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Home >Q-Support Corner > Full Story

Troubleshooting Techniques

Why does the error message Primary Hard Disk Failure appear?
There are many different causes for apparent hard disk failures. Sometimes the problem is in the disk itself, but just as often, it could be a configuration or other problem.

1. Check whether the jumpers are set correctly on your drive(s) and that the primary is set as primary, and the secondary or slave, if existent, is set as secondary.
2. Check to make sure the signal cable is inserted with the proper orientation (that it is not reversed at one of the two ends). Also, check if the signal cable is in good condition.
3. Check if your CMOS Setup has the correct parameters for the drive. In most modern systems these parameters are automatically detected, but you need to make sure that the drive is enabled in Setup.
4. Boot from a boot floppy and run FDISK to confirm that there is at least one DOS partition and that if it is your boot drive, that it is active and bootable.
5. Boot from a boot floppy and attempt to access the drive. If you can, it is likely that your boot files have become corrupt. Check for boot sector viruses immediately.
6. Try switching the non-working drive with a known, good, drive (remember to change the CMOS Setup settings if you do this). If the good drive works as you expected, then the replaced drive is bad. If it does not work as expected, you may need to replace the disk controller or the motherboard.

Why does the "General failure reading drive A:" error messages appear when I try to access the floppy disk ?
If you get a general failure error while attempting to access the floppy disk, you get a general failure error. The disk may or may not actually be accessed (meaning the activity light may or may not come on) when you try the command.

The most common cause of this problem is trying to read an unformatted disk. If a working disk produces this problem, and especially if the drive activity light doesn't come on, this points to a problem with the drive or controller.

Check the following:
1. Make sure that you have a disk in the drive that is formatted and working properly. Using an install disk from a software package for testing is a good idea. Try several disks and see if the problem occurs with all of them.
2. Make sure the floppy drive types are properly set up in the system BIOS.
3. If the drive activity light appears before the error is displayed, then this implies a problem with the drive or with the disk in the drive at the time.
4. The disk could be badly corrupted.
5. Watch for any known-good disks that stop working after a period of time; there could be a virus at work so be sure to scan for viruses on your hard disk and any floppies you use regularly.
6. If the drive activity light does not appear at all when you try to access the drive and immediately you get a general failure error, this definitely implies that there is a problem with the floppy disk controller. (Usually a failure of the drive would cause the disk to not be recognized at all, producing an "Invalid drive specification" error).

How do I upgrade the RAM and the hard disk ?
You may upgrade the RAM of your PC using a RAM chip, which is supported by your Mother board. Suppose you have a DIMM SDRAM, you may upgrade your RAM using a DIMM SDRAM of higher capacity. You may use RAM modules of different companies in your computer as it does not cause any problem. You also need to install a RAM module only after checking the maximum amount of RAM supported by your Mother board. For finding this, refer the Mother board manual and check for the RAM compatibility. RAM compatibility depends on the type of Mother board you are using. If the Mother board supports 66 Mhz or 100 Mhz or 133 Mhz system bus, you can use SDRAM of 66 Mhz, 100 Mhz and 133 Mhz respectively. You cannot use both 66 Mhz and 100 Mhz RAM together. On the other hand it is possible to use 100 Mhz and 133 Mhz RAM together; but even after combining 100 Mhz and 133 Mhz RAM, you obtain the performance of 100 Mhz RAM only. It is always advisable to use RAM modules of same specifications though change of manufacturer does not have any effect. Please contact your hardware engineer and check for the RAM compatibility.

Note: It is advisable to contact your hardware engineer for upgrading your RAM.

