Win7 can't read HDD; HDD shows up in BIOS and Device Manager; hangs Windows boot!

Dec 4, 2018
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SUMMARY - I did a fresh install of Win7 Pro and it now won't read one of my secondary HDDs. The HDD is recognised in the Bios and Device Manager; the HDD causes the Windows boot process to hang.

DETAILS - The drive - a Toshiba 3TB (DT01ACA300) - has been working perfectly as a secondary (non-OS file / backup storage) drive for several unstressed years.

After a fresh Win7 installation the following problems appeared. When the drive is connected (as one of four internal HDDs + 1 SSD for apps and OS), the PC will not boot into Windows, it hangs on the splash screen. When the drive is disconnected (leaving all the other disks intact), the PC boots perfectly. The bios confirms that the drive is NOT listed as a boot device in the boot sequence.

I 'hot' connected the drive (as an internal HDD, not via an external USB connection) once the PC had completed booting fully (my MB BIOS allows this). Windows Explorer did not assign a drive letter to the drive. However Device Manager correctly identified the drive and says the device is working properly. (The physical signs of a properly working HDD confirm this - the drive quietly whirrs, slightly warm to the touch etc so the drive is definitely not DOA). In Device Manager, when the drive's 'Device Properties' box is active and the 'Populate' button in 'Volumes' is clicked, nothing appears. 'Disk Management' does not register the drive.

I also tried removing the HDD from the PC and putting it in an external USB HDD caddy and connecting it to the PC. The caddy was properly recognised as an external device but not the drive.

It *seems* like the HDD is working fine physically but somehow the partioning / file structure has become corrupted so Windows can't recognise / read the disk's contents, and that the corrupted disk somehow interferes with the Windows boot process.

On this drive I have a lot of family movie files. Most - but I suspect not all (more fool me...) I have backed up to my home server. I would like to recover the files from the disk and - ideally - reformat the drive so it works properly again!

I have tried using EaseUS data recovery, PC Inspector File Recovery, MiniTool Power Data Recovery to read the disk and recover the contents but with no success - they're unable to read the disk.

Any advice on how to proceed would be much appreciated.

Thanks in advance

HalifaxPeter

CPU: Intel i7-4770K
Motherboard: ASRock Z87 Pro4
Ram: 16GB RAM
SSD/HDD: Kingston 240GB SSD (OS & apps)
2x Samsung 500GB HDD
1x WDC 1TB HDD
1x Toshiba 3TB (DT01ACA300) HDD
GPU:m/b
PSU: Antec
Chassis: Antec P120

 

Lutfij

Titan
Moderator
List your specs like so:
CPU:
Motherboard:
Ram:
SSD/HDD:
GPU:
PSU:
Chassis:
OS:

With regards to your point
(The physical signs of a properly working HDD confirm this - the drive quietly whirrs, slightly warm to the touch etc so the drive is definitely not DOA)
This is wrong, since this only means that the device is getting power. It's possible that the drive has indeed failed.

You can test out one possible option, take the drive to another (donor)system and see if the same issue pops up. If it does regain functionality, it's possible that you may have a BIOS, SATA DATA or power cable issue.

Speaking of which, make sure you're on the latest BIOS update for your motherboard.
 
Dec 4, 2018
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Hi Lutfij
Thanks for the reply:

Specs - updated in the original post in the format you've suggested (see above)

"this only means that the device is getting power. It's possible that the drive has indeed failed" - yes, I see your point so I've tried to establish this as below:

"take the drive to another (donor)system and see if the same issue pops up" - I don't have another desktop PC so I tried a combo of other ways to narrow down different possibilities:

(1) I used a USB external drive caddy to connect the drive to a Windows 10 laptop and got the same results as with the PC, i.e. the USB caddy is recognised but not the drive. So, no progress, still possible the HDD has failed.

(2) I reinstalled the Toshiba HDD in the desktop but made sure it was connected used SATA and power cables that worked earlier today with a different, functioning HDD. The Toshiba HDD then showed up in the BIOS with the correct SATA port . Presumably this shows that the drive is functioning at least at a BIOS level.

(3) However, having the Toshiba HDD in the new SATA port / power position during the boot sequence again prevented Windows from booting fully, causing it to hang. When I then "hot connected" the drive AFTER the boot sequence was complete Windows properly identified the drive in the Device Manager which said the HDD was working properly.

And yes, when I did the fresh Win7 install I checked that I was using the latest BIOS (I was).

So still stumped...any other suggestions?

Thanks for your time, appreciate the help

UPDATE - I used Ubuntu to get access to the HDD and made a little progress. Ubuntu recognised the drive (albeit only on a 'hot connect', it stalled the Ubuntu boot from the USB stick) and read it the correct HDD name ('Videos'). It can see two partitions, one for MS / Windows and the other for raw file storage. It can't read the content in either partition but it looks like I can do some basic operations on the partitions using Ubuntu's 'Files' functionality.

Given that I know the disk is actually working and not entirely FUBAR, what would be appropriate next steps? Would it be worth using TestDisk to attempt to recover the file structure etc?

Delete the MS / Windows partition?

Other suggestions?

Thanks in advance!

cheers

Halifaxpeter
 

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