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BIOS won't recognize ANY sata hard drives

Discussion in 'Windows Vista' started by confuxion, Jul 30, 2009.

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  1. confuxion

    confuxion Thread Starter

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    I apologize ahead of time if this belongs more in the Hardware thread. I'm not sure if this is related to my OS (Vista Ultimate) or not.

    I've had 4 SATA drives running smoothly on my system for quite some time. Out of nowhere, yesterday, my PC kept booting from the DVD-ROM drive, so I went into the BIOS setup, only to see that none of my 4 SATA drives were even listed where they normally would be!! It simply lists the location, then says "[None]" where it should list the drives' manufacturer name (eg. ST500AS#####).

    I go into the setup section for each drive location, and hit "Enter" on the "Auto-Detect HDD" option. A small dialog pops-up for about 5-10 seconds, saying it is detecting the drive, but returns no values for all the drive attributes - just zeros.

    I've followed others' advice and stripped everything out but my boot drive, but the BIOS still doesn't detect it. I've booted from my Vista installation disc and troubleshot from there, but even that won't recognize that I have a HDD attached to the PC.

    And yes, I've already verified - via attaching my boot drive to another computer - that the drive will load (obviously, as a slave) and show all the files contained on it.

    I'm suspecting I may have a faulty mobo, but that's a guess at best. If anyone can help me troubleshoot this issue, I would greatly appreciate it. I will provide further details gladly, if needed. Thanks in advance.
     
  2. scrfix

    scrfix

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    1. Yes, better suited for hardware thread however I am not a moderator for this forum so I cannot move it there.

    Ok presuming a couple of items here.
    1. You are not on a SATA RAID due to stating that you slaved one of your drives to another computer.

    2. Presuming no blown capicitors on the mainboard. Since I cannot see it, I cannot be sure. If the computer was hit by lightning, it could have blown caps on the board. They are the cylindrical components on the board. They should all be flat. If there are any with puffed tops or goo coming out of the tops of them, they are blown and it is time to replace the mainboard or send it out for component repair. Depending on the quality of the mainboard, replacement is usually more cost effective.

    3. Presuming board has a bios reset jumper

    Try the following:
    a. Turn the computer off, unplug the power cord.
    b. Pull all drives and all cards and disconnect all cables from the board. (Don't disconnect the power supply)
    c. Move the bios reset jumper to the reset position.
    d. Plug the power cable in and turn on the computer. It may not turn on, this is ok. If that is the case, push it in a couple of times. Hold the power button in, let up. It may power up fine. This is ok as well. It may power up and nothing appear on the monitor. This is ok as well. Let it sit there for a couple of seconds and then pull the power cord.
    e. Move the jumper back to the original position.
    f. Connect only 1 hard drive.
    g. Go into the BIOS and see if it will detect.

    If it doesn't detect, it certainly does sound like the SATA connectors just died.
     
  3. confuxion

    confuxion Thread Starter

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    First of all, scrfix, thank you so much for being willing to try and help me; much appreciated.

    As for my issue; yes, there is no sata raid set up, rather jbod. And none of the caps appear to be blown on the mobo or any attached cards. I have a few questions, based on your response, before I proceed with your instructions:

    1) I assume that I should leave my processor in place, as well as any power connections that control my systems fans, yes? I suspect this is a very dumb question. I've stripped everything else out, however (RAM, PCI, PCI-X cards, HDD's, etc.)

    2) I haven't the foggiest where my BIOS reset jumper might be. Can you provide me w/ any possible clues? Would it help (if you're willing) if I uploaded a few detailed pics of my mobo, and/or described the make and model of the mobo?

    3) Lastly, could this be something as simple as the small, circular battery on the mobo going dead? Again, prolly another dumb question.

    Thanks again for taking me this far. I'm hoping you'd be so kind as to help me a bit further. If not, I completely understand; I'm sure you're a busy guy.
     
  4. JPCompHelp

    JPCompHelp

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    To tell you the position of your reset jumper we'll have to know your mainboard model.
    The battery going dead would result in BIOS losing the date/time settings (assuming the PSU isn't on all the time).
     
  5. confuxion

    confuxion Thread Starter

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    It says on the mobo, "MS-7093 ver. 120". I'm hoping that is the model. I just Googled that very term and it says it is an MSI Micro-ATX mainboard. Let me know if you need any further info (if this wasn't enough). Thanks!
     
