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Thread: Weird issue with laptop HDD not being recognised

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    Weird issue with laptop HDD not being recognised

    Hey Hexites,

    Just had a bizarre issue and wanted to see if anyone know why it happened or how it can be prevented.

    My sister was using our Asus X401A laptop which I added a Kingston V200 128GB SSD to and according to her, she was watching something on BBC iPlayer before the PC suddenly rebooted and it was stuck on the BIOS screen with the message "Error PXE-E61: Media test failure, check cable".

    I went into BIOS and saw that it was trying to boot to network and it couldn't "see" the SSD at all. My first thought was that the SSD somehow died (not unheard of) so I took the SSD out and plugged it into my PC and it was recognised quickly and fine. Ran it through HD Tune and it was once again completely fine. Also went through Windows Disk Check just to be sure, A-OK again.

    I plugged it back into the laptop but the result was still the same, a message with "Error PXE-E61: Media test failure, check cable". Went into BIOS again and there was no change, it couldn't see the SSD again so I just disabled all the network boot options and saved it and thought I had nothing to lose anyway. Lo and behold, it booted into Windows fine. I restarted the laptop and went back into BIOS and now the SSD is displayed there - very bizarre!

    Anyone know what's going on with our laptop?

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    DDY
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    Re: Weird issue with laptop HDD not being recognised

    Something has caused the SSD to drop out, when that happened the BIOS reverted to the next boot option which happened to be PXE and its complaining it can't find a networked PXE server to boot from.

    I suggest backing up the SSD ASAP, it's also worth checking if there are any firmware updates too because the vanishing SSD is one of the more common signs of a buggy or defective SSD.

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    Re: Weird issue with laptop HDD not being recognised

    Thanks for the tip, are there any other ways I could test the SSD?

    Tbh the laptop isn't the best built laptop I've had - quite far from it in fact, I've had to get Asus to repair the keyboard as the space bar was really crap. Is there a chance there's a problem with the SATA controller or is the fault most likely to be with the SSD?

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    DDY
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    Re: Weird issue with laptop HDD not being recognised

    I don't suspect the SATA controller as much as I do the SSD, the SATA controller in the laptop would be integral to the Intel chipset which generally speaking is very reliable. SSDs on the other hand have been known to be flaky with the common symptom of non-recognition i.e. disappearance from the BIOS.

    Buggy firmwares have been implicated in many SSDs failures and there are too many remedial firmware updates to count, virtually every SSD manufacturer has been caught out by bad firmwares, Kingston included. Hence it's advisable to check if there are firmware updates available.

    I can't think of any good test you can run to diagnose a possible fault with the SSD, maybe a SMART test but I don't think that's particularly useful given the symptoms.

    Aside from a bad SSD or SATA controller, there can be a number of other causal factors including the power supply, physical SATA/power connection, overheating... The list goes on but I'd bet on the SSD considering the odds.

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    Re: Weird issue with laptop HDD not being recognised

    Well I'll tell my sister to keep her copies of her work on a USB stick as well as copying it to her desktop PC. Other than that there isn't really much else on the laptop really as it's basically just a family laptop (but my sister seems to use it most).

    Not a fan of playing the "wait till SSD fully dies" game though as I'm constantly wondering when the SSD will just "die out" but the SSD was bought a few months back so I can't return it and I doubt "BIOS not recognising SSD" will be enough to RMA it, especially as it *seems* to work fine in tests.

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    Re: Weird issue with laptop HDD not being recognised

    Checking for firmware updates is great advice.

    The Kingston HyperX 3k I got as part of my hexus/AMD bundle was flaky as hell in my 3810TZ; regular BSODs. I updated the firmware, rock solid ever since. Only thing to watch is checking you've got SATA configured for AHCI, as this is required by the firmware updating software. Also, personally I'd update the firmware on a different machine so you're not running Windows on the drive that's being updated, but that's more to satisfy my own paranoia. Took me a while to reconfigure my computers and get the update sorted, but once I did it was a very straightforward process and cured all the problems I was having with the SSD. Well worth the effort

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    Re: Weird issue with laptop HDD not being recognised

    Well I'd not overlook the sata controller, I've been having some issues at work, almost exactly the same, fine one moment, then sudden reboot and the nothing is showing up in the BIOS, however this is on an i3 desktop with a WD hard drive not a laptop and SSD, then the next day turn on the pc and all is back and working fine.
    It also lost the DVD drive, if this happenes again check the BIOS for the dvd drive, if that too has disappeared then I'd lean in favour of the sata controller not the drive.

    My current thinking is it's the chipset (H61) over heating, but I need to do some testing, problem is it's difficult issue to reproduce.

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    Re: Weird issue with laptop HDD not being recognised

    From what you've described - I'd say the SSD is on its way out. Run a HDD test on it while its plugged into your system.

    I've seen it several times where the drive disappears in one system, but shows in another - it has ALWAYS been the drive, not the motherboard. But that doesn't fully rule anything out

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