2nd internal HD shuts down, then restarts randomly

By BobInDC ยท 6 replies
Dec 21, 2007
  1. Hello all, this is my first post here, and judging from other posts, looks like I fight find my answer here.

    I have two internal SATA hard drives, not as a RAID, but independent. My C drive for programs, and D for extra (future) storage. I bought the computer last spring from Gateway, which normally sells this model with two drives as a RAID, but I aksed that they not be.

    I hadn't been using the computer much until recently, when I noticed that the second drive (D) will spin down (I hear it) and immediately spin up. After a month or so of troubleshooting on and off, I cannot find any pattern. Sometimes it never happens, other times it starts after the computer's been on for a half hour, then it spins down and up and down and up... etc.

    It keeps cycling UNTIL I open any file on the D drive, save it, and then the drive remains "on" for "a while" - meaning sometimes ten minutes, sometimes hours, before (if) it begins spinning down again.

    I have hard drive monitoring software (Hard Drive Inspector pro), so I can see that the problem doesn't appear to be heat related, though "sometimes" it seem it spins down when the temp of that drive reaches 104F. The C drive is always 10-15 degrees cooler bec of the placement of the drives and the front cooling fan. (The D drive was getting much hotter before I added a small, quiet hard drive fan near by.)

    I've consulted with Gateway Tech support (still under warranty): they first sent me a new drive, which did NOT cure the problem. I've checked all the cables and all are secure. I've updated the bios, with Gateway's help. Didn't fix it. Gateway's next suggestion is to replace the motherboard (which they will do), but this seems like a problem that must have a simpler answer.

    I'm wondering is it has something to do with a RAID setting somewhere that should have been turned off. I see in the bios settings under Drive Configuration there is the "Configure SATA as.." option, which is set to RAID (choices are IDE, RAID, AHCI). Rut reading posts here and elsewhere, it seems that that is correct, even for no-RAIDed drives, and I'm a bit timid about changing it, based on some posts I read.

    I've also tried changing, in Windows, the power saving settings, but that had no effect. Again, this is only for the one drive and very (seemingly) random. Although I didn't "hear" the problem until a couple of months ago, it may have been always happening, but because of the noise in the room (air conditioner) I didn't notice it. I now use the computer with the side off so I can listen and worry more easily.

    Thanks! - Bob
  2. Blind Dragon

    Blind Dragon TS Evangelist Posts: 3,908

  3. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,010   +2,536

    It's so hard to choose......

    The BIOS setting for your drives is OS dependent. For your intended configuration, (system drive and extra storage), I would use IDE (in XP), and probably AHCI in Vista, but not RAID. The storage drive should spin up and down based on need, (file access), and the ACPI settings allow for the setting the time lag, (for drive spin down). This I believe is accessable under Control Panel > "Power Management" (XP).
  4. BobInDC

    BobInDC TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Here's some additional info regading my orginal post, in case anyone comes with the same problem. There is a lengthy thread about it here:


    Seems to be a VISTA problem; the solution suggested is to remove 1-3 Vista patches, or install Vista SP1 (the beta version) or wait for the non-beta version (I'm waiting).

    Thanks CaptC and BlindD for your replies. CaptC: configuring to AHCI actually crashed the computer, but changing to IDE seems to have helped; that is the problem doesn't happen as often as it used to (but still enough to be a problem.)
  5. BobInDC

    BobInDC TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Seems TechSpot doesn't allow a user to include a link unless one has submitted more than three posts, so here's #3
  6. BobInDC

    BobInDC TS Rookie Topic Starter

  7. Blind Dragon

    Blind Dragon TS Evangelist Posts: 3,908

    seems to be a pretty common problem
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