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PC doesn't boot unless the OS HDD is disconnected

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#1
Hi guys!

I just got a message from my friend saying his PC shut off and can't get it to work again. I told him to unplug the PSU and wait for 15mins and the try again (worked for me a few times).

Well long story short he said his PC boots when he disconnects his primary OS drive (out of 2 HDDs). But when he connects it back the PC doesn't boot.

Any pointers? I think he had this problem before too. Thanks in advance!
 
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#2
It boots without the OS drive..uhm...sounds interesting...boots to what?
Is there a OS in that 2nd HDD?

If he had this problem before, why not fix it like last time?
You should really get more details, otherwise too many opinions can come out of this.
 
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#3
Secondary HDD is only for music/video and things like that (no OS on it or any installed programs).

I think the PC just starts up, I'll ask him tomorrow about more details.
 

eidairaman1

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#4
try another Power connector for the HD, dont boot that drive might be shot, but also try the drive in another machine to see if it is detected
 
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twilyth

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#5
If it's IDE and he has the slave-master arrangement wrong, that will hang your computer for sure.

If it's SATA, then I don't know.
 
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#6
has your friend tried a different sata port or swapping the sata cables on the motherboard to see of it fails to recognize the second hard drive instead.
 
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#7
It's an ATA drive.

Ok so he brought his HDD and we tried to connect it to my PC. I connected the data and power cords and then my whole system wouldn't start too. When I press the power-on button the lights and fans flash/move for a split second and go back off. It's like when my PSU was dead.
Then I disconnected the HDD power cord and obviously my PC booted all normal.

How is it possible that an HDD is preventing system boot? If it was dead wouldn't it just be undetected? Not sure what is wrong wit it.. :banghead:
 
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#8
It's an ATA drive.

Ok so he brought his HDD and we tried to connect it to my PC. I connected the data and power cords and then my whole system wouldn't start too. When I press the power-on button the lights and fans flash/move for a split second and go back off. It's like when my PSU was dead.
Then I disconnected the HDD power cord and obviously my PC booted all normal.

How is it possible that an HDD is preventing system boot? If it was dead wouldn't it just be undetected? Not sure what is wrong wit it.. :banghead:
Did you cleared the CMOS after installing the HDD and before powering up?
Also, follow what twilyth said:

If it's IDE and he has the slave-master arrangement wrong, that will hang your computer for sure.
Make sure the master-slave arrangement is right before powering up. Do not use cable select.
 
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#9
I didn't clear CMOS on my PC, but he did that on his PC and it didn't work.
The HDD was on Cable Select as secondary (to my SATA OS drive and another SATA drive). Damn I will phone him right now and tell him to make it primary.
 
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#10
After changing hardware that could require changing options in the BIOS, it's always a good move to clear the CMOS.
But now I'm getting confused, ATA drives can be either SATA or PATA. The first one doesn't have master-slave arrangement and the second only works if this is properly done (there's also cable select, but it's always better to avoid issues and properly nominate the master and slave).
Now, the PATA master-slave arrangement doesn't mix with SATA drives. These last ones only connect by one cable and thus don't have such configuration.
What is it then? Is the non working drive a SATA or PATA?

EDIT: PATA or IDE is the same thing. Also, If a PATA HDD configuration is to be used, the OS drive should always be Master in order to avoid issues.
 

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#11
Well ATA can be either or, but given that it is said like that, I thinking it maybe like an old ATA 60 or something. Have you tried setting the ACHI or IDE setting in the bios? If nothing else, that drive is probably going to die soon.
 
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twilyth

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#12
Well ATA can be either or, but given that it is said like that, I thinking it maybe like an old ATA 60 or something. Have you tried setting the ACHI or IDE setting in the bios? If nothing else, that drive is probably going to die soon.
Except for heat intermittent problems, it's rare to have an issue come and go without any apparent reason. So, while it's always important to backup your data, I wouldn't worry about the drive dying - especially if it turns out to be a configuration issue.

I don't know much about cable select, but I don't think you can damage the drive by using it. It **IS** an excellent way to bone your data though.

Even on new mobo's, I think the default is still IDE not ACHI, so unless a certain party was mucking with his bios settings, it's very likely set to IDE.
 
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#13
Oh sorry for the confusion. That HDD is a Seagate 160GB 7200.9, PATA-100 I believe or 133.

No BIOS settings were changed and I believe it's in IDE mode (not AHCI).

The funny thing is that it worked in that configuration for almost a year. One day he just shut off his PC for the night and couldn't get it to boot the next day. Something is wrong with that HDD but not sure what :/
 
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#14
so both system with the HDD plug in dont Post/Boot or do u meen dont boot windows?
 
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twilyth

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#15
If you've tried it in 2 machines and you're sure it was properly configured, then a moment of silence for the passing of another HDD is in order.

The way I used to test an IDE drive was to put it on the "Master" setting and pop it into an external case. If that didn't work, then I knew with a high probability that it was toast.

You can do the same thing though by setting it to master and making it the only drive on the cable (and making sure that the IDE channel you use is turned on in bios - usually is - and really works).

The only other thing I can think to try is getting a different IDE cable. It doesn't happen often, but I've had cables die too.
 
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#16
Ye I believe I set everything right. The data cable is alright, we tested it with another HDD.

I'm starting to believe the HDD did actually die on him now.