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PC will no longer boot with second hard drive connected

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  • Hard Drives
  • Boot
  • Shutdown
  • Storage
Last response: in Storage
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July 2, 2012 7:14:21 PM

On friday when i went to shutdown my pc i noticed there were windows updates, so i installed updates and shutdown. When i came to boot up on saturday the pc wouldn't boot. I booted from the vista install disk and did a startup repair and also a system restore but neither helped.

I managed to get it to boot once and only the C drive was showing in Computer. It currently won't boot with both of the hard drives connected. I found out that if i disconnect the second hard drive, the pc boots no problem (it's not really usable though as i use my second drive to install all of my software). If i plug the second hard drive back in it won't boot properly. It takes about 40 minutes to get to the logon screen but if you try to logon the screen goes black and just the cursor is visible.

Does anyone know why this might be happening or what i can do to find our or fix it?

Thanks

More about : longer boot hard drive connected

July 5, 2012 12:38:56 PM

I've got the pc to boot up now but it's only recognising the C drive so a lot of my software doesn't work.

Could it be a driver issue?

In device manager under storage controllers I have an unknown device with a yellow triangle and an exclamation mark in it. Could it be the fact that this storage controller isn't working the fact why windows can't find the second hard drive?
July 5, 2012 7:52:33 PM

Yes that could certainly be the problem. It looks like that Windows update may have screwed up your storage controller drivers in some way. If you have your motherboard support CD, try to reinstall the chipset drivers, which should include your storage controller drivers. If not, download the latest chipset drivers from the motherboard manufacturer's website.

Failing that, check in BIOS and verify that your other hard drive is being detected, if it is not, try resetting the CMOS, by unplugging your computer and removing the CMOS battery for several minutes. If your second hard drive is still not detected after that in BIOS, then you either have a dead hard drive, or a bad motherboard. Test the hard drive that isn't being detected in another computer to verify whether or not it is working if resetting the CMOS doesn't fix that.
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July 6, 2012 10:40:04 AM

I've used the motherboard support CD to reinstall the storage controller drivers, no joy.

In device manager under disk drives there is the C drive and another one that just said disk drive. I assumed this was the other drive that isn't being detected. I checked it's properties and it said that it was my HP printer. I unplugged the printer and it disappeared. Also in disk management the C drive is labelled as Disk 0, but Disk 1 was the removable device, the printer which isn't there any more since i removed it.

I checked the BIOS again it could only detect one drive (C drive). I checked again in Parted Magic and it shows the C drive and another one next to it but just says unsupported drive. I've tried swapping the sataII cable between the drive that isn't working and the dvd drive but still only the C drive is showing up in the BIOS.

Why is it no longer showing up when i remove the printer? Makes no sense.

My PC is overclocked, will resetting the CMOS undo the overclocking?
July 6, 2012 4:42:51 PM

Overclocking your computer shouldn't affect the storage controller, but you can reset the CMOS anyway if you want to rule out a motherboard problem. I have no idea why device manager and disk management are picking up your printer as a second hard drive. It could be the USB drivers have gotten messed up in some way, making windows think your printer is an external hard drive. I would say try the second hard drive in another computer. If it works in the other computer, you either have a motherboard problem, or something is really screwed up with Windows. If you think it's the motherboard, try resetting the CMOS, that may fix it. As a last resort, try doing a clean reinstall of Windows. If none of that works, and you verified the second drive was working on another computer, then you may need to get a new motherboard.
July 6, 2012 5:24:54 PM

I think i'm just going to reinstall windows and see if it's recognised then. If it's not detected in the BIOS and i reinstall windows, assuming nothing is wrong with the motherboard or the drive will it then show up in the BIOS?

I bought the machine already overclocked, although i think it's not any more. The processor used to be 2.4ghz @ 3.2ghz but now it's says 2.4ghx @ 2.4ghz.
July 6, 2012 5:43:20 PM

If the drive is not showing up in BIOS, that indicates one of two things, either the hard drive itself has died, or there is a problem with the motherboard. That's why I suggest you try to test the drive in another computer and see if you can get it to work on a different machine.
July 6, 2012 6:45:54 PM

I don't think it would be the port on the motherboard as i switch the sataII cable with the dvd drive which does work but it didn't make a difference.
July 6, 2012 6:57:59 PM

In that case, it probably means the controller on the hard drive has gone. You can try the drive in another machine to verify this. In that case, you'll need a new hard drive. I hope you had all the data backed up, because if the controller is gone, you probably won't be able to get your data back unless you pay through the nose for a data recovery service.
July 6, 2012 7:03:10 PM

The silver lining is the drive that's having the problem only had installed software on it, i store everything else on the main drive which is now safely backed up.
July 6, 2012 7:06:53 PM

Well at least you didn't lose anything important if you can't get that drive back up and running.
July 7, 2012 3:26:00 PM

I've taken the drive to a friends and connected a sata cable and power, looked in the BIOS and it only showed the IDE drives that were already there, nothing next to SATA. We could feel the drive vibrating so it was spinning. So it's the drive that's gone then?

There's nothing you have to do first is there, you just connect it up and it should just show in the BIOS?

If it is the drive that's gone my idea was to buy a 128GB SSD and use that to install Windows and all software and use my current 500GB C drive (which is the same as the one with the problem) as storage. A SSD drive uses the same power and sata cable as i'm currently using, doesn't it. So it should just plug straight in.
July 7, 2012 5:18:50 PM

If the drive isn't working on the other computer, but it is spinning up, that probably means that there is something wrong with the controller. You can get an SSD, it uses the same data and power connections. When installing Windows, make sure to unplug the hard drive, otherwise the Windows installation to the SSD will not work properly. Only plug the hard drive back in after the Windows installation is complete. Also be sure to switch your storage controller mode to AHCI before you install Windows on the SSD.
July 7, 2012 5:42:01 PM

So what your saying is it was a coincidence that his controller wasn't working as well as mine or do you mean the controller on the hard drive and that the hard drive is broke?

When you say unplug the hard drive when installing do you mean the current C drive so that only the ssd is connected? Why won't it work properly?

switching the storage controller to AHCI is that in the BIOS? and do you switch it for the ssd or is it a general setting for all drives?
July 7, 2012 6:17:03 PM

The controller on the Hard Drive itself has probably failed, that's why it's not working on either system.

When installing Windows on an SSD, you have to unplug any hard drive that has a Windows installation on it. Otherwise, the boot loader gets put on the hard drive with Windows on it rather than the SSD, BIOS gets confused about where the OS is, and the system becomes unbootable because BIOS can't decide which device has the operating system on it.

AHCI mode is a general setting for all drives, it should be in your BIOS under SATA storage controller settings. AHCI offers better performance for SSDs as well as allowing for certain SSD maintenance tasks like TRIM. IDE mode, which a lot of motherboards default to, is the older mode, mostly there for legacy support, it's okay for regular hard drives, but will cause a significant performance hit when used with an SSD.
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