View Full Version : Nightmare Harddrive issues

31st August 2007, 11:58
From the Not enough Harddrive space thread, most of you will have read that I was having some trouble with my main system's boot drive, so I decided to use a 300GB drive also in the system as the new system disk and to buy a couple of new drives to replace that for data and files.

The two new nice shiny 500GB Seagate drives I ordered arrived yesterday so I instantly began backing up everything from the current setup ready to do a clean install. I wasn't going to do a mirror of the existing Windows install because I knew some of the system files were corrupt from the HD problems.

So I finished the backing up to an external HD. I then set to installing XP onto the existing 300GB HD, and once that was done planned to install the two new drives into the system.

All seemed to start OK. The XP install CD went about its business partitioning and formatting the drive, but then insisted that because the old IDE boot drive was still in the system as well as this SATA drive I was trying to install XP on that it needed to write the boot sector files to the old ATA drive. So I had to shut down and remove that old IDE drive and start again.

So I got back to the partitioning, formatting and then copying over of files, then it rebooted and BANG! A message after post was displaying there was an error and no OS was found. Strange. But thought I had better google it. Turns out the SATA drives over 160GB need to be set to Large instead of Auto in the Bios HD allocation settings or the Windows installer cannot correctly install the OS. Nice bug Microsoft!!!

So I get it too Large, and because it has changed it means I have to start the install again from partitioning. So that done, files copied, and reboot...

And all goes well, the install continues, I set the time, data, network settings etc... and eventually I'm in windows looking at the desktop. So I start to install the hardware drivers, but start to have some system stability about half way thought. After installing the network drivers and rebooting the system hung at the XP boot screen, but a reset got it booting again but it took a long time (very similar to the long load time trouble I was having before. :hmmm: I then got to the end of installing the hardware drivers with the graphics card. Fully installed that, rebooted again and half way thought Windows loading it stopped and went no further. A hard reset and BANG!...


On looking at the post text the SATA drive was missing! OMG! So I switched the system off, and rebooted and it was back! Windows started to boot again but then hung at the same XP logo screen. :mad: Soft reset and the drive was gone again! and the same error message!

Very strange I thought, I've never encountered this error before when installing XP. So I googled the error and discovered a very annoying issue. This drive is a 300GB Maxtor DiamondMax 10 6L300SO and I found lots of people posting the same problem I had (that there Maxtor SATA drives would just suddenly vanish) and guess what the problem was? Maxtor SATA harddrives were found to be unstable or incompatible with NForce4 based motherboards!!! Bugger! Exactly what my A8N-SLI Premium is using. :( Apparently someone at nVidia didn't quite code the nForce4 SATA controller properly and Maxtor drives not working was the end result. Luckily Seagate drives (my new drives were being reported by everyone in the posts as working fine).

So in the end I've had to ditch the Maxtor drive and have now installed the two Seagate drives and Windows is up and running very nicely.

And reading more into the Maxtor issue it would seem that a lot of the problems I was having before were completely due to the Maxtor SATA drive connected to the system as a data drive. Many people were reporting similar issues even when the drive isn't the boot drive. Strange things like the system taking a very long time to boot or freezing for no reason for a short time and then continuing what it was doing. Very odd.

So if any of you have an Maxtor SATA drives don't use them with nForce4 based motherboards! It's not worth the hassle. A shame as I have always been a big fan of Maxtor drives in the past and had they still been available I probably would have purchased those. Thank god Seagate bought them out and I had to buy their drives instead. :)

31st August 2007, 12:54
I have a 300GB Maxtor SATA drive (not boot) in my system, on a A8N-E board. Which is nForce4 based. But I have never had any of those issues fortunately. If anything starts to happen though, at least I know where to look first now.

Sorry to hear about your troubles there. Hardware problems is never fun. :(

31st August 2007, 15:14
Well, when the Maxtor drive was just connected to the system as an extra drive it didn't cause too many problems. But reading everything I've found I'm now sure it was slowing down the system booting, and causing the odd system pauses I was getting.

I know a new install of Windows always runs much faster than one that's been in use for a long time, but I can't get over how fast the system is again now. And it still is even with everything installed back to how it was before I changed the drives. XP boots in about 10 seconds at the moment! I bet that will change once I install all of my Adobe Font collection again though. :lol:

1st September 2007, 09:56
I have a 300GB Maxtor SATA drive (not boot) in my system, on a A8N-E board. Which is nForce4 based. But I have never had any of those issues fortunately. If anything starts to happen though, at least I know where to look first now.

Sorry to hear about your troubles there. Hardware problems is never fun. :(

Similar, I have a 250GB Maxtor, on an A8N-E. It is my boot drive, but back from when I first installed win 2000 it was partioned in two (the old maximum drive capacity thing) and still is.

Demon Cleaner
2nd September 2007, 22:27
I still have a lot Maxtor drives (although only 1 SATA), also the Diamond Max versions, but never had problems. I remember reading an article about it having problems with the nForce4 boards.

