Help! My Drive Disappeared!

Nathan Edwards

I built an Intel-based system that’s running on a Gigabyte 945P-S3 motherboard. I’m chugging on three SATA hard drives—a 120GB, 250GB, and 500GB. The processor is a Core 2 Duo E6300 running at 1.86GHz, along with 4GB of 667MHz memory and a GeForce 5800 Ultra Extreme 512MB graphics card.

So what’s my problem? The system runs OK with 64-bit Vista Ultimate SP1, but I have a problem with the 500GB drive disappearing. It doesn’t show up in any of the installed diagnostic programs, Windows disk management, or anywhere else. If I swap the power supply connector around, the drive will show up for a while, but then it disappears again. (The power supply is a Thermaltake 800W unit that’s about a year old, and it has swappable plug connectors.)

Most times a reboot shows the disk in the BIOS as “BzBzBzBz...” What’s going on?

—Frank Buttell

There shouldn’t be a problem with running three drives in Windows. That leads the Doc to believe that your problem is caused by a bad data or power cable, bad power (swappable PSUs are more prone to bad connections than hard-wired units), or a bad drive.

Try the inexpensive route first: Switch your drive’s SATA cable with one that has consistently worked well with a different drive. If that doesn’t fix the problem, try a different SATA connector on your motherboard. Again, swap it with a connector you’re using with one of your other drives.

If that still doesn’t fix the issue, borrow a friend’s power supply and rewire your system. If your old PSU isn’t the culprit, then it’s the drive itself. Copy your data, write a fond farewell to your little storage friend, and buy a new hard drive.

SUBMIT YOUR QUESTION Are flames shooting out of the back of your rig? First, grab a fire extinguisher and douse the flames. Once the pyrotechnic display has fizzled, email the doctor at for advice on how to solve your technological woes.

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