[thechat] Bizarre PC behaviour

Chris Marsh chris at ecleanuk.com
Wed Jan 28 07:48:29 CST 2004

Dear all

I have acces to a PC that's some years old. It had a Seagate 13Gb HDD until 
about two weeks ago, when Windows 98 ceased to boot. The Windows screen with 
the clouds would appear, then a plain green background with the egg timer, 
then instead of the desktop appearing the screen would turn white with lots 
of very thin black lines flashing up quickly and then disappearing quickly 
again. A succession of arcane error messages would then flash up, after which 
the computer would blue screen and need restarting. The HDD was replaced with 
a 20Gb Maxtor, all software re-installed, and everything worked fine.

Yesterday I was asked to recover the data from the original 13Gb drive. I had 
no problems at all recovering all of the data from the drive through my USB 
external HDD caddy. I also had no problems re-partitioning and re-formatting 
the drive. I checked the drive with a low level disk utility, and there were 
no errors or problems. I then attached the HDD to the original machine as a 
slave, and the original problem immediately occurred. I removed the drive, 
and  it ceased. At this point the drive was completely formatted, and 
contained no files. Whenever I attached the HDD, the problem occurred. I then 
took another identical formatted Seagate 13Gb drive that had never been near 
the PC in question, and added that as a slave. The problem re-occurred 

The only thing that had been changed about the machine was that a USB card 
reader had been installed at about the same time (could have been exactly the 
same time, I don't know) as the original problem occurred. I disconnected the 
card reader, but the problem still occurred.

This isn't a request for technical support - I've neither the time nor the 
inclination to fix this. I am, however, fascinated by this problem; has 
anyone else experienced anything similar?


Chris Marsh

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