My Secondary Hard Drives have Disappeared

By on January 28, 2014 8:58:20 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

GFireflyE

Join Date 05/2011
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Good Morning Community.

I am at a loss.

Just this past Christmas I installed Windows 7 on a new Kingston 240gig SSD. I kept my 3 Seagate 500gig SATA drives connected for data.

It's been about 2 weeks and then one by one my drives have been disappearing. I'm down to one secondary drive left.

 

When the first one went, I thought I lost a drive and proceeded to load my backup on the second one. BUT, then less than a week later, my second drive disappears too. (This is where I put the expletive) WAY too coincidental for two drives to fail in one week BUT the drives don't even detect in my bios. (more expletive here)

Like I said, I still have one drive left, but I've unplugged this one as I cannot afford to lose the data on that drive and am terrified that windows is going to expletive this one up too.

 

Events that led up to the disappearance of the second drive are as follows:

- Was using my computer (and secondary drive) to play a game.

- Exited all my programs.

- I left my computer for ~30 min. In 20 min, windows 7 sleep mode kicks in and shuts everything down.

- Came back to find my computer in sleep mode, as I expected to find it.

- Loaded out of sleep mode and the drive has disappeared.

- I proceed to reboot BUT drive does not even auto-detect at the bios.

Drive is GONE. WHHHHHYYYY

- I hear it spinning....it's getting power.

- SATA ports work, as I've swapped them around and all connect to my SATA DVD drive.

 

 

It's almost like windows has sent a lockout command or something to the drive and it's preventing the bios to detecting it....

 

 

Does anyone here know what's going on??

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January 28, 2014 9:04:24 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

I had something similar but with a DVD drive that disappeared and would hang my POST screen while the BIOS looked for it. It turned out to be a bad sata cable. It would be odd to have more than one go bad at a time, but it is something you might want to check.

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January 28, 2014 9:20:07 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

What are the Pin settings on that back of the HDDs set at?

HDDs create heat, I don't like not having enough room to put 3 or more in without them being stacked like pancakes, I cooked one that was in the middle before.

Is your power supply strong enough to handle all your hardware?

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January 28, 2014 9:36:48 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Wizard1956,

I had something similar but with a DVD drive that disappeared and would hang my POST screen while the BIOS looked for it. It turned out to be a bad sata cable. It would be odd to have more than one go bad at a time, but it is something you might want to check.

Replaced my SATA cables with brand new, off the shelf, cables. It was a good thought....but not the correct thought.

The problem persists.

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January 28, 2014 9:46:52 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting myfist0,

What are the Pin settings on that back of the HDDs set at?

HDDs create heat, I don't like not having enough room to put 3 or more in without them being stacked like pancakes, I cooked one that was in the middle before.

Is your power supply strong enough to handle all your hardware?

 

- Only one set of jumper pins on the back of each drive. Settings show that a pin-less configuration is for 3gig/s transfer. Tossing a jumper in the right-most two pins reduces the transfer to only 1.5gig/s. I have no jumpers in the drives.

- I have a great deal of breathing room in my box. Design is for 5 hard drives, and I have a bay's worth of space in between each drive.

- My power supply is a 500W supply; easily able to handle my system needs.

 

I built this thing to last....and last it has. 7 years.

Granted....there is a SLIM possibility that 2 of my 3 drives have failed within the span of only 1 week, but that seems like a very unlikely occurrence, especially since the 'failure' occurred right after windows 7 restored from its sleep mode each time...

 

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January 28, 2014 10:12:54 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

My first guess would be MoBo dying...though that'd just as likely pickle the OS drive as well....and you'd know you'd be nowhere...

Shutdown...Disconnect the sata cables to the 'lost' drives and reboot.

Shutdown...connect the 'lost drives' and reboot.  BIOS and Windows both 'should' re-find them.

If no luck...

Get back into BIOS ...and set it to 'default' and reboot.

 

If still no luck.... test 'lost' drives in another computer.

 

Drives DO die...and 2 within days isn't necessarily unheard of...

