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Intermittent Hard Drive Detection

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by saiello, Aug 13, 2011.

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  1. saiello

    saiello Thread Starter

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    Hi,
    Last few days my primary hard drive has been detected intermittently by the BIOS. My machine has been running fine for a long while when all of a sudden I get this problem. I haven't changed anything in the BIOS or hardware wise. I fired my machine up a few days ago and the only drive detected was my second physical drive. I played around with unplugging and re-inserting the drive ribbon cables to both drives, and by doing this I can eventually get the BIOS to see my primary drive and boot proceeds as normal. One attempt simply involved me removing the ribbon cable from the motherboard for my second drive and the machine booted fine. Both drives are Seagate, the first drive is a few years old, the second only about a year old. I used the SeaTools drive checking facility and both drives pass all tests. There are no unusual noises coming from either drive to indicate a problem. I only seem to get this about once in about every 5 boots. Once the machine has booted into Windows (XP) I get no further indications that something is amiss. Any one else experience this...?

    Thanks.
     
  2. Mark1956

    Mark1956 Malware Specialist

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    You checked the cable connections but did you check the jumper on the back of the drive?
     
  3. saiello

    saiello Thread Starter

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    Haven't done this, I'll check and report back...

    Thanks.
     
  4. saiello

    saiello Thread Starter

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    Well, I reseated the jumpers and after a few boots, nothing untoward has happened yet. I'll post back if it happens again...

    Cheers.
     
  5. Mark1956

    Mark1956 Malware Specialist

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    Fingers crossed it could have just been a loose jumper.
     
  6. saiello

    saiello Thread Starter

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    Damn, it happened again...:( I was using the PC perfectly fine all day. Switched it off for a couple of hours and then back on again and the same problem occurred. The first time I am aware of the problem is that just before the normal Windows boot logo appears, instead I get the black screen with writing that says that there was a problem loading windows previously with a 30 second timeout and options. This time I pulled off the secondary drive and after a couple of goes it booted fine. Currently running without my secondary (which I really need at it has all my data on it ) just to see if it occurs again...
     
  7. Mark1956

    Mark1956 Malware Specialist

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    Considering what you have checked so far I would suggest you replace the IDE ribbon cable.

    You have done all the other checks and as this is an intermittent fault it could well be a faulty cable. I can't actually think of anything else it could be.
     
  8. saiello

    saiello Thread Starter

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    Elsewhere on the net the same type of problem can apparently be cured by changing the CMOS battery which could be dying, does this sound plausible...? I'm going to swap round the IDE cables on my drives and see if I start to get detection problems on the secondary drive...
     
  9. Mark1956

    Mark1956 Malware Specialist

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    You could try a new CMOS battery but usually you will get an early warning of that running low as your systems clock will keep showing the wrong time.

    A flat CMOS battery will simply keep the BIOS settings at default.

    I would think a faulty IDE cable is a more likely cause of your present problem.
     
  10. raybro

    raybro

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    The cable is always a possibility, but I would be more inclined to suspect the drive may be failing. Before going to much further, it would be a really good idea to backup any files you do not want to lose.

    I suggest you determine the brand of the drive, go to the mfr's web site and download their diagnostics program to test your HDD.
     
  11. Mark1956

    Mark1956 Malware Specialist

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    Raybro, the manufacturer's diagnostics have already been used, see first post.
     
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