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Why is my hard drive causing a reboot loop on my computer?
July 30, 2011 4:37 AM   Subscribe

Weird computer technical problem pertaining to the POST and bootup stages of conputer use. Details inside.

I have recently got my computer back from repair for a dead motherboard. When i power it up with no hard drives installed, all is well. I get the POST and then a message saying insert boot drive etc. If I power it up with one of my SATA hard drives, it enters a reboot loop after the POST. There is no hard drive activity. If I power it up with the other SATA hard drive in, I get a beep as normal, but no signal to the monitor and frantic thrashing on the hard drive. Any ideas? Cause I'm stumped.
posted by dougrayrankin to Computers & Internet (7 answers total)
 
Have you tried with different SATA ports? Have you checked the BIOS to see whether the SATA ports are configured correctly? For example, are they enabled and set to use either IDE or AHCI mode (as opposed to RAID)?

This could also be a power supply problem, which could have been what caused your dead motherboard in the first place.

Finally, it's possible that the hard drives got borked when your motherboard died. The fact that they act differently could be hinting at that.
posted by maxim0512 at 6:00 AM on July 30, 2011


Are you sure the replacement motherboard was the same model as the old one? Because Windows absolutely will not boot with a different controller chip than the one it was installed with.

If it is the same model, and you've got Windows XP, Windows might well not even have the chipset manufacturer's SATA driver installed. The XP Setup disc won't install Windows onto a SATA drive without fartarsing about with driver floppies, and the easiest way to work around that is just to use BIOS settings to put the SATA chipset in IDE emulation mode. A slack installer might have left things set up that way instead of installing the chipset manufacturer's SATA driver and flipping the BIOS back to AHCI mode. If your BIOS is currently set for AHCI, try flipping it to IDE emulation and see if that improves things.
posted by flabdablet at 8:20 AM on July 30, 2011


Can you boot from your Windows install disk and try to repair the installation?

Is is one of those recent Sandy Bridge chipsets that only access SATA drives a limited amount then forget about them?

Seconding checking the power supply.
posted by Sphinx at 8:23 AM on July 30, 2011


Tried a third hard drive and it boots fine... Still don't know what's going on with the others.
posted by dougrayrankin at 8:57 AM on July 30, 2011


Are you sure the replacement motherboard was the same model as the old one? Because Windows absolutely will not boot with a different controller chip than the one it was installed with.

It's not about Windows not booting, it's about not even getting past POST with one and getting no video when the other is in...
posted by dougrayrankin at 12:12 PM on July 30, 2011


- Reboot loop could be many things, depending on exactly how far it gets through the boot process - can you be more specific?
- Not getting a monitor signal is quite serious. It strongly indicates either a motherboard problem or power supply (or graphics card if you don't have onboard graphics), regardless of whether a hard drive is present or not.

Test your drives connected to another computer if at all possible.
posted by fearnothing at 12:20 PM on July 30, 2011


- Reboot loop could be many things, depending on exactly how far it gets through the boot process - can you be more specific?
- Not getting a monitor signal is quite serious. It strongly indicates either a motherboard problem or power supply (or graphics card if you don't have onboard graphics), regardless of whether a hard drive is present or not.
To be clear, the reboot loop happens once the POST is complete - at the point you'd normally expect a PC to go "Well I'm in working order, now where is that OS?". The no video thing goes away the second I remove the offending hard drive, and this machine has brand new motherboard, RAM, graphics card and processor - it's essentially a different machine. It is now working fine as I've given up and bought a third, brand new, hard drive. I'd just like to be able to get the old drives hooked up too.
posted by dougrayrankin at 2:11 AM on July 31, 2011


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