Janos Dohanics wrote:

I also ran the Seagate drive utility which found no problems with the
drive. When the same kind of crash happened again, I thought the problem
may be the IDE controller, I have replaced the motherboard.

Now it crashed again with the new motherboard - and I don't know what
should I do next: should I just replace an apparently good hard drive?

If you know the drive is good (e.g. by testing it in another machine), the first thing you should replace is the power supply. Weird drive behavior is often a sign of weak PSUs.

Also, if this is just a hard drive crash, shouldn't  the system keep

So, you're saying that if a drive starts giving invalid or noninterpretable communications back to the IDE controller, causing the controller to wedge, which possibly brings down the PCI bus on which it's connecte, tied to the front side bus and the CPU, the OS should just continue? On what?

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