The following links may help you find information on upgrading memory.
http://www.pcc2000.com/memory.html , http://www.learn2.com/06/0671/0671.asp

Why is 'incorrect Hard disk capacity' shown in Windows and BIOS ?
Some older BIOSs, DOS versions, FDisk, and Windows File System determine the capacity of a hard disk drive based on a 1,048,576 byte megabyte. The drive manufacturers determine the capacity of a hard disk drive based on a 1,000,000 byte megabyte. The value calculated by the system is based on the value of 2 and is the binary capacity of the hard disk drive. The value calculated by the drive manufacturer is based on the value of 10 and is the decimal capacity of the hard disk drive. i.e, the storage industry standard is to display capacity in decimal, but some programs measure the capacity of a drive in binary. Therefore, your system is not reporting the "incorrect" capacity, but is reporting the binary capacity rather than the decimal capacity you were expecting.

One Kilobyte {KB) is calculated as 1,024 byes in Binary and as 1,000 bytes in Decimal.

How do I solve connection problems with the modem?
Holding Line
It could be because of the Modem Initialization String. Please try the following. However, please note down settings on paper before changing them (i.e., whatever changes are mentioned in the following mail) so that you can revert to original settings in case conditions do not improve.

1. Go to Control panel -> Modems.
2. Select the modem and click the "Properties" button.
3. Click the connection tab.
4. In the new dialog box, Click on the advanced button -> in the "extra settings" edit box, add the string "ats10=250" if the box is empty.

If there is already something in the box, just append "s10=250"
Other important settings.

1. Click on Start --> Programs --> Accessories --> Communication --> Dial Up Networking.
2. Select the dial-up connection you use for accessing the Net.
3. Click on the Properties.
4. Click on the "Configure" button under the "Connect using" frame.
5. Click on the "Connection" tab and click on "Advanced"
6. In the "advanced connection settings" dialog, "use flow control" must be clicked & "hardware" radio button must be checked.
7. Also check the "Use error control" along with "compress data"

But most importantly, you should also set the "port speed" to a value greater than the modem BPS value. For this,

1. Go to Control Panel -> System -> Device Manager tab -> expand the "ports(COM & LPT)" tree -> double click on "Communications port(COM2)"
2. Set the "Bits per second" box to the highest speed possible. Typically for 56K modem, set this field to 115200BPS.

This is because the modem compresses user data and therefore you must be able to send information to the modem at a higher rate than the modem to ISP modem data rate. You can of course fall back to a lower rate if the connections are still not stable.

Why does the Tomato Mother board model CreateBXi-ATX show only 16MB out of the 64MB of the newly installed DIMM Ram at system startup ?
The Tomato Mother board model CreateBXi-ATX, does not support Ram modules, which use 32MBit DIMM technology. So if you are using 32 MBit ram modules then you may face this problem. In addition, CreateBXi-ATX Mother board is reported to have problems in the DIMM detection algorithm which may cause the system to report the amount of DIMM RAM installed incorrectly.

For solving the problem, you may need to update your BIOS. Updating the BIOS will add support for 32Mbit DIMM technology and will also update the DIMM detection algorithm of the BIOS.

Please visit the following link, where you can download the BIOS Flash utility for your Mother board: http://www.zida.com/support/bios.htm

Note: Please read the instructions on the web site carefully and select the update file for the exact model of your Mother board. Please make sure that you backup your original BIOS, as a failure in the updation process of the BIOS, can prevent your computer from booting.

How do I install a second hard disk?
You can attach your second hard disk to your system, which will act as a Primary slave, as your existing hard disk is set to Primary master. Attach the new hard disk to your system. Auto-detect the hard disk in the CMOS. In order to do so please follow the steps given below:

1. Switch on the Computer.
2. Press "Delete" key on the keyboard to enter into CMOS setup.
3. Select "IDE/HDD Autodetection" or "Autodetect Hard disks" menu.

(The menu name depends on the BIOS you are using).
Here, the system will automatically detect whether the hard disk is connected properly to the motherboard. You have to press "Y" and then "Enter" key when system detects the hard disk.
4. After detecting the hard disk, Save and Exit the CMOS setup.
5. System will automatically boot.

