HD not detected, but can see it in BIOS!

By whakoworld ยท 20 replies
Sep 14, 2010
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  1. Hi all, im completely stumped.
    I just picked up a really nice custom built system, with a 1tb hd. Now, my plan was to use my 160GB hd as my main hd as it had my copy of windows 7 on in, and to use the 1tb as a storage hd. My problem is that when i remove the 1tb and put the 160gb in it comes up with "Hard drive not detected", then trys to start windows and gets 2 seconds into the loading screen and reboots. I've been in the bios and set the 160 to be the 1st priority boot device, and basically set everything else to not even be considered.

    I really have no idea what to do short of just using the 1tb as my hd, but like i said, i dont want to as it is a waste of an activation code.

    Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated!
  2. mike1959

    mike1959 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,034   +55

    Win 7 not booting

    You had a 160GB HD with Windows 7 in a different PC. Then bought another PC with 1TB HD ? Now you want to use your 160GB as your OS and C: drive?
    Have you checked the 'jumper' on the back of each HD? If you plan to have 160GB as 'C' and the 1 TB as 'D', make sure the 'jumper' on 160GB is on 'Master' pins, and the jumper on the 1TB can be either on 'slave' pins or taken off altogether.
    I assume you have them both on same ribbon? Then the BIOS will look for the OS (Win7) on the primary drive with the 'Master' jumper on. The other problem is that as your Win7 software was installed on a different PC, the validation will fail. If you have the Windows 7 DVD then you can install it again, type in your product key, and activate it again with MSoft. That should work.
  3. hughva

    hughva TS Rookie Posts: 58

    My understanding of MS licensing is that you can't move Win7 to another machine. You need to buy another copy.
    The 160 from another machine won't boot properly as it's set for completely different hardware, but it should still be detected.
    What's the hardware in the new system?
  4. mike1959

    mike1959 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,034   +55

    About using a previous PC's HD

    Hi again, To put this more simply, it depends on what sort of PC your 'old' Win7 came from. If you bought or 'inherited' a PC that was bought from a 'well-known' manufacturer, the Win7 will have been pre-installed, and you won't have the Disc.
    That is an OEM version and is for use on that PC only and when it ends it's life (one way or another) you can't move it to a new one. But, if you bought the Windows 7 from a shop or on-line as a 'retail' version, you will have a product key. Then you can use it, within reason, as you like. It's more expensive, but it's clear why. When you install Win7 on a PC, the activation with MS is based on many of the components in that PC, so that's why when you moved your 'old' 160GB HD over, it fails to boot. (Because the components are all different). You can use your hard drives as you want to, 160GB as 'C' and 1TB as storage,'D', but you will have to install Win7 again using your own key. Before you do, save any music , docs, and pictures off your 160GB, as you won't find them after Installing Win 7 again. So it's good and bad news! Hope that helps.
  5. whakoworld

    whakoworld TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks for the replies!
    @Mike1959 - will i be able to 're-activate' windows 7 on the new computer using the same product key that i have already used on my old computer, as obviously i dont want to try reinstalling it and discovering it doesnt work - its windows 7 ultimate, it would be a waste of money to do that.

    I dont have jumpers in the back of the hd's, i dont have the 1tb plugged in at all at the moment actually as i was just trying to get it to boot off the 160. I will try that though.

    My old computer is one ibuilt a few years ago so i have the disks and stuff.

    @hughva - My new system is:ASUS M4A79XTD EVO AM3 Motherboard with Crossfire

    AMD X2 555 Phenom @3.2Ghz

    2GB DDR3 OCZ 1333 Ram

    Samsung 500GB Hard Drive

    Blu Ray reader sata Drive

    EVGA Nvidia 9800GT x2 Graphics card
  6. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Posts: 3,797   +117

    I don't see an issue with moving a retail version of W7 over to a new PC, as long as you don't use the product key on two different computers its OK.

    Re-activation should also be OK, you'll need a fresh installation anyway as you've changed your hardware.

