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Windows 7: Very odd problem with W7 not seeing eSATA HDDs

16 Jun 2011   #1

Windows 7 64bit Professional
Very odd problem with W7 not seeing eSATA HDDs

Hi everyone

I have a problem that I have no idea whether is hardware of software related...I'll try and summerise...

I have a Gigabyte EX58-UD5 with Windows 7 64 on it, as there were no rear eSATA ports on it I installed an addon card which had:
x2 eSATA
x1 PATA on it.

It could only use 2 of the 4 SATA ports and I moved the jumpers across to allow it to use eSATA, so far so good, that's been working for the best part of a year with no issues.

For a project I'm working on I need to see more HDDs at once to shift data around (internal is full and inconvenient for swapping), so I installed another of the afore mentioned cards - same type, same model, same connectors.

Put it into a PCI-E, plugged the drives in and rebooted into Windows...and the card wasn't seen.

In fact the situation has been made worse as my original card will only detect ONE hard drive at a time - I not only haven't got extra ports I've lost one of my original ones!

I've tried updating drivers, looking at Windows update, Gigabytes website and even the JMicron site...nothing seems to help.

This is the card.

The stupid thing is I tried the card in another W7 computer (very similar specs) and it wasn't working in there either...sometimes they detect, sometimes not, sometimes they take a while to work sometimes they don't at all.

I tried another card with a Silicon Image chipset instead of JMicron and updated all the drivers in Windows but that hasn't helped either.

If I can't get these cards working my other option is to use eSATA backplates but am I right in understanding they don't support hot swapping?

Thanks very much for any replies!

My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Jun 2011   #2
James Colbert


Hi TheBigCheese.

AHCI is the supporting platform for hot swapping. esata will work fine as long as you have AHCI enabled both in the bios and Windows. You'll have to determine the appropriate bios settings. Your MB manual should help with that (if you have trouble, post back). This tutorial should help you enable AHCI for windows:

AHCI : Enable in Windows 7 / Vista

You may also have to install the motherboard controller drivers, as Windows standard controller driver will sometimes not work.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Jun 2011   #3

Windows 7 64bit Professional

Hi James

Thanks very much for the reply.

I have read about AHCI and all my drives are in IDE (I didn't know about the benefits of ACHI when I set the system up), I have read about the ACHI conversion but have read elsewhere that it can cause system instability, is there any truth in that?

I have had more success than earlier, in fact I've come back to post about it.

With vigorous removing hardware including uninstalling the drivers (a step I missed before) and reinstalling the latest drivers I've managed to get the second machine (test machine!) to work with both the SATA addin cards (one with PATA - a JMicron card, one without - a Silicon Image card).

The JMicron card works with both ports, albeit, slow to recognise the drives but as you say won't hotswap (remove safely option).

The Silicon Image card only shows one eSATA connected drive instead of two but the one that does show does work at full speed still, just won't show the second drive.

The funny thing is I installed a program called Hotswap! (v5) which will allow me to safely remove them and in the safely remove settings for that it DOES show the missing drive on the Silicon Image card.

Windows doesn't see it at all, even HDD management (I'll double check that when I've finished copying some files) but Hotswap! you have any idea what the discrepancy could be there?

My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Jun 2011   #4
James Colbert


The problem may have something to do with the fact that you used 2 identical cards. Even if just for the sake of reducing confusion for user identification, best to use different cards.

It's likely that the problem is not that Windows won't see the drive. In device manager, try scanning for new hardware. It's likely that the 'missing' drive will appear. HotSwap seems to work around this, but better if Windows will do it automatically.

Did you install the card manufacture drivers or just let windows install the driver? If the latter, I recommend installing the card drivers via device manager. Rescan the DM to see if the other card shows up, right click, choose update driver, browse to the location of the card driver.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Jun 2011   #5

Windows 7 Ultimate x64

Hello TheBigCheese,

Do these Drives show up in the BIOS?
I would recommend using AHCI to convert to AHCI from IDE look here; AHCI : Enable in Windows 7 / Vista
PS I know of no system instabilities after using this conversion.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Very odd problem with W7 not seeing eSATA HDDs

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