Dell latitude laptop won’t recognize hard drive

Tags:
Hardware
Tech support
This morning when tried to wake my laptop from sleep mode it was dark so I did a hard shutdown. When I tried to boot up I got the error "Primary disk drive not found" "No boot device available" "No bootable devices". This happened when I first got this laptop but somehow I remember getting it started in safe mode and then shutting down and it started ok and has worked fine ever since. I am currently on the road and my company help desk says there's nothing they can do and I need to bring in the laptop. Are they right?

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If it can’t see the hard drive it can’t start in safe mode either. That’s what the first message is telling you. It sounds like your drive was bad from the start and you have been living on borrowed time. If you have anything important on it I wouldn’t try to restart it until you have a way to back it up. Sometimes with several tries it will work again for a brief time. There is a remote possiblility that the drive connector is loose or the motherboard is bad but that isn’t likely.

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  • Pineappleman
    CalendarGirl, I would try the BIOS settings. Meaning, on startup use the option to get to the BIOS settings and see if the harddrive is listed there. If not, add it or restore previous configuration as I have seen this problem resolved using this method many times over the years. If it is listed in the BIOS, it probably is a true hardware (disk drive) error and you may need to send it off to restore critical information.
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  • Fushigi
    If you're comfortable doing it, you may want to re-seat the hard drive. Unplug it then plug it back in. It is possible the connection is a little loose. Also, I don't know if you have an optical drive with you, but the Latitudes do come with a diagnostic CD that includes some disk tests.
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  • DDekreon
    Windows XP, right? First, if you can, try booting off a knoppix cd. This will tell you if the hard disk is broken, or windows is. Wxp sometimes has problems causing it to lose the hard disk entirely (search in google). I just ran into this last month. The only way to revive the drive was to do a full, cold installation of xp. A rescue or repair does nothing, neither will running fixmbr or fixpartition. Sux.
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  • Whammy
    In am responding to this a little late. But if you are still unsure, I would shoot for the "unseated" HD solution. You did mention that you had a similar problem in the beginning, but did not mention how often and long this continued. In my experience, if you did not drop the machine, HD's do not just fail. Bad sectors will normaly give you some warning of thinghs not being quite right before hand. Allso remember the full disk syndrome. Allways have about 10% free.
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