Question about Dell Dimension 5100 (D51L1) PC Desktop

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XP won't recognize 2nd SATA drive and shows 1st SATA drive as drive F:

The Background:
A direct hit lighting strike took out my UPS, power supply, DVD, backup drives, sound and motherboard. Dell tech support sent a guy out and he replaced everything. When we powered up to the Windows log on screen the system froze. It did this repeatedly. Tried to go to System Setup and tried booting into Safe Mode but each time the system jumped to the logon screen and froze up. I have to find a way to recover the files.

Steps taken so far:
1. Replaced everything but the harddrive.
2. Purchased new SATA 80GB harddrive, same as the older one.
3. Installed new SATA and loaded windows XP.
4. Spent five days chasing down drivers for all the items with question marks on them in Device Manager
5. Still have a question mark on PCI device but can't figure out what that is as only the NIC card and Video card aren't on the motherboard.
6. In setup, I can see my old drive, it shows up and in the boot sequence.
7. I can get to windows on the new drive and two issues come up:
a. Windows shows my new drive as drive F: and even unplugging the older drive and rebooting doesn't change the drive letter to C:. I tried going to Computer Management, then Device Management, to change the drive letter and that didn't work either.
b. Windows does not recognize the second drive.

Can't access the older SATA drive
Can't see the older SATA drive in Windows XP
Drive letters are messed up
PCI error appears to be connected to the onboard sound which isn't working


Posted by on

  • drsashorrosh Sep 04, 2008

    Thanks for the help. I agree with you that the drive letter really doesn't matter. What I really want to know is how do I access my data from my old drive. Is there software you can buy that will draw out the data without having to use Windows? (As you recall from my posting, the boot up sequence would get to the log in page for Windows then lock up. I have client accounts information I MUST get off the drive. By the way, I had Semantic's product loaded on that drive and when I access Rollback, the only dates shown are today's.


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To get Windows to recognize the 2nd HDD, you have to initialize it in disk management.

As far as the drive letter for the OS install, that was caused by the HDD not having an existing partition and other drives in the system having one (Either USB Drive, Printer with a card reader, 2nd Internal HDD)

Here is a Microsoft article on how to change it, but you'll notice MS doesn't recommend you try it. (Personally, I can live with ah HDD with a drive letter other then C:, so can Windows.)

In the future, when installing XP, boot to the CD, run the install to the point of formatting the hard drive. Once formatted, turn off the computer, reboot to the XP install again, the HDD will be assigned C:

As far as the drivers go, they needed to be installed in this order:
Desktop System Software

Posted on Sep 03, 2008

  • IQUIT Sep 04, 2008

    Once you have the 2nd drive assigned a drive letter in disk management, you should be able to browse the drive and access the needed files. you may need to take ownership to access the files.

    If the files are encrypted or compressed in the OS of the old drive (the OS not being booted to) then they will not be accessable.


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