Hard drive disappearing/reappearing

Micro Express
August 5, 2007 at 08:45:20
Specs: Win XP SP2, Core 2 Duo E6600/ 2 GB RA
I am having a strange problem. A couple weeks ago, I sat down at my computer, and discovered that my G drive had disappeared (note: this is not my boot drive, but a storage drive I use predominantly for music). I went into the Disk Management utility, which saw the drive, but reported it as 'not initialized'. At this point, I tried to use a recovery utility to get the data off, but I didn't have enough room on my other disk to complete it. However, this does tell me that the drive is still functioning and readable, as I got about halfway through the process before realizing I didn't have enough space. So, I left it alone for a few days, not sure what to do.

Then, about a week later I got a message when I logged in that said "Windows has recovered from a serious error". I went to event viewer, which said it was a system error, event ID 1003. I got it again a couple days later. I never figured out what caused it. I tried looking up some info on the web, but there were about a million different possible reasons for getting this error. So, I did a system restore to a few days earlier, and low and behold, my hard drive reappeared! Complete and intact, with no noticable problems whatsoever.

A couple days later, I had to reboot the computer for some reason or another, and boom...now my drive is gone again and hasn't reappeared. I've tried doing system restore again to several different dates, and can't get the drive to reappear again, although it still shows up in Disk Manager, reporting as 'not initialized.' Now, I could just initialize the drive, but I have 300 gigs of important stuff on there I don't want to lose.

I'm pretty sure the drive still functions, (I accessed a bunch of files with no problems the day it reappeared) but for some reason Windows thinks it's not initialized. Could a virus/spyware/trojan etc. cause this kind of problem? Drivers, maybe? Since I've done system restore several times, I don't think it could be registry-related (or am I wrong?). I'm completely stumped. Does anyone know what could cause this, (or even seen it before)?? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Oh, sorry - guess I should post some stats. I'm running Windows XP SP2. The drive in question is a Maxtor 6L300R0 - 300GB. The computer itself is a Micro Express, only about 5 months old, with a Core 2 Duo E6600 2.4G. I run AVG free edition antivirus, Spyware Terminator, and Comodo personal firewall (if that matters). I can also send a Hijackthis log if need be. Thanks again.

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August 5, 2007 at 08:56:34
What drive G is it - internal IDE/SATA or external USB HD?


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August 5, 2007 at 09:15:55
It is an internal IDE drive. However, it uses a IDE-to-SATA adapter to connect to the computer, (the computer takes SATA drives only.)

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August 5, 2007 at 09:16:14
I've found that XP will sometimes lose drives when it runs into a problem accessing them. I have had it happen twice and both drives were later found to have bad areas on a platter and had to be replaced. I suggest that you either run chkdsk /r for a full scan of all sectors on the drive or download a diagnostic from the hard drive manufacturer's web site.

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Related Solutions

August 5, 2007 at 09:32:04
I can't run chkdsk on the drive, it's not recognized by Windows!! I even tried it in command prompt and got: Cannot open volume for direct access. I downloaded Seagate File Recovery (I guess Maxtor was bought out by Seagate) and I'm running it now. It shows both my partitions with the correct sizes. It looks like it's gonna take awhile, so I'll report results later.

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August 5, 2007 at 09:49:14
It is an internal IDE drive. However, it uses a IDE-to-SATA adapter to connect to the computer, (the computer takes SATA drives only.)

If I were you I would remove IDE HD along with the adapter from the case then put it into USB20 external HD enclosure. This will greatly reduce the disappeariung & reappearing of this HD in a SATA-based system.


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August 5, 2007 at 13:34:32
Or get a PCI or PCIe based controller card to connect legusy devices. Make sure the card will also support optical drive, should you want to also connect them. Of course it should be 48bit LBA compliant,(support drives larger than 127GB).

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August 5, 2007 at 17:03:26
A slower, bulky External enclosure? No thanks, I already have too much crap on my desk. This is a new computer with lots of hard drive bays. I'd like to be able to use the ones I got. Jeez, I sound kinda cranky, don't I...sorry.

To OtheHill:
As for the PCI card idea: I tried that when originally installing this drive. If you hook up a SATA and an ATA drive on the same system, it will ALWAYS try to boot the ATA drive first (and my ATA drive is not a boot drive, so that don't work!) It's some weird flaw. I learned this after talking to several of my CIS profs at school, as well as several of the IT people, and doing some research online. This was the only way I was able connect this drive.