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January 28, 2014 10:13:42 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Two things I know have caused this issue for some folks:

  1. Somewhere in the bios is a sleep setting that turns off certain drives if they aren't used in x number of minutes....these things have a habit of just shutting off drives randomly (though they sometimes cause them to reappear randomly as well) despite them being in use...
  2. Sometimes a drive isn't seated right...it's sitting at a slight angle or something weird that is causing it to turn off as a failsafe...one friend of mine had to tilt his computer just right in order for it to be able to use the HDD, strangest thing ever, but it worked...I also have seen this issue crop up on the internet as causing either BSODs (cause it can't load the OS that is on the HDD) or missing secondary drives...

I don't know if either of these things will help you, but it's all I got.....

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January 28, 2014 10:15:49 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Also....there's nothing much to be gained by 'sleep mode' ....though it helps things if you just let the monitor go to 'blank' after time-out [don't bother with screensavers...waste of time/effort]...

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January 28, 2014 10:25:52 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Read this:  https://support.microsoft.com/kb/330140 and see if any of it may help.

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January 28, 2014 10:29:08 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

I'm not a high-end techie, but when I've had hard drives that the bios won't recognize they've been done.  (Probably the circuit boards on the drives.)  You did actually plug the failed drive back in to see if it worked after you double-checked the m/b sata ports and cable, right? - connections may have come loose.

If the drives were of the same model and bought about the same time, their close failure might not be as unlikely as you might think.  One thing that does come to mind though - Do you have a utility to monitor the power output of your power supply by rail?  Even though the wattage of the power supply may be adequate, it may be sputtering on a rail because of age.

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January 28, 2014 10:30:50 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Quoting GFireflyE,
- My power supply is a 500W supply; easily able to handle my system needs.

 

500W is actually quite low if you have multiple drives.  Having said that it's not actually the overall wattage that matters as much as the consistency of the power (power on rail) etc. and that's where the more expensive not necessarily more powerful powersupplies earn their keep.   Have you tried the drives in an external enclosure and/or connected to another machine?  You may be experiencing a motherboard issue (HD controller etc.) and not something with the drives themselves physically.

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January 28, 2014 10:38:49 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting GFireflyE,
My power supply is a 500W supply; easily able to handle my system needs.



I built this thing to last....and last it has. 7 years.
The PSU may have been 500 watts when new. As they age, the output will drop by a large percentage. If yours is 7 years old, even if it isn't the cause of this issue, it is about time for a new one.

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January 29, 2014 4:58:00 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting Jafo,
My first guess would be MoBo dying...though that'd just as likely pickle the OS drive as well....and you'd know you'd be nowhere.

My sister has this issue... the mobo on its way out and HDDs not showing up in BIOS, and thus, not in Windows, either.  As she is finding, the OS drive is generally ok, though occasionally she does get a BSOD which is possibly related.  She has some parts picked out and will get me to build her a new machine from scratch when she has the money.

Quoting GFireflyE,
My power supply is a 500W supply; easily able to handle my system needs.

That may have been the case when your machine was new, but if you have upgraded or added new hardware [eg higher rated GPU, and extra drive] it may be that your PSU is now underpowered for the job at hand.  Furthermore, PSUs do depreciate with time and use, so it is likely to have a lesser rating than the original. 

Also, given today's hardware, a 500w PSU is borderline average to totally inadequate, so given its age, and the danger of it taking out your other hardware if/when it dies, it would be wise to invest in a new, higher rated one sooner rather than later.  It would also be wise to get something more powerful than you actually need... to allow for depreciation over time and accomodate future expansions/upgrades. 

I have a Silverstone 1200w that is more than adequate in my current system, but it will only be a bit above average when it goes into my new build sometime in late Feb early March.  A 1500w would be better, and I will likely invest in one when I've recovered from the cost of this new PC further down the track.  However, for the time being, I will have to make do with the 1200w in order to purchase the remaining parts to complete the build.

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January 29, 2014 5:11:44 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Maybe your power supply fried the hard disks.

