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I spent all day at this yesterday but my brain is fried.

Issue can be seen here

My desktop started experiencing this issue recently where it would boot to the Windows black screen with the spinning dots and just sit there.

After messing around yesterday - I found out that this issue doesn't happen when I disconnect my second harddrive.

I have windows on a 128GB SSD (Samsung SSD 840 EVO 120GB) and an extra 1TB HDD (Western Digital WD Caviar Blue 1TB) - I install everything to the HDD, App, documents, downloads, photos etc.

After much connecting / disconnecting - I manged to get to the startup repair screen.

After a long time - it said it couldn't repair my pc.

I decided to wipe windows and install again.

Once installed - same issue was happening. I eventually managed to get into windows with the HDD disconnected. I then managed to log in with the HDD connected - it wasn't usable (errors like "the parameter is incorrect", unable to format etc.).

I used WD Data lifeguard software to wipe the HDD. Windows could then see the drive and use it without any issue. I ran chkdisk and checked the smart values and everything seemed okay.

I've restarted my pc and the issue is back. Refuses to boot with the HDD connected but fine without it.

I've tried using a bootable copy of windows 10 to repair but nothing seems to work.

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    Can you try a different SATA lead for the HDD? If that doesn't fix it, try a different SATA port on the motherboard. – Andrew Morton Feb 3 '18 at 15:10
  • Was just about to post - swapped the cables and I could see the HDD but not the SSD. The power cables were working fine but only one of the data cables was functioning. I cleaned the malfunctioning data cable with some tissue and everything was resolved, – TomSelleck Feb 3 '18 at 16:03
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I swapped the sata cables and I could see the HDD but not the SSD.

The power cables were working fine but only one of the data cables was functioning.

I cleaned the malfunctioning data cable with some tissue and everything was resolved. Windows booting okay + both drives detected.

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    Glad to hear you found the problem and got it working again. I suggest that you get a new good-quality SATA 6 Gbps data cable at some time, and if the same one causes a problem again then throw that old one away. Of course, having a nice new one nearby may persuade the old one to work properly :) – Andrew Morton Feb 3 '18 at 16:15

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