Whenever I turn on my computer it is a crap shoot whether or not the BIOS message says that my SATA 320 Gb seagate drive has been recognised. I have jiggled the wires around and I don't think it is a cable issue because sometimes the BIOS finds the drive and when it does everything works perfect. I have tried loading optimised defaults in the BIOS menu and I have tried toolin around in the menu too. The drive refuses to be consistently recognised.

I'd first try another SATA port on the motherboard/controller, as well as a different cable. If that doesn't do it, you want to isolate whether it is the computer or the hard drive. You can do this by trying the drive in another computer, and another SATA device in the same computer.

It's most probably the power - for some reason the drive is at times not powering up fast enough before the BIOS detection is over.

Do this two things :

  1. Disconnect all power connectors to your optical drives and other hard drives.
  2. Change the power connector that is currently connected to the problematic hard drive.
  3. Do a few reboots - see if the drive is consistently detected.

If it is, then you might need to get a better PSU or cut down on your computer's power overall power draw somehow. If not - it could be like what the other poster said - faulty SATA controller (very rare).

  • I have seen this before as well and some BIOS have an option to wait a moment before trying to detect the hard drive in order to allow for this slow drive power-up issue. – Insomnic Sep 5 '09 at 22:22

This likely does not apply to you, but I have had this happen on drives approaching failure. Over the course of 100 boots the drive goes from being recognized 90% of the time to 50% of the time, to finally not working at all. So while it is likely what emgee or scoopdreams indicated, do back up your data ASAP.

What I think you can do is carefully open your laptop and disconnect the hard drive, get another laptop and put it into that one. If it works, then it may be the hard drive itself.

Also, you can put another hard drive into your laptop to see if it will read, if it does, then it definitely is your hard drive. This might be caused by the laptop falling down or maybe the hard drive is just not good. You may have to condemn it and get a new one.

  • Just a note: From the question I guess that the computer is not probably a laptop but a normal big PC. – pabouk Nov 9 '13 at 19:59

I see this a lot at work and faulty SATA cable or controller never been the issue. We found in our systems that's running 24 hours 7 days a week is that the CPU itself is causing the issue. CPU is not bad or getting old but sometimes things don't work properly that you need to remove and clean the CPU then apply new Thermal paste. 100% of the time our issue get resolve.

I am having exact same issue but I have a few more tools at my disposal to diagnose. Hopefully this can contribute to future diagnosis.

Maybe the power supply?

I have two hard disk drives hooked via SATA. The smaller/old drive contains the OS and started having issues after shortly after, but not right after, I swapped the PSU (500W, it failed after 6 years) for 450W at first, which was under powering my video card then for a 600W which worked like a charm. This event caused me to think it was a PSU issue as I don’t really believe in coincidences.

Maybe the old hard drive is at fault?

The other/newer hard disk drives was always detected, but contained no OS so couldn’t boot those times around. At first it only took a few retries to get it to detect and boot but every time it seemed to get worse. This coupled with the fact that the drive was also >6 years old, and the recent power issues led me to the same conclusion as Josh. So I quickly backed up everything as I didn¿t know how many boots I had left.

Maybe the motherboard’s SATA connector is defective?

Recently I found the only way to get the drive to detect was to swap SATA connector on the motherboard—I had already tried swapping cables around—and so far it boots if I swap them, but each new boot requires a swap. On top of this my DVD drive now isn’t being recognized sometimes. This leads me to believe it’s a SATA controller/mobo issue.

So My laptop (inspiron 15 with an i3 core and recently updated windows 10) is having a very similar issue. It will attempt to boot and then tell me that the boot device is missing. the only consistent way I've found of making it boot up is to run it from the diagnostic menu, after a nearly successful diagnostic (cutting it part way through the extended part) i exit and reboot and it will reboot correctly some of the time. It (being the hard drive) sometimes makes really loud vibrating/ whirling sounds on an attempted and overall failed boot. the noises usually continue even through the attempted reboot after a failure.

After reading this thread I believe the problem might have been caused by my bad habit of rarely turning my computer off.... I often leave it on for a week at a time before it update reboots. I also often leave it rendering a 3d scene over multiple nights. I'm unsure of whether it is a mechanical issue (wiring) or a technical issue, but i hope this helps somebody get one last boot up to get files off the hard drive.

  • Your response does not answer the original question, – albal Aug 19 '15 at 19:03

Your Answer

By clicking "Post Your Answer", you acknowledge that you have read our updated terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy, and that your continued use of the website is subject to these policies.