  6. confuxion

    confuxion Thread Starter

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    Ok, I've found instructions for clearing the CMOS settings on my motherboard. Is that basically the same as resetting the BIOS jumper as described in post #2 above?

    I guess I'm going to go ahead and clear the CMOS, unless I hear back on this thread that I shouldn't. I don't have any other options that I know of, other than replacing my mobo. Speaking of which, can I simply go out and buy pretty much any kind of Micro-ATX form factor motherboard to replace my current one (so long as it's the same size, obviously), or do I need to buy the same model that I have now? Can anybody recommend some good places to shop for Micro-ATX boards?
     
  7. scrfix

    scrfix

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    RAM Stays. You need that to reset.
    BIOS Jumper is usually by the battery. You can upload the pictures. Please ensure they are very high resolution.
    The battery usually only holds the system time however I have seen dead batteries cause very weird effects on mainboards but never anything such as this.
    I am always willing to help however it is the time frame that I am available. A lot of times my time doesn't suit the person on the other end. I am extremely busy and help when I can. It is a sickness I swear. Work on computers all day, work with clients all day, come home or not and work with people and computers all night 7 days a week... And everyone that is in the same position as me has the infection as well. I am sure some doctor has a name for it and I am sure they make a pill for it.... lol

    Places to shop for Micro-Atx boards? Absolutely! www.scrfix.com LOL Just call them they will be more than willing to help however I am a little bias in that decision.
     
  8. confuxion

    confuxion Thread Starter

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    Thanks for getting back scrfix. I appreciate the offer to take a look at pics of my mobo - I will take you up on that if this whole clearing the CMOS settings things doesn't work (I doubt it will, but going to try anyway).

    I've analyzed the mobo inside-out for the last 24 hours and I don't see anything that would lead me to believe that it's a BIOS reset jumper (not much going on around the mobo's battery), but that doesn't mean that it's not there. I've referred to my mobo's manual as well, and it makes no mention of the BIOS reset jumper (http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/...528&lc=en&dlc=en&cc=us&lang=en&product=483902), but maybe I'm missing something.

    I checked out your website, btw; very nice!! Wish I could take advantage of the "Remote Services" for this issue, but that's unfortunately not possible. I'd buy a Micro-ATX board from you in a second, if you wanted to recommend and arrange for it :)

    And I hear ya as far as the "sickness" goes. I have it too, but it's for all-things-related to web design and development. You'd think it would be enough that I do it every day for work, but no, that's not enough; I have to be surrounded by it for what seems like 24 hrs/day!!

    Again, thanks for the help and I'll prolly be back in touch shortly here.
     
  9. confuxion

    confuxion Thread Starter

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    Arrrgghh!!! Change of plans. My little CMOS resetting plan didn't produce any results (I didn't expect it to, as I don't know what I'm doing or why), so to hell with this motherboard, just going to assume that the SATA ports are fried, and am going to simply purchase another Micro-ATX mobo to replace the one that's in this machine. I'm hoping that I can just buy any old board that closely matches the specs and is of the Micro-ATX form.

    Can anyone recommend places to purchase the above-mentioned online? Do I have to purchase the exact same board to replace this fried one, or will any Micro-ATX do?
     
  10. Ditchster

    Ditchster

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    You currently have a very restrictive (in terms of upgrading) motherboard and i strongly suggest that if you are going to replace it - you really should try and make sure that your new motherboard is fairly future proof (in computer terms Future Proof means only 3 years). You will find that spending an extra $25 USD could mean you have an extra 1-2 years upgrade opportunities.

    Please let me know what your current hardware is and what you currently use your computer for (which programmes etc) and think about if you intend to go 64 bit in the next year or two - personally i will be switching to 64bit Win7 upon release as i use very memory hungry applications.
     
  11. confuxion

    confuxion Thread Starter

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    Thank you so much, Ditchster, for the info, and for being willing to help me a step further; much appreciated.

    Absolutely - I want to future-proof my mobo as much as possible without (hopefully) having to purchase additional components (a new processor, for example) for whatever mobo I choose. I have no problem paying extra to achieve this.

    Ok, here's some info for you, and thanks again for being willing to make (perhaps) some mobo recommendations based on my computing "profile":

    PC Specs

    - HP Pavilion a1130n pc
    - AMD Athlon 64 processor 3500+
    - 4 gig RAM (yes, not taking advantage of all of it, sigh)
    - 512mb nVidia GeForce 9600 graphics card
    - Dual HP w2207 monitors
    - 4 SATA 1.5Gps (yuck) HDD's (mobo only has 4 SATA connectors)
    ...(anything else you need to know?)