(Happened to me once, with a brand new power supply and a brand new hard disk).

So it's indeed very wise of you to keep your HDD disconnected.

If you want to be sure if the drives are dead or not, ask a friend to connect them to their PC.

 

 

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January 29, 2014 5:36:46 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting GeomanNL,
Maybe your power supply fried the hard disks.

Generally speaking, a dying/faulty PSU is unlikely to just take out the HDDs.  No, it's more likely to take out the mobo/cpu/expansion cards before [or along with] the HDDs. 

I still think it's a faulty or dying mobo or the PSU is underpowered for the task at hand... though I could be wrong, which is very rare, if not extremely so.  In fact, given I've been so right pretty much my whole like, I can't remember the last time I was wrong... if I ever was.

Hehe, that bit of tomfoolery reminds me of a T-shirt I have... "To Save Arguments, Let's Assume I'm Never Wrong."

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January 29, 2014 9:22:52 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums


@Jafo

- I don't think it's my motherboard. My main SSD drive runs very smoothly and I've swapped the SATA around. It runs on any of the ports.

- Tried many combinations of boot including shutting down, booting without the secondary drives, booting only with the secondary drives (as one of them still has a small DOS partition), etc, etc.

- Will look at defaulting my BIOS. Interesting thought.

- Going to purchase a SATA - USB connector on my way home today....see if I can access the data on my drive that way...

- I've since disabled my sleep mode....I'm hoping I'm not two drives too late.

@Seleuceia

- I took a browse around through my bios. I didn't see anything that stood out as forcing sleep on my drives. Also, this computer has been running for a long time under windows XP. Not sure why my bios would act up now. Does windows 7 interact with bios differently?

- My drives are mounted onto a linking chasis. They slide into the drive bay quite level. I'll do some more research on my drives though...see if such a function exists within my drives. Thanks for the thought.

@Wizard1956

- This article seems to best describe my dilema: http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/1567-63-windows-hard-drives-disappear-sleep-resume However, I try to apply the hotfix mentioned, and the install informs me that my computer is not compatible with the fix....sigh.

- You make a fair point about my power supply. I should run some tests and see what levels and stability my supply is at.

@starkers

- noooo....I don't want to replace my mobo yet. It may come down to that though...

- I'll do some more reading on my power supply.

@GeomanNL

- Will be checking USB hookup first. If that fails, odds are the drives are gone...but I'll check them at a friends first before using them as target practice.

 

Thank you all for your thoughts.

I'm a minimum hoping I can still strip the data of the drives. There are a few items that were not backup up. At maximum, I'm hoping I don't have to purchase a new system....took me quite the time just to save up for the video card + SSD + O/S.

 

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January 29, 2014 9:26:02 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting starkers,
Also, given today's hardware, a 500w PSU is borderline average to totally inadequate, so given its age, and the danger of it taking out your other hardware if/when it dies, it would be wise to invest in a new, higher rated one sooner rather than later.  It would also be wise to get something more powerful than you actually need... to allow for depreciation over time and accomodate future expansions/upgrades. 

I have a Silverstone 1200w that is more than adequate in my current system, but it will only be a bit above average when it goes into my new build sometime in late Feb early March.  A 1500w would be better, and I will likely invest in one when I've recovered from the cost of this new PC further down the track.  However, for the time being, I will have to make do with the 1200w in order to purchase the remaining parts to complete the build.

Aargh.    Probably regret jumping in but...

<rant mode begin>

Unless you're running multiple high-end graphics cards or a 5-disk RAID array or something equally unlikely in a consumer desktop machine, 1200 Watts is way more power than what you need, and 1500 is just insane.  It just makes your power consumption highly inefficient because you'll be drawing much less than what the unit is specced for; most are only efficient if well paired with their intended power draw.