Ok: I ran Seagate's File Recovery utility. The scan completed successfully with no problems, and showed a bunch of information that looked correct about the setup of my drive. Why is everyone always so convinced it's the drive? (Not that it still might not be bad) What do you guys suggest I do next?

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August 5, 2007 at 17:22:31
I think you have been misinformed about how you can boot. Adapters are just that, things that make stuff that won't normally fit together work.

Before you argue about the boot problem I suggest you look at your boot choices. If your computer is a new unit, as you state I bet you can boot to almost anything. There are some extra settings you may not be aware of. I suggest you study the BIOS pages in your manual.
Make sure you have the Motherboard controlling the resources (Auto ESCD).

What service pack is integrated into the WinXP CD you installed with? Not what service pack is now installed.

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August 5, 2007 at 17:41:54
I never got a manual, and I don't know how to configure the motherboard for Auto ESCD. Also, I didn't install with a CD. The OS was preinstalled - XP Home SP2, build 2600, (and just to clarify, the drive in question is not a boot drive.) It may be a newer version by now thanks to updating.

Here is what Belarc Advisor reported on 2/14/07, (the day I got my computer):
Main Circuit Board
Board: Intel Corporation DP965LT AAD41694-206
Bus Clock: 266 megahertz
BIOS: Intel Corp. MQ96510J.86A.0816.2006.0716.2308 07/16/2006

Operating System
Windows XP Home Edition Service Pack 2 (build 2600)

So, I guess I should research some info about BIOS for my mobo? Any suggestions where to go? I'll probably start with Intel.com
Thanks again,

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August 5, 2007 at 19:25:55
Look here for info on what I think is your computer. http://downloadcenter.intel.com/Fil...

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August 6, 2007 at 07:56:02
OK, I found the 'BIOS settings glossary' on the Intel site, here:

What am I looking for? I found a setting for Legacy IDE Channels on page 11. Not sure if this is the one I would need to use. Here are the options:
Legacy IDE Channels
Configures PATA and SATA resources for OS requiring legacy IDE operation.
• PATA Pri only
• PATA Sec only
• PATA PRI and Sec
• SATA P0/P1 only
• SATA P0/P1, PATA Sec
• SATA P0/P1, PATA Pri
If I had to guess, I would choose:
Is that right? I don't know what the P0/P1 means - two different SATA devices, perhaps?(I only have one). If I set it to 'PATA sec only', would that disable my SATA drive? This stuff is confusing! No wonder I'm scared I'm gonna turn my 'puter into a paperweight. lol.

Can I hook up a hard drive on the optical drive channel? I have heard that you can, but you should not have an optical drive and a hard drive on the same cable (speed limited by slowest device, or something). I believe I actually tried this when first trying to hook up this drive, (with and without a DVD drive attached), but had the problem I mentioned earlier, where it always tries to boot to the IDE drive first.

Thanks for your continued help,

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August 6, 2007 at 08:43:30
Let me say this, if this is an Intel BIOS as indicated I am unfamiliar with it so I could be wrong on my assessment.

What type of connection is one your optical drives/s? I ask because you need to place your optical drive before the harddrive in the boot order. That is because you may need to boot to the CD/DVD prior to the Harddrives. In your list of options in the BIOS there doesn't seem to be a setting to boot to a PATA drive prior to a SATA drive.

Is there a standard boot order selection in the BIOS? Something like CD first, HDD second?

P0/P1 means Primary SATA controller 0 & 1.
If your MBoard has 4 SATA ports those 4 ports are controlled by 2 SATA controllers that each have two channels. So P0/P1 would be first boot device P0 then P1 then
"Can I hook up a hard drive on the optical drive channel"?
The IDE channels are for any IDE devices. Very old systems had problems with optical drives connected and jumpered as a Master drive and the slower drive DID slow down the other drive on that Channel. There are sometimes TWO IDE channels. Your system MAY only have ONE channel. Use an 80 wire IDE cable and the devices can run at thier respective speeds.
I recommend using Master/ slave jumper settings as opposed to CS (cable selcet). When using Master/ slave it doesn't matter which device is connected to the end of the cable as it does with CS. This allows more flexibility in drive placement in the case.

ONE other point. You won't damage your computer or jeprodise your data if you set the settings se are talking about in this thread. There are settings that can be problematic but for the most part it is safe to change values. The best thing you can do is to write down the values on the page that you are changing so you can reset them to the old setting should you need to. Don't change many things at one time either. One or possibly two.

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