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Primary Hard Disk Drive 1 Not Found

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by brandon, Jul 17, 2004.

  1. brandon

    brandon Guest

    The computer in question is a Dell Dimension. It has Windows XP, one
    120GB IDE HD, 256MB RAM and a Pentium 4 Processor. It was purchased
    two years ago.

    A couple called me and said their Windows XP was not starting up. I
    went there and at first the BIOS found the hard drive (which is
    relevant later) so the BIOS *was* passing the torch to Windows XP.

    Windows XP's logon page would appear, they would type a
    username/password, it would slowly hang 20 seconds and ultimately
    become the Blue Screen of Death.

    I rebooted several times. This happened again, each time it still
    became the Blue Screen of Death.

    Then suddenly the BIOS would not find the hard drive. "Primary Hard
    Disk Drive 1 Not Found" was the prompt. I rebooted several times,
    hoping at least to get to Windows XP and see the BSOD, but each time
    the BIOS stopped at "Primary Hard Disk Drive 1 Not Found."

    Next I verified the CMOS battery was okay by making sure the BIOS time
    was accurate. Next I verified there were no floppy disks or CDs were
    in. Next I went into the BIOS and tried every imaginable BIOS tweak,

    In the BIOS, under 'primary drive 0', listed as 'hard drive', device
    type was set to AUTO (instead of OFF) and the CAPACITY was accurately
    being listed as 120GB. Under 'primary drive 1', listed as unknown
    device, device type was set to AUTO (instead of OFF) and the CAPACITY
    was listed as n/a. There was only one hard drive and I tried every
    configuration for these settings.

    Next I opened the case and powered up. I listened to the hard drive
    and I heard it spin and power up, it was not dead.

    Next I disconnected the hard drive and tested a replacement hard
    drive, figuring if the replacement hard drive worked this would
    isolate the problem. But the replacement hard drive also stopped at
    the same BIOS prompt of "Primary Hard Disk Drive 1 Not Found." I
    thought for sure the hard drive was the culprit...The replacement HD
    (which was a six-year-old 2GB IDE Maxtor) works fine so now I don't
    think it's the hard drive.

    The hard drive looked in good condition, it did not grind or make
    sounds out of the usual when it powered on, so I was not surprised.

    Nonetheless, I tried some other hard drive troubleshooting...The case
    had never been opened in all two years, so I doubted there was a
    master/slave conflict, but anyway I tried every jumper configuration
    and reconnecting every cable to see if anything was loose or
    misconfigured. I tried booting with the hard drive unplugged in hope
    the BIOS settings would miraculously change for the best. I looked at
    the IDE cable itself and doubt there is any damage to it. The pins
    were aligned correct.

    I resorted to trying to place the HD upside down in the drive cage but
    gravity did not solve the problem. I firmly tapped the outer casing
    with my knuckles (not enough to cause damage to it) but it did not
    free any stuck mechanisms.

    I did not freeze the HD in a water-proof baggie to do the quick
    copyover. I still could I guess, but I really don't think anymore this
    is a hard drive issue.

    The CD-ROM drive works fine when I boot to CD. I could boot to a
    Knoppix CD and recover the data but I don't see how Knoppix could
    detect the hard drive if the BIOS does not. This is a hardware problem
    I think, something on the board.

    I can take out the 120GB hard drive, bring it to my home and test it
    on one of my computers. This is what I will do if I don't get any
    suggestions here. But I think that the hard drive is in good condition
    and will work. Then what? My hunch is one component is faulty on their
    computer, and I don't know what to do. Maybe the power supply is not
    getting enough juice to the hard drive? The mobo does not have any
    cracks. They said the computer was not dropped or anything.

    The BIOS has some hard drive diagnostic utilities that I can access. I
    can try this eventually but I'm hoping a more experienced pro or two
    from this site can have a hunch as to another faulty component because
    I doubt it's the hard drive. Power supply is what I'm thinking. When I
    open the computer and run it, I feel the fan working, it's not chilly
    in there but it's not overheated.

    That's what I remember off hand. If I left anything out, or you do
    think it's the hard drive, your help is appreciated. I guess what this
    boils down to is can the error message "Primary Hard Disk Drive 1 Not
    Found" be caused by a component other than the hard drive?
    brandon, Jul 17, 2004
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  2. brandon

    bstrom Guest

    Replace the hard drive cable...don't assume it can't bad! I have had
    a couple over the years fail.

    The jumpers are probably ok...the system was running before all this
    with the jumpers set the way they were. If you want to try one more
    setting, take the jumper off ...don't call it master , slave, or csel.
    Sometimes, when there is only one drive, you don't have to tell the
    bios anything, not even that it is the master, and then it works.
    bstrom, Jul 18, 2004
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  3. brandon

    Ron Cook Guest

    Hash: SHA1
    Normally, the 'AUTO' setting will detect the drives and skip any that are
    not present.
    Setting a non-existing drive to 'OFF' will sometimes speed the boot process
    a little as the system won't check for a drive at that location.
    This would tend to point to one of / or two areas:
    The hard drive IDE controller chip and / or the power supply.
    Try booting to Knoppix anyway.
    If Knoppix can't mount the partition/s on the hard drive, or indeed even see
    them, the you likely have a mainboard issue.

    Also, while you have the machine open, check it thoroughly for accumulation
    of dust - both on top of and under the mainboard.
    Probably not a good idea.
    Although your intentions are good your 'client' may always have a nagging
    feeling that 'you did something' to their hard drive.
    Try to do as much of this as possible at their location.

