process hangs and requires a reboot. The XP restore got me out of the problem. I have since reinstalled and think the program may be ok.

Posted by: Sidney at December 28, 2004 11:48 AM

I have a Deskstar myself and have been nothing but happy with it. I've had it over 2 years now with no active cooling and a lot of abuse and its given me no problmes. I must have gotten lucky!

Posted by: Aaron at December 28, 2004 01:02 PM

I have noticed similar connection problems on especially cold days that follow especially hot ones. Components and connections expand when hot and shrink when cold. Reseating usually fixes the small gaps that get created. At least that's my story and I'm sticking to it. :)

Posted by: Spanky at December 28, 2004 02:14 PM

Most consider Seagate drives the most reliable.

Posted by: Rod at December 28, 2004 02:16 PM

Argh, the Deathstar. I was one of the unlucky ones. That's what made me learn about Ghost.

Posted by: digital at December 28, 2004 06:09 PM

One time I had a stuck key on the keyboard that gave me similar symptoms. Took me forever to figure it out. Damn near replace the whole system first.

Posted by: Nold at December 28, 2004 11:56 PM

Woh, first look at you blog since before christmas and I am now having similar hard disk nightmares. Only on a Linux system with no monitor so am having to do the best I can over a serial cable from the laptop. Must try blowing kisses and talking nicely.

Posted by: jim at December 29, 2004 01:52 PM