Since setting up the jumpers and connecting Hard disk can be a complicated process, we recommend you to contact your hardware expert for getting your new Hard disk connected/configured to the system.

Please visit the following links for detailed description on installation of a second Hard disk: http://www.tweaktown.com/articles/howto_installhdd.shtml , http://www.seagate.com/support/kb/disc/install_2nd_ata.html, http://www.infohq.com/Computer/adding-second-hard-drive-review.htm

The floppy drive is not responding. What could be wrong?
Please follow these solutions to troubleshoot the floppy drive problem.

Solution1:
1. Reboot the computer, and keep pressing the "DELETE" key until you enter the CMOS/BIOS Setup screen.
2. Highlight "Standard CMOS Setup" and press <enter>.
3. Make sure that "Floppy Drive A:" is set to 1.44 MB 3½.
4. If it is not set that way, point the arrow down to it and press "Page Down".
5. Press "ESC" to go to the main menu, then press "F10" and press "Y" to save changes and exit. Press <enter>.

Solution 2:
1. Power off the computer and remove the computer tower's cover.
2. Locate the back of the floppy drive.
3. Remove and reseat the power cable. These are the multi-color wires that are attached to the floppy drive.
4. Remove and reseat the flat gray ribbon cable that is attached to the floppy drive.

(Note: There may be some clear glue that is holding this cable in place) Make sure that the red specks on the floppy drive face away from the floppy drive power connector.
5. Follow the ribbon cable to the Motherboard, then remove and reseat the cable.
6. Check the Motherboard manual for the correct cable setup.

If you are getting this error message "A:\ is not accessible. The drive is not ready". You can follow these solutions to troubleshoot the error.

Solution 1:
1. Remove and reinsert the diskette. The disk may not be inserted properly.
2. Make sure that the disks being used are 1.44 MB double sided, high density.
3. Make sure disk is formatted under MS-DOS.
4. If the disk was formatted on a different system, try the diskette on another machine. If the diskette cannot be read by other computers then it is a bad diskette.

Solution 2:
1. Reboot the computer; as it is booting up, keep tapping the F8 key to bring up the Windows 95 start-up menu.
2. Choose: SAFE MODE COMMAND PROMPT ONLY.
3. Insert a floppy disk that has some data on it into the floppy drive.
4. Type: "A:" and press enter.
5. Type: "dir" and press enter.
6. If you are able to read the floppy disk here; then there is a problem within Windows.

You can also try the resolution by refreshing the drivers for the floppy drive. For this, Shutdown the system and restart the computer in MS-DOS mode. Please follow these steps:

1. In DOS mode. You will see C:\WINDOWS. Type WIN /D:M and press ENTER.
This will launch the unit into Safe Mode.
2. Once the unit is in Safe Mode, click on the OK button in the opening dialogue box.
3. Click on the Start ->Settings ->Control Panel.
4. In the Control Panel window, Double-Click on the SYSTEM icon.
5. In System Properties window. Click on the tab labeled DEVICE MANAGER.
6. Form the list to remove a device, do the following, depending on the hardware causing the problem:
7. Click the + sign next to DISK DRIVES and remove the devices FLOPPY in them. To remove, highlight the selection and click on REMOVE near the bottom of the screen. DO NOT remove any of the other disk drivers. Repeat the steps if there are multiple listings. Next, click the + sign next to FLOPPY DISK CONTROLLERS and remove ALL the listings here.
8. Click on CLOSE to shut down the System Properties dialog box.
9. Now Shutdown the system and restart the computer.

When the system reboots, Windows will detect the hardware and reinstall the software or the device you removed. Once you are in Windows, try to use the device once again to see if it now works properly.

Why is floppy drive not being detected in Windows though it is working properly in the MS-DOS mode?
When a new Floppy drive is installed, you need to detect the Floppy drive in CMOS setup. If the CMOS settings of your computer do not indicate that a Floppy disk drive is installed, Windows may not be able to display your floppy disk information correctly. MS-DOS, or the real-mode portion of Windows, may allow you to access the floppy disk drive.

