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So I just wasted 5 hours troubleshooting a faulty cable...

Hello,

I kinda need to vent a little about what happened just recently so here goes.

 

Yesterday evening I spent a bunch of time with an older workstation turned desktop machine which was given to me by a family member for maintenance since it's boot times were extremely slow. After I've seen that it's HDD sits at 100% in task manager basically 24/7 with average response times going above 1k ms I knew I've found the culprit so my response was to get a 256 GB SSD and install a fresh copy of Windows. Here's the problem, after plugging back the drive it wouldn't show up in the new system. It showed up fine in UEFI but nothing in Windows disk management tool. I've reinstalled the Windows this time with the drive plugged in so it used the boot loader on the old HDD (weird behaviour btw, Microsoft should at least ask if that's what you wanna do) and then the old HDD showed in the new system. I didn't check if I can access any files though I just shut it down (something interrupted me).

 

When I came back to it, the drive again did not show up in Windows. It was still visible in the UEFI. At this point I was basically sure I missed some kind of security feature since the PC was an old workstation so I went digging for it and I've found there was one but the behaviour I've encountered was not consistent with the manual for it. During all this I've rebooted the machine plenty of times into both OSes and at some point the old one just stopped working, it started giving messages about missing required devices. I've googled the error it gave and the response I got was that this kind of error mostly comes up with faulty drives (or data cables - this part I've ignored).

 

At this stage my heart sank. I was sure I've locked up the drive somehow and all of the data on it is just lost forever. I've fiddle with it lots, trying to recover the old OS, reinstalling the new one, I've thought about installing new OS on top of the old one to at least try and access the second partition on the old HDD but luckily didn't go through with that. When I finally gave up it was 2 in the morning. Just before I left the damn thing for the night I've cleaned the data ports and replaced the cable, but for some unholy reason, I did not test it.

 

In the afternoon the following day I've found out that the owner of the PC picked it up thinking it was done. In the early evening I see the person calling. I know what that call is gonna be about. I pick up the phone and after greetings I just get "Everything's working great, thanks". My jaw dropped. I immediately realised what happened.

 

You often hear that the 1st step to troubleshooting is to check the easy stuff first. I've just learned the hard way why. Not like I didn't know it before, in my infinite wisdom I simply chose to ignore it.

 

If you have similar stories, do share, otherwise just go ahead and laugh.

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Just for future reference, you can usually rely on SMART data on most SATA drives to identify issues with cables (and with drives in general). I had constantly increasing "UDMA CRC Error Count" value with the disk that had shitty cable on it (Number usually increases in the orders of thousands). That being said, I only had sata cable give me grief twice in my entire life.

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14 minutes ago, Verrierr said:

You often hear that the 1st step to troubleshooting is to check the easy stuff first. I've just learned the hard way why. Not like I didn't know it before, in my infinite wisdom I simply chose to ignore it.

Well, as long the lesson is learned with a fairly cheap cost.
Even monkey falls from tree sometimes.

There is approximately 99% chance I edited my post

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30 minutes ago, Levent said:

Just for future reference, you can usually rely on SMART data on most SATA drives to identify issues with cables (and with drives in general). I had constantly increasing "UDMA CRC Error Count" value with the disk that had shitty cable on it (Number usually increases in the orders of thousands). That being said, I only had sata cable give me grief twice in my entire life.

image.png.790f8305cab0b8f84b7883a1bb27fe53.png

I've actually checked the drive's SMART immediately after seeing it sitting on 100% in task manager and it came up all green. I did not think to try it again. I thought it's encrypted somehow, especially sine it was actually enterprise grade and it did not see the kind of usage it was rated for basically ever.

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