I contacted Falcon Northwest Technical Support by sending them an e-mail and leaving a couple of Voice Mails. Falcon keep their support in US (a great plus!). They are in PST time zone which works out fine for me as I can work with them when I get home.
Anyway, a support engineer called me back and I described my problem. Then we scheduled a call when I get home. I had pretty tried everything other than resetting CMOs. So, he went over the steps he wanted to try:
- Keep computer connected to power switch but turn off the switch so there is no power but machine is grounded
- Remove Graphics Card, for which I had to remove the fan over it
- Reseat RAM sticks
- Reseat power switches for CPU etc.
- Disconnect power cord
- Clear CMOS, which means moving a jumper as per ASUS P5E-VM DO documentation
- Wait for a couple of minutes
- Put the jumper back
- Connect Graphics Card
- Put everything else back
- Just connect Keyboard, Monitor Cable and Power
- Power Up
We went into BIOS to set the correct settings for my set up. Falcon Northwest documentation is great. They had sent each and every change they had done to BIOS defaults. Plus, support engineer had the settings as well. So, we set them, saved them and rebooted.
I was pretty convinced my had HD gone bad and unfortunately I was right. We ended up where we started: BSOD with "Unmountable_boot_volume". We kept on troubleshooting... He sent me an e-mail with links to Seagate's SeaTools HD Diagnostic page and instructions on what he needed.
I ran them and SeaTools confirmed that my D: drive was healthy but my C: drive had Electical Issues. Log went like this:
Started Short DST 4/7/2010 @7:44.14
I ran the long test as well but it simply confirmed the issue. I powered down the PC, sent an e-mail to Falcon Northwest support about results and left for work in the morning.
I got an e-mail back later in the day that confirmed drive was bad and mentioned that Seagate might still have my disk under warranty. It had links to check if I was covered. Good news was, yes I was covered. I started the RMA process but at some point realized that I did not have the 'CODE' they were asking. Apparently, there was a newer version of the tool (2.17) than I had downloaded (2.16) which was returning this code.
I downloaded the new software from Seagate; burn the image into a CD and booted from it. I got the code they needed and finished the RMA process. When I read their documentation, which is a subject of another blog post probably, I realized that they will not give me a new HD but replace it with a refurbished one :(
Anyway, there is more to story actually. When I came back, my power up issue was back as well. I had hoped that clearing CMOS would fix it but apparently it had not.
Here is how it goes:
- I click power button
- I hear fan noise 1 sec, it stops
- 2 secs of silence, fan noise again for power up for 1 sec and it stops
- same as above...
- 15mins later...
- fan does not stop this time and computer boots up
At this point, support engineer told me that he will talk to his supervisor to see if my machine would be covered, what will be the warranty situation and give me a call back tomorrow. I am kinda stuck because I cannot take out the HD anyway and I do not know at this point if the power up issues I have been having ever since I got the Mobo replaced last summer are at all relevant to this HD or not (my guess - NOT!).
I checked Falcon Northwest site and they have 3 years warranty on Fragboxes but it seems that mine had only a year :( My previous Mobo change was covered under warranty but I kept on having issues since then as well and it got worse and worse with power. So I do not know if they will stand behind their product or not at this point. We will find out tomorrow. Hopefully, I will post good news!