    Regularly-Used Programs

    - Adobe CS4 Master Collection (would love to replace mobo w/ one that allows more RAM)
    - MS Office 2003 Pro
    ...(telling you that I use Adobe CS4 is prolly all you need to know. I'm quite aware that I'm maxing out my CPU cycles!)

    So, in summary, I would say that I use a fair amount of resource-hungry apps (I'm a web designer/developer by trade, and a PC enthusiast for fun), and I'm quite sure that my current hardware configuration does me no justice in taking advantage of what some of these apps can do (especially when I multi-task). I also realize that I'm probably in much need of a complete upgrade (ie. new system altogether), but am wanting to hold off until Win7 is firmly grounded in new PC's. Hence, I want to be able to continue to use my current, somewhat-underpowered PC. I wouldn't be heart-broken if I had to purchase a few additional component upgrades to go with whatever replacement mobo I end up buying, but I don't want to throw the baby out with the bath-water, so to speak.

    Thanks again for whatever help you're willing to provide. Any recommendations you give will be most appreciated, and likely followed-up upon (b/c I certainly don't know what direction to go!)
     
  12. Ditchster

    Ditchster

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    Firstly you are pushing your luck by sticking 4 HDD's into a consumer pc case as the PSUs supplied with your type of computer were never intended to take so much load and i am wondering if this might of been a contributing factor to your original problem.

    Don't get me wrong, generally consumer pcs give very good value for money especially if you don't have an original OS disc - but they all come with big limitations as to upgradeabilty.

    If you are on a very tight budget, and you intend not to change the case & PSU (for future proofing) when changing your Mobo - then i advise the following:

    After hunting through many US online retailers I struggled to find a new Socket 939 Mobo - the reason being that everyone has switched some time ago to Skt AM2/AM2+/AM3. I have found plenty on ebay, even one of your existing type (however $45 for it is barmy if you ask me) So if money is very tight at the moment and you do not want to change your CPU then you will be looking at buying a Mobo from ebay (prob second hand) Note that this is only if you are on a very tight bugget but this option does not give you much future proofing at all, especially for 64bit apps/OS.

    The next step - Purchase a 200Gb 7200rpm 3Gb/s HDD for boot/apps & 500Gb+ 7200rpm 3Gb/s HDD for data storage. Try and make sure they have a min 8MB cache (reasonsing will follow). You will be suprised at the low costs of HDDs these days - plus these hard drives will comfortably migrate to a higher spec rig at a later date. The reasoning for the HD switch is because your Adobe apps use virtual ram allot and the weekest link is your old 1.5Gb/s drives. Newer HD's are also less power consuming and will put less strain on your PSU.

    Your next biggest problem is your case and PSU - your existing case only has one small fan (at the back) and small side grille - if you have located your case in a fairly confined area you will not be getting decent air flow, and with only one fan, you will be collecting dust in the unit allot which causes over heating issues. So, for future proofing and stability, i would seriously consider changing your case and psu to provide a good upgrade pathway (AMD or Intel) - If you went for a Thermaltake or Cooler Master (like my own) including one of their PSU's (500W should be fine for you) you will find that they run cool and quiet (18dB or so).

    If however you intend to move upto 64bit within the next year - then your Skt 939 board / cpu need to be changed. I have come accross some good CPU and Mobo bundles which start at around 110 USD - please let me know your thoughts.
     
  13. confuxion

    confuxion Thread Starter

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    You know, as I was reading your last post, a realization came to me that I'm surprised hadn't come to me sooner: I need to buy a new system completely. I'm kidding myself trying to salvage what has now become quite the dinosaur (4+ yrs old), and I didn't even realize that my overuse of HDD's on this cheap, consumer-friendly system might have been what eventually led to this current failure I'm seeing. I certainly appreciate your willingness to look into things as thoroughly as you did, and I think it's pretty obvious what I need to do for the next step; start from scratch!

    Given all of this, as well as what I perceive to be quite an advanced knowledge of pc's on your part, I was wondering if you wouldn't mind taking this one step further and maybe helping guide me towards a solution in the form of a new system. If you'd rather not, I completely understand. Basically, I just have a few questions for you to possibly get me started towards looking for a new pc. Thanks in advance if you don't mind indulging me.

