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Hard drive keeps Windows from starting

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Rick Shorrock
Hard drive keeps Windows from starting
on Jul 17, 2017 at 9:16:38 pm
Last Edited By Rick Shorrock on Jul 17, 2017 at 9:34:18 pm

I have an external video drive (2TB) that has encountered a serious problem: It has become inrecognizable by Windows Explorer, but is recognized by Device Manager from withing Windows Control Panel. This will happen if I plug the drive into USB when Windows is already running. And here's the thing: If the hard drive is already connected via USB before the computer is started, Windows will not start. If the hard drive is plugged into the computer after Windows is already started, all the drives already recognized by Windows Explorer are unrecognizable by Explorer and Windows ceases to function correctly. Thinking this might be a USB problem, I hooked it to my wife's computer, with the same result. I then took the drive from it's external case, and made it into an internal drive and attempted to boot from the SATA connections on the motherboard----tried them all with the same results. I've already booted to CD using Hiren's Boot CD and Mini Windows XP, but the drive is not recognized under Mini Windows XP, either. And if the hard drive is plugged in when booting from CD, the computer will not boot from CD.
Can you say 'frustrating'???
A utility came with my MSI motherboard. It's called Winki HDD Backup. When I open up the MSI BIOS and the utility, it does recognize the drive in question and the folders and files. But using the utility to back up the hard drive seems very complicated. There doesn't seem to be any instructions in the utility itself of on the MSI website or anywhere else on the internet. I called MSI today and talked to Tech Support, and even the tech I spoke to admitted he never heard of the utility---even though it's made by MSI. Anyone here heard of the Winki HDD Backup utility, and if so, can you tell me how to use it?


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Scott Thomas
Re: Hard drive keeps Windows from starting
on Jul 18, 2017 at 3:37:02 am

Regarding the drive being plugged in before boot: Have you made sure that the BIOS or EFI isn't trying to boot off of the USB drive?


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Rick Shorrock
Re: Hard drive keeps Windows from starting
on Jul 18, 2017 at 1:55:48 pm

No, the boot priority in BIOS is always set to boot from my "C", i.e., system drive, which is SATA-connected to the motherboard. Even after I removed the external drive from its case and installed it in the computer as a secondary drive (also installed as a SATA-connected drive), and trying to connect to the other SATA ports, I still cannot get Windows to start correctly, and safe mode will also not start while the drive is in place, connected to the motherboard and powered. The drive in question is not bootable, as it does not have Windows installed on it. Maybe I should brush up on booting in EFI.


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Scott Thomas
Re: Hard drive keeps Windows from starting
on Jul 19, 2017 at 4:18:51 am

I don't know anything about the backup utility you mentioned before, but if it was my drive, I might try plugging it into a Mac or Linux box. If you don't have one, a friend might have one or the other. Or you could download a bootable image of Ubuntu Linux (free) and boot your PC off of that and see if you can mount the disk. That might at least give you the option to copy the files somewhere.


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