Takes 2 starts to boot windows sbs 2008

efeinberg used Ask the Experts™
Hi experts!  I need some help ASAP!  I really appreciate any/all thoughts you can share!

Info about the setup:
I have a fresh server build with a Tyan S8005 motherboard (AM3).  I have two SATA HDs installed, one with Windows SBS 2008, the other is currently unpartitioned.  There is also 1 SATA DVD-RW.  I currently have the BIOS with the following settings: Boot Order: HD, everything else disabled.  HD Boot Order: HD with Windows, other disabled.   The only connections to the computer is a PS/2 keyboard, VGA monitor, and ethernet cable.

Here's what happens:
On every (I think) restart and sometimes on a cold start, the system will POST, and at the point when Windows should begin loading, there is just a blinking cursor _ on a black screen and nothing happens.   I thought that perhaps the wrong boot drive was being started, but when i changed my bios to load the other drive, it had no problem after POST recognizing that the other drive did not have a bootable partition.

Anyways, after the computer starts up and doesn't boot into Windows, if i press the restart button, the computer will boot up perfectly - go into windows sbs 2008, and work just as any computer should. But obviously being unable to restart is crippling!

Any ideas?  I'm suspecting that the motherboard is to blame, but i suppose it could also be the hard drive.  Could it possibly be Windows?  The intermittent nature of this problem is killing me!  Thanks in advance for your time!!!
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zeshanazizSystem Administrator

restore your bios setting to default it may resolve your problem...
Your problem could be in hard disk, which is not ready yet, when BIOS trying "ask" it.
May be your bios have parameter like "HDD delay" or something like this.
Try "Control-Alt-Del" - when it is not starting, if it will start every time - you should think about new HDD, it could be first sign of bad drive.
Make sure you have a sufficient power supply.  I had this same issue on my own PC, and found that if I removed a USB device attached (any device) it allowed enough power to kick it over.  Upgrading the power supply fixed my issue.
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Top Expert 2013

it can be a bad sata cable, a bad disk
if you want to give more spinup time to the disk, you can disable the fast boot option in the bios
Top Expert 2013

..or a bad power cable or connector...
I think it's the power supply.



Thanks for all the great responses!  I'm about to head to the local Fry's Electronics and pick up a plethora of parts to try out (bless their amazing return policy!).   Here are my thoughts - all this power talk has me thinking i could be overloading the small UPC in the office that already has a lot of things plugged into it.  I think it's more likely to be external because internally all cables and connectors are brand new and it's got a solid Corsair 650W p/s which should be far more than enough for 1CPU/2HD/1CD/3fans.  Lastly, I did turn off the BIOS's fast boot option, so the drive should have enough time to boot, but i'll check if there are any other BIOS settings to try.

Thanks again for the ideas so far and I'll update more/select best answer once this is all fixed!  (hopefully today!!!)
So the culprit was a combination of the Tyan motherboard's crappy SATA controller, and the AHCI setting for said controller.  Turning off AHCI improved the problem, but I wasn't too interested in running my nice new drives without AHCI.  So i bought a Highpoint SATA RAID controller and it's worked perfectly since I popped it in.  

Thanks for all the ideas and help!
Top Expert 2013

well - i was talking about bad disk, or cables, and you used another disk controller...


nobus - i definitely appreciate your help and i don't mean to take any credit away at all from your responses, but I was thinking if another user had a similar problem that the real correct solution had to do with the controller as opposed to the other end of the HD data subsystem, i.e. disks and cables.  Again I appreciate your help, I was just trying to be as accurate as possible.

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