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IDE cable plugged in/power unplugged = hard drive safe from damage?

Tags:
  • Storage
  • Hard Drives
  • Cable
  • Power
Last response: in Storage
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July 28, 2014 1:34:03 AM

Hello!

Dealing with a mess of hard drive problems here, but I figured I would make a proper post when I've figured out what's what.

For now..I'd like to prevent further damage to a supposedly failing IDE hard drive ("A failure may be imminent" message). I unplugged the power cable to the drive so Windows XP wont "see" it, but my PC wont boot up if the IDE cable is unplugged from the drive as well. Im currently working off another SATA drive and my system boots up and works fine if the IDE drive remains unpowered but the IDE cable remains connected.

So my question is: is the IDE drive "safe" from further damage as long as I dont power it up, even if the IDE cable remains connected?

Any replies appreciated!

More about : ide cable plugged power unplugged hard drive safe damage

July 28, 2014 1:48:42 AM

It should be fine without power connected, though why can't it boot without it (what happens)? Also where did you see a message saying about failure? There isn't anything native that would do that.

Being IDE the devices could be set to cable-select, so you only have to change the other device to master.
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July 28, 2014 2:10:15 AM

cozmium said:
It should be fine without power connected, though why can't it boot without it (what happens)? Also where did you see a message saying about failure? There isn't anything native that would do that.

Being IDE the devices could be set to cable-select, so you only have to change the other device to master.


If the IDE cable isn't plugged in, the system won't start up at all: no POST, no display, no beeps, nothing. I suspect a motherboard problem, perhaps something to do with the IDE connector/controller? I don't really have time to diagnose it further right now (I'm working off the other SATA drive).

I saw the error message in "Administrative Tools/Event Viewer/System. Could a faulty motherboard component/faulty IDE cable/corrupt BIOS possibly cause a false positive? It's a brand new drive (Western Digital Caviar Blue 250GB IDE)
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July 28, 2014 2:30:02 AM

What you describe could be any number of things so yes a faulty component anywhere in the chain could easily cause such a message; windows xp isn't really set up for hard drive diagnosis and most of what it does is a wild stab in the dark.

What I was previously suggesting, is that if you have another device using the same ide cable it could be set perhaps as slave so when you unplug the hard drive it can't see the drive it 'expects' to see. I've never seen a machine that won't even start up though, normally just means the device isn't visible. Is there another device using the same IDE cable like a cd/dvd drive or something? If there is, try unplugging it and seeing what happens. The motherboard shouldn't NEED that particular drive plugged in to work, otherwise something is indeed wrong.
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a b G Storage
August 6, 2014 12:36:36 PM

Unplug all the hard drive jumpers. The drives will then auto-configure themselves properly.
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a c 971 G Storage
August 6, 2014 6:30:56 PM

Pin 20 of the cable may have power.

Quite possible the system wont respond with this drive disconnected because normally the master (or single) drive is on the end of the cable with the slave being on the inner port. With the master disconnected that would leave the slave waiting for the master to respond (it cant since its disconnected) when the bios polls for the drives.

Without power the spin motor and heads wont move so you should be safe from damaging the drives but might still leave you susceptible to voltage spike damage if it gets thru to the controller.
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a b G Storage
August 6, 2014 6:58:38 PM

Quote:
Pin 20 of the cable may have power.

Quite possible the system wont respond with this drive disconnected because normally the master (or single) drive is on the end of the cable with the slave being on the inner port. With the master disconnected that would leave the slave waiting for the master to respond (it cant since its disconnected) when the bios polls for the drives.

Without power the spin motor and heads wont move so you should be safe from damaging the drives but might still leave you susceptible to voltage spike damage if it gets thru to the controller.


Based on what has been said here in this quote, the safest thing to do is unplug the power and data cables so there is NO chance of the drive ever spinning up. Just make sure to plug the next IDE device into the master port. (i.e; CD-ROM drive)
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