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Using XP64 and XP32, I have built a computer that has 3 new SATA HDDs + 1 PATA HD.

I use a lot of partitions. I have only ONE partition on the whole system set as a PRIMARY, and ALL the rest are LOGICAL partitions within EXTENDED partitions. Therefore, of my 4 HDDs, 3 of them each contain ONLY a single EXTENDED divided amongst several LOGICAL partitions.

I always leave my (C: ) partition--my one and only PRIMARY partition--small and empty, and let windows place whatever boot files it wishes there. My (C: ) drive is therefore my SYSTEM drive ONLY. I have used this method for years. I place (usually multiple) OSs on any other partitions on any other HDDs. My XP64 is currently on Drive (D: ) and my XP32 is on Drive (E: ) which are both actually partitions on the same SATA HD that (C: ) is on.

OK? Let's call (C: ) SYSTEM and, for now, let's call (E: ) BOOT.

My other 2 SATAs, like my PATA, are for data only. They are likewise partitioned.

The PATA is empty at the moment, but it does contain 4 partitions I want available on it. Their letters are Q, R, S, and T.

I noticed today that the PATA HD shows in XP Disk Management as its first partition (Q: ) being an ACTIVE partition. I have forgotten some of what I used to know, and I think learning about SATA has confused me somewhat. But my system does have a problem, and I wonder if they could be related.

(1) If there is a reason for (Q: ) being designated ACTIVE, no problem.

(2) BUT, my system has always taken MINUTES for cold starts (cold starts ONLY; not restarts) to get as far as the POST. My POST beep averages 4 1/2 MINUTES from power-ON. Although I have very rarely managed to get it down to 20 seconds, it has taken as long as 48 MINUTES to arrive at POST. After POST, the system boots up into either of my Windows with no further problems and works as a totally stable system. No blue screens.

I have looked very hard for 11 months to solve this, and I have kept hundreds of charts and data. I RMAd the motherboard. I stripped the system of its RAM, its USBs, its optical drives and its HDDs. Because of that, I have doubts that the PATA drive could be the problem--as it has not always been present during testing. And yet I am turning over every rock, as it were, to find the problem--and now I see the first logical drive on the all-logical, extended-only PATA HDD as being ACTIVE.

Is there any possible connection? I believe my POST problem precedes any connection with HDDs, but I don't know much about POST.

Oh, in the BIOS I have set the 3 SATAs to have boot priority over the PATA (as PATA would have priority by default)--or not--and it seems to make no difference either way.

Thank you.

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migrated from Oct 14 '09 at 19:47

This question came from our site for professional and enthusiast programmers.

this is definitely something better asked on – flokra Oct 14 '09 at 19:44

Thank you both very much. I have tried the system stripped down to NO drives of any kind, and no USBs. I took out all but one stick of RAM. (I run 8GB of RAM on 4 sticks, usually.) What happened was that the startups were faster but still quite slow.

With the system stripped, I received POSTs after an averaging 0:30 to 1:30 (one minute and 30 seconds)--that is pre-POST time--on 24 tests simulating cold starts by holding in the case power button in for 60 seconds AFTER power-off, so the capicitors' memory was released.

Testing the RAM load with "no" drives of any kind on the system, I got averages of: 45 seconds for 2 GB of RAM (one stick) 36 seconds for 4 GB (2 sticks) 42 seconds for 8 GB (4 sticks; the full RAM complement) . . . and I felt these results were close enough to suggest the RAM load itself was not a factor. As well, a G.Skill RAM tech told me that I would never have ONLY pre-POST problems if there were a RAM problem (keeping in mind that Windows is always stable).

Therefore I am inclined to follow Dave's suggestion and RMA my PSU. But I shall leave this here a few days longer before I do. If anyone would like to comment further, especially regarding the PSU as possibly faulty, please do so.

PSU = Corsair HX520W, which calculates aS the correct power on the Corsair site and was also advised as being the right power when I bought it at NCIX. I thought they stood to make more money if I'd bought a bigger (620 watt) PSU, and I did ask at purchase. But, no, they said this 520W was correct. However, maybe it is the right SIZE but FAULTY, as suggested here.

Mobo = AM2+ Gigabyte GA-MA78GMS2H ver 1.1 with latest F11 Award BIOS RAM = 8GB G.Skill DDR2-1000 (seen as DDR2-800 by this CPU) CPU = AMD Athlon 64 x2 5600+ Windsor PSU = Corsair (paragraph above) HDD = 4 (3 x Seagate SATA 500GB + 1 Seagate PATA 320GB) Video = Radeon 4670

Thank you very much indeed. One friend encouraged me very strongly to consider the PSU, but until now I really thought it was not the culprit.

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POST has nothing to do with partitions, I'm pretty sure BIOS knows nothing at all about partitions.

So whatever the problem is that's causing the really slow BIOS boot times, it's not the partitions.

Perhaps a faulty power supply? They can cause strange hardware issues when they fail, by not providing enough voltage or current or something.

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Try disconnecting hardware. Does it take a long time to POST without disks connected? If so, it's not the disks. (Even if it is the disks, it's not the partitions.)

My first guess, like davr's, is a bad/insufficient power supply.

Try powering on with as little hardware as possible connected. (Possibly as little as CPU+memory)

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