Sata HDD intermittently not found during post

By hall0559
Apr 23, 2010
  1. *Solved* Sata HDD intermittently not found during post

    New Sata Cable... never thought it would be just that simple!

    I hope someone can help me with a new problem I'm running into.

    The system:

    Intel Core 2 Duo CPU E6750 @ 2.66GHz
    Asus P5N-E SLI MB
    2gigs PC 6400 PQI RAM (2x 1gig sticks)
    Enermax FFMA II 550w Powersupply
    Sony combo DVD-R/RW/CD-R/RW (I'd have to look up model if this is important)
    Sony combo Floppy/Mutli flash card reader(same as above)
    Windows Vista Home Basic 64 bit, service pack 2
    SLI Nvidia GeForce 8600 GT's
    Maxtor S TM3250310AS SCSI 250gig Sata HDD

    System just over three years old, out of warranty but otherwise running great, was planning to continue using it for another year or two at least.

    The problem:

    Starting a week ago about 7 out of 10 times the HDD is not found during post when the pc is "detecting IDE drives" which leads to Boot Disk Failure. When it is detected, everything works fine, no errors or crashes.

    Things I've tried without any change to the problem:
    Chkdsk, clean up, defrag (holding off on a full vista reinstall)
    Checking wire connections from power supply, and to mb.
    Different Sata Slots on MB
    Different BIOS settings, Boot priority, HDD Smart Compatability, Boot Quick/Regular.

    I would imagine from here I should get new wires, get a new hard drive, and reinstall windows, maybe not quite in that order... but I'd really love some advice if anyone has any so I can try to save some time and money, I'm completely out of both these days.

    Thanks for your time and support.
    - Logan
  2. Route44

    Route44 TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 11,966   +70

    Go to Seagate's website (Seagate bought Maxtor about 5 to 7 years ago) and download their Seatools harddrive diagnostic utility. It is free and perfectly safe. The image is an ISO file so you will need to burn to a CD, place your CD/DVD drive as first bootable, with CD already in the drive reboot and the utility will take over almost immediately after boot (just like Memtest does).

    Once booted up and the test is ready to go do the S.M.A.R.T., Short Test, and then the Long Test. Don't skip the Long Test; It will take some time but well worth it.
  3. hall0559

    hall0559 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Tests passed no errors or messages, just passed.

    Edit: As an interesting side note the drive says it has over 11000 hours of uptime.
  4. Route44

    Route44 TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 11,966   +70

    I am wondering if it could be motherboard controllers or a defective cable. Do you have another SATA cable you can use?

    Also, are you receiving any Blue Screens of Death?
  5. red1776

    red1776 Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe Posts: 5,219   +157

    im with Route on the cable, the sata's design is terrible. if it tilts a small bit it can break contact with the drive or the motherboard interface.
  6. Route44

    Route44 TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 11,966   +70

    Hi red; glad for your input. Any ideas yoiu have will be most welcome. The system is over 3 years old and the harddrive itself has 11,000 hours of uptime. Now the consenses is that hd's are good in the 3-5 year range and to caution to the 3 year boundary.

  7. red1776

    red1776 Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe Posts: 5,219   +157

    Hi Route,hall.
    I suggested the cable as well for a few reasons. 1) I personally have never seen a HDD that was 'dying' just disappear like that. I always see the clicking and clacking,slow spin up, malfunctioning programs and BSOD's. as well as the dead sectors showing up on the defrag. 2) sata cables are more susceptible to going bad from the bending and twisting of them while routing them. 3) start with the least expensive thing first :) and lastly, the drive seems to be passing the test's without condition. BTW when you go into disk management (while its working of course) is it saying healthy partition?
  8. hall0559

    hall0559 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Let's see...

    No BSODs, no errors, no crashes, nothing found in chkdsk or seatools.

    It'll take me a day or two to get a new cord, but definatly gona try that.

    As far as disk management, not sure what that is, is that seatools or something in vista? let me know.

    Thanks very much for your help so far guys.
    - L
  9. hall0559

    hall0559 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Yeah in Disk Management it says Heathly, it is my only partition.
  10. hall0559

    hall0559 TS Rookie Topic Starter


    Picked up a new Sata cable today, that really seems to have done the trick. Just couldnt let myself believe it was something that simple. Im still a little mystified that how the cable would be stopping it from being dectected only sometimes and work perfect other times with no adjustment inbetween.

    I've done about 10 cold starts, all have found the drive now immediatly, the new cord does have some kind of fancy metal clip to it, not just the plastic plug like the old one. It makes a nice satisfying "click" when attached.

    Thanks for all the help and advice.
    - Logan
  11. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +183

    Your statement reminded me of a story......

    I live in a hi-rise and still have land line phone service at home. One evening i noticed my phones stopped working (i.e. there was no dial-tone) but when I woke up the next morning, the phones were fine. OK. So, I figured no big deal....

    Until same thing kept happening again and again. Phones would die sometime late afternoon but would work again when i woke up in the morning.

    So, as it happens, i have portable phones except for one mounted wall phone in my kitchen. At some point (probably 20 years ago) when the wall phone was mounted, one of the tiny phone wires was caught between the wall and metal mounting plate. And, over 20 years, as a hi-rise sways back-and-forth just a bit every day as the earth turns, the plate finally cut through the wire! It would short the phone in the evening but the earth would rotate and the building sway back again so the short would end by morning!!!
  12. Route44

    Route44 TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 11,966   +70

    Excellent to read it has been solved. It is always nice when a fix doesn't cost that much.
  13. red1776

    red1776 Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe Posts: 5,219   +157 maybe hall has a full tower and its swaying broke the sata cable????:D:wave:

    Glad that was it hall!
  14. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +183

    LOL :haha: red1776

    Could be. The more we use 'em, the more we learn sometimes there just "ain't nuthin'" 100% for sure about computers :D
  15. Route44

    Route44 TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 11,966   +70

    Note to self: Don't enter LookinAround's hi-rise.
  16. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +183

    Ha-Ha. I have some Dramamine for ya if it's a windy day
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