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No hotplug on new/replaced external HDD/e-sata

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October 24, 2013 4:43:14 AM

Hello everyone.

For several years I used an external 1,5 TB harddisk for datastorage, connected to my PC with an e-sata cable.
Using the power switch on its casing I was able to hotplug/turn on and turn off the drive while the computer was running without a problem.

It now became necessary to completely replace this drive (including getting a new and different casing). I did so by getting a
"Sharkoon Rapid-Case 3.5, SATA, USB 2.0/eSATA" case and a
"WD Caviar Green, 64MB, 2TB, SATA-3" harddisk.
I was able to initialise and format the drive just fine (MBR/Master Boot Record / NTFS formatting).

The problem: the external drive is only recognized when it is switched on before starting up the PC. If I switch the external HDD off and on it does not reappear anywhere in windows without me rebooting the computer.
When switched on before booting the PC the device managers and the "safely remove device" list it as "WDC WD20 EZRX-00D8PB0 SCSI Disk Device".

The hotplugging does however work when the drive is connected to the PC through USB instead of e-sata.

The BIOS shows the SATA controller set on "enhanced" mode. Changing this to AHCI results in windows not booting anymore (PC restarts after reaching the first windows logo screen).

My confusion mainly comes from the fact that I was able to use a different e-sata connected external drive before just fine, no issues with the drive (re-)appearing when hot-plugging. My only idea is that the old one was a sata 2 (or 1?) and hot-plugging simply does not work with the combination of the new sata 3 drive in the new casing.

If anyone has any input on where/what the problem might be or even has an idea how it can be fixed I would greatly appreciate it.

Some system spec infos:

OS: Windows 7 Professional 64bit
Mainboard: Asus P6T Deluxe V2, Intel X58, LGA1366
External HDD in question: WD Caviar Green, 64MB, 2TB, SATA-3 (WD20EZRX)
External HDD case: Sharkoon Rapid-Case 3.5", SATA, USB 2.0/eSATA
a c 383 G Storage
October 24, 2013 5:05:16 AM

I'm not sure how you even got hot plug to work before. Hot Plug is part of the AHCI specification and is needed for this feature.

AHCI gives software developers and hardware designers a standard method for detecting, configuring, and programming SATA/AHCI adapters. AHCI is separate from the SATA 3 Gbit/s standard, although it exposes SATA's advanced capabilities (such as hot swapping and native command queuing) such that host systems can utilize them.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advanced_Host_Controller_I...

In order to switch to AHCI mode, you need to use this registry tweak before changing the bios to AHCI.

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/922976
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October 24, 2013 5:53:40 AM

Thanks Hawkeye.
It did work... sort of.

After using the fix/enabling the driver and setting the BIOS to AHCI the situation is now as follows:
I am able to switch on the external HDD after booting up the pc and it does become usable.
If I switch it off and back though on it does not reappear. My screen/pc however keeps freezing intermittently for a few seconds over the course of a few minutes.
Also windows now lists all my internal harddrives in the "safely remove hardware list".

This is an improvement as i can now use the external hdd on demand after booting the pc, i just have to leave it on afterwards.

If there is a way to get my internal HDDs out of that safe hardware removal list it would be better though (when would I ever remove my internal system boot drive while running the OS from it anyway)

Another change is that if i now have the external HDD switched on before booting the system tries to boot from the CD-ROM drive, returning an impassable errormessage saying no bootable medium found.

Is it possible that the external HDD is still, despite the driver change/update still somehow considered an IDE drive and the bios automatically looks for an IDE drive first to boot from, hence the "no bootable medium" error message and the persisting problem of not being (re-)activatable in windows after being switched on and off once?

Appologies if I am not making much sense but I am not particularly used to this level or depth of hardware configuration, plus my OS' language is not actually english thus I have to (poorly)translate when describing parts of the issue.
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a c 383 G Storage
October 24, 2013 6:10:47 AM

Some sata drives will show in the "safely remove". You don't need to worry about these as the OS will not allow you to accidently disconnect system drives. If it bothers you, just go into the menu properties and tell it to hide the safeley remove.

I'm not sure how this change would effect your screen in any way.

Hot plug can behave oddly depending on your motherboard/bios. Sometimes when I power on an esata drive, it may take up to 5 minutes before the system realizes it's there and brings it online. I've used some motherboards where I actually have to go into the device manager and tell it to rescan for it to detect that the drive is back online.
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October 24, 2013 6:25:32 AM

Sorry I was just updating my previous post with a few additional details while you replied.

About the (screen)freez though: it works like an amplified version of an effect that I always had when turning on my (old) external hdd: the moment windows detects and accesses it I used to get a very brief hickup, as in the screen/pc freezes, for about 1 sec. maybe less. Now if i switch the hdd on a 2nd time i get the previously described intensified version of this, as if the pc is trying to unsuccessfully access the drive a few times before giving up.
That however does not happen when turning it on the first time.

Combined with the other symptoms added to my previous post I am still somewhat confused.

Either way, I will most likely leave it the way it is now. But in theory, if wanting to go back to the old setup/situation, would I just have to switch off AHCI in the BIOS or also manually remove/turn off the newly activated AHCI driver in windows?
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a c 383 G Storage
October 24, 2013 7:21:05 AM

You should only need to change the bios back to it's previous setting.
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October 24, 2013 7:31:46 AM

Very well.
Thank you again for the help.

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!