Generally, if a SATA drive is configured as the bootable drive, then the computer relies on that drive to boot the computer and to launch Windows. It is the source of most of the computer's operations. So, if the computer suddenly stops detecting the bootable drive, this will almost certainly mean that the computer will fail to boot at all. Instead, some error message will occur, and it will become obvious that a serious problem has occurred.
This set of troubleshooting steps will attempt to get the drive detected again, or to conclude whether the drive has failed and should be replaced.
One error in particular, however, is more important than others to watch out for. If a "SMART error" has recently appeared on your computer, this generally means drive failure is imminent or has already occurred. If you have received a SMART error, we strongly recommend that you stop everything and make an immediate backup of any and all important data contained on this drive that is not already backed up.
Drive is not spinning up
Note: These steps are NOT applicable for SSD drives.
If the drive is not receiving power or receiving an incorrect level of power, it will not spin up. To check to see if this is the cause of the BIOS not detecting the hard drive, follow these steps:
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Under what circumstances did the SMART error occur?
After running a SeaTools test:
SeaTools' PASS or FAIL is the standard that Seagate uses to determine whether a hard drive is still in good working order or is failing. A drive may be failing but continue to function normally for a short time, so SeaTools is often a better judge of whether the hard drive is failing than the drive's functionality at any given moment.
Therefore, if SeaTools indicates that the drive is failing, Seagate recommends backing up your data immediately and replacing your drive.
Please see our Warranty Information page for replacement information.
It appeared suddenly, without warning:
Each Seagate hard drive engages in regular self-tests, and most computers automatically run regular SMART tests on the hard drive(s) installed on them. SMART tests indicate whether a drive is approaching imminent failure. Thus, if a SMART error appears suddenly, it virtually always means, unfortunately, that the drive is about to fail and should be replaced.
With the backing of personal computer manufacturers, the disk drive industry adopted an analysis system in the 1990's called Self Monitoring Analysis and Reporting Technology or SMART. The idea then and today is to predict a failure before it happens. Various attributes are being monitored and measured against certain threshold limits. If any one attribute exceeds a threshold then a general SMART Status test will change from Pass to Fail.
Seagate uses the SeaTools diagnostic software to test the SMART status of the drive. SeaTools does not analyze attributes or thresholds. As a practical matter, the technology supporting SMART is constantly being improved. Each new design incorporates improvements that increase the accuracy of the SMART prediction. As a matter of policy, Seagate does not publish attributes and thresholds.
Please remember that these third-party programs do not have proprietary access to Seagate hard disk information, and therefore often provide inconsistent and inaccurate results. SeaTools is more consistent and more accurate and is the standard Seagate uses to determine hard drive failure.
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If you encounter a delayed write failure, please check the following things:
Errors from SeaTools
A FAIL result means two things:
The BIOS is a basic status monitor for the state of your computer and its devices.
Access the BIOS by rebooting the computer and, while it is in the process of booting, before the Windows screen appears, press the key that will open the BIOS. This key will vary by computer make and model, but it is often Escape, Delete, F1, or F2. Consult your computer manufacturer if you are unable to enter the BIOS.
Most new computers will automatically detect devices through the system setup program (CMOS or BIOS). As the system starts, the auto-detect feature may display the drive model number on screen. Seagate drive model numbers begin with the letters "ST". Some Serial ATA BIOS have a system setup that is not contained within the normal motherboard BIOS. If this is the case, the Serial ATA drive will only be displayed in this Serial ATA BIOS message. Please consult the motherboard or Serial ATA controller documentation for assistance with entering into the Serial ATA BIOS setup.
Since the drive is detected in the BIOS but has stopped booting correctly, the culprit may be faulty cabling.Replace the power cable and the data cable for the drive in question with cables that are known to be in good working order.
If the problem persists, the most likely culprit may be a corrupted operating system. In this case, a repair Windows may be necessary.
The simplest way to reinstall the operating system (and probably erase the data, though that does not happen every time) is to insert the Windows CD/DVD in the CD/DVD drive and then reboot the computer. The option to repair Windows should appear as well as an option to reinstall Windows. Since the repair has failed, simply choose to reinstall Windows.
If that fails to reinstall Windows, a stronger erase is probably required. Seagate's utility SeaTools Bootable can perform a quick, a timed, or a Overwrite full erasure (known as a "zero-fill") of the drive. In this case, a full zero-fill is probably the best option. This can take many hours depending on many factors including the drive capacity, so leave adequate time for this. If you are short on time, attempt a timed zero-fill of at least a few minutes.
Then insert the Windows CD/DVD in the CD/DVD drive and then reboot the computer. You should be able to install Windows as if from scratch.
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When the storage drive is no longer detected
If a Serial ATA drive, installed as additional storage in your computer, was previously detected but is no longer detected, this set of troubleshooting steps will attempt to get the drive detected again, or to conclude whether the drive has failed and should be replaced.
If a SMART error has recently appeared on your computer, this generally means drive failure is imminent or has already occurred. If you have received a SMART error, we strongly recommend that you stop everything and make an immediate backup of any and all important data contained on this drive that is not already backed up.
If the drive is detected there and the colored bar to the right is still dark blue (see figure), follow the steps to Reset the Drive Letter.
If the drive is not detected in the lower window of Disk Management at all, please check the BIOS.
If your drive is detected there but the colored bar is black (see figure) or some other color means that the partition has become lost.
A black bar in Disk Management means that the partition has become lost. At this point, we must ensure the safety of your data.
Is the data on this drive backed up elsewhere, or do you need to try to recover it?
If you were unable to access the data, please contact Seagate Support for assistance in recovering your data.
If you have data saved elsewhere, proceed with the diagnostics and reformat instructions.
Since the data is backed up or you do not need it, we can proceed to diagnostics and reformatting the drive.
Warning: Formatting the drive will erase all the data on the drive.
If the drive is no longer detected in (My) Computer / This PC or Windows File Explorer but it is displaying a blue bar in Disk Management, Windows has probably lost track of the drive letter. Please follow these steps:
Once you connect a new Serial ATA drive in your computer, there remains more to do to get your drive working.
First of all, often, users want to install a new drive in order to upgrade to a larger hard drive in their computer. This usually means that the user wants to copy all the data from the older hard drive to the newer drive, then install the newer drive as the bootable drive. To upgrade to a new drive, copying your data from the old drive to a new one, see Document ID: 007717.
If you are simply going to install a new copy of Windows (the operating system), you first need to format and partition the drive, and then install Windows:
If you correctly installed the drive and it is not detected in the BIOS, please check motherboard age .
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Some older computer motherboards are unable to support modern Serial ATA drives.
If your motherboard only supports SATA1 (1.5 Gbits/sec transfer rate) and you are installing a SATA2 (3.0 Gbits/sec) or SATA3 (6.0 Gbits/sec) drive, the motherboard may not detect the drive. There are four options in that case:
Please make sure if your computer does support SATA2 (3.0 Gbits/sec) drives at least.
For additional information, please contact the motherboard manufacturer.
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Installing a NEW Storage Drive
Once you connect a new Serial ATA drive in your computer as additional storage, there remains more to do to get your drive working.
First, please see Document ID: 196169 for more information on installing drives and Document ID: 188411 about the proper drivers in Windows (though if your computer's boot drive is SATA, there should be no need for additional drivers).
Please proceed formatting the drive.
Before the drive can display in (My) Computer/This (PC) or Windows/File Explorer, it must be formatted in Windows. Please see the following articles for instructions:
If your drive is larger than 2 Terabytes, please see Document ID: 218619.
Abnormal noises include: