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Installing a new HDD - is my approach causing me problems?

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a b G Storage
November 17, 2006 2:00:12 PM

The background: Have built many PC's over the years, installed numerous HDD's, have changed from using Fdisk to using manufacturer Software.

The Problem: Have recently added a SATA drive to my system, the first one I added was a WD2500KS, installed it using WD software, transferred my OS from my old IDE to new SATA. On cold boots the drive fails to be recognised (sometimes), "disk read error press ctrl+alt+del" on screen just after the bios information had come up. Occassionally it freezes during the Bios information. Once Ctrl+alt+del'd it works fine, i.e. a warm boot is ok.

I exchanged the drive for another one, the supplier found fault with the first, I followed same procedure same thing happened. Returned it, they found fault, I got another drive, tried the same thing got the same result, returned this drive they found fault. So three WD2500KS's were all faulty (although SMART showed nothing on any of them, and they all worked fine) All were jumpered down to 150, although they worked just as well/badly without the jumper.

So I tried again with a 7200.10 320Gb from Seagate, this worked better, but is now doing the same thing, Used Seagate tools this time, had been in the machine for 1-2 weeks before symptoms. I can't believe that I've had 4 bad disks, although they claim to have found fault with 3 of them.

The Question: am I doing something wrong, I shouldn't need sata disks as windows recognises it, and its a virtual 3rd IDE port, and I'm not raid. Should I use Fdisk, although can Fdisk see this big a drive? Is not using Fdisk causing the problem, I thought the software should work though, as thats what it is there for, to migrate from current drive to bare empty drive. Was copying from IDE to SATA a bad idea, the IDE install was fresh to this mobo and general setup.

I'm re-organising my storage at the moment so that I can attempt to reformat this drive, or can I just reformat the MBR. I'll get myself to a safe position first before I do anything.

Only other symptom I had was that the first WD would be cool (32) whilst in use, and get warm (44) when idle, like it was doing something in background (formatting perhaps). But the formatting in the software isn't that quick , so I doubt it was quick format.

Any thoughts from anyone? mobo details in sig.
Sorry for the long post.
a b G Storage
November 18, 2006 11:25:54 AM

bump
November 18, 2006 12:51:39 PM

Having 4 bad hd is very unlikely. Have you try looking at the ide/sata controller. Signs of bad controller is when hd cannot be detected, or windows sometime have trouble locating the booting partition. Bad controller will cause hd to transfer corrupted data to new hd. The faults that is detected on the suspected hd are cause by the controller during transfer. Try getting a pci ide/sata controller and hook that way.

AMDx2 4200+
2GB RAM
36gb WD Raptor
500GB raid 0 Seagate
BFG 7600GT OC
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a b G Storage
November 18, 2006 12:57:42 PM

They all seemed to be ok in general, no spurious crashes, no failed installs, no failed version of windows copied from other disk, all/any of which I'd expect to be hit by controller problems.

It does sound like a bad controller, or possibly some bad electronics on the path to the controller that need to get started properly.

The intermittent / semi-predictable / solveable nature of this is most weird.

Probably going to have to live it until I get off this interim Mobo and RAM.
a c 349 G Storage
November 20, 2006 5:15:23 PM

Yeah, this really sounds like the mobo / SATA controller. Four HHD's, one of them from a different maufacturer, and the ALL have the same intermittent problem? No commonality there. The common thread is either the SATA controller or the mobo. Seems like the SATA controller is not initializing properly from a cold boot, but is OK if it already has poer on for a re-boot. The controller (is it built into the mobo?) or the mobo itself is having a problem trying to do something before power is stable.

Any chance this could be fixed by a BIOS update? I would guess the sequence and timing of device start-ups on the mobo is governed by the BIOS.
a b G Storage
November 20, 2006 5:25:19 PM

I suspected as much, have told Asrock of issue, they at first pointed me back to my supplier, but its not got much to do with them really, they are continuing to bring out bios updates, so I can only really wait.

It'll probably get solved after I buy some DDR2, and get another mobo and do some OC'ing.
November 20, 2006 6:34:43 PM

I'm thinking power supply. Check the output voltages at the hard drive connector, see if they're in spec.
a b G Storage
November 20, 2006 6:38:58 PM

It was one of my original thoughts, Speedfan reports 12V as being 11.31V, as does everest and a few others.

I put a volt meter on the end of a molex, 12.00 dead, no change at idle, or full power, or through startup, straight to 12.00, with and without fans.
Gotta love that S12.

So I've discounted that for now.
a b G Storage
November 20, 2006 7:30:31 PM

Check your bios. Some of them have a "delay hdd spin up" (or something like that). In trying to be an all in one motherboard, I suspect this "feature" is there. If it is, change the value so that the harddrives spin when power is on. I've also never played with an ATX extension, any chance this is the cause? Probably requires removing the motherboard to test.
a b G Storage
November 20, 2006 7:35:01 PM

I think i'd have seen a delay feature by now, but I'll have another look, I doubt the ATX ext Cable. Would it be safe to try and turn on so that I can get use a meter on the end of the cable if ther cable isn't plugged in?
November 20, 2006 8:11:13 PM

I agree with the cold start controller failure scenario. However, if there's no known BIOS bug for this problem, then another BIOS release, (possibly older), could solve the problem. All too often new BIOS releases will solve several issues, while unknowingly creating others, which proves once again that newer isn't always better.
a b G Storage
November 20, 2006 8:15:45 PM

I thought that a while ago too, so I tried every bios that they have release between 1.50 (earliest support for C2D) and 1.9 (works without 256 FSB and/or higher speed fan).

