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blithe.spirits 05-27-2011 04:24 PM

Gateway 500XLS Yorktown
I have an old pentium 4 Gateway computer. It is just fine for me because it is fast with 1 GB of memory, 3.066 MHz effective speed.
It very recently developed a problem with loading from the hard drive. after a few minutes operation, the hard drive clanks, whirrs & stops loading anything. When cool, the computer loads just fine. I have 2 primary hard drives: a Maxtor 40 GB and a Western Digital 40 GB that I use as primary drives and a W.D. 20 GB secondary drive. Both the primary drives function the same way -- noisy and fail to load when the computer is warm. I frequently get a message that boot has failed, no hard drive present, check cable. I have replaced cables, hard drives, added a third IDE card to operate the drives. The CD & DVD drives seem to work OK and always appear on the BIOS IDE screen. One or both of the hard drives are sometimes missing from the BIOS screen. Am I losing the IDE circuit?

Gateway 500XLS Yorktown
Windows XP PRO 2002 SP2 & 3
Pentium 4 Intel x86 Model 2 stepping

DominicD 05-31-2011 09:10 AM

hi blithe.spirits,

i suggest you test each hard drive and corresponding IDE cable on a different machine. use Ultimatebootcd to run the hard drive diagnostics for western digital.

if the hard drive and ide pair do not show any errors on ultimatebootcd, then see if a different power supply unit would remove the error.

im saying this because it maybe possible that the power supply unit has intermittent electrical problems that may have affected the hard drive -- hence the random cases when the hard drive is not detected in bios.


i had experienced a similar case before. i was able to test that the hard drive, ide cable, and power supply were all good. however, it was the ide circuit on the motherboard that went bad.

blithe.spirits 05-31-2011 11:17 AM

Thanks, DominicD. Since I posted this, I downloaded the Western Digital diagnostic & ran it. The 20GB drive was bad, not the 40GB system drive. I was so sure it was the IDE/ATA circuit that I never considered any other possibilities. The WDC WD20 had all my games on it. I do pay attention, however. I put the drive in the freezer overnight. In the morning, it ran just long enough to copy the folders to my System drive.
I'm in the process of getting my games running again.

Thanks for the reply

Byron in Ohio

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