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Freezing, turning off and hard drive disappearing

By Coxis
May 2, 2013
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  1. Hey guys,

    I need help diagnosing what's going on with my parent's computer. The thing is, they live a state away, so I can't be there to actually troubleshoot the issues it's having, however, the symptoms may reveal what the issue is to some of you more experimented people. I need help because I live one state away from them, so I can't troubleshoot the issues myself and when I visit them I will only have a weekend to work on it.

    It's a desktop PC with Windows 7. This was an old computer of mine that I put together a few years ago. When it was working fine it was performing decently, way better than their previous PC.

    D101GGC Intel board.
    Pentium D 2.8 GHz
    1.5 GB Ram
    300W very cheap quality power supply.
    1 IDE HDD, 80GB used for Windows 7 installation.
    1 SATA HDD, 160 GB used for their files.

    The symptoms:

    Yes, it's a bit ancient but it was working fine for the first four weeks, and then they called me and said that the secondary (160GB SATA drive) was disappearing in the middle of a session. My mom for instance would put on music (located on said drive) and work on the spreadsheets for her business and the music would just stop playing. WMP would say that the music was no longer on the drive and when looking for it, the hard drive was missing in "Computer". The drive would come back after a restart, but it would disappear in 15 to 20 minutes later.

    At first I thought the SATA cable just needed to be reseated, but then they reported freezes of the bad kind. The mouse wouldn't respond and the little spinny ring that appears would stop spinning, it was a complete freeze. Then one day, they told me the computer just turned off itself abruptly while it was in use.

    What may be going on:

    Ok, so at first I thought the SATA cable needed reseating, something which hasn't been done because my mom refuses to open up the case. The second issue is, when I was putting the computer together I used the hard drives from their old computer. The drive Windows 7 is installed in is IDE and is a bit older than the SATA one. Could a hard drive failure be an issue here? I don't think a HDD failure could make the computer turn off like that... Also due to the original 450 W power supply not having SATA power connectors, I had to switch out to a very low quality 300 W power supply I had laying around. The way I see it, a power supply failure could cause the abrupt turning off of the computer, but not the secondary hard drive disappearing, would it? I also don't see how the low RAM could cause such extreme problems.

  2. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 17,244   +234

    Have your parents mail it to you for repair. It could be both a hard drive or power supply issue. I'm sure that your mom can't repair this herself

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