Windows will not fully load with WD SATA harddrive plugged in

I'm having an odd problem here with a WD 500GB harddrive that I have had for maybe 6 months now. I believe it started right when I switched over to a new motherboard and processor although I've just ignored the problem for a while so I may be mistaken.

Any time this harddrive is plugged in, Windows will get to "Starting up Windows..." right before the login but never get to the login. If it is not plugged in I barely even see the "Starting up Windows..." message it goes by so fast. This freeze-up happens with all of my (5) HD's and two DVD burners hooked up but ALSO happens when only the WD and the 80GB IDE drive with Windows on it and nothing else (so I presume it is not a lack of power issue). Any ideas? Could my new mobo just not like this drive randomly? I've tried it with both Molex and SATA power. I've also tried hot swapping it in with the OS running and it froze everything (may be that the mobo needs further setup to allow hot swapping, I've never tried it before). I can hear the harddrive spin up and it doesn't sound weird at all. Also, I have used different cables for both data and power and different plug-in points on the mobo.

80GB IDE (Windows)
80GB SATA Hitachi
250GB SATA Hitachi
320GB SATA Hitachi
500GB SATA Western Digital - non-working

Proc: Core2Duo E8400 3.0GHz
Mobo: Gigabyte EP35-DS3R
OS: Windows XP Pro SP3 (issue started when it was still SP2)

Any ideas would be greatly appreciated, especially as I have a rather large amount of stuff on that drive that I would like to recover, not the least of which is my resume and business contact stuff.

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  1. It looks like Windows is having trouble dealing with this drive. Since you've had both SP2 andSP3 versions, both of these support 48-bit LBA for drives over 128 BG, so that can't be the trouble. The HDD itself may have a problem.

    Try downloading from WD website their tools for disk diagnostics. Usually you have to put them on a floppy or burn to a bootable CD, then boot from that source into some simplified DOS or Linux environment that runs the tests on your HDD directly. They can tell you if the HDD unit itself has a problem.
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