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Really Strange...XP & Hard Drive Vanishing

Discussion in 'Computer Components' started by windfall, Oct 13, 2005.

  1. windfall

    windfall
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    Hi All

    I have had this really strange problem with my Dell Dim 5000 for a couple of months. I have a pair of SATA 250Gb (Western Digital) disks the D drive is the second physical disk. I have a dual boot so my first disk is plit for XP Pro and XP Media center. If your wondering why I have split them apart - its because once you fill up the XP Pro with all the junk software it runs slow. So for media usage I have a fairly basic media center installation.

    The problem - When I boot into XP pro sometimes the second hard disk does not appear. I tried everything - nout in Device manager, disk management etc.
    Then sometimes it appears! I do nothing - just reboot and its there.

    Now in MCE it appears everytime without fail.

    WASSUP do you think? I have changed the SATA cable 3 times and that is ruled out. when I boot the pc I hold it at the OS selection so that the drive has time to spin up (and be recognised by the system). But on the basis one OS see's it everytime and the other does not I have to sugges tto myself its a software issue.

    One tip - if you buy a dell PC and want to retro fit a DISK to it, make sure you get the second SATA cable cos 99% of the retro fit cables wont fit in the dell case (on a Dim 5000). It took me ages to find one and dell never returned any of my emails or calls about it.

    Cheers

    Tone
     
  2. dekoded

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    I've had similar problems with CD/DVD drives vanishing, normally after installing burning/copying software.

    There are small free programs available, I think one is called 'XP DRIVE FIX' that fix your reg entries (or similar) to make them re-appear, I don't know if this would work for a HDD though :confused:
     
  3. mickey

    mickey
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    I have a 160gb seagate sata drive had about 4 weeks that just dissapears at any time it likes, while copying files or even while trying to watch a movie file it will just dissapear from the system then wont reappear until i reboot the comp a few times. and the disc is 100% healthy and working ran every test known to man on it and comes up clean in everyone. just dont use it now , leave it disconnected, its now just ballast in my pc case :rolleyes: But I have come to the decision it is a xp software problem loads of posts on the web about dissapearing drives in xp major microsoft B@llsup i think. Mike
     
  4. DaveP

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    Is the drive set to CS (Cable Select) This is the standard for Dell drives and even though you may have it connected as a slave it may still have issues if you select slave from the jumpers.

    Dave
     
  5. windfall

    windfall
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    Guys - Dave - thanks I will check now. Would that still be an issue where its seen by one OS and not the other?

    Cheers

    Tone
     
  6. windfall

    windfall
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    Right.
    I have taken the drive out. It says on the drive that slave/master are not required for SATA. The jumper is over pins 1&2 which disables Spread Spectrum Clocking pins 3&4 enable power up in standby. There are another four pins but they are not documented on the drive label. I have checked the other disk and the pins are the same as this second disk in that they are over pins 1&2.

    Cheers
    Tone
     
  7. DaveP

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    Sorry, my bad. Didn't realise they were SATA!

    Dave
     
  8. Monty Burns

    Monty Burns
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    Probably not the most convenient thing to do but, when you loose the disk, can you still hear it spinning? Maybe take the side off the case and see if its still spinning (vibration)?

    Also, SATA connectors are fragile at best. I personaly have snapped two even though im fairly well versed with PC hardware. The only good news is that *if* it has snapped and is only connecting occasionaly, you can pull the metal strips out and realign them and gently thread them back in. Needle nose pliers 4tw!


    All said, it looks unlikely to be a hardware issue as it works in MCE but, worth a check. (depends on how much time in ratio you spend in each O/S)


    Good luck!
     
  9. windfall

    windfall
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    Dave

    No probs!

    I did move the jumper over to 3&4 but received an error at POST that the second hard disk cannot be detected properly!
    So I reverted it back.

    I will keep looking for a solution.

    Thanks

    Tone
     
  10. Maff et1

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    Have you checked the event logs? Sata is hot swapable and it marks a system event if it thinks the drive has been pulled. If these events are in the log it would suggest the cable is bad/loose, or maybe a driver issue.
     
  11. Steve.J.Davies

    Steve.J.Davies
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    I haven't had a dssaperaing drive but have had lots and lots of fun lately with a new mobo and 3 sata drives. lots of hits on the web for this.
    if ther is anobaord raid controiller and you are not raid then disable the raid in the bios.
    Sata device present in weird order and windows want stuff in a certain way, then add multiboot and its all a bit messy.
    if anyone is using an a8n-sli premium I might be able to help having finally fettled my setup. it wasn't pretty though and I found most of the advice on the boards was plain wrong.
    I did several installs (of windaz) and added disks to different ports to find out what worked for me..then there was the whole Grub thing....
    But you are using a dell - ouch, non standard parts, custom mobos... I think you need to search for someone in the same boat so you can compare notes/scars/bad language...
     
  12. windfall

    windfall
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    Hiya
    I did checkout all the event logs - nothing listed, I have no RAID controllers just using the two SATA ports on the mobo,I have been through the bios, but remember the media center OS see's the drive EVERY time, its XP Pro that doesnt see it every boot.

    I did do a sys restore - think I may have to do a rebuild! Ouch!

    Thanks

    Tone
     
  13. windfall

    windfall
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    Well Chaps
    I decided to have a hunt around in Device Manager again. I did a scan for new hardware at the root and nothing happened. But when I did it at the DISK Drives it found the other disk. It is now running with that second hard disk again. I have not bee able to reboot to see if it is found automatically but I am pleased to have made some progress. Still nothing in the event logs for why the device was ignored at boot time though!
    Cheers
    Tone
     
  14. Steve.J.Davies

    Steve.J.Davies
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    are you using the XP that came with the ell or a 'full install' ???
     
  15. windfall

    windfall
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    Its a new install (xp pro) although this eve the above did not work!! I dunno, I reckon a re-install "may" do it! else I will just have to reboot until it turns up! could send it back to dell but that would be way too much hassle!!

    Tone
     
  16. Steve.J.Davies

    Steve.J.Davies
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    as dell have 'special' kit they may also have a customised version of XP that works with their wird bits. in fact you may need to use their version to have a fighting chance.
    Have you tried it ?
     
  17. windfall

    windfall
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    Hi Steve

    The second hard drive was added after I gutted the origional disk and installed Xp Pro. It was working fine for ages and as I mentioned earlier the MCE installation is totally non standard Dell and that operates both disks all the time.
    Its clearly a total arse but I guess unless I re-install wndows I dont think its going to work.
    When I have the courage to start again I'll try it, I just wondered if anyone else had ever seen a disk vanish!

    Cheers mate

    Tone
     
  18. gearguy

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    My Windows XP Home Edition disrecognises My CD and DVD drives if I put a certain brand of CD RW in my CD RW Drive.
    It also disconnects me from the internet if I try to use the DVD drive while on the internet and emits a strange clicking sound through my PC speakers.
    Trying to watch VCDs on the CD RW drive leads to nothing but an incredibly loud buzzing sound through my PC's speakers and watching them on the DVD drive makes the sound go out of sync with the video.

    Last time I had these problems reinstalling windows worked.
    But now they has mysteriously re-appeared. :rolleyes:
     
  19. dekoded

    dekoded
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    This worked for me, at least for cd/dvd drives but I don't know if it'll work for you, could sort gearguy's problems though
     

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