    Do you have a laptop or a good computer with USB ports ?
    If so, pick up an external USB case for a hard drive.
    (This works most easily with a laptop.)
    Connect the drive to the external encosure and plug the device into the
    laptop USB port.

    You'll determine immediately whether the drive is good - and your client
    will be able to see it, as well.
    Some of these problems could point to a failing power supply - most likely a
    failure / failing of the 5-volt line.
    Since you can boot from the CD (have you actually tried this ?) the power
    supply may be working correctly.

    On the other hand the CD reader may be a little more tolerant of a low
    5-volt line than the hard drive or the rest of the system.

    One issue with Dell (and some of the other manufacturers) is that they
    sometimes used non-standard mainboard connectors and color-coding on their
    power supplies.
    Unless you can get a technical manual or a service manual this makes it
    difficult to determine which lines to test for which voltage.

    You might be able to get some useful information from the Dell website by
    entering the computer's service code.
    That might work. However, if the system can't supply a good 5-volt feed at
    the correct current to the drive, the drive's electronics won't correctly

    - --
    Ron n1zhi

    Version: GnuPG v1.2.2 (GNU/Linux)

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    Ron Cook, Jul 18, 2004
  4. brandon

    brandon Guest

    Thank you for your time and help. I am going back there tommorrow to
    hopefully fix the problem. I have some follow-up questions,

    I thought maybe having both set to AUTO was confusing things, so once
    I had 'primary drive 0' AUTO and 'primary drive 1' OFF, then vice
    versa, which sped up the boot process, but was not the culprit.
    I have some follow-up comments.
    One thing that really confuses me is I remember having 'primary drive
    0' as AUTO and 'primary drive 1' as OFF and still getting the "Primary
    Hard Disk Drive 1 Not Found" error.
    In the BIOS, 'primary drive 0' is listed as a 'hard drive,' which
    sounds encouraging, like the BIOS accurately detects 'primary drive 0'
    as a hard drive. Also, the BIOS also accurately detects it's capacity
    as 120GB. So I'm encouraged the BIOS has a good idea about what
    'primary drive 0' is.
    When the BIOS prompts "Primary Hard Disk Drive 1 Not Found," to me,
    the BIOS is saying "You have 'primary drive 1' as AUTO but there is no
    'primary drive 1' to detect." I remember hitting F1 to retry in hopes
    that after this advise 'primary drive 0' would boot as usual.
    I remember when I took out the hard drive, rendering no HD, also
    getting "Primary Hard Disk Drive 0 Not Found" in addition to "Primary
    Hard Disk Drive 1 Not Found." When I put the hard drive back in, the
    BIOS only says "Primary Hard Disk Drive 1 Not Found." It sounds to me
    the BIOS then is detecting the hard drive as 'primary drive 0,' it
    just is not booting from it like it should.
    I will look into the power supply and would like to bring one to their
    home for testing. I have little experience with power supplies. Quick
    question. Their Dell Dimension is a desktop. The only PSU units for
    desktops I have are for 5-year-old desktops. Say for example their
    current PSU is 400 watts and I bring over a PSU with considerably less
    wattage, is that a terrrible idea? Or is it adequate for some quick
    I did not look into the hard drive IDE controller chip. Can I just go
    there and swap one from one of my old computer's controller chips, or
    are they really mobo specific?
    Ok. I will try booting to Knoppix when I am there.
    It seemed alright.
    Good point :)
    I'm going to pick one up today.
    I did boot from the CD into the Windows XP CD to try and do a repair
    install and recovery console stuff. The CD booted fine. Since the hard
    drive could not be detected, I could not repair or recover anything.
    But the CD booted fine.
    That is exactly what I was thinking. I think the HD needs more juice
    than the CD-ROM. I could be wrong entirely but it was good to hear you
    suggest this as well.
    Thanks Ron, your help is appreciated.
    brandon, Jul 18, 2004
  5. brandon

    brandon Guest

    Thanks for the advice. I tried taking the jumper off which did not
    work, I will try your cable advice which I did not try...I brought a
    cable to their home that not match the pin alignment. The cable I
    brought was for 40 pins and their hard drive and cable were designed
    for 39 pins (when there is no bottom middle pin). I will see if I have
    the proper cable and take your advice to see if it failed.
    brandon, Jul 18, 2004
  6. brandon

    Ron Cook Guest

    Hash: SHA1
    A K6-2/500 isn't likely to have or need a 400 watt power supply; I wouldn't
    worry about that part.
    I'd be surpised if the Dell's power supply was listed at 200 watts or
    Consumer-grade manufacturers make this stuff for profit -- not for the
    greatest benefit to the consumer.

    I would be concerned (a bit) that Dell may have used non-standard connectors
    or wiring on the mainboard power supply connection.

    If the connectors on your power supply match those on the Dell and have the
    same color codes on the wires, then you'll likely be okay.
    Most machines have the controller chips soldered to the mainboard.
    Only in some of the really older machines (pre-IDE, as I recall) were they
    That indicates (to me, anyhow) that the IDE controller is working correctly
    - -at least for the channel to which the CD reader is connected.
    I'm going to presume the CD reader is the primary device on the secondary
    If it's working correctly then the primary channel should be, as well.
    The more I look at this it's pointing toward a failing 5-volt line in the
    power supply.

    I'm aware this is circumstantial and has no objective measurement behind it.
    An ideal method would be to use a digital multi-meter and check the voltages
    with the hard drive installed and again with it removed from the system.

    At the moment I'm going with experience and educated intuition :)
    Hope it's of some value!

    - --
    Ron n1zhi

    Version: GnuPG v1.2.2 (GNU/Linux)

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    Ron Cook, Jul 18, 2004
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