I've tried spread spectrum on/off. Both sata ports, two cables, molex and sata power.

Could it how I have set these up using OEM software rather than computer management? Could they have not got the installation of the MBR quite right (don't know why I'm suggesting this, as it would not be intermittent / cold vs warm)
November 20, 2006 8:32:27 PM

It appears that you probably haven't overlooked much. The cold start controller failure seems to be the most plausible explanation. Have you tried heating the chipset (southbridge) with a blow dryer (carefully) then cooling it by spraying (powered off) with circuit chill? As for managing drives, I prefer Partition Magic 8 and Norton Ghost 03. On my own rig, I don't bother with images, I instead favor ghosting drives and partitions, PATA or SATA.
a b G Storage
November 20, 2006 8:39:28 PM

I think the Hairdryer is going a bit far.

As I mentioned before I'll get another mobo at some point when 650i comes out and i see what it is like. I'll some of the needed DDr2 as well, and then relegate this to the GF's machine and use PATA only. Which it seems to be perfectly fine with. For a £50 mobo it ain't worth the hassle of RMA etc.

Thanks for all the help. Will live with it for now. A quick three fingered salute solves it almost all of the time, and a second one definately does.
November 20, 2006 9:12:34 PM

Yes, the blowdryer & circuit chill method may seem a bit extreme, but are proven troubleshooting techniques which yield results. I like your solution to make the problem transparent with PATA, so whatever it takes. The i650 platform looks very appealing, and should be a great performer.

Good luck and enjoy!
November 20, 2006 10:11:41 PM

Format c:

Install winXP.

....Simple answer, but it works a heck of a lot better than trying to migrate an os like windows to another physical drive.

I have had this exact issue at work on occasion. Never could figure it out....But it seems to happen when I take the drive from one machine and slap it into another machine....os and all...I have just decided to live with it and hit F2 when error comes up in BIOS, then it boots right into XP as if nothing is the matter.

Format c: will work wonders though...If you have the windows disk and product key....Doh!
November 20, 2006 11:27:31 PM

Quote:
the first one I added was a WD2500KS, installed it using WD software, transferred my OS from my old IDE to new SATA. On cold boots the drive fails to be recognised (sometimes), "disk read error press ctrl+alt+del" on screen just after the bios information had come up


So you transferred your OS onto the new drive?
During Windows installation, for controllers not supported with the OS, you must specify that you are going boot with an out of the ordinary mass storage device such as SCSI, SATA.

I'd try reinstalling the OS with the SATA drive......you might need to hit F6 right at the beginning of setup to install SATA drivers.

If you have indeed had 4 consecutive bad hard drives.......you should go out to your local news agent right now and buy yourself a lottery ticket or power ball.
a b G Storage
November 21, 2006 6:46:15 AM

Quote:
Format c:

Install winXP.

....Simple answer, but it works a heck of a lot better than trying to migrate an os like windows to another physical drive.

I have had this exact issue at work on occasion. Never could figure it out....But it seems to happen when I take the drive from one machine and slap it into another machine....os and all...I have just decided to live with it and hit F2 when error comes up in BIOS, then it boots right into XP as if nothing is the matter.

Format c: will work wonders though...If you have the windows disk and product key....Doh!


I hope you misunderstand me, this was a clean install on this system without the drive, and then I added the drive, that was the only change, in fact as an experiment I did try doing a clean install before I returned one of the drives (yes I wiped it), and it still happened. This morning it would not even get to past the first page of bios info. It listed all of the drives and then stopped. So its a pre disk access problem by the looks of it.

And yes I have a windows disk and key.
a b G Storage
November 21, 2006 6:49:45 AM

Quote:
the first one I added was a WD2500KS, installed it using WD software, transferred my OS from my old IDE to new SATA. On cold boots the drive fails to be recognised (sometimes), "disk read error press ctrl+alt+del" on screen just after the bios information had come up


So you transferred your OS onto the new drive?
During Windows installation, for controllers not supported with the OS, you must specify that you are going boot with an out of the ordinary mass storage device such as SCSI, SATA.

I'd try reinstalling the OS with the SATA drive......you might need to hit F6 right at the beginning of setup to install SATA drivers.

If you have indeed had 4 consecutive bad hard drives.......you should go out to your local news agent right now and buy yourself a lottery ticket or power ball.

This particular mobo uses a thrid ide channel as an alias for the SATA ports, i'd only need to use sata drivers if I was using raid 0/1. Also the fault occurs prior to windows loading, and surely (and most importantly) that would be a consistent failure and not an intermittent failure.

So thanks for the thougts.
a b G Storage
November 21, 2006 6:59:46 AM

Quote:
Yes, the blowdryer & circuit chill method may seem a bit extreme, but are proven troubleshooting techniques which yield results. I like your solution to make the problem transparent with PATA, so whatever it takes. The i650 platform looks very appealing, and should be a great performer.

Good luck and enjoy!


The only problem with the PATA solution is that the presence of a SATA drive has been known to cause a PATA drive to hang during Booting, same symptoms, same solutions. Ctrl+alt+del and it works fine.

Will hang on in there, it has meant that I have found a supplier whose fault find is, shall we say, generous.
!