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Can not boot from anything except SATA

Last response: in Systems
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April 22, 2011 8:33:21 PM

First, I am a certified computer technician. I know about drive settings, bios, cmos, boot order, bootable devices, etc. Yet I have a conundrum.

My home-built system has served me well for many years. It has on-board PATA (2 hard drives for storage 2 optical drives as well) and also an add in SATA card with one system drive.

Now some bad things happened to my Windows installation and I needed to boot from a CD. No big deal, the boot order was correct. But every time I booted, I got the message "Press any key to reboot". This only happens when I put actual bootable media into the drive. If I just throw in some CD it ignores it and goes on to boot from the SATA (or rather NOT boot from the SATA, which was the whole problem).

Now if I pull the SATA card, or disconnect the SATA drive, it will boot from the CD (or USB). I deduced it was not the SATA drive because I would get the same non-bootable effect if I had an eSATA device hooked up.

So if any SATA device existed in my system, that would be the ONLY thing it would boot from, no matter what the boot order. The card must be the culprit.

So I flashed the SATA card. No change.

So I replaced the card. Slight improvement, my software damaged SATA drive would boot halfway and then BSOD. So it must have been the card, right? Wrong. Still, the same message "Press any key to reboot" when I try to boot off a CD to fix it.

I downgraded by BIOS from a beta to a stable (I've been running this BIOS for years, but I was running out of ideas). And then somehow, it worked! I could boot from the CD and reinstall Windows.

Days pass. I decide to do a memory test on a chip I think is bad. So I download MemTest86. And suddenly I'm back to square one. "Press any key to reboot." It won't boot while there is SATA. I don't actually need the SATA for the memory test so I just disconnect it and the CD boots just fine.


I just don't get it. BIOS seems a likely culprit because the downgrade fixed the problem temporarily. But I didn't make any CMOS changes that should have then unfixed it. I tried reloading the defaults but that didn't fix it. And it can't be the card. And it can't be the drive. What in BIOS would prevent booting from a bootable device, even when it's the only thing enabled in the boot order? And only when a SATA drive is active. Oh, I also switched the PCI slot for the SATA card just for the hell of it and it had no effect.

Posted in two forums because I'm not sure where it belongs. The other was Storage, and now that I think about it this is not a storage problem, though it has a storage culprit.

More about : boot sata

a b B Homebuilt system
April 22, 2011 10:40:53 PM

Are you recycling a motherboard from a prebuilt? sometimes OEM's lock up the bios. It also might be that for some reason it's prefering that SATA port, so you could always switch around your CD and HDD cables.
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a c 136 B Homebuilt system
April 22, 2011 11:39:35 PM

Intel G series chipset board?

If so then your problem might be that you have the onboard SATA controller set to native IDE mode , and some other device is set as a master
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April 23, 2011 1:02:05 AM

striker410 said:
Are you recycling a motherboard from a prebuilt? sometimes OEM's lock up the bios. It also might be that for some reason it's prefering that SATA port, so you could always switch around your CD and HDD cables.


No this was a brand new Asus P4SDX motherboard with no onboard SATA. The CD drive in question is Master on the Primary Controller. And the PATA order wouldn't explain why it works when the SATA is disengaged.
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April 23, 2011 1:02:52 AM

Outlander_04 said:
Intel G series chipset board?

If so then your problem might be that you have the onboard SATA controller set to native IDE mode , and some other device is set as a master


The motherboard has no onboard SATA, hence why I have a card. It is an Asus motherboard.
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May 5, 2011 1:40:06 PM

No further ideas? If I need to boot from a CD again to rebuild my computer I'm toast.
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May 11, 2011 1:33:50 PM

No one has any idea why this is? No one has experienced a similar problem?
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May 13, 2011 12:57:16 AM

first of all, i want to say sorry if my english not good enough and i'm sorry if i wrote something wrong because i'm not technician, i'm just regular user who own a computer. that's all :) 

as far as i know every part of computer is electrical, so maybe there's a problem with the amount of power currents that come in/out into/from your computer. so maybe you should check your PSU, cable, or something that related with it first. because along time ago, i have similar problem like this. but my HDD is PATA, and after i replace PSU with the new one. thanks god, my computer running smooth again. i'm sorry again if it doesn't help you much.

and about windows installation, maybe you already know about booting from flashdisk. so if your cd drive doesn't work, you can use flashdisk to install your windows.
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