PC crashed, received the error message - "error auto-sensing primary hard disk drive0". Can I save this PC or do I have to buy a new hard drive?
A failed hard drive does not doom a pc. You should have posted your model and operating system for more specific help. Run the Dell Diagnostics extended--not the quick--hard drive test to see if the drive needs replacing. Press F12 on most computers at the very first screen to access the boot menu. Start pressing F12 as soon as you reboot. This assumes your computer & OS require F12 to access boot menu.
Thanks for the quick follow up. It is a Dimension B110. I pressed F12, got the boot device menu. Do not see a "dell diganostics" option of the 8 items. These are the options - 1) Normal, 2) Primary Master Drive, 3) Diskette Drive, 4) Hard-disk drive C:, 5) EDI CD-ROM device, 6) System setup, 7) IDE drive diagnostics, and 8) Boot to utility partition.
And I am running Windows XP.
You need to use the 'Boot to Utility Partition' option, for diagnostics.
"When the Boot menu appears, highlight the Boot to Utility Partition option, or the Diagnostics option and then press <Enter> to start the 32-bit Dell Diagnostics"
"Press the <Tab> key to highlight Test System Press <Enter> to continue to 32-bit Diagnostics"
Tried option you noted (boot to utility program) and it would not let me go any further, it defaulted to the "strike the F1 key to continue, F2 to run the setup utility". Does not look good.
Try running the IDE drive diagnostics from the boot device menu and see what the results are.
XPS One. Core2 Duo @ 2.2GHz. 2 GB DDR2-667. WD2500AAJS 250GB SATA. Intel GMA 3100 video. 20" WSXGA HD LCD. 2 Megapixel Webcam. 8X DVD±RW. 8-in-1 Media Reader. 802.11 a/b/g/n wireless. Integrated High Def Audio. Internal Bluetooth 2.0. NTSC/ATSC TV Tuner. Windows 7 Professional SP1.
"Error auto-sensing primary hard disk drive0" is displayed when the primary hard disk cannot be read or found.
First check that the IDE data and power cables are properly connected to the hard drive and morherboard, by removing and reseating them, if this does not correct the problem, then it's likely the hard drive has failed and needs to be replaced.
Checked cables and connections to all listed, guess I need a new hard drive....
Yes, that's likely the answer. It happens.
Normally a drive will give you a bit of warning that it's going to fail - random error messages during file copy operations, OS crashes, odd noises from the HDD itself, etc. Sometimes they just up and die without warning. Assuming that a cable hasn't gone bad or the drive controller on the motherboard is still good, a new drive will most likely resolve the issue.