Technical Difficulties

My computer won’t boot up except in safe mode. Apparently it has something to do with “Secondary IDE channel no 80 conductor cable installed.” Anyway, I’m working on it, but in the meantime, no new posts.

UPDATE: I bought a new power source and new IDE cables and installed them. No change (but I’m not sorry I did it… those upgrades were due). Then I got to work on Brad’s suggestion. I decided to do it by disconnecting and reconnecting things one by one rather than disconnecting everything and reconnecting one by one. That could save me a lot of trouble. The problem turned out to be my first guess: the wireless network card, which had gotten bumped and become partially disconnected. Apparently the network card’s driver won’t let Windows boot up if the card is only partially connected. GRRRR, crappy drivers… Anyway, blog entries will resume shortly.


John Pasden

John is a Shanghai-based linguist and entrepreneur, founder of AllSet Learning.


  1. You have my sympathy — as well as my attention.

  2. If that error message is at all correct you should try to replace the IDE flat cable(s) that connect your hard disk(s) and/or optical drive(s) to your motherboard. Be sure to get the newer standard with 80 threads instead of 40 (but still 39 connecting pins).

    Simply disconnecting and reconnecting the cables you already have may do the trick as well though.

    Good Luck!

  3. That’s actually just a warning message, not a fatal error. ATA133 needs an 80-pin cable, but if the controller doesn’t detect one it’ll drop the speed down to ATA100 or 66. Also, unless there’s an error on the primary boot drive, hard drives and optical drives generally won’t affect the operation of Windows.

    Try re-seating (remove and re-install) any PCI cards, video cards, and RAM — something probably got knocked loose when you opened the case. You may also try removing everything not necessary to the system’s operation, eg secondary video card, network card, and all USB devices. If the system boots, plug them back in one at a time until you find the culprit.

  4. tuur,

    I tried disconnecting and reconnecting the IDE cables, but it did no good. I’m going to buy new ones tonight.

    If that doesn’t work, I’ll try what Brad suggested.

  5. Try hitting it a couple of times on the chassis. If that doesn’t work a good kick to the side sometimes dislodges the demons.

  6. does anyone in shanghai find that flickr stops working tonight?

  7. I have problem printing your instructions of how to creat favicons on my printer, I dont know why, it had something to do with printer spooling, my printer icon completely wiped out. So I had to restore my printer again, after restoring, when I try to print the instructions, I still have the same problem, spooling one. This happen only from printings from your web site. Is there a reason that I could not print?


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