    What version is your W7? (e.g. retail, OEM, manufacturer supplied)
  7. whakoworld

    whakoworld TS Rookie Topic Starter

    @Leekie: Its retail windows 7 Ultimate. So i have the disk etc for reinstallation - shouldnt be a problem.
    As i have already activated it on my old computer, will it not think "hang on a sec, you've already been activated" and not allow me to do it on the new computer? Its only a 1 user product key, so you can understand my hesitation as product keys are expensive.
    Sorry to be a pain, its just i want to be 100% clear.
    Do you reckon booting from the windows cd and reinstalling will sort the problem?
  8. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Posts: 3,797   +117

    You should be fine. I tend to keep hardware changes to a minimum though, to save issues during re-activation.

    I can't see why you'd have a problem to be honest. Worst case scenario is having to telephone activate the install, at which point you'd verify its installed to one PC anyway.

    I've been moving Windows installs supplied in retail and OEM form between computers for years.

    I would boot into BIOS, and confirm the hard drives are read correctly, set up your 160GB as priority, and then...

    I would just insert your W7 disc, and reboot into the setup, and set it up onto your 160GB hard drive. I would imagine your hardware changes are preventing Windows from loading.
  9. hughva

    hughva TS Rookie Posts: 58

    It would be easy enough and safe to test this by booting from the DVD and just going far enough to see if the disk is found.
    I have some doubts about this, as it seems to me the drive should be detected under any circumstances.
    OTOH, it's Windows and anything is possible.
  10. whakoworld

    whakoworld TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Haha! That is a very good point - who knows what motivates Windows. Right i will have a go at booting from the DVD and reinstalling windows today, and get back to you :)
  11. mike1959

    mike1959 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,034   +55

    Installing Windows again..

    Hi. If you build up your new PC with all the components (Drives, graphics cards etc) then install Windows 7, it will work fine. Although you have activated it before using your product key, you can do it again, it's ok with Microsoft, as long as you don't try to repeat it too often, (because they will think you are building PC's to resell). You need to have your PC built up as you want to use it, because the activation number that's generated, is made up of the serial numbers of critical components of your PC. In fact, as I found out, I activated Win7 last October, two weeks later I changed Graphic card, and had to activate again ! (Because the part numbers had changed, of course). If you intend to use both hard drives in your PC, put them in, but make sure you have a 'jumper' on the 'Master' pins of the Drive you have on the 'Primary' in the BIOS. Use the Brand name of your 160GB to help identify it in the BIOS. You dont need a 'jumper' on the second HD. When you install Win7, change the boot order to 'CD/DVD' first. (After it all works, you can swap it back to 'ON BOARD IDE/SATA' first, but it's not vital.) Last thought, if you have a Media card reader don't connect it while installing O.S. Hope it all goes well !!
  12. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Posts: 3,797   +117

    Why shouldn't a media card reader be connected prior to installing W7?

    Jumpers are only valid for (E)IDE devices, not SATA devices; It's an important detail I feel needs adding as it could cause confusion to the OP otherwise.
  13. mike1959

    mike1959 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,034   +55

    IDE/SATA confusion...

    Very good point made Leeky, IDE Hard drives DO need to be set up with 'jumpers' to tell the IDE controller which is the 'Master' drive. If using SATA HD then NO 'jumpers' are involved. Makes the whole job a little easier. I have found at least twice in past PC builds, If an internal Media card reader is fitted, and connected, Windows can give the (usually 4) card reader slots a drive 'letter' , directly after 'C'. Then it pushes any other hard drives installed, down the order. For instance C=HD, D,E,F,G=media card reader, then 'H' second HD. It's possible to change the order afterwards, I believe, but I like to have 'C' & 'D' as hard drives. If the Media card reader is connected after Windows is installed, they are given Letters following the hard drives. (in this case,E,F,G & H). Hope this makes sense.
  14. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Posts: 3,797   +117

    I get ya now. I'm not really that bothered about this though, as its only a drive letter. I find my install of W7 Pro x64 actually mounts and assigns drive letters as my media cards are added to my media card reader (which is mounted to the USB headers on the motherboard internally.