    So, my first question (and probably my only one for now): What direction would you recommend I go - buy a pre-configured (or one that I can customize online) new pc, or build one from the ground-up by selecting a good set of base components and put it together myself? I've built a machine from scratch before (I did have some assistance from someone who, at the time, knew more than I did about building pc's), but it ended up being too unstable and basically a mish-mash of great parts that didn't work together well. So, while I'm a little hesitant about literally buying every single part separately and putting it all together, I am willing to do so if someone with better knowledge than me can steer me towards what the best components might be. I also realize I can save more money this way, but also am not adverse to paying a little extra and going the customize-online-from-a-big-pc-manufacturer route, especially if you think it will really save me some headaches. I simply don't know what's hot and what's not these days, and can't tell what manufacturer of pc's might be better to go with than another. All I can surmise is that the following list of components are probably the best I can go after in today's market:

    - Intel Core i7 processor (or is the previous Quad-core line still a hot item?)
    - motherboard (no idea)
    - RAM (the more the better; I'm seeing some systems with 12gb these days)
    - HDD's (I hear the WD "Green" series is as good or better than anything from Seagate)
    - GPU (no idea which of the two giants is better these days, but 1gig will prolly do)
    - PSU (no idea, but apparently a 500-watter will do)
    - Sound card (never seemed to need anything more than on-board, but am open to suggestion)
    - Case (no idea)
    - Other bells-and-whistles (no idea)

    So, given all of what I've just mentioned, do you have any recommendations as to which way to go (build or buy)? And, if it is "build", would you be willing to recommend some parts in each category for me? Sorry if I've put a lot on your shoulders here, but I figure it can't hurt to ask, right? Thanks in advance for any help you're willing to provide.
     
  14. Ditchster

    Ditchster

    Joined:
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    These two web site pages should really help you with which CPU platform you should go for and will also be quite an eye opener in terms of which processors are best and for what:

    CPU Comparison Chart 2008

    http://www.tomshardware.com/charts/desktop-cpu-charts-q3-2008/benchmarks,31.html

    CPU Comparison Charts 2009

    http://www.tomshardware.com/charts/2009-desktop-cpu-charts/benchmarks,60.html

    These are the type of sites that i always come back to when people are asking me about upgrade pathways - and it proves that, depending on which apps you use, having a higher clock frequency doesn't always mean it will work better.

    For example in the 2009 chart you will notice that the cheaper i7 920 out performs the i7 940 using Premier Pro CS4 - when i say cheaper i mean half the price odd eh??.

    If your budget can stretch to it, i would look for base units / bundles from a reputable us online outlet like CompUSA or Newegg, here is some i found (based on a i7 620) http://www.compusa.com/applications/category/category_slc.asp?Recs=10&Nav=|c:4149|&Sort=4

    If you can not stretch to a i7 platform - you will need to ballance out if you really need to be on an intel base platform or a amd one. I know at present you will find that skt 775 chipsets out perform skt am2+/am3 however note that the skt am3 has not maxed out by far yet (another year or so i guess) unlike 775 which is already replaced by skt LGA 1336 which is the i7 platform.

    So if you are like me, and you are personallyon a tight budget you should not discount the am2+(as long as its am3 ready)/am3 platforms using 790FX chipsets - this is pound for pound the most cost effective platform as long as you choose the right cpu to start with (see cpu charts). With regards to GPU's - for your apps i would stray to crossfire (intel mobo or amd) as you will find from numerous testing reviews that, HD content editing is handled better by crossfire (unless you go for via high spec Quadro cards) its is only when you lean towards gaming that things get allot different (depending on the card).

    In a nutshell, wether you choose a cheaper skt 775 or skt am3 Mobo and cpu, you will see absolutely massive differences in your computers performance (even better in 64bit) than you currently have.

    In addition to the above - one very important sudgestion:

    If you use you computer for productivity (semi-pro or professionally) i STRONGLY advise that you make certain that your new rig comes with e-sata (required for option 1) and that you spend a little bit of money to acquire either one of the following:

    1. External e-sata 3Gb/s hdd for backup
    2. Internal 3Gb/s hdd for backup

    Plus invest in a very good backup program like Goodsync (costs about $25 usd) as it will allow incremental and/or full backup timed or (as i do) as the computer shuts down - a feature that you do not find on other progs (none that ive come accross) - plus its is star rated on all download site i.e tucows etc. This is crucial if you are editing / creating files larger than 500MB. If you try to use a usb type external drive you could wind up in difficulties backing-up files the size of 9GB.

    I hope the above helps but let me know if you need further guidance.
     
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