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Solved: slave drive only connects occasionally

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by mezzerooni, Nov 1, 2011.

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  1. mezzerooni

    mezzerooni Thread Starter

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    my pc has two hard drives. the C drive is 80G and has my OS on it and the usual- documents, programs, etc. the E drive is 180G and is where most of my music and video files are stored, although there are also documents, programs.

    for several months now, when i reboot, it acts as though E does not exist. occasionally it seems to get tired of this situation and recognizes it, as though it had never gone away (sorry if i'm disney-fying this..). i can live with this (and certainly do any work projects that come my way) most of the time. if i ever really want the damn thing NOW, what i've discovered is that if i unplug the cable and power supply and plug it back in, it'll read E again. if no luck that route, i'll unplug and re-plugin BOTH C and E. sometimes i'll get it by swapping to a different set of cables. but it is very unpredictable, and obviously can be time-consuming. (i should add that i have never NOT finally been able to get the E drive recognized).
    nothing bad ever comes up on chkdsk or other diagnostics i might run- at least nothing that seems to pertain to this specific issue. no viruses. and both harddrives test as not being failing.

    more recently, the PC has started making a loud whirring/humming noise on start-up (regardless whether it is recognizing E drive or not. at first i thought one of the HDs must be failing. but the mobile tech i usually use (and have handed many times the original cost of the PC to in cash) says (over the phone, no charge) that it is not the sound of a failing hard drive- more likely a fan, he says. but it is not overheating (i have not run a temperature check lately- will tonight) doesn't seem to be, anyway. AND, after running 2 to 4 minutes, if i give the tower a good sharp whack on the top, the noise stops(!) and will stay stopped until the next time i restart.

    actually, yesterday for the first time it started noisy, stopped with the whack, but then resumed the loud humming after somewhere between 10 and 30 minutes of running. the situation persists today. and, as a matter of fact, so far today i have NOT been able to get the PC to recognize the E drive.

    my tech has said the tning to do is "if it ever stops making any noise at all, shut down immediately or you will cook the PC". and i think he said that THEN i will know i have a failed hard drive (if it goes silent).

    i am at your mercy. thanks in advance.

    mezz
     
  2. mezzerooni

    mezzerooni Thread Starter

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    shoot. forgot to mention. at present both HDs are set to cable select.
    mezz
     
  3. Couriant

    Couriant Trusted Advisor Spam Fighter

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    Perhaps selecting the drives as primary/slave may resolve the issue, but honestly if your drive is starting to act that way, i would suggest backing up the files that you need as it could be going bad, providing you can access it.
     
  4. mezzerooni

    mezzerooni Thread Starter

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    you 're right, i'm sure. i keep clinging to anything that lets me think the drives are okay, when so much evidence points to otherwise. the thing is, except for getting an external drive, i DON'T UNDERSTAND how to do backups. the concept of ghost
    and others like it- how can a single disc hold the contents of a 160 gig hard drive?
    but oh, it would (will, i should almost say) be a sad day indeed when the HDs fail.

    guess i need to just hunker down and research it more thoroughly while they are still accessible- today i still haven't been able to raise "E"- first day i've been totally skunked. i'd be grateful for any suggestions/recommendations for backup.

    also, i'll switch back to master/slave. laziness again. it's been months of HD's in, HD's out, in, out, etc. one more is no big deal (and i do actually recall that working in a previous situation).

    thanks for the feedback, now and hopefully in future....

    mezz
     
  5. Couriant

    Couriant Trusted Advisor Spam Fighter

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    well what i meant by backing up is copying the files over from one drive to the other... nothing special :)
    but yeah if it's making a horrendous noise, that drive looks like it's toast.
     
  6. mezzerooni

    mezzerooni Thread Starter

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    well, after all that-

    i switched the jumper settings to master and slave and for now, through several restarts, it seems to have decided it will get off its high horse and accept the 'E' drive.
    i'm still having the noise issues- used to be one whack would keep it from humming, etc., for the rest of the day, but now it only holds it for 10-15 minutes. i remembered i have a couple of extra HDs hanging around, so i will probably try them and see if that changes the noise problem if it is a hard drive, however, it is likelier the 'C' drive (with my OS), or a fan- there are only 2, right? the big one and the one with the heatsink?
    BUT thanks to you, i feel i should mark this 'solved', and consider starting a new thread to work through the noise issue.

    so thanks plenty, couriant- have a great rest of the week. at the rate things are going in PC land for me, don't be surprised if our paths cross again.

    mezz
     
  7. Couriant

    Couriant Trusted Advisor Spam Fighter

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    The humming-whack-humming will be one of the hard drives. All you need is power connected to the drive to confirm that. No IDE/SATA needed. If it was fans, it would be constant (for the most part) with no whacks.

    Now i think of it, your drive manufacturer may have a diagnostic software to test the drives.
     
  8. mezzerooni

    mezzerooni Thread Starter

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    first- what i meant by "whacking" (in case it was unclear) was physically slapping the top of the tower in the area of the fan. one whack was stopping the hum for a whole day until 2 days ago- now it needs a whack every 10 or so minutes.
    second- i read a thread from another guy with what sounded like the exact same problem (even the need to whack). he also said the humming would start when the load increased. his TSGuy suggested trying seagate's diagnostic d/l. so last night i tried that, with a weird outcome. the instant i would click to open the program, windows would generate this message:
    "STX_STEE has encountered a problem and needs to close". i was never able to run it.

    but THEN came your suggestion today. i disconnected both HDs, and voila! NO NOISE! man, did i feel DUMB. then i tried the E drive, and: instant noise. thought to myself "geez, it was probably the E drive all along. probably explains why it was not able to connect so often."
    so next- 15 minutes ago, i tried it with just the C drive (with O/S), and no hum. at that point i started this reply to you, figuring at last- problem solved.
    but less than five minutes ago it started up again- to be clear, that is with the C drive, no E drive, and of course the fan connected.
    so NOW where does that leave me? both HDs failing at the same time? seems unlikely, but i am no expert. did the C drive take longer to cause the fan to work harder, because it's only half the size of the E drive?
    i do have the hitachi disk fitness test. i'm not too confident that i'll use it at its optimum effectiveness, but seems like my only option. i'll try running it with both drives connected.
    i guess my major concern is how much i should be sweating the possible soon-time loss of one or both hard drives, or if it is just an aging fan. i do have a spare dell tower with a similar sized fan, but looks like a different hooking-up configuration.
    can you offer any suggestions? you've been golden so far, especially givemn the limitations of my knowledge (in other words, my capacity for asking dumb questions, despite what it says about dumb questions on the TSG home page). should i start a different thread, since this one is marked "solved"? my only concern is losing contact with you.
    okay, i'll shut up- now turning it over to you, couriant. thanks again for everything so far.

    mezz
     
  9. mezzerooni

    mezzerooni Thread Starter

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    hi, again-

    to save you possibly wasting your valuable time on my issues (how does a person generate 27,000 posts in TEN YEARS?!?- i gotta wonder..)- there is a local mobile tech i currently owe some money to, which has forced me to learn a lot more on my own. he has been decent enough, though, to occasionally answer my questions at no extra charge.
    i held my phone up to the humming PC a few minutes ago, then gave it the old whack treatment. he said, without hesitation: "that's a power supply fan out of balance". so i'm going to go with his analysis and stop worrying about my HDs for now. it's possible the Dell i have for parts has compatible power supply, or i may be able to scrape together enough to buy a replacement power supply before too long.

    thanks again for all your support.

    mezz
     
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