    Here it is without any media cards added:


    Here it is with my SD card inserted into the reader:


    As you can see it mounts each card as its added, so not really an issue. I think its easier overall just leaving the reader connected, and letting it boot as normal.
  15. whakoworld

    whakoworld TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Guys - Thanks so much for all your help! I reinstalled windows and reactivated it so its all good. It still boots and says hard drive not detected, but then loads windows anyway. Ill have to fiddle about with it i guess.
    Cheers again :)
  16. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Posts: 3,797   +117

    What are your hard drives exactly? e.g. Make, model, and interface (IDE/SATA).

    It actually sounds like one of your drives is infact IDE, hence the not found issues during bootup.
  17. whakoworld

    whakoworld TS Rookie Topic Starter

    My 160 is a Samsung HD160JJ. It is sata i assume as it uses sata cables. Is IDE not Pata? Just to get it clear in my head. And my other one is a Samsung HD103SI - not connected atm though as i dont have the right rails to mount it in my case. Also sata though,
  18. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Posts: 3,797   +117

    Yes, IDE is refered to as PATA as well.

    SATA's don't require any jumper setting, and should be read by BIOS automatically. :)
  19. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +184

    @mike1959 and Leeky

    Hi guys! I skimmed your posts about Windows, disk drives, drive letters and storage device detection. Thought i'd add a side note about Windows that might help debug related issues in the future (or may help avoid some types of disk detection issues)

    As you noted already, when Windows detects/adds a new disk (or any mass storage device):
    > it installs its driver and
    > Assigns it the "next available" drive letter

    Which is why Windows can sometimes make things confusing
    > Note: Windows also assigns drive letters to other things like network mounted drives

    > Also note!! Disk drivers are installed when the device first mounted BUT the drivers are NOT uninstalled when the disk is unplugged / removed (for example, when you unplug USB storage and card readers). The drivers are only uninstalled when the device itself is uninstalled!
    ==> When you simply unplug / remove the device, the drivers don't get removed. They're still installed in Windows
    ==> That's one way Windows saves device specific data (e.g. it's driver and assigned drive letter) to remember stuff for then next time you replug that same device (also so it's quicker as Windows needn't reinstall its driver each time you replug a device)
    ==> Windows will often reinstall instances of the same driver each time you reinsert the same USB storage device into different a port (so it has a driver instance per port!)

    All this is great except for the things that can go wrong:
    > Windows will also assign drive letters to things like network drives and user created mount points

    So, over time it's easy for "drive letter conflicts" to arise (where the same drive letter gets assigned to 2 different things because you unplugged one device and Windows stupidly reassigns it to the 2nd. Now you plug that 1st device back and PROBLEM because its assigned drive letter is currently being used by something else. NET RESULT: The device no longer appears in My Computer or Explorer when you plug it in

    Methods to avoid these problem scenarios:
    > If you have USB drives/flash you often plug in/ remove, use Disk Management to assign them a "high" drive letter (like X, Y, Z). Avoids conflicts when Windows does automatic assignment in that "next availble" letter range (also assign your ntwk mounts high letters)
    > You can use USBDLM - a freeware tool that runs as a Windows service. Allows you to configure your USB drive letter assignments

    I;ve never tried USBDLM myself but looks handy. Typically, i just assign my normal USB and network drive mounts to high drive letters. And if and when mulitple drive letter management / conficts seem to be a problem, you can either manually reassign drive letters or just clean up the whole mess [post=875300]How to Cleanup and Remove old USB Storage Drivers[/post]
  20. malakaayo

    malakaayo TS Rookie Posts: 17

    @op, i encountered a similar problem of not being able to boot 1 hard disk drive when using 2 or more drives with multi-boot OS (windows xp pro sp3 on 1st primary partition on hdd1, windows xp sp3 on 2nd primary partition on hdd1, and another windows xp sp3 on 1st primary partition on hdd2...

    my solution was reformatting the "undetected by windows but seen on bios hdd" and setting the bios to "autodetect all hard disk drives"...

    (back up data first before any reformat)
  21. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Posts: 3,797   +117


    Thanks for that fantastic post. I learned a lot from that. :D

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