I have been having intermittent boot failures on my 3-year old pc lately. When I power it up, it sometimes can't detect my primary harddisk (SATA, and it is a Maxtor), and I get an error like 'DISK BOOT FAILURE - INSERT SYSTEM DISK AND PRESS ENTER'.
Usually, when I turn off my computer and boot it again, it can suddenly find the drive, but it still can't boot. I then have to go to the BIOS and re-set the disk as my primary hard disk and then it boots again (at least I think that fixes it, but that can be coincedence, as I have changed some random settings before in the BIOS and it boots again).
So, then it boots again, but a couple of days later, the problem can come back. Here is what I have tried:
- At first I thought it was the heat, being summer and all, my appartment gets pretty hot. But, it is cooler now, and I completely removed all the dust from inside my pc, and it doesn't get that hot actually, but still the problem persists. So I ruled that out.
- When opening my case to clean it, I checked the SATA and power cables. They were all connected fine.
- I have tried using the Seatools and Western Digital Diagnostics tools on both my harddrives (I have another SATA drive where I just store data). I ran full diagnostics but I don't recieve any errors, so I guess all sectors are just fine.
- I have tried enabled SMART monitoring in the BIOS, but none of the tools above seem to be able to read the SMART data...
- I have installed an anti-virus tool but nothing really came up, so I doubt it is a virus.
I have tried anything I can think of, except replacing the harddisk, but I don't want to buy a new harddisk when I'm not sure if my disk is failing. Could it be something else, for example, the motherboard or memory? If so, is there anyway to run some kind of diagnostics for this? I could update the BIOS, but I doubt that this is the problem, since I haven't installed any new hardware or software lately, so I can't see why this problem would suddenly come up. The mobo is an Asus A8N with a AMD 3800+ cpu, the failing disk is a SATA Maxtor, I don't know which type and I can't check it from here.
I would love to hear some suggestions. What do you think is likely the cause of this? Are there any recommended tools (preferably free) I could use for further diagnostics? Thanks!
EDIT: I eventually bought a new harddisk, installed a fresh copy of Windows 7 and so far all is well. I'm pretty sure it was the harddisk. Thanks all!