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 Post subject: Help needed with booting PC
PostPosted: Sun Jul 28, 2013 3:30 pm 
8086
8086

Joined: Sun Jul 28, 2013 3:10 pm
Posts: 5
Hi folks,

Bear with me a second, there's a lot of background here!

A few years ago I built a machine with the following specs:

- ASUS P7P55D LGA 1156 Intel P55 ATX Intel Motherboard
- Intel Core i7-860 Lynnfield 2.8GHz LGA 1156 95W Quad-Core Processor BX80605I7860
- Corsair CMFSSD-64GBG2D 2.5" 64GB SATA II MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
- CORSAIR TX Series CMPSU-750TX 750W ATX12V v2.3 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 Power Supply
- Western Digital WD Black WD7501AALS 750GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Hard Drive
- HIS H577F1GDG Radeon HD 5770 (Juniper XT) 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card
- G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL7D-4GBRH

Running Windows 7 Home Premium on it. It worked great for several years. The only snafu I had was a problem with the SSD. I replaced the SSD with a hard drive. Got a replacement for the defective SSD, but never got around to reinstalling it, so have been running with two Sata hard drives ever since, maybe for a few years like that.

Fairly recently, I started having problems with the BIOS reporting the CPU temps were too high. The machine would fail to boot, or would crash. However, it would even do so immediately after boot when the machine had been off overnight, so I was never quite convinced that it was truly overheating. After much troubleshooting with the help of others, I replaced the CPU fan with a much more robust model. Everything worked fine after that. Then, out of the blue, a few weeks later, my machine wouldn't boot at all, saying the boot device couldn't be found. It gave me an option of trying to Launch Windows anyway, which I tried, but it blue-screened and rebooted itself each time I tried. It was also suggested that I put my Windows disk in and run repair. I did this, but the repair process failed to fix anything. I was, however, able to boot into Safe Mode. But then THAT stopped working, and even when I would go into Windows repair, it couldn't find the OS at all. I tried a chkdsk, and updated my BIOS to the most recent version.

At this point, I was suspicious that it was a HDD issue. Since I had the replacement SDD left over, I decided to install Windows onto THAT and hopefully recover data from the drives. I unplugged the HDD drives and just plugged the SDD in, and I was able to install Windows onto the SDD. Then I plugged the HDDs back in, and I was able to boot into Windows and see both additional drives (exactly what I wanted). However, since then it has been acting very inconsistently. After working fine for several boots (while I did a million Windows updates, etc.), it suddenly went back to failing to boot, and when I went into the BIOS, instead of showing my Corsair SDD, it then just showed as the generic "hard drive". I unplugged the extra HDD drives, and was able to get the Corsair to show up in the BIOS again. I could also get into Windows again. Right now it has just the SDD installed, and Windows runs.

However, every time I plug in one of the HDDs, the behavior gets unpredictable again. I tried switching around the Sata cables, and which Sata ports I plug the drives into. I tried just plugging one HDD in, or the other. None of that yielded any appreciably different or consistent results. On the random occasions where I can get the HDDs plugged in, the BIOS does recognize them.

At this point, I am pretty much at a loss. I need to be able to get at least one of these HDD plugged in and working. I can't figure out if there is a problem with these HDD, or whether something is totally hosed at the motherboard level (possibly from back when I was getting overheating errors). I'd rather not buy a new mobo if people aren't fairly sure that could be the cause. But I've been fighting this thing for two weeks now and I really need to get this fixed.

Any suggestions as to what I should try??

Thanks so much for your help.

Steve


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 Post subject: Re: Help needed with booting PC
PostPosted: Sun Jul 28, 2013 8:56 pm 
Willamette
Willamette

Joined: Thu Aug 12, 2004 9:04 am
Posts: 1035
Have you tried running a hard drive diagnostic on either of the two hard drives (using WD's diagnostic tool)? If not, try that first and see if the hard drives pass the diagnostics.
Have you tried updating the BIOS on your motherboard? If not, I would give that a try as well (of course, if you do this, you might want to see if there is a firmware update for your SSD as well and update it before you update the BIOS).


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 Post subject: Re: Help needed with booting PC
PostPosted: Tue Jul 30, 2013 8:11 am 
Thunderbird
Thunderbird
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Joined: Sun Dec 30, 2007 6:17 pm
Posts: 854
Location: Phoenix, AZ
pcstudent wrote:
Have you tried running a hard drive diagnostic on either of the two hard drives (using WD's diagnostic tool)? ....

And since this is a booting issue boot up (set ODD or USB as primary boot) using the DLD 4 DOS version rather than the less powerful Windows variant.

If you have problems booting, accessing BIOS then disconnect both drives from all connections to go to BIOS and one drive at a time to boot from DLD "disk." Obviously if the problem disappears with one drive connected you have your culprit and the only thing left is to rule out cable/connection/port issue from the drive itself.

In addition to what pcstudent said, see if any firmware updates exist for all of your drives (SSD, HDD and ODD and apply them) and update your chipset and SATA (both) drivers. [I note ASUS stopped loading these updates in 2009---you should grab more current ones from Intel and JMicron.] Additionally some of those early SATA drive controllers were a gnarly bitch on positioning drives on the ports. With the boot drive on the lowest port (zero or 1). The ODD at the end (highest number) on the opposite side (even or odd number) from the boot drive. With any second drive next port opposite side from boot. Other drives as tolerated.

The try a CMOS reset per your MB's manual.

I would also consider a backup followed by a nondestructive repair re-install of the operating system.

Let us know if there is a data recovery issue now. Remember many WD drives have 2, 3 or even 5 years (Black) warranty.


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 Post subject: Re: Help needed with booting PC
PostPosted: Tue Jul 30, 2013 9:05 am 
8086
8086

Joined: Sun Jul 28, 2013 3:10 pm
Posts: 5
Thanks very much for your help guys!

I have been a little slow responding because, well, my problem seems to have gone away. After a few days of stability with just the SDD, I added back the two HDDs and ensured the boot order was correct.

I am sure I tried this before without success, but the bottom line is that it is now working as intended. I am booting to the SDD and I can see both of my HDDs...

So, that's kind of where I stand right now!

Thanks so much for your suggestions!


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