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Windows 7: 2nd Hard drive disappears randomly

01 Mar 2013   #1

win 7 32 bit
 
 
2nd Hard drive disappears randomly

I've read about this problem on this forum and various others, but there wasn't an overall solution, and my problem seems slightly different..



The problem I have is with my 2nd Hard drive in windows. (Maxtor SATA 120GB) It’s something that started a few months (I think) after installing windows. It randomly disappears and can only be found after a restart or sometimes it might come back after sleep. I noticed that in the other forums, it disappeared during sleep.

It also disappears nearly all of the time If I try to copy something to the drive.
I never had this problem with Win XP.



I have tried everything they have suggested except for trying a new BIOS, (Although changing the BIOS still might not be the solution) I've emailed ASUS because it seems that they don't have a specific Win 7 bios:
I've

* changed cables
* Swapped cables
* downloaded a hotfix that didn’t work (wouldn't allow me to install)

* changed the hard disk from Idle after 20 minutes to Never.
* Changed the name of the Drive
* Tried different SATA Ports

Doesw anyone have a solution or ideas on how to fix it?

I can send you links to some of the forums if required.

My specs :
ASUS P5GD1-VM motherboard
P4 2.8 Cpu
4GB Ram (3.12 available)
2 X Maxtor Hard drives
Windows 7 32-bit OS

My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

02 Mar 2013   #2

Win 7 Ultimate 64-bit
 
 

Are both your drives bootable?

Windows 7 doesn't seem to like accessing two drives that are bootable if they are the same make... at least in my case it didn't. I upgraded my laptop drive and put the old drive in an external bay and tried to access it. This caused a signature collision. I got unstable results like you... the drive coming and going from My Computer... unable to copy to it, etc. I finally wiped it and am just using it as a data drive.

If both your drives are not bootable then you might try looking in Admin Tools/Computer Mgmnt/Storage to see if something is up with the second drive. You can also try assigning it a new drive letter there.

If it IS a signature collision there are steps you can take to fix it but you'll have to Google it unless someone else knows what they are. I just wiped my external drive to use as a data drive to avoid the problem. Also, when I was using XP it was happy to access two idental bootable drives that were internally installed on my desktop... I cloned one to the other daily with Acronis and XP wasn't a bit confused. Seems Windows 7 isn't as sensible, for all its positive points in other areas.

ADDENDUM: Even if both drives aren't bootable it sounds like it could be a signature collision... I'd suggest looking a bit into that, at least far enough to rule it out.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Mar 2013   #3

Win 7 Ultimate 64-bit
 
 

BTW I would also try running a Maxtor diagnostic utility on the drive to make sure it's not having mechanical problems.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.


05 Mar 2013   #4

win 7 32 bit
 
 

The Drives are different, In fact over the weekend I got a new bigger HDD which was a different Make and Model, cloned it no problems but still having the same issue with the 2nd drive... I had no problems in Xp! Only one drive is bootable, the other is data. I've changed the drive letter and run the seagate disc checker and all is fine. I was actually thinking of using my old drive to have a 2 boot Windows 7 system, one for normal everyday stuff and the old one tweaked for use with pro tools, but are you saying that might be a problem?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Mar 2013   #5

Win 7 Ultimate 64-bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by damohonda View Post
The Drives are different,
? In the OP you your rig list says "2 x Maxtor" and your post references a second drive which you put in parenths as being a Maxtor 120GB. Sounds like they are both Maxtor 120GBs?

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by damohonda View Post
In fact over the weekend I got a new bigger HDD which was a different Make and Model, cloned it no problems but still having the same issue with the 2nd drive...
Now are you referencing the second drive as being the new drive you got and cloned, or the original second drive - the Maxtor 120GB?

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by damohonda View Post
I had no problems in Xp! Only one drive is bootable, the other is data. I've changed the drive letter and run the seagate disc checker and all is fine.
If both original drives are 2 x Maxtor 120GB, and it's one of those giving you the problem, where does a Seagate utility come in?

Have you gone into the BIOS to see if both hard drives are being recognized properly?

If you have an external enclosure or docking bay, you could try putting the problematic drive in that and seeing if it is recognized fine when it's externally accessed.

Also make sure RAID is not enabled for the problematic drive (assuming you are not using RAID).

