Question SATA HDD Intermittently Not Recognized at POST After Electricity Loss

YrbkMgr

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Aug 30, 2014
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I don't know if this is a drive issue, MB issue, or PS issue, but the symptoms are as follows.

During Power On Self Test, the boot drive (only HD) is sometimes not recognized. This happens consistently when I turn off the electricity to the computer. By that I mean, I have the computer plugged into a surge protector. When I say turn off electricity, I'm referencing flipping the power switch on the surge protector.

Here's what's weird. I can keep that strip on and turn the power off from the computer all day long and there are no problems. But if I shut the computer down, and turn off the strip, OFTEN (but not always) the HD won't be recognized during POST.

If I keep trying to reboot the PC, eventually the drive will get recognized. Sometimes, I have to plug in a different drive until after post, turn off the computer, put the original drive back, and then it will get recognized.

I've run every diagnostic I can think of on the WD Caviar Blue drive and don't seem to find any errors. Although, I'll admit that I can't really interpret the SMART report except to say that everything is "green".

Switched SATA power and data cables, switched SATA ports (now using port 1). After switching from SATA Port0 to Port1, the problem seemed to go away. But it didn't. Still having the issue.

How can I troubleshoot this? Is it MB? HDD?
 

Ralston18

Titan
Moderator
Update your post to include full system hardware specs and OS.

Has the CMOS battery ever been replaced?

Do you always do a hard shutdown using either the computer's on/off switch or the surge protector's on/off switch.

You should use the Windows shutdown icon to shutdown Windows and, when the computer is off, then turn off the physical switches.

Windows needs the proper shutdown process to close apps, processes, services, finish pending updates, and other "house cleaning" functions. Otherwise you risk corrupting the system files and problems result.
 

YrbkMgr

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Aug 30, 2014
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Update your post to include full system hardware specs and OS.

Has the CMOS battery ever been replaced?

Do you always do a hard shutdown using either the computer's on/off switch or the surge protector's on/off switch.

You should use the Windows shutdown icon to shutdown Windows and, when the computer is off, then turn off the physical switches.

Windows needs the proper shutdown process to close apps, processes, services, finish pending updates, and other "house cleaning" functions. Otherwise you risk corrupting the system files and problems result.
I appreciate that you've given some time to think about my post and reply, but I'm not sure what system specs make sense to post. It's a WD Caviar Blue HDD and an HP Pavillion. The drive I "kick start" it with is another WD Caviar Blue HDD.

The issue is OS independent. I'm not shutting down Windows with a power button. When I boot to command prompt and the same issue happens. That is to say, when I turn off the PC, if I also turn off the outlet strip, after some period of time, turning the outlet strip back on, and then powering on the unit, the POST reports no HDD present, and subsequently asks for bootable media.

Further, as I mentioned, it often takes several times of cycling power for the drive to be recognized by POST, or a swap out of the drive, before being recognized. I can put that HDD in any other machine and it's immediately recognized.

CMOS - no, the battery's never been replaced. I haven't replaced a CMOS battery since 1986. I have units that are circa 2001 that are still running. Still, I thought of it as a possibility - is that the most likely culprit?
 
Last edited:

Ralston18

Titan
Moderator
I would certainly consider an old CMOS battery as a culprit.

Do some additional research regarding CMOS batteries and the symptoms associated with a problem battery.

E.g.:

https://www.lifewire.com/cmos-checksum-error-what-it-is-and-how-to-fix-it-4689193

You may recognize some other event or happening that has become "unnoticed" as can often occur as a problem creeps in.

Overall, replacing the CMOS battery is inexpensive and easy to do. And replacement battery would certainly eliminate one possible cause for the loss of drive recognition or some other entangled issue.

Try changing your shutdown routine for a few "cycles".

Just power off using the Windows shutdown icon. Let the PC turn itself off but let the PSU switch and outlet switches remain in the "ON" position.

If the problem still continues, remove the outlet strip.

General idea being to work through the various components and, again by elimination, narrow down to the presence or absence of how you are doing the shutdowns or a component device.
 

YrbkMgr

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Aug 30, 2014
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I would certainly consider an old CMOS battery as a culprit.

Do some additional research regarding CMOS batteries and the symptoms associated with a problem battery.

E.g.:

https://www.lifewire.com/cmos-checksum-error-what-it-is-and-how-to-fix-it-4689193

You may recognize some other event or happening that has become "unnoticed" as can often occur as a problem creeps in.

Overall, replacing the CMOS battery is inexpensive and easy to do. And replacement battery would certainly eliminate one possible cause for the loss of drive recognition or some other entangled issue.

Try changing your shutdown routine for a few "cycles".

Just power off using the Windows shutdown icon. Let the PC turn itself off but let the PSU switch and outlet switches remain in the "ON" position.

If the problem still continues, remove the outlet strip.

General idea being to work through the various components and, again by elimination, narrow down to the presence or absence of how you are doing the shutdowns or a component device.
Right. Thanks for that. FWIW, I've switched up the power down procedure ad infinitum. And again, once POST reports no drive present, I cycle power (with the power button) until BIOS sees it again. It's weird.

This issue began with a power outage a couple of years ago. I mothballed the unit until I could start troubleshooting. What I know is that if I keep electricity to the unit (don't move it to a different location, or turn off the power strip) I'm fine. Once the unit is in its final location, the power strip will remain on. I thought it prudent though, to consider that there may be a growing problem that I "might autta" be aware of.

You're right though, changing the CMOS battery is easy, cheap, and eliminates that variable.

I appreciate you having given this some thought. Thanks.
 

YrbkMgr

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Aug 30, 2014
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So, CMOS battery replaced, still having issues. PC-Doctor (OEM version) reports the drive has having an error: "uninitialized/corrupt boot sector detected". CHKDSK hasn't found or fixed anything.

Any idea what else I can use to either confirm PC-Doctors report or satisfy myself that I don't have a corrupt boot sector?
 

YrbkMgr

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Aug 30, 2014
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Put this to bed. Migrated the drive to a larger hard drive. Haven't had an issue so.... bad drive about to fail is my conclusion.

Thanks for the thought experiment.
 

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