Array detection defection.

Over the weekend I spent some time at my parents’ house to fix an ongoing problem they’ve been having with their computer. Lately it’s been taking them three tries to get Windows to start up. The computer freezes while Windows is loading and it was necessary to power off the computer and switch it back on a few more times before Windows was fully loaded and ready for use. My challenge was to find out the cause of this erratic behavior.

I checked the Event logs and saw nothing out of the ordinary. I also ran a wide range of hardware diagnostics and found no problems with the memory or hard disk. A system file check found some errors but were not the cause of the problem. I also ran a malware scan which removed a fake antivirus installer and ran a separate utility to remove all of its traces. Still, it took several tries to get Windows to load properly.

Then I checked with the manufacturer’s web site and found an update for the BIOS and motherboard. After I installed this update, the problem worsened exponentially. Now the computer would no longer even boot. Instead, it would display this message:

MediaShield ROM BIOS 9.83
Copyright (C) 2007 NVDIA Corp.
Detecting arrays ……..

And that was it. I tried to change the settings in the BIOS to bypass the hard drive and boot from my emergency boot CD but that didn’t work. The array detection began no matter what I did to bypass the issue.

My parents’ computer does have two hard drives but they’re not exactly set up as an array. I’m guessing that’s what triggered the array detection that took place. After I got home I did some research and found a way to disable this array detection from the BIOS.

Today, when I returned to my parents’ house to work on their computer some more, I accessed the BIOS and found a section for onboard PATA/SATA Adapters.

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I saw that the first PATA Controller was enabled, so I disabled it.

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After saving the changes, I was able to successfully start Windows on the next reboot.

I don’t know if this fixes their other problem of needing at least three tries to get Windows loaded. Time will tell whether I fixed that problem for good.

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