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PC Reboots and cannot find drive

Posted on 2014-01-28
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Last Modified: 2014-01-31
Hi

I have a pc which keeps rebooting complaining that it cannot see the system hard drive.  A hard reset bring the pc back up and then it goes down again after 30 minutes or so complaining that there is no system disk.

I have changed the hard drive thinking that this was the issue but the problem still persists.

Any other suggestions?

Thanks
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Question by:Nick_D
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14 Comments
 
LVL 97

Assisted Solution

by:Experienced Member
Experienced Member earned 1000 total points
ID: 39816064
If you changed the system hard drive then you changed the operating system also (installed it again).

That would seem to make it a motherboard problem of some kind. If the BIOS were corrupt, I would think the problem would be constant.

Possible motherboard issues:  heat build up changes a component; flex has cracked a trace or created a cold solder joint.

.... Thinkpads_User
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LVL 2

Author Comment

by:Nick_D
ID: 39816074
Hi

I never changed the OS, I mirrored the drive onto a new one.
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LVL 49

Assisted Solution

by:dbrunton
dbrunton earned 500 total points
ID: 39816077
Does seem like the motherboard is failing if the symptoms occur with two hard drives.

I'd also consider a failing power supply as another possible cause or a short somewhere within the system.  See how it runs with floppy and CD/DVD drive disconnected and any external USB devices disconnected as well.
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LVL 49

Expert Comment

by:dbrunton
ID: 39816080
>>  I never changed the OS, I mirrored the drive onto a new one.

Hmm.  There exists the possibility that the OS is at fault rather than the drive if you did that.  I'd try a reinstall of the OS on this drive (try Linux if necessary) and see what that does.
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Author Comment

by:Nick_D
ID: 39816084
Thanks for the advice, will give that a go and let you know what happens?
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LVL 97

Assisted Solution

by:Experienced Member
Experienced Member earned 1000 total points
ID: 39816086
You could always try installing Windows fresh on the "new" drive and see. It still looks more like hardware, but a new Windows install could not hurt to try.

.... Thinkpads_User
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LVL 2

Author Comment

by:Nick_D
ID: 39816093
I do think heat could be the issue as it runs fine for around 30-45 mins and then pops.  So an expanding component which then fails makes sense.

Does anyone think it could possibly be the drive controller failing?
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LVL 97

Expert Comment

by:Experienced Member
ID: 39816110
You could try booting with a bootable CD (Ultimate Boot CD) and see how long it runs. I had an old XP machine with symptoms like yours. Booting with a CD (and subsequent fail) condemned the motherboard.

..... Thinkpads_User
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LVL 49

Expert Comment

by:dbrunton
ID: 39816131
Get a fan blowing down on the southbridge heatsink on the motherboard.  That is usually the drive controller.

The southbridge gets very hot and if not getting enough cooling then ...
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LVL 18

Accepted Solution

by:
web_tracker earned 500 total points
ID: 39816875
I would definitely lean toward a hardware failure, do you have another powersupply you can swap with. It definitely sounds like a drive controller, which means a new mobo. Is this a sata or EIDE drive? How about trying a different signal cable to the drive? Does the system keep proper time... if not try replacing the cmos battery. The next thing I would suspect is the mobo, especially if it a controller issue that cant be resolved by doing what dbrunton suggests.  If the heat sink is removable on the southbridge chip remove it and apply new heat sink compound then remount the heat sink. Make sure all the dust bunnies are removed from the system
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LVL 92

Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 39817114
install ubunto (free) on that disk, ansd check if it stays up running -  that will show if the problem is hardware or not   www.ubuntu.com
you can also monitor the temps with speedfan   http://www.almico.com/speedfan.php
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LVL 2

Author Comment

by:Nick_D
ID: 39825535
Tried all of the above with no luck. Will try one last thing and put in a PCI sata card to see if that has any joy. However, it looks like you were all right and the mobo has gone to pc heaven!
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LVL 97

Expert Comment

by:Experienced Member
ID: 39825537
@Nick_D - Thanks for the update and I was happy to help.

.... Thinkpads_User
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LVL 18

Expert Comment

by:web_tracker
ID: 39825695
I was happy to be of assistance, too bad we were not able to fully resolve the issue.
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