The past 2-3 days I've seen something odd when starting my PC. The first screen that comes up with the BIOS info says this at the bottom...
"IDE Channel 2 no 80 conductor cable installed
CPU is unworkable or has been changed. Please recheck - CPU Soft Menu.
Press F1 to continue, DEL to enter setup"
I press F1, the computer continues startup as usual and functions normally. Any ideas on what exactly those message are telling me? I haven't changed/adjusted anything inside the case in about 2 years.
So basically, every source agrees that replacing the cable is probably the most likely option.
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Have you changed any hardware recently? As Mr Boffo says it could be loose IDE cable or it may have failed. Some BIOS will have a section where you can clear warnings, hit DEL to enter setup and see if you can find it. Don't worry, you can always exit without saving if you're not sure. They usually have a setting to restore Factory Defaults as well. Try that.
If you HD is big enough, why not just partition it and make it a dual boot machine? That is hoe my laptop is set up. Personally, I don't know how to do it, a friend set it up for me, but he did it all from inside Ubuntu.