vista ide hard drives offline

By circlework ·
I've done some searches on here - you guys seem to have the most helpful forum for non-tech's like myself so please excuse my ignorance on some terms, I'll try to explain my problem as clear as possible.

My old pc was running xp on the following config:
Chip: Athlon AMD XP 2200+ (1800 MHz) Socket A
Mainboard: Gigabyte GA-7VA
Video: Radeon 9200 Pro AGP series
Ram: 1 x 1Gb + 1 x 512Mb
Pioneer DVD burner
4 x hard drives (1 x 120Gb loaded with XP, 1 x 200Gb storage, 2 x 320 Gb storage) 1st two drives on mainboard IDE slots, 2nd two drives on IDE expansion card.

As you can see it was getting a bit old so I decided to upgrade some hardware and thought that Vista Home Premium would also be a good move. The computer co. was going to take 6 days to build a new one (in hindsight I should have just let them do it) but thinking it might be time to learn a bit more about computers I would have a crack at it myself. All has gone (reasonably) well. The new config is as follows:
Chip: AMd Athlon 64 x2 dual core 4600+
MBoard: Asus M2N4-SLI
Video: NVidea GEForce 7600GT
Ram: 2 x 1Gb

I tossed my old 120Gb HD with XP and bought a new 320Gb WD Sata and loaded Vista on it successfully as the c: drive.

I've now added the old storage hard drives too - on the Primary IDE MB slot is the old WD 200Gb IDE HD with jumpers set to master, the Secondary IDE slot on the MB is the DVD burner set to slave (it has always been jumpered to slave and worked fine before so I haven't touched it), and I added the IDE expansion card to the PCI2 slot (it has the 2 x 320Gb Wd HD's on one ribbon). The PCI1 slot has the wireless card and the PCIEX161 slot has the graphics card.

The BIOS seems fine and it seems Vista has recognised that the IDE drives are present but they are not showing in the 'My Computer' window. In the Disk Management it is showing Disk0 is dynamic with an offline status, Disk1 is basic and is the c:drive with Vista loaded (all ok on that one), Disk 2 and 3 are also dynamic with an offline status. There is no right-click option to bring the offline's back to online, the only option is to convert them to basic (there is data on them so I don't know if it will wipe them and even if that will solve the problem anyway). They are all MBR styles. The offline Disks are all showing zero capacity and zero unallocated space.

I think I was too cocky in believing we could build this whole thing with pretty much zero experience, so now with my tail between my legs I figured I'd ask for some help if anyone can offer it?

Western Australia

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Well to put your mind at rest

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to vista ide hard drives off ...

You haven't done anything wrong except to use Vista. Pull every IDE Drive then mount one in a USB Caddy and set them as Master and then maybe Vista will read them so you can copy all the data off them. You may like to consider doing this one drive at a time and coping the data from the first IDE drive to the SATA Drive in a Temp Folder and then once done that fit that IDE Drive to Vista and convert it to Basic which will destroy all the data on the drive but as it is already copied to the SATA Drive you will not be loosing anything.

Then fit the next IDE Drive to the USB Caddy and copy the contents to a temp folder on the first IDE Drive that you have formatted to a NTFS Partition with Vista and when that is finished remove the IDE Drive from the Caddy fit it to the Computer and convert to Basic and format up.

Repeat the process again with the third IDE Drive and when all the data is copied off it remove it from the Caddy reset the Jumper to Slave and fit it to the computer and then when next booted set to Basic and format up.

When this is finished you can copy all the data from IDE drive 2 to 3 and then when you are sure that every thing is safely copied delete the drives 2 contents. Then repeat the process with IDE Drive 1 to 2 and when finished delete the contents of IDE drive 1 then copy the contents of the Temp Folder on the SATA Drive to the number 1 IDE Drive and it should be fine and back to what you wanted. Remember to copy rather than move as if anything goes wrong you'll not loose any data and it's much easier to restart a Copy than to recover data.

Just a word of warning here however if you do format up these drives under Vista you'll be unable to reuse them with XP unless you Wipe and format them as Vista prevents the drives that it formats from being accessed on a XP System.

You will also find that there are quite a few unavailable drivers for Vista and a lot of the existing software doesn't work on it either so you may be up for a lot of new software as well. If you are only using this as a Home computer that's fine and you'll most likely get away with things but if you are using this to make money I would dump the Vista Install and this requires a wiping utility like Boot & Nuke


And install XP Pro from a new OEM Disc so that you have a working system that you know is reliable. As down time and unexpected stops will cost you money but if this isn't being used in a business we need people like you to be the Guinea Pigs and Paying Beta Testers so that M$ fixes all the problems in Vista before it gets adopted by the Business Community or if people like you have horror stories about Vista we can start to look for a different platform to work with as we don't need the problems that come with a OS that doesn't work properly calls home to Mommy every 30 seconds to tell tails on you and so on.

If you want specific advice on finding drivers there is the Vista Forum hosted by M$ here


You can even ask questions here though I'm not sure what quality the answerers if you get any will be but at least M$ will know what problems they have introduced and take steps to fix them if enough people complain.

I saw this on my Desktop Calender last year MICROSOFT = Most Intelligent Customers Realise Our Software Only Fools Teenagers.


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Many thanks

by circlework In reply to Well to put your mind at ...

Thank you for your prompt reply Col.

I reloaded Xp Pro and was able to recognise the hard drives so I could dump all the required data over to an external hard drive.

I guess I'm a sucker for punishment and I also am not all that keen to set up everything on xp again, only to reload Vista in a few months when they release a service pack, so I'm doing it all again from scratch with Vista. This time I'll format the drives in vista to get them working. If they still don't work I'll toss them and get some new sata ones.

I'll keep you informed of problems (I'm sure there will be plenty) but my software is all legit and so is the OS so hopefully it will be fine to use.

If it all goes pear-shaped again, I'll just go buy a Mac :)



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UM The SATA Drives bit while sounding good

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to Many thanks

May be more problems than what they are worth. You'll need a working Floppy drive to install the SATA Drivers if you want to use them and on the first Blue Windows Setup Screen you are going to have to push the F6 key to allow the install of th SATA Drivers.


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Dynamic disks

by GhostBrowser In reply to vista ide hard drives off ...

Hi I don't know if this will help or if you
are still interested
Dynamic drives are usally a set
If you span across more than drive
and one drive is missing(sounds like the first drive)
windows cannot mount the partitions
So you need all the drives in the set
It sounds like the drive you removed
was part of the set
so reconecting all the drives may help

Good Luck

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by CG IT In reply to Dynamic disks

Windows Vista won't recognize HDDs that are basic discs from other systems unless you import them from computer management. If you click on the disk, it will prompt for "importing them".

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