SATA drive no longer recognized in Win7

M17 - Oct 19, 2016 at 01:49 PM
 M17 - Oct 24, 2016 at 08:49 AM

I have a self-built desktop system running Windows 7 Ultimate from an AMD-based Gigabyte motherboard with 8 GB of RAM. The OS is on a pair of RAID 1 mirrored WD 1TB SATA drives on SATA channels 0 and 1. In general, everything still works well.

The system also has a pair of RAID 1 mirrored Seagate Barracuda 3TB SATA drives for data storage on SATA channels 2 and 3. These stopped working properly a few days ago and no longer show up in Windows 7's file Explorer, Computer, etc. They do show up in Device Manager, System Configuration>Computer Management>Storage>Disk Management, etc. (but as "failed" in the later). They also show up during POST and in the optional RAID manager during POST. SATA channels 2 and three are still set to SATA in the BIOS as opposed to IDE, etc.

I wasn't sure if my CMOS battery was starting to run low so I replaced it last night but there was no change. I also tried setting the BIOS to the stored Optimum Settings but that didn't work either.

I tried a free data recovery utility to scan the first Seagate drive on SATA 2 and it sees ~2.5 of 2.9 TB of directory and file data although some of the names are corrupted. I didn't run the actual recovery feature but it shows that data are on the drive and the drive is at least partially accessible. I wasn't able to get Seagate's free DiskWizard utility to restore the disk to usable status.

I know how to re-initialize the drive(s) but I think that would overwrite all of the data that I want to keep. Is there a way that I can just get one or both of the two drives to start working again the way they were without losing data from them? I wrote down all of the detailed drive parameters before I started doing any thing to the drives to try to get them working again but I don't know how use that information to get them back to the way they were.

Can I use a MBR utility to get one of the two drives working again? I tried accessing the Advanced Setting page in the BIOS but the only thing I could see to change was a field for toggling between RAID/AHCI/IDE. I didn't see anything to force SATA parameters or tell the system to automatically detect them.

Any ideas? Could trying the physical drive in a new PC work or could that corrupt the drive (or do nothing)? Any help/advice would be appreciated.


2 responses

R2D2_WD Posts 3606 Registration date Monday September 1, 2014 Status Member Last seen February 20, 2017 155
Oct 20, 2016 at 03:21 AM
Hi M17,

Have you tried connecting only one of the Seagate drives and use out of the RAID? I would try connecting one of those drives in another PC, as secondary storage drive. Check if the drive will be accessible. Search for it in Disk Management. Does it have a proper file format? It would be really strange if both drives have failed simultaneously. You may need to use a data recovery tool in order to save your data. Once you have it backed up, format the drives and check their condition with the drive manufacturer’s diagnostic tool. If all seems fine, form the mirror again. Check the link below for some data recovery software suggestions:
It may be helpful connecting one of those drives in a Linux PC. Unix based systems show pretty good success rate when it comes to drives with problems in performance and connectivity. If you do not have access to a Linux PC, use a Linux Live version and boot it from a flash drive.
I would also check for some BIOS and motherboard SATA drivers updates because when having RAIDs, stability is a must. If all goes well and you manage to restore the data and the RAID, I would advise you to keep a backup of all important data on an external device.

Hope this helps


Thanks R2D2_WD for your suggestions. They helped put me on the right track.

I tried a several file recovery and other hard drive utilities but nothing seemed to be able to do much. I then found a recommendation somewhere to try Paragon and it was perfect! I used the free "Paragon Rescue Kit 14 Free" to create a Win PE x64 rescue disc and then booted from that. From there, it was easy to repair the drive information and all of the data and the drive became accessible again. I copied everything over to an external HDD (except for two unimportant corrupted files that were probably corrupted at some much earlier date but not noticed). All of the copied files are perfect and match what's on the revived internal drive that had failed but is now working as it was prior to the problem.

I did this to only only of the paired drives so far but I plan to reformat the other one and then mirroring them again with RAID 1.

I still don't know what corrupted the drive information initially but I suspect that it might have been some malware. I will do some full, deep virus scans to make sure that the culprit isn't still somewhere in my system.

I'm very impressed with the Paragon software. It was very easy and effective and was able to do what other paid and free applications were not able to do. It's great that it is free of charge -- especially for a fully functional version. I am now going to buy the commercial version mainly just to support their great work.

Many thanks to R2D2_WD and Paragon!