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Windows 7: internal Houdini Drives not being recognized (disappearing act)

03 Mar 2012   #1

Win 7 Home Premium 64 bit
internal Houdini Drives not being recognized (disappearing act)

Not sure what the problem is , I need help

--short story long...
Been on Win7 for a couple years. (On Win7 HomePremium)
Win7 on partition of my main HD (sata) (Western Digital- have had good luck with them over the years)
had a second 320 gig HD (sata) (WD)
and a third 12 year old WD ide 40 gig (scuzzy, mainly just backups)
Abit IP35Pro mobo (was suspecting sata connects)

It's been fine. Until maybe a few months ago when my 320 gig hd blinked out once. I ended up clean reinstal windows, wiped it, lost some data. changing the sata connections brought it back. Might've happened twice.

It's been fine since.

Last week I'm playing L4D2 and lock up. Have to kill it with the restart button. Boot up and my 2nd and 3rd HD's are gone. Eventually after reboots and screwing with them they come back. For a little while. Gone again.

Get my 320 gig to come back, leave my computer idling and run off to buy a new HD. Guy at store drops the last one on the ground in front of me. I buy it anyway , get home and my 320 Gig is gone again. At least i backed up the one file i needed.

So I plug in the dropped HD (Seagate) and win7 doesn't see it, neither does BIOS. I take it back for refund.

Have to mail order one (WD)... put it in last night. Showed up on first boot. Formatted it (slow format). Started coping files over...
Bam! gone. Now I can't see it anymore.
I have:

* run windows repair.
* tried every sata connection. (my main hd and DVD show up on EVERY sata connect every time I reboot). The new HD (and my 2 old ones) won't show up on any sata connects, even using the same cables that work for my main HD and DVD.
* reinstalled JMicro storage device
*reinstalled all Mobo and sata drivers.
* tried booting win7 from disc with only new HD plugged in (doesn't detect)
*reset CMOS, no effect
*used WD lifeguard tools, doiesn't detect the drive.

What now?

Is my PSU frying new HD's? Why wouldn't it fry my main one? It's running a HD, DVD, ati 5850, mobo, fans no problem.

Is my Mobo not detecting HD's? Why would it always detect my main instal HD?

Is Win7 screwing me? Searches last night showed there at least WERE issues like this around launch time. Though I see another thread here where a guy isn't seeing his external HD's.

I don't have another system to try parts in. But I swear i have hit every possible issue but can't pin it down. It just doesn't make any sense to me at all.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Mar 2012   #2

Win 7 Home Premium 64 bit

No ideas? Sorry 'bout the double post but i spent all last weekend just trying to get a new HDD, and this weekend trying to figure out what's wrong.

Real bummer.

WD is sending me a new disc, but I'm almost afraid to even try it out.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Mar 2012   #3

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 64 Bit Home Premium SP1

The first thing to do is make sure the OS is not turning off the secondary drives. Do this:
  • Go to Start > Control Panel > Hardware & Sound > Power Options
  • For your currently selected plan, click on "Change Power Settings" > then "Change Advanced Power Settings"
  • Expand the box next to "Hard Disk" > Then next to "Setting" : change it to Zero (It should now say "Never".
Test that first.

The next thing to test is the data cables. Bad data cables account for this behavior more than anything.
  • If you have any new, unused cables, try those.
  • Or, try using the cable from the known working drive to test on the problem drive.
If playing with the cables provides no joy, then start playing with the Hard Drives Configuration in your box.
  • I'd disconnect (power and data) the IDE drive first. Then test the system to see if the behavior goes away with the IDE drive removed.
  • Then test different configurations of the SATA drives. Example: plug the known good OS drive into the SATA port that the problem drive is plugged into (with no other drives connected).
  • Try your current configuration with the CD/DVD drive disconnected (power and data).
  • Try other configurations.
You are testing to see if the problem lies more in the SATA ports (indicating failing motherboard), or in a particular configuration (indicating failing drive)

Post back your results
My System SpecsSystem Spec

04 Mar 2012   #4

Win 7 Home Premium 64 bit

Thanks for the reply TVeblen

I never new about the power saving thing there so thanks. It is now set to never. HD isn't showing though.

The IDE was the first to go, I figure it's the oldest, most likely to be a failure. I did at one point try only it though. No go.

I have also swapped every cable, new cable, every sata slot. Like my post says above, only my MAIN HD and DVD ever show in any slot or cable. So I take it the new HD is just dead.
Now I'm more concerned about a new one being 'killed' .
But I don't see how that can happen I guess, If my DVD and Main HD are running just fine. I guess if there was a short circuit, or power surge or something other components would have failed too.

