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Old 07-28-2011, 01:02 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Slave Hard Disc Sporadically Not Recognised

Hi all,

I have a strange problem with my desktop PC. I apologise if this issue has been discussed before but I couldn't find anything specifically relevant on the forums.

I currently run four internal HDD's simultaneously (one dedicated to windows 7 only, the remaining three are used for storage with no OS's installed). Other info: 850W coolermaster PSU, gigabyte EP35DS3 mobo, intel E6600 CPU, 6GB ddr2 ram (2x2 and 2x1), radeon 6950HD graphics. All four HDD's were originally formatted and all work as they should... except...

My problem is that my 2TB SATA2 drive (about 3 weeks old!) just randomly decides not to work. In other words, two things seem to happen: 1. Sometimes when I boot up, it is not recognised in BIOS or shown in my computer/device manager... as though it's not plugged in.. completely inaccessible.. or 2. Sometimes after startup the HDD is recognised and can be used normally, but then at some random point, suddenly it disappears! Most of the time however it is recognised/shown and operates normally, as do all the other drives. The OS does not boot from this drive so obviously I can boot up as normal whether it is recognised or not. I have tried using different SATA cables and/or different power connectors for the HDD and neither have helped. I have also performed a disk check and defragment on this drive yesterday (as I have recently added a lot of data to the drive), hoping it would solve the issue. Unfortunately it hasn't.

It should be said that this hard drive coincidentally has STEAM installed on it (along with all my games, maybe about ~80GB worth). While the disappearing act isn't solely caused by gameplay (the drive can disappear randomly during normal use, or just not show up at boot up WITHOUT playing games) I would say that playing games for extended periods (or even short periods) can cause the drive to disappear too. i.e. game crashes, steam crashes, and voila I find the drive is now not visible in my computer... Hope that makes sense. Apart from STEAM, the hard drive holds all types of files (it is the location of all my music, documents, and pictures which are referred to often via shortcuts)... don't know if that's relevant or not.

My question is WHY would this happen? why might a HDD sometimes show up and not others?

Thanks
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Old 07-28-2011, 09:12 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Slave Hard Disc Sporadically Not Recognised

It's possible that it's going bad. Go to the manufacturer's website (SeaGate, Western Digital, Samsung, etc.) and look for their diagnostic tool. Most either off a Windows-based installer, a bootable version, or both. Look into that, and see if their program says it going bad or not.
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Old 07-29-2011, 12:41 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Slave Hard Disc Sporadically Not Recognised

hi carnageX,

thanks for the reply. I performed a CHKDSK and it found some bad sectors, claimed to fix everything, and what do you know it had no effect. Still had a crash mid game while running STEAM, and went to find that the drive is not listed in my computer. I forget the manufacturer of the drive and I'm way too lazy to open the case (a good 3 inches away) right now but when I reboot I'll make sure I get onto the relevant website and see if there is a diagnostic tool available.

I've done some more googling and I found this thread: Hard drive disappears - TechSpot OpenBoards which basically says that there's a microsoft hotfix for windows7 systems that have encountered this problem (caused by a stop error after 10 seconds with large SATA HDD's). I'll see how that goes after I get the zip file emailed to me by microsoft. I have not flashed the BIOS for a while (currently F3, going to flash to F4 if the hotfix doesnt help); perhaps that will help. The only other thing I can think of is to transfer STEAM to another hard drive and see if the problem transfers over to that drive or not, it may at least eliminate the gaming problem however I don't think it would stop the drive from randomly disappearing as it sometimes does even without any gaming done.

thanks
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Old 07-29-2011, 06:38 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Slave Hard Disc Sporadically Not Recognised

bit of an update - the microsoft hotfix (x86) didn't work because it gives me an error saying "your computer doesn't require this hotfix" when I first try to run the exe... pretty helpful! dead end there.

flashing BIOS didn't change anything, and when I run the WD DLG Diagnostics (windows) scan, it gives me an error message "could not open SMART or port driver on drive 2!" then a "too many bad errors detected". Then coincidentally I find that the drive isn't showing up in my computer again (assumedly causing the error message, or perhaps as a result of the scan).

not looking good. maybe asking too much of the drive causes it to disappear?
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Old 07-29-2011, 06:58 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Slave Hard Disc Sporadically Not Recognised

Boot up up with Ubuntu LiveCD. If Linux can see it, back it up.
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Old 07-30-2011, 06:10 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Slave Hard Disc Sporadically Not Recognised

Quote:
Originally Posted by VH770 View Post
bit of an update - the microsoft hotfix (x86) didn't work because it gives me an error saying "your computer doesn't require this hotfix" when I first try to run the exe... pretty helpful! dead end there.

flashing BIOS didn't change anything, and when I run the WD DLG Diagnostics (windows) scan, it gives me an error message "could not open SMART or port driver on drive 2!" then a "too many bad errors detected". Then coincidentally I find that the drive isn't showing up in my computer again (assumedly causing the error message, or perhaps as a result of the scan).

not looking good. maybe asking too much of the drive causes it to disappear?
Judging by what the WD tool is reporting... I'm going to say the drive is going band you're going to have to back up your data and replace it. If it's under warranty, contact WD about it and get it replaced under warranty.
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Old 07-31-2011, 05:57 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Slave Hard Disc Sporadically Not Recognised

Hi guys,

thank you for your input. I have now got the situation where I cannot see the drive, even after a reboot (usually it would show up after a reboot)... things are getting nasty. Can you please explain to me how it would be best to try to backup the files (argh!! all 1.5TB...). I'm going to google Ubuntu LiveCD now. If anyone has any other suggestions I'd appreciate hearing them.

Promisingly, sometimes (not always) in BIOS, the 2TB drive is still detected.

thanks
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Old 07-31-2011, 04:27 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Slave Hard Disc Sporadically Not Recognised

Best way is going to be using the Ubuntu LiveCD. Boot into it, choose "Try Ubuntu" and then see if you can get into the drive. If the BIOS isn't detecting the drive thought... then it's not going to be recognized in Ubuntu either.
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Old 07-31-2011, 07:03 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Slave Hard Disc Sporadically Not Recognised

thanks - have created the ubuntu cd and will boot with it shortly
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Old 07-31-2011, 07:06 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Slave Hard Disc Sporadically Not Recognised

Good luck, let us know how it goes.
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