Computer Help forum


BIOS sees only One drive at a time

by DManJC / March 29, 2012 7:45 AM PDT

The Original problem - the desktop PC continuously restarts when attempting to boot. The logo screen comes up, there is a single beep, then the computer restarts. This happens over and over; the time the logo screen stays up varies, sometimes the restart is immediate, other times as long as 15 seconds. I have been told it would eventually boot into Windows 7 Ultimate (32-bit), eventually - I have not seen it do this myself.

After doing the normal things - reseating the RAM, clearing the BIOS (setting to Optimum Defaults), checking PS, etc., there is no difference. Attempting to enter Setup, it has the same restart problem. It does act like it gets better the more it warms up.

The m-board is a Biostar P4M900-M4 ver 6.1 with an Award BIOS v6.00PG with the P490M117.BS update (the only one available). The HDD is cabled to SATA1, one of the CD-ROMs to SATA2, the other CD-ROM to IED Primary, the Floppy drive to the FDD header.

In the "Standard CMOS", only the CD-ROM on SATA2 is listed. If I "unhook" the ROM, then the HDD is listed on SATA1, but it is the Only drive listed! It is also displayed on the Splash screen (?) this way, along withe the FDD as "Failed".

Other than reinstalling the Chipset drivers, I have no idea where to even start to fix this problem, I simply do not understand the how, or why what would cause this. But I guess that's why I'm here asking for your help ;-).

I will appreciate any help you can give me - TIA.

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All Answers

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This seems a hardware issue.
by Kees_B Forum moderator / March 29, 2012 8:05 AM PDT

It could be the BAD CAPS issue. My guess is that replacing the motherboard (or maybe only the bad caps) solves the problem. Alas, replacing a motherboard often involves replacing the CPU and the RAM also, depending on how old it is, and in reinstalling the OS.

To be sure it isn't a Windows issue, simply boot from a bootable CD (like a Linux Live CD).


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I have the CAPs turned off
by DManJC / March 29, 2012 9:49 AM PDT

My (bad) attempt at humor.

That's not exactly what I wanted to hear - a bad m-board. I was really hoping for some hokus-pokus magic.
I did do a visual inspection of the board during my troublshooting, saw no burn marks, nor swollen CAPs.
It will be 4-5 hours before I can try the Boot Disk, I will repost after - I didn't want you to think I wasn't paying attention. Thanks for the reply.

On another note - just joined the forum - I would have included a "link" to the m-board (etc.) if I knew there was a way to do it. Is there somewhere on the site that I may learn the ins-and-outs of how to post, etc.?
Thank you again.

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Welcome to the forums. Remember that power supplies also
by Steven Haninger / March 29, 2012 10:09 AM PDT

have capacitors. I'm guessing the P4MXXX means Pentium 4 with on board sound so this makes it an older rig. Those would live on only 300w sometimes if you were gentle to them. But the warmup issue is one that's familiar to me. Bad caps will do that as well as bad solder or mechanical connections. Consider that heating and cooling causes expansion and contraction which can fracture connections and break down mechanical connections as well. You unplug and replug connectors, reform the female ends of molex type jacks, etc. If the PS is original and of the 300 watt or less range it's worth trying something newer and larger. Good luck.

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BAD CAPS. That's not "capital" letters but
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / March 29, 2012 10:12 AM PDT


Google BAD CAPS to learn what to look for but the symptom you shared is one of the known ones. (Along with this, you have to look for the BAD CAPS in the power supply and all cards.)

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No Problem anylonger
by DManJC / March 30, 2012 4:17 PM PDT

Apologies it has taken me so long to post.

Kees - "boot from a bootable CD" was better advice than you'd think. I uncabled all drives except the DVD-ROM on SATA2, AFTER running a bootable disk, the BIOS recognized it And the HDD. Huh? It was like an address was re-established, I don't understand it, but it worked. Same results with the IDE drive. The data cable on the FDD was on backwards - that solved the FLOPPY error and the recognition problem.

I remarked it seemed to run better as it warmed up - I thought PS, so I plugged it into my "Powmax" ATX PS Tester - evidently it tests everything, but dead PS's as Good. (After that is when I made my post) I plugged in a known good 20-pin PS, the m-board is 24-pin, but even without the the 12v, after making the necessary adjustments (BIOS, etc.) the PC ran as well as it ever.

Thanks for the 'welcome' Steve. I'm aware of cracked solder connections, etc., but it's not the first thing that comes to mind when a problem comes up. In fact I don't do enough of this sort of thing to think of it all - unless someone reminds me.

I know what an (obvious) bad capacitor looks like, but per you suggestion Bob I Google "bad capacitors", and came across a useful list of syptoms caused by such - a lot of it is just as I described in my problem. Again - I never thought about a bad component on a daughter-card causing a boot problem. A number of years a go I had a bad experience with a capacitor the size of a beer can - I am apprehensive about open up a PS. ;-).

Thank each of you for taking the time to lend me you expertise.

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