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.