What do You do if a Hard-Drive is Only Recognized When it has Already Spun Up?


What do you do when your computer only recognizes your hard-drive part of the time? Is it simply a matter of the hard-drive going bad or is it a BIOS setting that needs adjusting? Today’s SuperUser Q&A post has some helpful advice for a frustrated reader.

Today’s Question & Answer session comes to us courtesy of SuperUser—a subdivision of Stack Exchange, a community-driven grouping of Q&A web sites.

Photo courtesy of Asten (Flickr).

The Question

SuperUser reader Blaine wants to how to fix a computer where the hard-drive is only recognized when it has already spun up:

So I have encountered a weird issue. When I first turn on my desktop computer, it does not recognize that it has a hard-drive in it. However, if I then press the reset button, or turn it off and back on quickly enough, the hard-drive will be recognized.

In all other aspects, the hard-drive works perfectly (with a S.M.A.R.T test showing no errors). What could be the cause of this, and is there any way to fix it?

How do you fix a computer where the hard-drive is only recognized when it has already spun up?

The Answer

SuperUser contributor Mokubai has the answer for us:

It could be that the BIOS on your computer is not waiting long enough for the hard-drive to spin up before continuing to boot. Many BIOSes have an option for “hard-drive spin up time” which can delay the boot process for a couple of seconds while the hard-drive spins up.

If you can access the BIOS on your computer, then I would look for that option and see if you can extend the delay.

If this is a recent occurrence, then it could be a sign that the hard-drive motor is beginning to fail and can no longer spin up as quickly as it used to. This would be a bad indication as it may not be able to spin up at all soon.

Have something to add to the explanation? Sound off in the comments. Want to read more answers from other tech-savvy Stack Exchange users? Check out the full discussion thread here.

Akemi Iwaya is a devoted Mozilla Firefox user who enjoys working with multiple browsers and occasionally dabbling with Linux. She also loves reading fantasy and sci-fi stories as well as playing "old school" role-playing games. You can visit her on Twitter and .