Disk Drive Problem

Discussion in 'Computers' started by Al.Anderson, Oct 2, 2005.

  1. Al.Anderson

    Al.Anderson Cinematographer

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    This is weird - all of a sudden all three of my drives (CD-writer, DVD player, DVD writer) will not read *some* of my disks. But when they won't read it, all three of them won't read it all of the time. The CDs/DVDs are good; brand new and other computers read them just fine.

    Any ideas on where to start?

    I was about to do a fresh Windows install unrelated to this isse. Does anyone think that might help?
     
  2. SethH

    SethH Cinematographer

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    I would check the IDE cables that connect these to the motherboard. Make sure all the connections are tight. If those are good, the perhaps the fresh install will help.
     
  3. Paul Padilla

    Paul Padilla Supporting Actor

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    That's a strange symptom. I can see two devices being flakey due to a cable but not three. There can only be two devices on any IDE cable, so the third must be on a separate channel. It can't hurt to re-seat the cables. Loose cables don't really happen that often unless the machine is moved frequently or internal components get futzed with. My big clumsy hands have nudged cables loose, but they can't really get loose on their own if the machine is just sitting there.

    Try to figure out if there is a pattern. You've already established that it isn't the disks themselves, which is smart troubleshooting. The next step is to try to repeat the failure. Do they quit responding after burning a DVD...reading an audio disk...etc? Also, what corrects the problem? A simple reboot? Or is that still in question as well. Jumping to a re-install is kind of drastic without being confident that Windows itself is corrupted. If you're seeing odd behavior in other areas it might be worth considering, but you need to take it one step at at time. Are all three of those devices on the same power lead? A voltage drop could cause them to stop responding.


    It's always good practice to run a full virus scan with 100% updated definitions.
     
  4. StevenFC

    StevenFC Second Unit

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    I'm not sure why you need two DVD devices, unless it's to make a disc to disc copy.

    Could be anything Paul mentioned.

    My question is, is there a time when no disc at all will play, or just certain discs? Are these drives all the same brand? Have you checked for resource conflicts? Have you recently installed any new software or hardware? Are these discs that can't be read created on another computer?

    Before re-installing, You might try booting to a last known good configuration.
     
  5. Jordan_Brulotte

    Jordan_Brulotte Stunt Coordinator

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    If all 3 stop working at the same time it is possible that the IDE channels themselve are failing. This happens sometimes when the motherboard is on it's last leg.

    Is you harddrive on the same IDE channel as one of the malfunctioning optical drives?

    A windows reinstall may solve the problem, but test the windows CD first to make sure the drive can read it. You don't want to format then be unable to read the windows CD [​IMG].

    I would also check to see if there is a new version of your motherboards BIOS available, and install it.
     
  6. Al.Anderson

    Al.Anderson Cinematographer

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    Thanks for the suggestions. I played with it a little more this evening and it appears to be more consistent than I thought - the PC never recognizes inserted media. Whenever I put a music-CD, data-CD, or DVD in any of the players the system sees a disk (the icon changes in explorer) but any attempt to browse the files gives an "x: is not accessible. Incorrect Function" dialog box."

    Now here's where it gets weird. If a program attempts to operate on the CD (a game on a game disk or iTunes on a CD disk) then the drive is not only usable to that program - but can then be browsed via explorer.

    I tried triggering the "system read" by using 'run x:setup.exe' and the 'command prompt -> x:' with no luck. Any suggestions on how to force a "read" of the disk? Without that I can't even do a re-install of windows.

    Oh, and for what it's worth, I'm running one hard drive (c[​IMG] and the three removable media drives off the two IDE controllers. Plus I have a RAID card handling two drives serving as the d: drive (as RAID0).
     
  7. StevenFC

    StevenFC Second Unit

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    I don't know, it sounds like something I'd have to see in person to figure out. Clearly it's a software issue I would say. Try taking the hard drive off of the same controller with the cd/dvd drive. That might be causing something funky. You really shouldn't have it hooked up that way anyway. Your hard drive is going to crawl because it's going to operate at the slower transfer speed of the disc drive.

