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Author Topic: What is it with DVD drives in my system? [Resolved]  (Read 848 times)
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MonkeyFinger
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« on: April 11, 2012, 03:58:55 AM »

My PC started off with two SATA DVD drives in it and I'm down to zero right now. Some months ago it started to hang while attempting to boot and it took some time to track it down to one of the DVD drives. Removed the SATA cable from it and it came right back up. Fast forward to recent days and strange things had started going on, mainly my drive activity light coming on solid for stretches at a time. It was in that state last night when I told it to go to sleep and I went to bed. Woke up to a BSOD and a system that once again hung trying to boot, that or gave me the lovely "BOOTMGR is missing" error message.  disgust

Finally dawned on me that the startup / POST messages where showing my SATA ports and hard drives but not my DVD drive. Shut it down, pulled the cable from it and I'm back in business. What the heck? Am I just having bad luck with DVD drives or is something more sinister at work here?  I haven't tried replacing either yet, I guess that's the next test - drop a new one in, cable it up and see if she still boots, eh?
« Last Edit: May 27, 2012, 03:51:29 AM by MonkeyFinger » Logged

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TheAtomicKid
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« Reply #1 on: April 11, 2012, 08:11:41 PM »

bootmgr is missing means system isn't spotting your boot volume on the hard drive. (which didn't necessarily cause your bsod)...

however... how old are your sata (data) cables.

when I had problems with mine, it turned out I had a batch of intermittent cables.

they're only rated for 50 insertions on the connectors for internals, so it's possible to wear them out without working too hard at it.

in any case, you're getting pretty much exactly what I got, when I had my issues.

my recommendation: replace ALL of the sata cables with new (they're relatively cheap, so no excuses). if that solves your problem, you could, if you wanted, go through your cables one by one using a dvd drive to test with until you start getting intermittent errors, at which point you've found your cable(s).

assuming my 'analysis' is correct, your bsod was probably caused by the boot and or system drive, falling off the drive chain, which would be caused by enough communication errors on the sata connection. (they do error correction on both command and data channels, which is great... but the will fall out of the drive chain eventually)

at a guess. even without bsods, etc, your dvd drive(s) disappear at random times, yes?

if your cables are relatively brand new, aka you've only connected/disconnected them a few times each, the this is not likely your problem.

if the build is brand new, and you've had problems from day one, then go back to suspecting this... you might simply have a bad cable, right out of the package.

Atomic
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MonkeyFinger
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« Reply #2 on: April 13, 2012, 02:57:57 AM »

Thanks for responding Atomic.

Cables are new as of the build (put together about two years ago) so any 'insertions' for them should all be in the single digits. I've got no problem with swapping them all out for new and had made a mental note to do so when I felt like cracking it open again. I don't believe any of my optical drives were disappearing but couldn't say for certain that wasn't the case, as noted they really don't get much use lately so it could have happened without me noticing. Maybe on those times when the case drive activity light came on unexpectedly. [shrug]

I'm not all that familiar with SATA and how/if port ordering affects anything, during bootup I see my six ports listed like so:

SATA1: SSD (boot)
SATA2: Optical
SATA3: Optical
SATA4: Hard drive
SATA5: Hard drive
SATA6: Hard drive

Port 3 was the first one I had to disconnect and now 2 is gone so both are empty / unassigned now. I'm guessing I should really move them to the end of the drive chain and suspect that my BSOD was because I've pushed my page/swap file off the SSD over to a dedicated partition on one of the later hard drives and loss of connectivity to that during my latest 'episode' confused it a wee bit.  icon_neutral

I was wondering if the drives themselves could be going bad in some fashion and causing this... however, seems like the next step regardless is to swap out the cables for brand new, possibly move the opticals out to the end of the chain and see what happens!