See here for some power draw comparisons for hard drives:

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/desktop-hdd.15-st4000dm000-4tb,3494-6.html

Those are relatively recent, but they're all under 10w under extreme load.  Let's be super-conservative and double it for slightly older hardware; for 3 drives, you're talking 60 watts.  The SSD is much less, but let's call it 10 watts.  Your CPU is going to be rated somewhere well south of 150 watts (unless you're still using a high-clock Prescott P4 or something.)  If you're running anything recent, it will be under 105, probably under 75.  PEAK. For gaming systems, your graphics card is going to be the biggest draw, and you probably want to base your PSU on your graphics needs entirely.

But don't take my word for it; here's Newegg's PSU calculator, which is HIGHLY conservative (they have incentive to sell you a bigger PSU, after all.)

http://images10.newegg.com/BizIntell/tool/psucalc/index.html

I think you'll have a hard time coming up with a single-GPU desktop scenario where they recommend > 750 Watts.  Again, that's a very conservative estimate, not necessarily for a quality manufacturer's PSU, so it's got a lot of fudge room built in.

HOWEVER, as noted above by the_Monk, the main factor is really not wattage.  It's amperage, and mostly for the 12v rail.  You want to make sure you have enough amps on whichever rail your devices are plugged into so that peak draw allows them to power on and not overload the rail.  This is more a matter of buying a quality brand/design, rather than just looking at wattage.

</end rant>

To Gfirefly - if at all possible, try the drives either in another machine or with an external reader of some kind to separate the rest of the machine as a factor.

And I agree with the advice that a 7 year old PSU is likely due for replacement; at that age you're likely to start seeing things like capacitor failure.  Note that this applies to your other components as well - and it can be very sudden.  Or they could just keep on ticking indefinitely; the point is that you're on borrowed time and shouldn't be surprised when the failure happens.

 

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January 29, 2014 2:43:10 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting Crastiloowa,
Unless you're running multiple high-end graphics cards or a 5-disk RAID array or something equally unlikely in a consumer desktop machine, 1200 Watts is way more power than what you need, and 1500 is just insane.

Yes, I agree that 1200w is a bit of overkill in a regular home user's machine, but mine isn't quite the average, run of the mill PC, and I figure having more than enough power is better than having not quite enough.  Thing is, I have an 8 core AMD FX 8350 @ 4.5ghz with 2 12cm fans on the heatsink; 32gb DDRIII Corsair RAM; x2 Gigabyte 7970's GPU'soverclocked; a Creative Sound Blaster ZxR sound card with front IO panel and wired controller; an Avermedia C027 Dark Crystal Pro TV tuner card; a 4 port USB3 PCI.E card; a 4 port SATA 3 PCI.E card; a LG BluRay and DVD RAM drive; x1 256gb SSD; x1 120gb SSD; x1 2TB WD HDD; x1 1TB WD HDD; x4 22cm case fans; x2 12cm case fans and several [powerless USB devices]

Now the 1200w is more than ample for this PC, and given expected depreciation over time I believe it was the better investment than say a 750w PSU that would likely become underpowered somewhat sooner.  However, the new build I am working on now has greater power requirements and a 1500w Gold rating PSU is a case of better than being sorry.  It has a liquid cooled Intel i7 4770K that'll be well overclocked and higher rated RAM [2400mhz as opposed to 1333] a bigger OS SSD, a RAID0 array of 4 2TB WD's, and the above peripherals will be swapped over to complete the setup.  For mine, a 1500w PSU makes sense given the hardware it'll need to power up. 

As to whether anyone else agrees with my component choices or not doesn't concern me.  It's like skinning!  You do it for yourself first, and if anybody else likes it, well okay.... and if they don't, well it's no skin off your nose because you did it for you in the first place.  Yeah, it's self-indulgent, but I have few pleasures in life these days due to illness/mobility issues, so  building this high-end PC is my escape, my way of using my time and money to achieve something to feel proud of and that makes me happy... er, happier than I'd otherwise be.

So is the 1500 watt PSU worth the expenditure?  SHIT YEAH!!!!!!

 

Oh yeah, the mobo in this new build has 2 Thunderbolt ports and a Wi.Fi/Bluetooth PCI.E add in to increase network connectivity, so with the piggyback potential of multiple devices on Thunderbolt, the 1500w PSU is making more and more sense.