    Could also be that you just don't have the proper software to play your discs, or it needs to be re-installed. Check the properties of the drives. Maybe it's configured to open with something you un-installed. Check the settings under the recording tab also.

    Doesn't sound power supply related, but you do have a lot of stuff plugged in.

    And you should be able to boot to your Windows cd to re-install. Your problem shouldn't affect that.

    Keep trying, you'll figure it out.
     
  8. Christian Behrens

    Christian Behrens Supporting Actor

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    Make sure to check your system for any malware with the likes of AdAware and Spybot S&D. You never know.

    -Christian
     
  9. Al.Anderson

    Al.Anderson Cinematographer

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    Unfortunately, the problem does extend to the windows install disk. I tried it out based on a previous recommendation. Neither the vendor supplied restore disk nor a retail version of Windows is "seen" by the system.

    I should add that this configuration was working for over a year before this suddenly occured. (I say suddenly, but now that I think of it, a couple of months ago I started having problems with disks I burned coming out coasters for no reason. I'm starting to lean toward the motherboard suggestion - but I've never replaced one, so I was kind of hoping it was something else.

    Thanks for looking the problem over everyone.
     
  10. Max Leung

    Max Leung Producer

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    I had a similar problem - two of my hard drives would make a spinning up and down sound. They were literally powering themselves off and then back on again.

    The problem? The power supply was dying - it could no longer supply enough power to keep both my hard drives online.

    Try unplugging all your drives except your boot drive and see if your boot drive goes back to normal.
     
  11. Al.Anderson

    Al.Anderson Cinematographer

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    I finally got around to doing the Windows re-install and everything more or less went well (the DVD drives recognize disks now; but my D: RAID drive sporatically stops working).

    However, at the same time I reinstalled, I took the advice of StevenFC and removed the CDROM drive as the slave of the C: drive. What's weird is that now one of the other DVD drives shows up as the slave. I always thought the two IDE channels were distinct - these seem to be working as a queue, when one was removed the other dropped down to take it's place.

    Does this make any sense? I should add that I am getting my info on what is on each channel from the BIOS config utility.
     
  12. Kimmo Jaskari

    Kimmo Jaskari Screenwriter

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    The two channels do act independently, but you can have one master and one slave per channel. Ie, two masters, two slaves, four devices. The device at the end of the IDE cable should be jumpered as the master, so if you only have one device on a cable, it should be connected in the end connector.

    It's always best to set the devices manually to be either master or slave using the jumpers and then connecting them accordingly.
     
  13. Al.Anderson

    Al.Anderson Cinematographer

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    Thanks Kimmo. I must have just made a mistake and misread the BIOS. I would have bet heavily against it though.
     
  14. Kimmo Jaskari

    Kimmo Jaskari Screenwriter

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    Keep in mind that what I wrote only applies if you have two IDE channels. When you mention a RAID drive on D, a little counting-on-fingers indicates you have more drives than you have IDE capability - in the first post you mention three optical drives and presumably you have one drive C where the OS is installed. A RAID on D would mean another two disks since you can't have a RAID volume with less than two.

    In other words, if you have a RAID card or SATA disks or whatever in your machine, what I wrote is still true but may not fit your system.
     
  15. Al.Anderson

    Al.Anderson Cinematographer

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    Yes, you are correct - I had a hard drive and 3 removal media drives on the two IDE channels, and 2 hard drives on a separate RAID card. Someone mentioned that having a CDROM drive on the same controller as the hard drive wasn't a good idea; so I *attempted* to disconnect the one that was a slave to the hard drive. But I must have got the slave on the 2nd channel instead.
     
  16. Kimmo Jaskari

    Kimmo Jaskari Screenwriter

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    Yes, having an optical drive on the same IDE cable as the main harddrive will make that entire IDE port operate at ATA66 speeds instead of ATA100 or ATA133 (a lowest common denominator thing) and that will impact the HD performance a bit.

    Ideally, for maximum performance, any IDE port with a harddrive should not even have a slave harddrive, to say nothing of a slave optical drive - but usually having everything connected outweighs those pure speed considerations... [​IMG]
     

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