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Hard drives disappearing from my computer

By HaLo2FrEeEk · 5 replies
Feb 18, 2010
  1. I've been having this issue for several weeks now, but it never happened before I upgrading to windows 7. I have 4 physical hard drives, with one partitioned into 3 parts, making 6 drives in my computer. Lately drives have been randomly disappearing from the list. I've noticed that most frequently it's the IDE drives that disappear, but I've had my 1 TB drive go away once and even one of the partitions and my sata bluray drive. I cannot figure out why this is happening. The drives still show up in device manager and disk management, but they appear as uninitialized. I'm scared to initialize them because I don't know if it'll format them, and a quick restart always fixes the problem, it's just very annoying because it always seems that it's the disk that I need that disappears. I'm sure the drives aren't going bad because it's happened to all of them and the bluray drive, my only thought is that it might be my power supply, but it always worked on xp and vista. I have a 500W PSU, and it's always been enough, though I have been looking at upgrading sometime soon.

    Does anyone have any ideas as to why this might be happening? It's very frustrating having to restart so often.
  2. Archean

    Archean TechSpot Paladin Posts: 5,690   +95

    To help achieve maximum system energy efficiency, the Windows® power manager cooperates with various software drivers to automatically power down devices when they are not in use. This mechanism—called "device idle detection"—allows devices to change their power state automatically based on system environment, power policy, and current device usage. Source: MS

    Also, if thats what is at work; you may go through power management settings of your system and see what are the default settings for various hardware components e.g. CPU/HDD/VGA etc.

    Another issue can be device idle detection, several components actively participate in this, helping in conserving energy etc. However, as Disk idle detection is a cooperative arrangement between the Windows power manager and the disk software driver stack, your old devices may have some issues with this OS functionality.

    The Windows power manager uses disk activity, power policy, and/or system power source (AC/DC) to determine when to spin down and when to spin up the disk device. Power policy configures the time interval between the last disk access and spin-down of the device, as well as any amount of disk activity that should be ignored to be more aggressive in entering the spin-down state.
  3. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +10

    Device Idle detection, should still show hard drive as detected
  4. Archean

    Archean TechSpot Paladin Posts: 5,690   +95

    Thanks ray, your observation is corect, but as he said once he reboots there is no issue at all, everything works fine, so first logical direction to explore for me was the power management related issues.

    Also, your comment lead me to another issue which need to be clarified; what is the SATA/IDE settings you have chosen in the Bios? HaLo2FrEeEk
  5. HaLo2FrEeEk

    HaLo2FrEeEk TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 164

    I can't remember what I've got my BIOS settings set to, but I know that for some reason in my power management configuration it was set to power down drives after 20 minutes, so that might have been the issue. I changed it to never, hopefully that fixes the issue. I'll check my BIOS settings though, I have to restart my computer right now anyway to plug my bluray drive back in.
  6. Archean

    Archean TechSpot Paladin Posts: 5,690   +95

    Alright; please let us know if you need further help. Regards
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