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When I turned on my computer today, I received the message "missing operating system." Since I have a backup of all my files, I don't care if they all get erased, so I put in my recovery disk, which gave me the message that "the volume does not contain a recognized file system." I tried installing Windows XP (even though my computer was a Windows 7), to see if it would work, but it did not recognize any hard drive, and when I tried going into BIOS, the hard drive did not show up in the menu either.

If anyone could tell me how I can reformat the hard drive without erasing the manufacturer settings that it needs to work, I would be eternally grateful!

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First, can you verify that the hard drive is plugged in properly? If so, perhaps try switching the data cable to another port. It's also possible that your hard drive has failed. –  Moses Sep 2 '13 at 17:52
    
The hard drive is plugged in properly, but I don't see another port to which the data cable could be transferred to. –  Melanie Sep 2 '13 at 18:04
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If the drive does not show up in the BIOS then either: 1) The drive is dead 2) The cables are not ok (e.g. no fully connected) 3) The port on the mb is dead (usually you have half a dozen SATA ports. You can verify that it is not the drive by connecting it to another (known working) computer. –  Hennes Sep 2 '13 at 18:57

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