(The new HD was on the same sata power cable as my main HD)

I even changed my HD's to ACHPI (or whatever) from IDE in bios. All that did was drop my HD performance in the windows performance from 5.9 to 5.2. (So I switched it back to IDE)

After my last post I was even desperate enough to reinstall Windows just hoping something there had gone wrong... Nope, just a waste of time.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Mar 2012   #5

Win 7 Home Premium 64 bit

Chirp chirp.. I hear crickets.

No ideas?

Just got my WD warranty HD in, put it in ... nothing.

It's a 500gig blue caviar. Should work fine with my comp. The last one showed for 20-30 minutes.

Is it possible my mobo could just not be recognizing any more than one HD now? And only if it has an OS on it already?

K, slight update.

If I unplug my main (working HD 150 gig) and I unplug my DVD rom, then plug in ONLY my new 500 gig hd, then bios picks it up during detect ide drives, though it takes 20 seconds longer than my main HD.

However, If I plug my DVD back in so I can instal an OS on the HD, the HD doesn't show. Nor does it show if I only have both HD's plugged in.

Is this a power issue? Is my PSU too weak now? It's an Antec Neopower 500w which should be enough. It's supposed to be enough to run dual GPU's, and I only have a 5850. (and my comp has been running fine for years... but the psu could be going out I guess).
My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Mar 2012   #6

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 64 Bit Home Premium SP1

Hi badcog. Sorry, I've been away.

Yes, you are making progress on diagnosing your problem. By checking all possible combinations of drives you can zero in on the problem rather than shooting into the dark.

I would suggest not focusing so intently on power issues. That is only one of many possible reasons. To put the idea to rest you can simply switch the power cable that goes to a drive without problems with the one that goes to a drive that does. A power supply will not normally put out bad power to some connectors and not others unless it is a multi-rail drive. And in that case you can test each rail just like above.

I suspect that the problem lies in your motherboard's storage controllers. You state that one of your drives is "scuzzy" (SCSI). That would be highly unusual. I assumed that you meant it was IDE. There is not much of substance that we can do here until that gets cleared up.

But if the other drive is actually an IDE drive (uses a 40 or 80 pin ribbon cable) then you are actually using 2 drive controllers on your board. And that would explain why the SATA controller can recognize the main drive but the others drop off.

Keep in mind that the operating system (Windows) has nothing to do with how drives are recognized in the BIOS. So if your drives are not being recognized correctly in the BIOS stop playing with Windows. That is a waste of time. Your issue would be hardware related and must be solved at that level.

Also note that bad SATA CD/DVD drives are well known to cause these kinds of issues, so if you disconnect the DVD and the problem changes then you are zeroing in.

Please provide as much information as you can on what type of drives you have and how they are connected and I may get a better picture in my head of what is going on here.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Mar 2012   #7

Win 7 Home Premium 64 bit

thanks TVeblen,

I guess it's just an IDE, I thought the 40 pin cable was scsi. Anyhow, I haven't touched that drive really since the problem started. As it's my oldest drive and I figured probably the first to go...It's only 40 gig anyway so I really don't need it. But I did note that when I have more than one HD plugged in only my main shows (and that was the same when I did have this drive plugged in).

I have two sata power cables from my PSU. Which is an Antec Neo Power with 3 12v rails - Antec Neo Power 500 500W ATX12V SLI Certified CrossFire Ready Modular Active PFC Power Supply
The DVD is on one cable, The main HD is on another. I have tried the other HD's on a combo of both cables (either with the main HD, or by itself on the power I use for the DVD (I just disconnect the dvd as the 2 connectors are too close hard to access at the same time without major re-arrangment of parts).
Main HD and DVD both get power fine from both cables.
Last night I got my new (and the one I need to send back for warranty) to show in BIOS. But ONLY if the main HD is not connected. In fact only if NO other HD is connected. It did show still in BIOS if I also connected my DVD (now, not a few days ago). So I tried to install windows, but when the Win7 Dvd is in the dvd player, POST goes by real fast, but it seems BIOS doesn't pick up that drive (when disc is out it picks it up slow)....[which gives me an idea, I can give it up to 20 sec to detect in BIOS- I'll try that today]

I was only trying to boot windows DVD with a new HD (since it shows in BIOS by itself) so I could do an install and use it (500 gigs as opposed the the 150 main I have).