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TheAtomicKid
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« Reply #3 on: April 13, 2012, 07:15:55 AM »

order of connection should not affect anything. I've yet to see a bios that it would, as long as they're all on a controller that has drivers installed.

if the build has been in place for two years without mishap, and the problems with the dvd's are recent... hmm. I see you have an ssd on the chain. new? basically, have you added drives, rearranged, etc, recently?

basic reasoning is, it's unlikely you've had two opticals go out in similar fashion, and it be the actual optical drives.

that leaves cables, drive controller, and frankly, not much else.

missing bootmgr as I stated indicates the system didnt see a bootable drive when it tried to start up.

unplugging the optical drive in question and having everything work suddenly, is par for the symptoms I had before.

had you been in the case recently, before you started having problems?

Atomic
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Calavera
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« Reply #4 on: April 13, 2012, 12:15:06 PM »

I'd still start by replacing one of the optical drives as well. They're inexpensive ($20, shipped) and a good place to start. Now that they've gotten so cheap, they're about as reliable as old floppy drives were. It's completely plausible that you lost two drives especially if they're the same manufacturer bought near the same time. If you remove both drives, everything works okay?
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MonkeyFinger
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« Reply #5 on: April 13, 2012, 01:18:13 PM »

Thanks guys. Good to know the port order doesn't matter, kind of thought that but wasn't positive. Does that change when running in IDE v. AHCI mode?

No, I haven't changed anything since it was built and was only in the case before this to disconnect the first optical. That was... several months ago? I too was unable to understand how both opticals could fail in what seems like the same manner, which makes me a little concerned about the state of the ports / motherboard itself. BTW, it's an ASUS P6X58D Premium if that helps at all. I've got no problems putting new opticals in there and will try that if swapping out the cables doesn't change this behaviour.

Yes, the solution both times this happened was simply to disconnect an optical drive. I don't recall seeing the "bootmgr" issue before, and it wasn't consistent this time, other times it simply "hung" after the POST on a black screen with a blinking underbar cursor in the upper left-hand corner of the screen.
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« Reply #6 on: April 13, 2012, 04:33:36 PM »

Quote from: TheAtomicKid on April 11, 2012, 08:11:41 PM

they're only rated for 50 insertions on the connectors for internals, so it's possible to wear them out without working too hard at it.

This needs to be taken out of context.
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TheAtomicKid
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« Reply #7 on: April 13, 2012, 07:10:12 PM »

Quote from: Purge on April 13, 2012, 04:33:36 PM

Quote from: TheAtomicKid on April 11, 2012, 08:11:41 PM

they're only rated for 50 insertions on the connectors for internals, so it's possible to wear them out without working too hard at it.

This needs to be taken out of context.

Don't be messing around with just any old BIOS...

On a more serious note, it seems I remember another thread along these lines recently, but it was a hard drive that went out. And I seem to remember, from personal experience, when a hard drive went out recently, that it exhibited some of these symptoms, like the system having problems booting, intermittently before it finally gave up the ghost. That drive no longer shows if you hotplug it into a running system, and, iirc, if you try to boot that particular motherboard with it attached... it won't boot. (p45 based board). Of course I haven't tried it since the rebuild... never had any reason to.

How are your backups? Keep an eye on your ssd and hard drives for misbehavior. I wouldnt really suspect the ssd, but technically the electronics on it could go like any other drive.

Atomic
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Calavera
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« Reply #8 on: April 13, 2012, 08:52:27 PM »

Quote from: MonkeyFinger on April 13, 2012, 01:18:13 PM

Thanks guys. Good to know the port order doesn't matter, kind of thought that but wasn't positive. Does that change when running in IDE v. AHCI mode?

In all "modern" BIOS the SATA port order just sets which HDD boots first by default. It ignores optical drives for this decision.

For example, if you're optical drive is port 1 and your HDD is port 2, it's going to boot off HDD on port 2 by default. But if you have two bootable disks, one on port 1 and one on port 2, it will boot the HDD on port 1 by default. Granted, you can change boot order via the BIOS which is why it doesn't matter.
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MonkeyFinger
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« Reply #9 on: April 13, 2012, 10:24:39 PM »

Quote from: TheAtomicKid on April 13, 2012, 07:10:12 PM

How are your backups? Keep an eye on your ssd and hard drives for misbehavior. I wouldnt really suspect the ssd, but technically the electronics on it could go like any other drive.

