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Intermittent Problem with Finding Hard Drive

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January 9, 2010 8:27:10 PM

I am experiencing an intermittent problem with a PC I built about a year and a half ago using a Gigabyte GA-EP35-DS4 motherboard . It started out by my boot drive intermittently being bumped form the top of my boot sequence. I could go into the CMOS and move it to the top of the stack and save the changes and the system would boot up in Windows 7. Otherwise, it would reach the DMA Pool verification and not progress any further.

My Problem has widened recently. I flashed by BIOS from f2 to f6 with no problems; however, the problem remained unchanged. My boot drive which is a Western Digital 300 GB Raptor is not being found by the BIOS at times. I've also noticed, at a much lower frequency, that another WD drive is sometimes not found and on one or two occasions, the Seagate IDE drive is not found. I've tried moving the WD boot drive to all other SATA ports (there are 8 locations) with similar results.

When the boot drive is not found, I can go into the Standard CMOS Features in the BIOS, go to the IDE Channel where I know the drive is connected, and do an automatic find and the drive will show up in the CMOS. However, I have noticed that when I originate the auto find in the BIOS, the Capacity is shown as 136 GB whereas when the drive is found during normal start up it shows as 300 GB which is the correct size. In either case, when I continue, the drive shows working properly when viewing its properties in Windows and shows the correct 297 GB capacity.

In thinking back a month or so ago when this problem first surfaced the first symptom I recall was that my Logitech mouse which was connected to the motherboard by a USB to PS/2 adapter stopped working and still does not work. When the problem surfaced I took the USB to PS/2 adapter off and plugged the mouse into a USP port and I haven't had a problem with it in a direct USB connection since then. I don't know if this problem is in anyway connected to the hard drive recognition problem or not, but the PS/2 port has a common chip with six of the SATA ports but so do the USB ports.

I’ve also noticed that in boot up after the memory test and the statement that memory is working as interleaved, there is sometimes a 20 to 25 second pause before anything happens and the next thing that appears on the screen is the list of hard drives that have been detected. From my memory recall, this is a lot longer than it use to take. This is the last thing that happens before entering the CMOS set up.

I would appreciate your assessment as to the source of this problem. I cannot decide for sure whether it is a motherboard problem or a hard drive problem. Any and all suggestions and comments are welcome.

Tom
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January 9, 2010 10:38:32 PM

How many boot drives do you have? Whenever I add a new drive, I let the hardrive software configure the new drive to boot or secondary. This way there's no confussion with the bios deciding which drives to load. Only one boot drive is necessary, whether ide or sata. Ide's can be changed with a jumper, but sata can't. If you want a faster boot time, I would use the software (I use maxblast 5 for seagate and maxtor drives) and reconfigure some of your drives to secondary, and see if this helps.
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January 9, 2010 11:20:33 PM

o1die, thanks for your reply. I only have one boot drive; it is the Western Digital VelociRaptor 300 GB drive. The other drives are a WD Caviar 640 GB drive for data and a Seagate 330 GB IDE drive for backup. The system has been working without a hitch for a year and a half, so I don't see how it could be the configuration.

Thnaks.
Tom
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January 16, 2010 1:51:12 AM

After a lot of testing it appaeared that culprit was my 300 GB WD Raptor drive. WD provided excellent service in shipping me a replacement for the Raptor 300GB drive. I used Windows 7 Backup and Restore to generate an image of my C drive and stored it on an external drive. Replaced the old drive with the new one and rebooted using the repair disk I generated after saving the image file. System restored the entire C drive in around 30 minutes and all is well. The new drive is detected by the BIOS on SATA ports on the South Bridge and the North Bridge. The old drive wouldn't work in the North Bridge.

I hope there aren't any gremlins hiding under those bridges that will show up after dark (Thank about it. That is supposed to be funny!)

Thanks for all your input.

Tom
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