And I know you said you tried other SATA ports but have you swapped the boot drive's SATA port with the problem-drive's SATA port?

If they ARE both Maxtor 120GBs, I would read a little about signature collisions (did you?) even if one is a boot and one is data. The system sounds like it's possibly confusing them. This assumes the second drive is indeed healthy and not having problems otherwise. And when you run a utility to check it, I'd run the extended test.

As for XP, I built a rig a decade back with 3 internal matching Samsung 120GB SATA drives and used two of them for cloning the boot back n forth using Acronis. XP never had a signature collision or a bit of problem using identical drives with cloned boots. Windows 7 is more temperamental in my experience.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by damohonda View Post
I was actually thinking of using my old drive to have a 2 boot Windows 7 system, one for normal everyday stuff and the old one tweaked for use with pro tools, but are you saying that might be a problem?
That's a little different... Loading Win7 on two separate HDD drives, same computer.

Sorry it took so long to get back.. I watched the thread for a few days then stopped when you did not reply. Maybe you've already found the problem. If so please post the fix for others who follow.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Mar 2013   #6

win 7 32 bit
 
 

now I have a 200Gb (non maxtor) drive as my master (boot) and a 120GB maxtor as Slave(data).
I'm finding that if I try to copy anything from my C: (200GB)to the d120GB) it disappears.

Both drives are being recognised, I've Used various different types of disk checking software on them both and they are fine.


Not sure about Raid but will check.

Ive mixed and matched Sata Ports, 2 Red, 2 Black. Seems that they are Master and slave, but stil same problem no matter what I do
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Mar 2013   #7

Win 7 Ultimate 64-bit
 
 

You said all this was working in XP... was this the same machine or a different one?

SATA does not use the "Master/Slave" config. That's a PATA convention. If you have black SATA ports and red SATA ports on your mobo it is likely that there are 2 SATA controllers ... one for the red ports, one for the black. One might be a RAID controller, and the other a non-RAID controller, or there might be some other distinction. I don't know how old (or new) your system is, but one set might also be strictly for SATA I and the other for SATA II/I. Look at the manual for your mobo (it's likely online if you don't have one) and find out the difference between the two sets of SATA ports (they colored them different for a reason) and make sure you are using the right set for your purposes.

If the boot drive is plugged into a "red" SATA port, use another red port for the secondary drive so that both drives are controlled by the same SATA controller. RAID settings are in the BIOS so make sure it is disabled if you are using JBOD (just bunch of disks).

And I still think it would be wise to remove the secondary disk and place it in an external enclosure or bay to test it through a USB port. If Windows recognizes it fine as an external, that tells you it's not the drive itself, and points back towards maybe a bad controller, mobo, port, or configuration problem. You might try seeing if there is a firmware upgrade for the mobo.... if you WERE using XP on this machine and now switched to Windows 7 and that's when the trouble started, you might just need a firmware upgrade.... look for BIOS/Chipset and Controller firmware upgrades specific to Windows 7.

There is another string on this here that might give you some ideas: D SATA Hard Drive disappears after random amount of time.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Mar 2013   #8

Win 7 Ultimate 64-bit
 
 

PS .. I doubt this would help but it would be quick and easy so on the offchance it sheds some light, you could have Windows run a health report: Control Panel -> Performance Information & Tools -> Advanced Tools ... click the link to Generate a System Health Report. It will tell you if device drivers aren't installed properly or if there are other issues.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Mar 2013   #9

Windows 7 Ultimate x64/Windows 8.1 Pro x64
 
 

Depending on what you have access to could tell you quite a bit:

I'd migrate the drive to another computer, and recreate the surroundings when the drive disappears. If it's when idle, leave it. If not, use it.

Remove it, and reconnect it to the same computer via USB port, if it acts up there, move it to another computer. IF it acts up connected via USB, I'm going to say it's the drive itself, and expect it to act the same way while connected to ANY computer!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Mar 2013   #10

W7 X-64 W8.1 X-64 Opensuse 13.1 W2003 Server
 
 

Hi there
try changing the signature of the disk -- this should work.

How to Change the Disk Signature of a Drive Without Losing Existing Data or Reformatting (howtohaven.com)

Check also that the disk in question isn't going defective.

Cheers
jimbo
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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