Home > Articles

  • Print
  • + Share This
This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

Troubleshooting Serial ATA (SATA) Hard Disk Drives

Serial ATA (SATA) hard disks are slowly starting to replace ATA/IDE hard disks in new desktop computer systems, primarily mid-range and high-end models. Figure 3.9 shows a typical SATA hard disk.

Figure 3.9

Figure 3.9 The power and data cable connectors at the rear of a Seagate Barracuda SATA V hard disk.

Compared to an ATA/IDE hard disk, an SATA hard disk has a much smaller data cable and a wider, thinner power cable connection.

What causes an existing SATA hard disk to "disappear" from the system so you can’t boot from it or access data on it? Any of the following might take the blame:

  • The hard disk is not connected to power or the power cable is loose. If the hard disk doesn’t have a reliable connection to power, it never spins up and is never detected by your system. During installation of the drive, be sure to firmly connect the drive to a power cable coming from the power supply. If you use an adapter to convert a 4-wire Molex connector to SATA, make sure the adapter is in good condition and is firmly connected to the power cable and to the hard disk.

  • The hard disk is not properly connected to the SATA host adapter on the motherboard or add-on card. If the hard disk isn’t properly connected to the interface, it won’t receive the command to spin up when the computer is turned on, and your system won’t boot. The SATA cable and cable connector are keyed, preventing reversed connections, but it’s possible, particularly with the original SATA connector shown in Figure 3.9, for the SATA signal cable (see Figure 3.10) to fall off the hard disk.

  • Damage to the signal or power cable can also cause an SATA hard disk to appear to fail. Replace SATA signal cables that have been creased or folded. Replace SATA signal or power cables that have cracked or torn wires or insulation as well as those that have cracked connectors. Note that an SATA data cable should never be folded; folding can damage the small data and signal wires inside the outer jacket.

Figure 3.10 illustrates correct connections between the SATA drive and its data and power cables.

Figure 3.10

Figure 3.10 Power and data cables connected to a Seagate Barracuda SATA V hard disk.

As we noted previously in this chapter, you can cause problems with an existing SATA hard disk if you need to open your system, remove a cable or two to perform a different upgrade, and forget to plug the cables back in. What about a brand-new SATA hard disk installation?

You can have problems with a loose SATA signal cable or power cable during a new drive installation, but don’t overlook these possibilities:

  • The SATA host adapter on the motherboard might be disabled in the system BIOS. Although many recent systems include two or more SATA host adapters, many vendors disable them by default, as shown in Figure 3.11.

  • Figure 3.11

    Figure 3.11 If the onboard Serial ATA host adapter isn’t enabled, your SATA drive is not going to work.

  • You forgot to install drivers for an add-on SATA host adapter during Windows installation. Restart Windows, watch for the prompt to press F6 to install a third-party SCSI or RAID driver, and provide the SATA host adapter or chipset driver disk.

Check out Chapter 1 to learn how to give your BIOS some help in detecting your SATA hard disk.

Now it’s time to learn how to fix problems with recognizing your SATA hard disk.

Checking the SATA Hard Disk Power Connector

SATA hard disks use an edge connector (refer to Figure 3.9) to connect to the computer’s power supply, although a few might also support a Molex connector. Although many new power supplies include leads with SATA power connectors, the power supply in your PC might not. For that reason, many SATA hard disks and motherboards with onboard SATA host adapters include a Molex-to-SATA power cable adapter (see Figure 3.12).

Figure 3.12

Figure 3.12 A typical Molex-to-SATA power adapter.

Although the SATA power cable slides easily over the SATA power connector at the rear of an SATA hard disk, it takes some force to plug the Molex connector end into the Molex connector from the power supply. Make sure the power cable adapter is plugged tightly into the Molex power lead. Whether you use a built-in SATA power cable or an adapter, make sure the SATA power cable is plugged securely into the hard disk.

If somebody (hopefully not you!) steps on an SATA power connector and cracks it, get a replacement. A cracked power connector is not going to be reliable.

Checking the SATA Data Cable

The fact that SATA data cables are much thinner and use a much smaller connector than ATA/IDE cables can sometimes be a mixed blessing. They’re so small and thin that it’s easy to break them!

An SATA host adapter uses the same L-shaped connector as an SATA hard disk. The L-shaped keying makes it impossible to reverse the cable, which is a definite advantage over its ATA/IDE ancestors. Figure 3.13 shows you how much smaller the SATA motherboard connector is than an ATA/IDE motherboard connector.

Figure 3.13

Figure 3.13 An ATA/IDE motherboard-based host adapter (top) compared to a pair of SATA host adapters (bottom).

  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.

Overview


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information


To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.

Surveys

Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.

Newsletters

If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information


Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.

Security


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.

Children


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.

Marketing


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information


If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.

Choice/Opt-out


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information


Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents


California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure


Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.

Links


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact


Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice


We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020