You may need to re-detect the second Floppy drive in the CMOS setup.

Please perform the following steps for detecting the Floppy drive in CMOS setup.
1. While booting press 'Delete' key.
2. Select the "Standard CMOS Setup", option and press Enter key.
3. Check the Floppy drive setting. Make sure that size and capacity selected for Drive A Drive B are correct. You may change the settings to the correct one by using the Page Up/Down buttons.

Try accessing the Floppy drive in Windows. If you still cannot access the Floppy drive in Windows, then you may need to manually detect the Floppy drive in Windows.

For manually detecting the Floppy drive controller in Windows please follow the steps given below.
1. Right-click the My Computer icon from your desktop, then click Properties on the menu that appears.
2. Click the Device Manager tab, then double-click the Floppy Disk Controllers entry.
3. Highlight the floppy disk controller, click Remove to remove the controller, and then click OK.
4. Open your Control Panel, then double-click the Add New Hardware icon.
5. Click Next, and then click Yes to allow Windows to detect the hardware in your computer.
6. When the Add New Hardware wizard is finished, restart the computer and try to access the floppy drive again.

Re-detecting the floppy disk controller should correct addressing problems with the controller by detecting the correct address range.

Why am I not able to use Umax USB scanner with Intel 82371SB chipeset on the Mother board after re-installing Windows 95?
The INTEL82371SB chipset may have problems communicating with high-load devices such as scanners. However you can try rectifying the problem by installing USB support from Add/Remove programs.

For installing USB support, please perform the following steps.
Insert the Windows 95 CD in to the CD drive.
1. Click on Start->Settings->Control Panel
2. Double click on Add/Remove programs icon.
3. Check mark the option for USB.
4. Click on Apply button. When prompted for Windows 95 installation disk browse the CD and select the appropriate location.
5. Click on Ok button.

For connecting an USB device on your system, you may first need to enable the USB Controller in BIOS. Only then the hardware and will function properly.

For enabling USB in CMOS setup, please perform the following steps.
1. Press "Delete" key during system bootup. [This will show the CMOS setup screen]
2. Select the menu "Integrated Peripherals" and press Enter key.
3. Select the option "USB Controller".
4. Enable the USB Controller using PageUp/PageDown keys.
5. Save and exit setup.

Note: The BIOS Menu and Option names vary with the version and manufacturer of BIOS. Please refer the Mother Board manual for proper Option Names for your BIOS.

Please visit the following link for more information regarding USB support and enable the same in Windows 95.
http://support.umax.co.uk/technotes/f112B.htm

Also, please make sure that the drivers for you scanner are installed properly.

You may also download a utility from Intel that checks the hardware, system software and drivers for USB support, and provides information on fixing problems Please visit the following link for downloading the USB checking utility from Intel.

http://support.umax.co.uk/faqs/usb.htm#Top Issues
On the web page click on the section saying "Test Your USB Setup (usbready.exe v3.01)" to start downloading the
utility.

The Epson stylus color 670 printer seems like it is printing, but no ink is on the paper. What's wrong?
The print head nozzles may be clogged. From the Utility section found in the EPSON printer driver, clean the print heads by performing a head cleaning followed by printing a nozzle check pattern. A head cleaning and nozzle check must be performed as a cycle. After printing a nozzle check, examine the printed dot pattern. Each staggered horizontal and straight vertical line should be complete, with no gaps in the dot pattern. If there are gaps in the dot pattern, continue with another cycle. Perform up to 3 cycles if necessary.

If the nozzle check is not printing completely, and if the head cleanings do not help the nozzle check pattern to print completely, try replacing the ink cartridge. Any ink cartridge installed into the printer must have a blue label on top of it. If the blue label has been removed from the ink cartridge, do not install the cartridge. Using an ink cartridge, which does not have the blue label on it, may damage the printer.

