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I have an internal hard drive (E:/) that is not showing up sometimes. If I reboot my computer it will sometimes appear, and sometimes not. It is a 335gb 7200 rpm IDE.

All of my data seems to be intact, and I have checked the cables to make sure no disconnections have occurred.

Anyone have a suggestion for where to start diagnosis?

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Ok this is weird. I just restarted my computer, and saw the drive in my computer. I then clicked on a shortcut on my desktop (which points to a folder on the problem drive). After clicking the shortcut, I got the spinning circle. When I open up my computer now, the drive is there but the blue bar showing available space is not shown (like it was shortly after startup). Trying to open the drive gives me a blue spinning circle (like the drive can't be found). –  Alex Waters Oct 17 '11 at 7:51
    
After waiting a little while I now get the message: E:\work refers to a location that is unavailable. It could be on a hard drive on this computer, or on a network. Check to make sure that the disk is properly inserted, or that you are... –  Alex Waters Oct 17 '11 at 7:53
    
And it is no longer being shown in the my computer area. –  Alex Waters Oct 17 '11 at 7:53
    
I just restarted again and now I can access that folder by clicking on the desktop shortcut... so weird –  Alex Waters Oct 17 '11 at 8:03
    
I just opened the drive and clicked on a different folder, and it froze again. (After successfully opening other folders several times.) –  Alex Waters Oct 17 '11 at 8:07
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3 Answers

up vote 3 down vote accepted

I'd suggest starting your diagnosis process by backing the drive up ;).

Then, if its a seagate drive, run seatools or its counterpart for the drive make - ifI tend to favour running smartmontools with its gui instead and run the smart tests in order (from short to long)- you can find a comprehensive list of attributes on this wikipedia page

Chances are if the drive is blinking out, chances of failure are fairly high,

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+1: 335GB IDE sounds kind of old. SMART tools is the way to go. –  surfasb Oct 17 '11 at 10:41
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I'd recommend using something like HDTune - you can check the SMART statistics and run a surface scan.

Regardless, until you have firm indications that your disk is still OK, I'd think about archiving it off elsewhere, just in case.

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Do you have 2 internal hard drives? If not then it might be a case of your partition table being corrupt.

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I have 3, two Sata and one IDE. The IDE is the one acting up. –  Alex Waters Oct 17 '11 at 8:17
    
I hope you have gone through the normal checks of checking the cables connected and even checking if the hard disk is working (if possible try and hear the humming sound). Try using the diagnostic tools that came with the system, chances are your hard disk is on the verge of crashing –  Raghav Bali Oct 17 '11 at 8:57
    
I faced the same issue sometime back and in the end it turned out to be a bad crashed hard disk. –  Raghav Bali Oct 17 '11 at 8:58
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