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Hard drive randomly stopped being recognized

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November 29, 2012 2:31:00 PM

So I turned on my computer yesterday and it wouldn't boot into windows, with a message "Reboot and select proper boot device or insert boot media in selected..."

I went into BIOS and looked at my drives, and it doesn't say not detected like the other slots, its just blank. I tried booting from my windows 7 USB to try and repair, but of course, it doesn't recognize that there's any drive at all. It's like it vanished.

I've had corrupt hard drives before, they usually would get disk read errors on boot up, but would still get recognized at least. What the heck is going on? I don't know how to troubleshoot when the machine doesn't even acknowledge its existence.

In the meantime, I plugged in an old 160GB hard drive in the same SATA slot using the same cable and same power cable from the PSU, works fine!
a b G Storage
November 29, 2012 2:44:40 PM

Sounds to me like you answered your own question. If one drive works and another doesn't the drive is bad. Drives are pretty cheap right now. Get a new one, install the OS and later install the failed drive and see if the OS still recognizes it from the desktop. If so you can migrate your stuff at your leisure. Many drive failures are only in the boot sector.
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November 29, 2012 2:51:46 PM

Fair enough... it just seems so... unspectacular for a drive failure. Shouldn't smoke and cobras have started flying out of my machine?

Good point though, I didn't think to try and leave it connected while I had the other drive installed with Windows on it. at least then I could save some of my data. Hopefully it was just the boot sector.

Can a corrupt boot sector be easily repaired, or not worth it?
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a c 288 G Storage
November 29, 2012 6:04:01 PM

Does the drive spin up? What is its model number? Believe it or not, this kind of information is important.

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a b G Storage
November 29, 2012 6:10:41 PM

PrimeDerektive said:
Fair enough... it just seems so... unspectacular for a drive failure. Shouldn't smoke and cobras have started flying out of my machine?

Good point though, I didn't think to try and leave it connected while I had the other drive installed with Windows on it. at least then I could save some of my data. Hopefully it was just the boot sector.

Can a corrupt boot sector be easily repaired, or not worth it?



I've had many HDD failures and none were even mildly spectacular. Just here one minute and gone the next. If you buy a new boot drive be sure it is the only drive installed until after you have the OS up and running. I asked a WD tech once if the boot sector could be repaired. He said yes but it would cost as much as a new drive. Also, you should see if your failed drive is still under warranty.
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December 12, 2012 8:24:31 PM

PrimeDerektive said:
I'll check when I get home.


So what was the outcome? I have a similar issue that developed after the entire system was failing to power up. Then it stopped recognizing the boot-up so I tried booting from an upgrade disk, then it failed to recognize the drive was even present...........
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December 13, 2012 2:02:44 PM

Sorry... I have no idea. I i plugged my backup 160gb in the same slot, with the same sata cable, worked fine. Installed windows, tracked down a second sata cable, connected the unrecognized drive as a secondary, and it doesn't show up in windows either. It's like it poofed out of existence.
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