Caution:
If you have already installed a cartridge which is missing the blue label, or if a previously installed ink cartridge did not have the blue label at the time it was installed, and now head cleanings do not help the nozzle check pattern to print completely, your printer may require service and you should contact the EPSON Support Center for further assistance.

Why is my newly installed Hard disk not being detected at system startup and Windows?
After connecting a new Hard disk you need to detect the Hard disk in CMOS setup by the system.

Please follow the steps given below:
1. Press DEL key during system startup to enter CMOS setup.
2. Select "IDE HDD AUTO DETECTION" option and Press Enter key.
3. Press "Y" key and then press Enter key for manually detecting all the drives connected to the system. Perform the same for Primary Master and Slave and also for Secondary Master and Slave.
4. Press <Esc> and you will return to the CMOS Main Screen
5. Choose "Save & Exit Setup" option and Press Enter Key.
6. Now you will be prompted with " Save and Exit CMOS Setup", Type "Y" and press enter.
7. Now your hard disk will be detected automatically by BIOS.

If your CMOS setup has an option called "AUTO DETECT HARD DISK", select the option and then press Enter key. The new Hard disk will be automatically detected.

If this does not solve the problem, then please make sure that there is no loose connection with the cables connected to the hard disk inside the cabinet. Try checking for loose connections and re-detect the hard disk in BIOS settings. Whenever this occurs you can check the BIOS settings and see whether the hard disk is being detected, if it is not detected then the problem lies with the connection.

My system is not booting and there is no display on the monitor? What do I do?
When faced with system boot failures, please start by checking AC power, the system power switch, and power connections to the motherboard. Also see that all expansion boards are inserted evenly and completely in their expansion slots. (Flexing the mother board during memory installation might have pried one or more boards off their slots). Please verify that your SMPS is working properly. Please try changing the slot of your VGA card and verify the card is working properly.

Also check the wire connections of your Monitor (i.e. power and signal cable) so that there are no loose connections. Try connecting the monitor to another system and see if it works.

Your computer memory modules might not be inserted correctly. Take the modules out and seat them again, making sure the locking arm is holding the module surely in place.

Check the integrity of the Mother board and the various components of the Mother board and see if the Processor is working properly.

Note: It is advisable to contact your hardware engineer for solving your problem.

Why is my CDROM not accepting CDs and ejecting it upon insertion automatically?
Please try out the following methods, which might help you in solving the problem.

Check the Eject Drum of your CD-ROM Drive. If there is any problem with the Eject Drum, please replace it. Check if the Eject button is jamming internally and if it facing the effect of being pressed frequently. For performing this please contact your hardware expert.

This can also happen if there are viruses in your system. Please make sure your system is free from virus. For ensuring this, download a reputed anti-virus software and scan the system for viruses. McAfee, InoculateIT and Norton's Anti virus are some of the best Anti-virus software available today.

The full version of InoculateIT can be freely downloaded from the link given below:
http://antivirus.cai.com/

You can download Mcafee and Norton Anti-virus free trial version software from the following links:
http://www.mcafee.com
http://www.symantecstore.com/Pages/TBYB/nav2k.html

Note: If none of the above steps helped you, you may need to contact your hardware engineer to service your CDROM drive as there may be an obstruction in the passage of the CD in to the CDROM drive which might cause the CD to be ejected.

How to install a secondary monitor in Windows 98?
Please follow the steps given below to install a secondary monitor in Windows 98:
1. Turn off your computer.
2. Insert your PCI or AGP video adapter into an available slot.
3. Turn on your computer.
4. Windows detects the new video adapter and installs the appropriate drivers. You may be asked to restart several times. Click No until you are told you must restart, and then click Yes.

All responses have been provided by Qsupport Technologies Pvt. Ltd., Bangalore, a 24x7, e-services company offering online advice ad solutions for any Internet or computing usage problems. For more information contact netmagindia@vsnl.com

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