I have a Windows Server 2003 box, with 2 identical hard drives installed (not in a RAID array).

For some reason, Windows just stopped recognising the second hard drive. It doesn't appear in My Computer or Windows Disk Management. However, when booting the server up, if I go into my BIOS settings, the BIOS does pick up the hard drive.

What could be the problem? How do I troubleshoot this? Are there any free tools available that I can use to diagnose and fix this problem?

  • 2
    Does it appear in device manager? – Richard Apr 6 '11 at 8:20
  • Richard's question is pertinent, and in all of the fuss over fiddling with Linux and boot discs, has gone unanswered even though it could have been answered straightaway. – JdeBP May 17 '11 at 11:46

First thing I would do is boot up a Linux boot disk and see if the drive shows up in that. Then use smartmontools, "smartcrl -a /dev/sda" or /dev/sdb and see if the drive reports any Smart errors. If it does, then replace the drive, if no errors are found, have it run a full test on itself. "smartctl -t long /dev/sda.

If the drive itself is good, then it might be a file system issue.

  • I'm not much of a Linux user, would prefer Windows based tools. – Saajid Ismail Apr 6 '11 at 9:42
  • I'm not making much progress on Windows. Where can I get a linux boot disk? Could you please point me in the right direction. Preferably something small, less than 100mb. – Saajid Ismail Apr 6 '11 at 12:32
  • If you don't want to go windows, you can try this. ultimatebootcd.com – Porch Apr 6 '11 at 18:00

You can not assume that guy has linux box..

I think 1) your disk is there but might be accidentally formatted to unknown file system. 2) partition table is corrupted 3) did you change the drive connections? are both drive as proper master slave combination?

I suggest to install some partition manager software (I prefer paragon partition manager) and check the disk.

  • Reread my answer. At no point did I assume the guy has a linux box. My suggestion was to use a Linux BOOT DISK. This will eliminate the windows factor from the problem and give you direct access to the hardware for diagnoses. If the drive looks fine under Linux, then you can assume it's a fault with Windows. If something is wrong with the drive under Linux, then you can test, fix, recover, or wipe it. – Porch Apr 6 '11 at 18:37
  • Yes, I understand your concern for linux.. I am also myself linux lover. you are right here that you can see /dev/hdxx and you can solve the problem from linux or linux boot disk.. but thats too geek sometimes.. And Saajid also told he is not much of a linux user.. – swd Apr 7 '11 at 5:38
  • I don't often see a Windows administrator without a few Linux boot CDs now days. They are just so handy to get things fixed quickly. I didn't think anything could be too "geek" on Serverfault. :) – Porch Apr 7 '11 at 6:32

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