Hard drive works intermittently

By phaelonsilva ·
A few months ago, my desktop PC had a black screen saying the HD was not detected. Like many people running XP, I leave it on all the time, so it had apparently crashed. The first time I rebooted, it said the same thing: primary IDE drive was missing. I checked the BIOS and it didn't detect the primary drive at all! I opened up the case, unplugged all the cables and made sure they were well-seated again, and this time, it booted up! But a day later it failed again. After going through this a few times, I decided the drive must be bad (it was about 5 yrs old) and I put my newer one in as the primary. Things went fine until last week. Now the same thing is happening again! There's just no way this drive (only about 2 yrs old, WD) is also going in the same way. I replaced the motherboard about 2 yrs ago with a Gigabyte AMD. I'm wondering if it could be the powersupply, the motherboard I/O, or perhaps the cables. The trouble with troubleshooting is that the drive either works or it doesn't, so it's hard to run a diagnostic. I'm about ready to just buy a whole new system and save this for a rainy day hobby project. Any ideas for me? I'd prefer not to buy a new power supply or motherboard without knowing what's wrong.

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All Answers

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Is the drive spinning up?

by TonytheTiger In reply to Hard drive works intermit ...

It could be a contact in the power plug is not making good contact when you plug it into the drive. Try another plug, like the one going to the CD.

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by phaelonsilva In reply to Is the drive spinning up?

I've noticed that sometimes when the drive fails, it's while Windows is running. I can actually hear a click, and it sounds like the drive stops spinning. I just realized that one of my CD drives wasn't working the other day, too.. (but now it seems fine) I wonder if my power supply just isn't functioning right anymore. I think I bought the case/power supply about 4 years ago. Well, I'm going try changing the power plugs and the HD cables. We'll see how it works out. Thanks a lot for the feedback.

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How Big is the Power Supply and is the fan in it working?

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to Sometimes

What it sounds is happening here is a heat related issue where something is breaking down when it reaches a certain temperature so I would start off by trying a different Known Good Power Supply and work from there.

There are several things that can happen particularly if the unit is left running 24/7 connectors can start to corrode and cause a heat build up in them which in a worst case scenario can lead to the destruction of attached devices, to the PS just simply breaking down and no longer providing the correct Voltages.

I always recommend good Power Supplies like the Antec Brand or something of that quality as they have a stated constant supply capability and not peek ratings.


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If the drive spins up

by mjd420nova In reply to Hard drive works intermit ...

Then it would be a failure on the motherboard. I had one similar failure on an older P1 unit that had the IDE controller chip intermittent before failing completely. At first it wouldn't find the drive even though it was spinning. The it couldn't see the whole drive and then it failed completely and couldn't even see a new drive. Built a new P3 unit and added the drive and it still works today.

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by xadious2 In reply to Hard drive works intermit ...

Did you find a solution? Cause i'm having the same problem but don't know what the problem is.


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Working fine now

by phaelonsilva In reply to Solutions?

After a few helpful replies, I replaced my old 300W power supply with a new 500W Antec Smartpower 2.0. Took a little time to replace it, but not too bad. I've had no problems now for the last month, and the PC's been on 24 hrs a day. Also, I'd been having some problems with a CD-ROM drive spinning up, and it seems fine now. I since put an old HD back in that I thought was defective, and it's been working fine.
Thanks to all the people who recommended changing out the PS. I think it was a good move, and it's not very expensive (around $69 after rebate from Buy.com).

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I had the same problem

by jamesatmaisonverre In reply to Hard drive works intermit ...

I had the same problem,i replaced the ide cables and a fresh install,On closer investigation the i narrowed it down to symantec noton internet sicurity or a virus.But i am confident it was norton as the problem occured after i installed the 2006 program.

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