This past weekend I had the "Return Code 7" fail error from the IDE Drive Diagnostics program included with my Dell Dimension 8250, on two ATA-100 250 GB disk drives. I have been using these drives for the past three years in external ADC Technologies enclosures, which allowed the ATA-100 drives to be used as Firewire (IEEE-1394) devices for backup purposes. This past weekend, I cloned my 120 GB Windows XP SP2 boot drive onto one of the 250 GB drives and moved it into the PC, only to get the "Return Code 7" error from the IDE Drive Diagnostics program.
When I visited this forum to find out what the return code actually meant, I was agast to find that the number one recommendation was to instantly replace the disk drive, because of a READ error! What a TOTAL WASTE OF MONEY and a perfectly good disk drive ... unless it had been dropped from 10 feet high, or had a gallon of water poured onto it, while it was running.
Seriously, the only time anyone should even think about throwing away a modern disk drive is when it makes a continual rattling noise, or it's smoking and/or very smelly ... both of which are indications of a physical "crash" of the heads onto one or more of the disk platters. The preparation for this event is a process called BACKUPS ... the copying of your critical data onto another disk drive or tape drive for easy recovery/reloading.
Until your disk drive physically crashes, or has some kind of other internal electrical problem, you can use a program that's been available for over ten years, called SpinRite (http://www.grc.com/sr/spinrite.htm). I've been using SpinRite since the late 1990's quite successfully. And no, I don't have any interest in the company that sells this product (Gibson Research Corporation) or it's owner (Steve Gibson). I am simply a very satisfied customer who has saved thousands of dollars in NOT having to replace disk drives during the past 10 years or so.
In 2004, I paid $400 for the pair of 250 GB drives I mentioned above. Since I currently live on a disability income, I was not about to take the advice of other folks here, to run out and replace BOTH drives. Instead, I went to the SpinRite web site, bought an upgrade to my previous version of SpinRite, for $29, and spent about 1-1/2 hours running the program at level 2 recovery on each drive. The program has FOUR levels of recovery available in it.
My result was that BOTH drives passed the IDE Drive Diagnostics program tests at a total cost of $29 and three hours of time ... WITHOUT having to reload the OS OR any files from backups!!! SpinRite works on just about every disk drive made, that is running just about any file system on any Operating System out there, so there is just no excuse to throw out a perfectly good disk drive, along with your hard-earned money!
So, if you got to this message by searching for the English meaning of a return code from the IDE Drive Diagnostics, or other disk diagnostics program, I would HIGHLY RECOMMEND your first step as going to the SpinRite web site (http://www.grc.com/sr/spinrite.htm), buying and downloading SpinRite, and then running it on the drive that is giving you trouble. If it can't recover your data and the drive itself, THEN you can think about replacing the drive, reloading your OS, all of your programs and data files, etc. Do the EASY and CHEAP thing first (smile)!
Please post back and let me know if you need more help.
If my answer was helpful, please use the 'Did this answer the question' and click: YesForum Member since 2001I am not employed by Dell