Del Inspiron 546 HDD problem

August 27, 2012 at 17:50:09
Specs: Windows Vista
I'm getting this error message on boot:
NOTICE - Hard Drive SELF MONITORING SYSTEM has reported that a parameter has exceeded its normal operating range. Dell recommends that you back up your data regularly. A parameter out of range may or may not indicate a potential hard.
Press F2 to continue

Hitting F2 goes into the bios and there isn't anything I can do in there. Ie: no option to disable any type of S.M.A.R.T. Also, it refuses to boot. Basically goes from the error message to bios, which reboots on exit, and then the error message again.

Put the WD Blue HDD in another computer and ran Data Lifeguard Diagnostic. Everything passes every test...indicating the HDD is fine. Any ideas what the problem could be?

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August 27, 2012 at 18:05:40
Reinstall into the Dell machine and see if it boots. Could be just a loose cable. If not, the controller could be going bad, a cable could be broken, or it may somehow be misconfiguring the drive.

"Channeling the spirit of jboy..."

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August 27, 2012 at 18:17:33
Forgot to mention...I unplugged, and plugged the drive back in to no avail.
Both the cable itself and the controller are something to consider. I'm going to also try another HDD, so that should narrow it down. Also, what do you mean by misconfigured? Something with the bios, or something like the boot record?

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August 27, 2012 at 18:50:00
Try swapping out the hard drive's signal and power cables.
Test your memory with Memtest86 via a bootable CD.
Test the hard drive IN the machine with WD utility via a bootable CD.
Make sure that the hard drive is set as bootable in the BIOS and it is in the boot order.

You have to be a little bit crazy to keep you from going insane.

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August 27, 2012 at 20:37:28
Will give everything a try, and post back afterwards. Thanks so far!

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