Shame is that you lost a lot of time until you found out the problem, that is why I avoid a new XP install. That are also things that make me go really crazy and go berserk.

3rd September 2007, 12:25
Shame is that you lost a lot of time until you found out the problem, that is why I avoid a new XP install. That are also things that make me go really crazy and go berserk.

Really? You dont like reinstalling windows?

3rd September 2007, 13:17
I would much prefer a completely clean install of any OS, instead of using a mirror of an old install. This is especially true of Windows as the registry can quickly become clogged up with a lot of old data and corrupt keys that can slow down the OS and cause problems. And there is also always a lot of junk left behind in the main Windows and Program File directories over time.

Demon Cleaner
3rd September 2007, 14:06
I use Registry Mechanic which does a pretty good work on removing obsolete files and much more, plus I tend to clean my registry manually. And as I don't reboot my PC very often (once a month), I don't care if it boots in 10 seconds or in 1 minute.

When my system is still stable and I removed, cleaned, installed something, I just do an incremental backup of the previous one, works fine for me.

3rd September 2007, 15:20
Fair enough.

I think I prefer clean installs because of the software I tend to use that can easily be effected by registry keys and old files left over from older versions of the same software. Plus I tend to only do clean installs once Windows starts to exhibit strange behaviour that cannot be tracked down to specific reasons and easily repaired. For example on my old install of XP the system would sometimes pause for a long time (minutes) after selecting to delete a file, before it actually popped up the box asking if you really want to delete the file. Not sure of the cause of that one.

If I can fix a problem with an OS I will do that rather than wiping it and doing a clean install. It is a last resort for me only if something cannot be easily fixed, or if I'm changing the HD. I think it is better to track down a fix an error so you know what caused it than to just wipe the OS with a clean install and still not know the cause of the original problem.

6th September 2007, 11:17
OK, some further things regarding the setup of this system I had to reinstall.

I noticed that when cold booting the system Windows was pausing at the XP logo and the activity bar stopped for a few seconds. The HD light on the case was not showing any activity either. Then the progress bar would resume and everything would continue. When performing a warm reboot the system didn't do this and the system loaded without the pause.

On looking through the system event logs I noticed an error being logged when a cold boot was taking place:

Event ID: 51 - Disk - An error was detected on device \Device\Harddisk0\D during a paging operation.

The odd thing with this error is that D is my DVD writer, not one of the HDs, and this writer is the only device still on the IDE ports, with all HDs on the system being SATA. Maybe the BIOS or Windows uses a different drive ID for event errors. :unsure:

I did some digging around and discovered a lot of forum posts about this error, and it being related to SATA drives. And many people were reporting two possible ways to fix it. And the issue is related to SATA drives that use NCQ (native command queuing) as Windows seems to have a problem with this.

The first solution was to uninstall the motherboard's own SATA controller drivers and just use the standard Windows ones. The problem with doing this is that you lose access to some of the settings for the controller.

The second was to go into the Device Manager and then into the SATA controller properties, and untick "Enable command queuing" for the SATA drives.

I did this second solution for my SATA drives and it worked. No more errors appearing in the event log and the system now boots from cold without the long pause.

So if you are using SATA harddrives in your PC and are experiencing a long pause at the XP logo when booting from cold I recommend you try disabling the command queuing for your HDs in the SATA controller properties and see if that fixes the problem.

6th September 2007, 11:21
And another odd problem I was having. In the event log I was also getting another series of 6 errors when the system booted. These consisted of the following two messages:

Error 32 - SideBySide - Dependent Assembly Microsoft.VC80.MFCLOC could not be found and Last Error was The referenced assembly is not installed on your system.

Error 59 - SideBySide - Resolve Partial Assembly failed for Microsoft.VC80.MFCLOC. Reference error message: The referenced assembly is not installed on your system.

I did some searching for this and found the solution in the Microsoft Knowledgebase. I'm not sure why but the system needed the Visual C++ 2005 runtime libraries installed. Once I downloaded the latest redistribution package for this and installed it these errors vanished.

Anyone got any ideas why I would need these? Or what is loading as the system boots that needs them? :unsure:

Demon Cleaner
6th September 2007, 11:30
I'm sure that during your startup, some applications are already started that need some components of Visual C++ libraries. Don't know what it could be though.

This is what they say at M$:

For libraries that support side-by-side deployment model (CRT, SCL, ATL, MFC, OpenMP) they are installed into the native assembly cache, also called WinSxS folder, on versions of Windows operating system that support side-by-side assemblies.

6th September 2007, 11:40
What is odd is that I've never had this error before on any of my installs of XP. On the same system with the old install of XP I had exactly the same hardware drivers and applications installed and never got this SideBySide error. Very odd. Maybe something I installed before also installed these libraries without saying and therefore it just worked. Odd though.