Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

Intermittent hard drive error

Last response: in Storage
Share
September 10, 2011 11:45:40 AM

Hi,

Recently I've been having a strange problem with my pc, after it working absolutely fine for over a year. It starts with the pc lagging and hanging for a few seconds and then eventually crashing (either just freezing or a blue screened error msg). Then when it restarts (or I manually restart it) it comes up with the error message 'hard disk error, please insert boot disk'.

The only problem here is that when I go into Bios the hard drive is not even found, so when I try and boot from the disk nothing can be repaired or restored.

I've tried changing the SATA cable/power cable to the hard drive, resetting the Bios, changing the SATA port etc. But still it will not recognise it.

But here is the really weird thing....it works some of the time, booting up fine, recognising the hard drive and all. Then it might work for an hour, a day, a few days, until it crashes again and the whole cycle begins again. Usually if I leave the pc untouched for 3/4 hours (or overnight) and then switch it on, it magically seems to work again. However I left it over last night and tried powering it up today, and still it is not finding the hard drive. Starting to really piss me off, as it seems such a random and intermittent problem.

My pc specs:
Seagate barracuda 7200.12 500gb
Windows 7 64-bit
asus p5n-e sli mobo
2gb (4x512mb) 533mhz ram
650w coolermaster psu
8800gtx 512mb

a c 116 G Storage
September 10, 2011 1:28:13 PM

Welcome to Tom's Hardware Forums!

There are a few things you can do before you start debugging and fixing your computer. The Barracuda 7200.12 is a good hard disk.

1) Do a complete backup of the entire computer.
2) Download and run 'Malwarebytes' anti virus program in addition to the AV program you now have.
3) If this does not fix the computer, do a 'System Restore' to a previous known good date (I hope this BSOD problem has not been going on for too long).

If you still have the BSOD, see what message it gives you on the screen. Many times it is a recently installed driver that is not compatible (bad driver).

Check the RAM, one stick at a time. See if you have any bad RAM.

I am not very thrilled with the Cooler Master PSU. CM makes great cases, not great PSUs. Do you have access to another known good PSU that you can substitute and try out?

Let us know how things go.
September 10, 2011 1:41:45 PM

Thanks for the reply.

I have already tried using system restore and it did seem to be alright for about a week, but then started happening again. And the last few days it seems to have got progressively worse. Had it working for only a couple of hours before it started crashing. And today its just coming up with the 'hard disk error' and not finding the hd in Bios.

I also ran a full virus and malwarebytes scan when it first started doing this, so dont think they can be the problem.

Just really stuck as to ideas. And no I dont have another suitable PSU to test. Ill give the RAM test a go, but have already had a play with them to no avail.
Related resources
a c 116 G Storage
September 10, 2011 2:29:04 PM

Glad you did these things. Some more info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_Screen_of_Death

Just to eliminate the HDD as the source of the problem, you can start out with a new or different HDD. But this involves a lot of software installations.

Did you install any new programs lately? If so, uninstall those programs and then check performance.
September 11, 2011 11:12:19 AM

Well the latest is that I cant even get it working intermittently. It now just keeps on coming up with the disk boot failure and not recognising the hard drive in Bios.

I havent installed any new programs that I can think of recently.

Just a thought, but I have the pc lying on its side, so the HDD is vertical would this cause any HDD failures? However it doesnt make any odd noises, so doesnt sound like a mechanical fault.
a c 116 G Storage
September 11, 2011 4:26:01 PM

HDDs can be installed and run in any position. And frequently they have different orientations in different computers. Laying the computer on its side and running it like that makes no difference.

Try this HDD in a different computer. In any event, you should get the data off this HDD one way or the other. And don't forget to backup your entire computer on a regular basis.
September 12, 2011 6:25:23 PM

Well I have a 'family' pc that I am currently using. This is on XP and is probably a good 8 years old (40gb hd!!). Would I just be able to plug in my barracuda into this machine without any bad consequences (provided the mobo has a SATA port) ??

Conversely would I be able to take the HDD out of this machine and plug it into mine to see if that gets it going again?

Thanks
a c 116 G Storage
September 12, 2011 7:22:36 PM

The first part. Yes you can add a hard disk if the motherboard will support an extra HDD. Usually they do. And yes, you need a port to plug it in. Most older computers just had an IDE connector supporting PATA hard disks. I have an old Dell Dimension 4600 with IDE. And there again, there is a size limitation on the hard disk. Mine will support 250 GBs, no more.

The second part. Normally, it is not possible to take the hard disk with the OS from one computer and plug it into another computer to get it working. The OS must be installed in the computer on which it is intended to run.
September 12, 2011 9:09:29 PM

Ahhh I have a dell dimension 4500 and looking at the specs it will only have a IDE connector, so I guess that is a no go on testing my HDD :(  Think I may have to take it for someone to look at or RMA it back to Seagate?
a c 116 G Storage
September 12, 2011 9:14:40 PM

alan87 said:
Ahhh I have a dell dimension 4500 and looking at the specs it will only have a IDE connector, so I guess that is a no go on testing my HDD :(  Think I may have to take it for someone to look at or RMA it back to Seagate?

Before you RMA it, take a good look at the PSU. Strange things will start to happen randomly if the PSU is not good. Cooler Master makes great cases, but I am not thrilled at their PSUs.

The Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 500 GB is really a good drive.
September 12, 2011 9:28:18 PM

What can I do to test the PSU though, wthout replacing it? I mean in the past I did have the PSU making an odd noise, but this was when I first got the pc (over a year ago) and turned out to be the fan clipping the wire grill. Its been running fine for most of the time since and none of the other components seem to be suffering.
a c 116 G Storage
September 12, 2011 11:04:22 PM

The 'paper clip' test is not intended for you since the PSU is working. The question is: "Is the PSU putting out the rated power under load?" At the home owner level this is difficult to test.

Other than a new (good brand like Corsair) PSU, or a good borrowed PSU, I do not know what to suggest.
September 13, 2011 9:24:33 PM

Thanks for all your help.

But I'm also stuck for what to do.....I feel my only options are to:
a) Take it to a pc repair shop and see what they come up with (£25 just for a diagnostic test sucks though)
b) Risk that it is the HDD that is faulty and send it back to Seagate for a replacement.
c) Buy a new PSU and hope for the best.

Is there any chance it could be motherboard or BIOS related problem?
a c 116 G Storage
September 13, 2011 9:59:38 PM

alan87 said:
Thanks for all your help.

But I'm also stuck for what to do.....I feel my only options are to:
a) Take it to a pc repair shop and see what they come up with (£25 just for a diagnostic test sucks though)
b) Risk that it is the HDD that is faulty and send it back to Seagate for a replacement.
c) Buy a new PSU and hope for the best.

Is there any chance it could be motherboard or BIOS related problem?

a) Do not take it to a repair shop. The 25 quid is just a 'come-on'. You will not walk out with less than 150 quid plus parts costs (and they will bill you for that whether they replace any parts or not)

b) I don't think that it is the hard disk at this point.

c) This is the most likely culprit. The PSU is at the heart of the system and get a good quality replacement; something from Corsair. I personally like their 'Modular' series. Here are some choices:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... (not modular).

You can prevent a lot of problems from happening in the first place with a good quality PSU. Corsair!
!