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Windows 7: Installed Secondary HDD, Screen Now Flickers on Startup

05 Jan 2015   #1
ItchyAlgae

Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
 
 
Installed Secondary HDD, Screen Now Flickers on Startup

I'd be willing to wager more first posts are pleas for help than not. Here's mine:

A month back, after the original and only HDD died, I replaced it with an SSD and a clean, fresh install of Windows. Everything worked great and installation went off without a hitch. Tonight I installed a new HDD as a secondary drive for a little extra space and things went less smoothly. A few key points:

The SSD is still the OS drive.
The computer boots. No Blue or Black Screen of Death.
My Num Lock light now comes on during startup and stays on after. It didn't before.
On startup, when my boot-up screen (don't know what to call it; black screen with basic white text and a list of hardware) appears it now shows my HDD (WD5003AZEX) as occupying a spot in the PC alongside my SSD (Samsung 840 Pro).
The glowy Windows animation appears and then my lock screen appears like normal. When I enter my password, the screen flickers a seemingly consistent number of times in quick succession (which it never did before) and the computer boots to the desktop. From there, everything works normally. My files are all there, my programs work, no more flickering or weirdness.
The HDD also appears in System Information, but when I navigate to Windows Explorer I don't see it listed. Only the C Drive (SSD) is there.
Last, I haven't yet messed around in BIOS or formatted the HDD. I thought it better to hold off and proceed slowly before I start pushing buttons

I'm thinking salvation lies in Disk Management and that initiliazing the new HDD will cause it to appear, but will it do anything for the screen flickering? I'm puzzled as to why a non-OS drive would cause that, but I'm not an expert. I know when to stay put in a minefield and wait for help. And I was terrible at Minesweeper.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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06 Jan 2015   #2
CKWD

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
 
 

Hello ItchyAlgae!

This problem could be caused by a few things.

I would suggest that you first try using a different port and SATA cable for the hard drive. Then turn on the PC and check in BIOS, your drive needs to be listed there. Then log into Windows and check in Disk Management. There you have to see your boot SSD with the C partition marked most probably as Basic Online Healthy (System) in NTFS. Under the SSD there needs to be the hard drive, most probably marked as Unknown Not Initialized and the space is in black and marked as Unallocated.

If this is showing then at least the system recognizes the drive and all you'll have to do is to initialize, partition and format it.

If not, if the drive doesn't show up either in Disk Management or BIOS as a whole, and you are sure you have connected the drive properly (SATA and power cable), then the problem lies somewhere else.

The fact that you are NOT receiving any errors or BSODs is great news! Also that everything works fine is great news.

The Num Lock just turns on and off the numeric keypad to the right and is probably something you pressed at some point.

The flickering on your boot Windows screen could be either from some sort of wave disturbance or the connected HDD is malfunctioning the system somehow.

This kind of points me to the direction that the drive might be DOA or faulty. If you have opportunity, try it on a different system/motherboard, see how it goes there. If the drive is healthy it will show up in the other system and then the problem would be in your motherboard.

Best of luck!

CK_WD
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Jan 2015   #3
TVeblen

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 64 Bit Home Premium SP1
 
 

I will add that the first thing to do is to go into your BIOS settings, go to the BOOT Tab, and make sure the SSD is the first boot device. You will want it that way regardless of any other issue anyway.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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06 Jan 2015   #4
ItchyAlgae

Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
 
 

Opened the computer up and made sure the PCI connectors running to the GPU were snug, and they were. Gave everything a firm push to be sure and nothing moved or clicked, but the flickering is different now upon startup. Checked into BIOS too. The SSD is already given priority as the first boot device and the HDD is recognized as the second drive there. Under Disk Management the HDD also appears but still needs to be initialized.

Anything I'm missing that could explain the flickering?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Jan 2015   #5
CKWD

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
 
 

Well, I would suggest you first initialize your new hard drive and make sure it's accessible and working, and then see if the flickering problem persists.
If it continues, may be when you first plugged in the hard drive, you accidentally pulled the video cables, check them as it could be that the monitor and card are not in synch. Check all the cables on the back of the monitor and then their ends to the power socket and PC.
Or may be the monitor itself is about to go. Hopefully not!

Good luck!

CK_WD
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Jan 2015   #6
ItchyAlgae

Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by CKWD View Post
Well, I would suggest you first initialize your new hard drive and make sure it's accessible and working, and then see if the flickering problem persists.
If it continues, may be when you first plugged in the hard drive, you accidentally pulled the video cables, check them as it could be that the monitor and card are not in synch. Check all the cables on the back of the monitor and then their ends to the power socket and PC.
Or may be the monitor itself is about to go. Hopefully not!

Good luck!

CK_WD
That's what I'm starting to wonder, if it's the monitor. I'm now getting a brief, streaky purple vertical band that runs down the left side of monitor when it starts up and then some others that flicker, but only on startup. I wish I had another external monitor here that I could hook up. That way I could see if the problem is monitor-specific.

HDD's formatted and all is good. Shows up in Explorer, no weird sounds. Only the flickering left to solve. It'd be awfully coincidental if a monitor or GPU decided to start showing X's in its eyes in the same hour-long span I was installing the HDD.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Jan 2015   #7
TVeblen

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 64 Bit Home Premium SP1
 
 

Another thought: Power Supply.
You added a new device, one that draws significant 12v power. There is a possibility that you are getting a power drop on startup as everything is drawing at once.

Do you have a multimeter?

Keep in mind this is just a stab in the dark. That is a good power supply and it would be uncommon.

If I recall the 580 uses two 6-pin PCI-e power connectors. You should check those and just for kicks try another 2 from the supply.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Jan 2015   #8
CKWD

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
 
 

@TVeblen has a point, it could be either the monitor itself, the PSU, or even the GPU. Why don't you try turning your PC on but leaving the monitor off for some time, 10-15 min, an hour, for instance, but while the PC is on. That way we can know for sure if the problem is the monitor, in the case that it still flickers after you turn it on in that experiment.

Good luck!

CK_WD
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Jan 2015   #9
ItchyAlgae

Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
 
 

Update: I'm strongly suspecting it's the monitor. I'm getting more and more purple bands as the screen flickers to life upon unlocking and startup. Time to start shopping monitors.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Jan 2015   #10
CKWD

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
 
 

Hi again!

Thanks for the update. It's a good thing then that you're encountering the problem soon enough so that you can prepare, before the monitor completely dies. It could be a connector or something worse, but now at least you have time to act.

Cheers!

CK_WD
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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