However, when I reboot with the windows DVD in AND the new HD that was showing in BIOS (when disc is not in) the HD no longer shows. Weird huh? HD and dvd connected, it shows in bios> put in instalk disc, it no longer shows.

(new HD's (500 gig and old 320 gig are all WD Blue Caviar). Main HD is WD Raptor). They are all Stata 3.0 transfer, which is what my mobo requires).

The HD's and DVD are all connected to sata ports 1-3 atm (dvd on 2). Though my main HD and dvd work fine on all slots, all power connections.

On the power front (which I'm beginning to believe has nothing to do with the problem) I removed my ati 5850 (Since it is a large card and takes 2 4 pin connectors) and replaced it with my nvidia 8600 (takes 1 4 pin - no onboard gfx) hoping that minimizing the power consumption would help show other hardware (missing hd's) if that was the issue. But nothing changed.

I think that covers all bases, a quick re-cap:

*Main HD and DVD work on all power and SATA cables/connections.
*New HD's ONLY show up if NO other HD connected (dvd is connected and showing also).
*smaller GPU doesn't seem to effect it any (if it is PSU issue)
*I have a fresh win7 install, all updates, all drivers (Jmicron Sata, mobo, gpu, etc..) are up to date.
*Not using the IDE drive at all.
*All sata drives are of ide type in Bios.
*Haven't had any blackouts, power failures, blue screens, shut-downs (all things I imagine would be psu issues). Just hard drives not showing in BIOS/Windows.
*doesn't appear to be DVD, as it works fine with main HD and another HD with it will show in BIOS.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Mar 2012   #8

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 64 Bit Home Premium SP1

Unfortunately, it is looking more like a controller error. But before we declare the motherboard defective we can try a few well known fixes.

Note: on a SATA controller there is no hierarchy of drives like the old days. Any drive will operate the same on any SATA port. So it does not matter where you plug a drive in (Port 1, Port 2, etc.)
But, a bad SATA port is quite common. But keep in mind that if this were the case then any drive plugged into that port would not be recognized. You want to eliminate a bad port as a possibility.

First: Go into your BIOS settings and see if you can find an entry for the IDE controller (there may not be one). If there is then disable it. Then test to see if the SATA ports will now all "light up".

Second: with all needed drives connected and with power (but not the IDE drive), perform a CLRTC (or CLR CMOS) procedure. This will reset all the BIOS settings to default, plus clear all the old checksum data from the BIOS EEPROM. This may clear up a corruption in the data.

The procedure:
  • Note all your current BIOS settings (so you can set your preferences back afterward)
  • Shut down the computer > remove the power cord.
  • Remove the 3v battery.
  • Move the CLRTC or CLR CMOS jumper from pins 1-2 to 2-3.
  • Touch a metal part of the case and Press and Hold the reset button for approx. 30 seconds to discharge all power from the board.
  • Put the CLRTC jumper back on pins 1-2.
  • Replace the 3v battery > replace the power cord > boot.
  • Immediately go back into BIOS and reset all your preferred settings. If the CLRTC worked you will need to reset the date and time in BIOS.
Let's see if that works.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Mar 2012   #9

Win 7 Home Premium 64 bit

Well, I have cleared CMOS too during the process. (My mobo has a switch for that). So I've already done that and had to reset my BIOS preferences as well.

I think I'm ready to just write off the mobo and do a system upgrade.

I appreciate the help but after 3 weeks of screwing with this I'm burnt out, and it seems pretty logical that it probably is the mobo. (I've posted on another site and that also seems like where it's going).

I guess I will do one last quick check of this anyway... You were kind enough to read my ranting and post a thourough break down so I'll put in that much effort at least
Post back in a few...
My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Mar 2012   #10

Win 7 Home Premium 64 bit

Ok, just to be thorough I went ahead and did what you said.

cleared the CMOS how you said + I flicked the cmos switch on back panel just for good measure.

Plugged in dvd and 2 hd's. Only dvd and main hd showed (checked/set BIOS). Unplugged dvd just to try and eliminate it from the issue again.
Only main HD shows up.
Again, unplugged main hd. Rebooted with new HD and dvd. HD shows in bios. Insert Win7 dvd, reboot, hd does not show in bios during post and windows doesn't detect it for install.

reboot with dvd and main hd plugged in, works fine still.

At this point I don't see how it could be anything other than the mobo not detecting a second hd. Or a no OS HD.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 internal Houdini Drives not being recognized (disappearing act)

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