My backups are good and yah, I'll keep an eye on everything going forward from here.
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« Reply #10 on: April 13, 2012, 10:25:17 PM »

Quote from: Calavera on April 13, 2012, 08:52:27 PM

Quote from: MonkeyFinger on April 13, 2012, 01:18:13 PM

Thanks guys. Good to know the port order doesn't matter, kind of thought that but wasn't positive. Does that change when running in IDE v. AHCI mode?

In all "modern" BIOS the SATA port order just sets which HDD boots first by default. It ignores optical drives for this decision.

For example, if you're optical drive is port 1 and your HDD is port 2, it's going to boot off HDD on port 2 by default. But if you have two bootable disks, one on port 1 and one on port 2, it will boot the HDD on port 1 by default. Granted, you can change boot order via the BIOS which is why it doesn't matter.

Thanks for that information, my boney friend.  icon_wink
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« Reply #11 on: April 18, 2012, 07:20:49 AM »

Any updates here?

Atomic
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MonkeyFinger
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« Reply #12 on: April 18, 2012, 12:56:26 PM »

No, sorry. Too much personal crap going on and haven't had any spare time to futz with this. Yet.
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« Reply #13 on: April 19, 2012, 11:53:15 AM »

Hey, I'm curious. I can't find anything locally so will need to order cables off the web... any brand preference out there? I'm seeing Rosewill. StarTech and OKGEAR seem to get good reviews on NewEgg, any personal experience? I'll need two long ones get to the top of the tower plus four 'regular' ones around 12", really need to pop this beast open again and get some measurements I guess.
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Calavera
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« Reply #14 on: April 19, 2012, 01:57:01 PM »

Quote from: MonkeyFinger on April 19, 2012, 11:53:15 AM

Hey, I'm curious. I can't find anything locally so will need to order cables off the web... any brand preference out there? I'm seeing Rosewill. StarTech and OKGEAR seem to get good reviews on NewEgg, any personal experience? I'll need two long ones get to the top of the tower plus four 'regular' ones around 12", really need to pop this beast open again and get some measurements I guess.

Monoprice. Their SATA cables are really nice and almost all of them are less than $1.
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TheAtomicKid
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« Reply #15 on: April 19, 2012, 07:34:52 PM »

If you must order from newegg, (as I did the last time before discovering monoprice), I have some OKGears that I've been using. Good quality, no problems.

Atomic
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MonkeyFinger
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« Reply #16 on: April 20, 2012, 02:28:52 AM »

Just started with NewEgg so I could read the reviews and see the egg counts. Thought their prices were a little high and shipping bumps it up as well. Thanks for the MonoPrice reminder, all my HDMI & Ethernet cables came from there... off to check them out!
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« Reply #17 on: May 12, 2012, 10:39:46 PM »

Any revelations from the testing? Really curious as to what your results were, as this problem crops up on a fairly regular basis in one variant or another, so anything I can do to refine the troubleshooting lets me do it better for others, not to mention myself.

Atomic
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MonkeyFinger
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« Reply #18 on: May 27, 2012, 03:50:48 AM »

Sheesh... sorry, Atomic but I completely spaced this as I rarely use my DVD drives any more. Got a little bit of a shock when I came home with a shiny new retail copy of Diablo 3 and realized I couldn't install it. From the disk anyway.  retard

Got a complete replacement set of cables from Monoprice, six in all and they turned out to be from OKGear. Just swapped them all out, it was a bit of a PITA and I managed to pull all of the connectors for the front panel out which go back in very cramped quarters. However, all worked out and when I fired the machine back up, all was ok. Yes, DVD drives as well. Now, it's only been back up for 10 minutes or so but both drives function and hell, it booted with everything cabled up. Double bonus. thumbsup

Thanks for the support!
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