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January 29, 2014 3:58:18 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

A couple more thoughts I'll throw out for what they're worth:

I suppose it's possible your motherboard Win7 drivers aren't handling the Win7 sleep/wake-up effectively, might want to check into that. [Your link in reply 15 makes me think you've already checked into that.]

I believe at boot motherboards stagger hard drive spin up to spread out the power consumption.  If Win7 wake-up fires everything up at once that would put more demand on the power supply and might explain why the problem suddenly appeared.

I hope the usb/sate gets you back into the drives, good luck.

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January 29, 2014 4:38:12 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting starkers,
So is the 1500 watt PSU worth the expenditure?  SHIT YEAH!!!!!!

Ok, I'll grant that your setup as described probably warrants a larger than average PSU.  However, I still think (admittedly eyeballing without having taken the time to search out and add up the draw for all of your devices) that 1500 will be overkill.  Overkill in a PSU means that it will run less efficiently, and thereby use more energy (== more heat, more noise, lesser device lifetime) than one better matched to the workload.  If you're getting a gold-rated PSU, that will probably drop its efficiency down to where the "Gold" rating is no longer applicable.  

That said, the rant was directed more at the many many individuals I've seen who look at PSUs, think "I don't know much about PSUs, but more is better" and just pick the highest wattage unit available.  Then you end up with a box with 1 mid-range CPU, 1 mid-range GPU, 1 hard drive, 1 optical drive, and a 1000+ watt no-name PSU.  The PSU burns out quickly (because it was cheaply built) and they think "hrm...I thought I got one that was big enough...maybe I need a bigger one now."  What they really needed was a quality 400 Watt PSU.

Sorry, done ranting.

 

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January 29, 2014 4:51:05 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting DaveRI,

I believe at boot motherboards stagger hard drive spin up to spread out the power consumption.  If Win7 wake-up fires everything up at once that would put more demand on the power supply and might explain why the problem suddenly appeared.

That's a scary thought.

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January 29, 2014 4:51:38 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

I had this happen to me on my HP machine. I lost 1 drive and my media card readers. No where to be found in the bios or devices even on reboot. I went to HP support and read: "Turn off the computer, unplug the power cord from the back and hold the power button in for 15 seconds. Then plug it in and then turn it on". This worked for me, actually twice I had to do it at a later time. I don't know if this is HP specific but it wouldn't hurt.

 

my 2 cents

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January 29, 2014 5:11:11 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting Crastiloowa,
It's amperage, and mostly for the 12v rail.

I'm quoting that just because it's kind of buried in there.    It's not unusual for a higher wattage power supply to actually be weaker on the 12v than a different lower wattage supply.  You do have to look at those rail ratings. And ya, I do agree with you regarding quality and wattage - I think we may be a minority.

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January 29, 2014 5:20:59 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting GFireflyE,
That's a scary thought.

And it is just a thought.  I had googled trying to find out exactly how Win7 executes its wake up and I didn't find anything, but admittedly I didn't spend a lot of time on it.  The motherboard spreading it out is from discussions I think I remember from years ago.  I did want to put the concept out here though, the more adept people might know right off.

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January 29, 2014 5:25:46 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

If you can post the model number and brand of your Motherboard

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January 29, 2014 5:26:26 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting Crastiloowa,
Ok, I'll grant that your setup as described probably warrants a larger than average PSU. However, I still think (admittedly eyeballing without having taken the time to search out and add up the draw for all of your devices) that 1500 will be overkill.

Okay, you have made some valid points and a 1500 watter is more than is necessary for this new build, and with the money saved I can look into this 1TB Samsung 840 EVO Series SSD I saw earlier with my regular online store.  Yup the money would be better spent that way and I can put the 1200w in the new build, while putting a 800w in this rig I'm on now, thus employing another part that's just been laying around gathering dust lately.

So yeah, thanks for discussion and getting me to rethink my decision.

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