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Hard Drive disappears after computer has been running for a few minutes

HenslerHensler Registered User regular
So you guys have saved me a lot of trial and error before, so I'm hoping somebody's got an idea for my latest strange PC problem.

I've got 2 Western Digital 500gb hard drives, each about 80% full, and with a single partition on each. And recently I've been having some odd errors - freezing, a pixelated screen followed by a BSoD, and my computer is taking FOREVER to boot up. A week ago, it failed to detect any hard drives on a boot up, and was asking for a system disc. I restarted after that, and everything was fine.

But now after I've been running Windows for a few minutes, my second HDD disappears from my computer and disk management. I can't get to it through a command prompt and it never pops back up, as if the HDD has been removed. When I restart, which takes about 15 minutes now, HDD2 is in My Computer, but then disappears again.

When I go to the BIOS, I can see both hard drives on SATA channel 1 and SATA channel 6. If it were just the HDD missing, I'd think that I had a bad drive. But with all the other problems, I'm thinking it's a bad motherboard.

Anybody got any ideas about what I should try:?:

Hensler on

Posts

  • SeeksSeeks Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Try booting a livecd of some sort (Ubuntu, Knoppix, Slax, etc.). LiveCDs take a bit longer than a "normal" boot, but they sure as shit don't take 20 minutes. If the boot is significantly quicker than what you're going through now, then you'll know it's hdd related.

    You could also, just for kicks, try switching around the sata ports. Plug each hard drive into a different slot, see if that helps at all.

    Seeks on
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  • RobmanRobman Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Could you be asking too much from your power supply?

    Robman on
  • HenslerHensler Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Seeks wrote: »
    Try booting a livecd of some sort (Ubuntu, Knoppix, Slax, etc.). LiveCDs take a bit longer than a "normal" boot, but they sure as shit don't take 20 minutes. If the boot is significantly quicker than what you're going through now, then you'll know it's hdd related.

    You could also, just for kicks, try switching around the sata ports. Plug each hard drive into a different slot, see if that helps at all.

    Okay, that's what I'm going to try tomorrow.
    Robman wrote: »
    Could you be asking too much from your power supply?

    What's the best way to figure out if I'm drawing too much power? Just disconnect some unnecessary things and see if the problem persists? I'm doubtful that it is a power issue - I've had this same hardware setup for 2 years now, and only started having these problems the past week or two.

    I was able to run the Western Digital Diagnostics program on the vanishing drive, and it gave me a SATA cable error. I doubt that's the actual problem, but I'm going to try switching them and see what happens.

    One thing I did figure out about it is that if the drive is in use, it doesn't disappear. I loaded up some MP3 playlists and movies on the drive, and it stayed available for 2 hours while they were playing. I closed them, and it was gone when I checked again in a few minutes.

    Hensler on
  • travathiantravathian Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Grab the WD diags and run the quick test on each drive. I also agree with trying out a live cd and see what results you get. One of the drives failing could be jacking up the whole SATA bus and causing the problem.

    travathian on
  • tsmvengytsmvengy Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    What's the wattage on your PSU, and what are your specs?

    But yeah this could actually be a problem with the cable or the connector on the drive, or the connector on the mobo.

    tsmvengy on
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  • SatsumomoSatsumomo Rated PG! Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Might be your SATA controller dying out.

    I had a motherboard that wouldn't detect SATA drives occasionally, I had to power it down and try several times until it did. Then one day it never detected them ever again, but the rest of the motherboard worked 100% well, only the SATA ports died out.

    Satsumomo on
  • HenslerHensler Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Thanks for the tips, guys - it turned out to be a bad drive and it died completely today. But when I opened up the case to throw a new one in, I found some strange things - a fan plugged into the power supply instead of the motherboard, ram dimms in the wrong slots, a Sound Blaster audio card when I've only ever used the onboard audio for this PC. So apparently my house is haunted by a tech savvy ghost, but the hard drive problem is fixed :).

    Anybody know of any good data recovery methods? I've got a lot of stuff on the bad drive I'd like to get back. All the important stuff is backed up, but it was also my media drive.

    Hensler on
  • travathiantravathian Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    If the drive is totally dead your chances of getting anything off it at this point are pretty small. You can send it to a service and pay out the nose if you want. You can also try tossing it and a bunch of desiccant packets into a freezer bag, give it a few hours in the ice box, then quickly hook it up and pull off all the data you can. Not a reliable method, but some have had luck. Most of the tools you see online are for messed up partition tables and deleted data, neither of which will work if its a problem with the motor or electronics.

    travathian on
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