Hard Drive working intermittently

Posted on 2010-11-14
Last Modified: 2012-05-10
After powering up my Gateway it will sometimes load the BIOS and then the operating system.Sometimes It comes up and other times it just doesn't. After a few days it will come up again and then work for a while and freeze.After shutting it down and restarting the power led will light up but it will not connect to the hard disk and load the operating system. Any suggestions are ore than welcome.Thanks
Question by:DukeDuke
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LVL 12

Assisted Solution

Grant1842 earned 100 total points
ID: 34133596
From what I read sounds like a bad drive , but when it does this boot into the BIOS and see if the drive shows up there.

The BIOS should all ways be there to boot into even if you completely take out the hard drive.

See if when it does it again can you boot into the BIOS.
LVL 12

Assisted Solution

Grant1842 earned 100 total points
ID: 34133606
" After shutting it down and restarting the power led will light up but it will not connect to the hard disk and load the operating system "

If it does this I would tear that laptop down to "Bare Bones" ,
only memory
and mother board and test .

If it does this at the Bare Bones stage you need to find a Know Good stick of memory to test with. If it does it with just motherboard, known good memory and processor then it could be a mother board issue.

Assisted Solution

ahdfx earned 50 total points
ID: 34133611
Most current Bios have a hard drive testing tool.  Try that.  If it does not, then check the manufacture of the drive.  They will have a HS test tool.  If the HD comes back clean....  It may be the HD controller.

When you get back into the OS, which I am assuming is Windows, check the event log for any HD Controller errors or HD errors.
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Assisted Solution

faizbaig earned 100 total points
ID: 34133668
-> On switching "ON"  sometime you don't get display at all and sometime computer Freeze mean its Motherboard or Memory or CPU heat sink problem.

-> You are assuming "its not connecting to hard drive " or you are getting message Eg. Drive not found or available?!
     If you are not getting any message as such but its not booting mean it could be motherboard or Hard disk drive    problem

Assisted Solution

Vos2010 earned 50 total points
ID: 34133689
Could be the CPU, motherboard or memory, possibly the harddisk.

If it is the harddisk the booting should normally pass most BIOS hardware checks and than stop.
If it is the memory, you do get erratic behaviour.
If it is the motherboard/CPU you do get erratic behaviour.

This is what you could do:
1) Remove the harddisk and boot the machine a few times and see if the BIOS hardware checks pass normally. If this is the case than the harddisk is bad
2) If you are having freezes during or before the BIOS hardware checks, remove the memory and do a few reboots to see what happens. If the system still shows inconsistent messages during the BIOS checks than you have a failing Motherboard or possibly CPU.

I am assuming you are having a laptop, which are often tricky to take apart. But.....
If you feel confident enough you could take the laptop apart and remove everything from the motherboard that is removable, including the CPU. Then put everything back in in steps. After you put back the CPU, start the PC and look at the BIOS behavior and messages. Every time you put back a component do the same.

If you don't feel comfortable with that, bring the laptop in for servicing.

LVL 92

Assisted Solution

nobus earned 200 total points
ID: 34134233
since it is intermittent  - the only sure way for troubleshooting is replacing parts.
if you suspect the disk, make an image to another (good) disk, and test with that
i use Acronis True image for that :  www.acronis.comµbut there are free ones  like drive imagexml  :

or paragon disk manager

Author Comment

ID: 34141851
I removed the memory and hard drive. Started the system up, but not even the bios info comes up anymore. Do I have a damaged motherboard ? What can I do next ?

Assisted Solution

faizbaig earned 100 total points
ID: 34141967
Without memory Display will not come, With memory if you don't get any beep sound from motherboard and no display at all mean it is most likely Motherboard problem.
LVL 92

Accepted Solution

nobus earned 200 total points
ID: 34143059
here my laptop troubleshooting guide :
- if no display - test with an external monitor
- test also with a known good battery !
- remove battery and AC adaptor, hold power button for 20 sec, connect AC and reboot --> any display ? if NO -->
- disconnect all disk and cd drives, battery , and other cards and peripherals, leave only 1 ram stick
- boot -->any display ?
- if NO remove all ram and reboot --> if NO beeps, mobo or cpu bad ; if it beeps, replace ram stick
-if you can access the bios battery, remove the battery, AC, and bios battery for a minute to reset the bios
or test it, it should read 3 V
*** you can test the disk on another pc, if you like !

for troubleshooting the display (LCD) problems :      LCD troubleshooting

Author Closing Comment

ID: 34165895
I think it is the motherboard, cpu or cpu fan assy.Will try to verify by replacing components when they become available.
LVL 92

Expert Comment

ID: 34166062
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