Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

So, odd situation here... I shipped a computer via UPS. The computer was well protected, wrapped in multiple layers of padding and tightly packed to minimize any chance of damage. The package arrived in great condition, no damage to the box at all - it looks like it was handled with utmost care. (And given it was shipped 2nd day express and cost $200 to ship, it had better have been) However, upon unpacking it and turning it on... suddenly the computer is telling us there is no boot device. I've checked everything I can think of and everything points to complete and utter hard drive failure.

So - what on earth could cause hard drive failure during shipping?

share|improve this question
You tried using a different drive to boot, and the drive contents are visible? – Ignacio Vazquez-Abrams Sep 3 '12 at 1:44
Yes, everything works fine if you use a different drive etc, it's just the hard drive that has failed. – Expecto Sep 3 '12 at 1:51
Do you have a usb enclosure to test the suspect drive with? – Paul Sep 3 '12 at 1:52
No, I thought about taking it somewhere likw best buy/ geek squad to have them test but I dont feel like paying $70 just to have it confirmed – Expecto Sep 3 '12 at 1:57
I should add - the hard drive does not work even when put into an entirely different computer either. – Expecto Sep 3 '12 at 2:04
up vote 2 down vote accepted

The barely-above-minimum-wage workers who load your packages in and out of trucks likely did not care about the price you paid for shipping nor the shipping tier your package was in.

That being said, for the company I work for, I've overnighted many PCs (e.g. Dell series such as gx280's, gx620's, Optiplex 755's, T-series - big and heavy, and laptops) via Fedex to different states, and have never had an issue with damage on arrival. On the times when I didn't let the clerks box it, I packed it well, but did not take special precautions for the hard drive. I'm not making a judgement call on Fedex or UPS, it's what the company has an account with so I use that.

To actually answer your question, the cause of "No boot device" errors to my knowledge are only:

  • Hard drive not getting power, or power cable faulty
  • Hard drive data cable not connected, or faulty
  • Connector on motherboard broken/faulty
  • Issue with power cable from PSU (this is rare) or PSU as a whole
  • SATA port disabled in BIOS
  • BIOS configured to not boot from SATA port drive is connected to
  • Hard drive failure
  • Some SATA drives have jumpers like old IDE ones did. If someone by some slim chance bridged a jumper remove it (really long shot here)
share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.