A few years later, new video card, new Maxtor secondary hard drive. All of a sudden, either the first hard drive won't be seen in POST (leading to a notice to insert boot disk/restart), or the second hard drive won't be. When working, everything works as it should save for the absence of the Maxtor.
Any assistance is of course very much appreciated.
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Even though there are three sockets, this board supports a max of 2GB of RAM, sorry. The AGP Aperture setting in the BIOS does not reflect the maximum amount of usable video RAM on the card, so don't be concerned about that (and in fact you shouldn't need that to be higher than 128M). For the hard drive, you have your terminology mixed up. There are two IDE adapters on your board; A primary and secondary, each with two available assignments for the devices connected which are called 'Master' and 'Slave'. If your primary adapter already has two devices and your secondary has only the DVD drive configured as 'Slave', than you can connect a new drive to the secondary adapter configured as 'Master'.
The maxtor one touch hardrives generally have a 3 year warranty on them. If you have the orginal invoice for the same, I would suggest you to call maxtor and they can help you out on the same. The support information is available on the site below http://www.maxtor.com/en/main/support.html
When a file is delete, it's still there on the drive, just as before; all that happens is that the file table marks it as free space and changes its name so it's no longer visible. There are a number of "undelete" utilities available, including several good ones, like asoftech data recovery that helped me before: http://www.asoftech.com/adr/
Go to the MAXTOR web site and download their free diagnostic utility. Then, remove the hard drive from the external case and connect it to a spare connector internally inside your desktop. Run the diagnostic utility and it will tell you if the drive is still OK (it probably is). If so, you will only need to replace the interface card in your external drive.
generally all computers can handle a secondary hard drive. i myself am a dell tech. why not try to increase the wattage output of your power supply from the present 200 or 250 watts to at least 300 or 350 watts to give enough provisions for additional devices that will be connected to your computer. normally a hard drive will get burned or fried because of a loose power cable connection. data cable will never fry your hard drive. try running the hard drive diagnostics if it passes then it should work well. try also using chkdsk /r in the command prompt to fix your hard drive if the damage is not that extensive.
If this is a brand new hard drive from a store return it for a new one.
Hard drives have a built in feature called SMART. For some reason the SMART function is reading that there is something very wrong with the drive.
If you have more than one hard drive installed on the system make sure SMART is detecting it on the new drive and not the older ones by unplugging the other drives from the motherboard.