Issue adding second SATA hard drive to Inspiron 660/Win 8 Pro

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Issue adding second SATA hard drive to Inspiron 660/Win 8 Pro

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I just purchased a Dell Inspiron 660 with Windows 8 Pro.

I added a second hard drive to the machine. This drive contains all my data (files, music, pictures, etc.)

The boot drive is plugged into sata 0.

The dvd was plugged into sata 1.

I plugged the second hdd into sata 2.

It would not recognize the 2nd hdd.

So I switched the dvd and 2nd hdd.  The dvd now in the sata 2 slot and the 2nd hdd in sata 1.

The PC found the 2nd hdd, but did not pick up the dvd.  Oddly, it showed an E drive as System Reserve (it must have picked up one of the system partitions that I noticed windows uses).

I rebooted a few times, then noticed that I would sometimes lose the 2nd hdd on sata 1.

Is this simply a cabling issue?  I thinking it maybe HOWEVER does not explain why NOTHING is picked up in the sata 2 slot.

In terms of other partitions: the OS is on C and I have a Programs partition labeled G.  when it picks up the 2nd hdd, I have an H,I and J partition on it.  And like I said, it shows that System Reserve partition as E.

Any thoughts?

Need more info?

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  • Ok, let me tell you the results of my saga with this issue.  I DID get my machine to recognize the drive, that is  the good news.  The bad news: not sure I can tell you WHICH item along the way fixed the problem.  I know I know, I should only test one thing at a time.  But when you are in the pit of frustration, you just begin to do everything at once with the hope that something will work...

    I had read on Win 7 forums about various problems with UEFI and 2nd hard drives. (I know we are dealing with Win 8 here, but so little has been written in the forums as of yet). One astute poster mentioned that adding a drive with multiple partitions might prove to be difficult or impossible.

    So here is what I did.

    Since I could get the machine to recognize the HDD into the SATA 1 slot (this of course left me without my ODD...see original post above).  I moved ALL the data from this 2nd HDD to the 1st HDD.  

    Then, I deleted ALL the partition (three) that I had on the 2nd HDD.  

    *I unallocated the entire drive.  I put the ODD back to SATA 1 and put the 2nd HDD into SATA 2.  Not recognized.

    *I switched the 2nd HDD back to SATA 1.  I created a single partition on the hard drive.

    *Again  I put the ODD back to SATA 1 and put the 2nd HDD into SATA 2.  Not recognized.

    *This time however, I went to Device Manager and did a refresh on the Domain Controller and the Hard Drive items.  Again, still not recognized.

    *I gave up. I left the 2nd HDD plugged into the SATA 2 slot.

    *A full 24 hours later, I was on my machine, I just happened to open up Windows Explorer and what do you think I found????  It was now recognizing that 2nd Hard Drive in the SATA 2 as WELL as recognizing the ODD in SATA 1.  

    So what made the difference?  Multiple re-boots along the way from when I gave up and when it was finally recognized?  But combined with the hard drive re-partitioning?  Did the Device Manager refresh has ANYTHING to do with it? Does time heal all??

    I cannot tell you for sure.  Weird. Wacky.  Wonderful only in that I now have a functioning 2nd HDD without losing access to any other attached drive. Not wonderful, in that, I had to move everything off and wipe it clean.

    So BruceU, my suggestion:  that 2nd HDD has to be "clean" to start with.  If you are able to do so, give it a whirl and let us know.

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  • Well after 3 attemps with the "technical" department, I have a home service scheduled to replace the MB.  Will let you know if it fixes the issue.

  • I had the MB replaced last night.  All ports are working like they should.  

  • Thanks for the update Mike. It's good news to hear that there is a solution to this Inspiron 660 problem.

    Do you know more about the diagnosis of the MB problem?

    • Was the MB simply defective and replacing it with the same model/version of MB was the solution?
    • Was it replaced with a newer/updated MB that addressed the SATA Port problem?
  • Hi Mike,

    On your SATA port 2 which was bad, were the hard drives/optical drives ever recognized by BIOS?

    I am having the same problem.  All my drives are recognized in BIOS @ Setup, but Windows 8 only seems to find whatever's plugged into the first 2 SATA ports.

    Thanks

    - Mark

  • Don't know any details on the MB other than it was replaced.  Nothing else was done.

    My BIOS did recognize anything that I plugged into the 2 port, just not Windows 8.  Also, sometimes with the HDD plugged into port 2, it would give me the windows repairing message on startup and then just lock up.

  • Update:  I was able to resolve this issue through an online chat session with Dell support.

    We tried a lot of things over a 30 minute period.  Here's a summary of what seemed to fix it:

    In BIOS settings, Boot page, he had me disable Secure Boot, and try booting in legacy mode.

    We could not get the computer to boot in Legacy mode, so we booted up with Secure Boot DISABLED, Boot Mode: EUFI

    The computer booted up, and I could see all drives (Primary HDD, Secondary HDD, and Optical)

    Support tech said it was OK to leave Secure Boot DISABLED.  Out of curiosity, I changed it back to ENABLED, and am still able to see all drives.

    Maybe you need to boot up once with Secure Boot Disabled, then Windows recognizes the drive?

    FYI, I have Primary HDD in SATA1, Secondary HDD in SATA2, and Optical in SATA4.

    Hope this helps.... good luck

  • Thank you 'mg' for your update about this problem. I can reproduce your changes but the problem is still not resolved.

    First of all, with the BIOS in Legacy Mode you will not be able to boot from a GPT Layout disk.  The boot disk in Legacy Mode has to be MBR.  The secondary disks can be GPT in Legacy Mode but not the boot disk.

    My system was already working with:

       SATA Port 1: HDD / 2TB ST2000DM001 disk, GPT Layout, Win8 Pro 64-bit in bootable partition and others

       SATA Port 2: ODD / PLDS DVD+/-RW DH-16ACS H

       SATA Port 3: Empty

       SATA Port 4: HDD / 2TB WD20EARX disk, MBR Layout, multiple partitions (including Win8 Pro 64-bit as the first)

    To get the MBR disk working in SATA Port 4, I had to delete all the partitions and have Windows 8 create them.  It appears Windows 8 did something magic that kept it happy after adding more partitions.

    TEST 1

    I disabled Secure Boot in UEFI mode and the system continued to work, seeing the two HDD and one ODD.

    TEST 2

    With the Secure Boot still disabled, I added a second Optical Disk in the empty SATA Port 3:

       SATA Port 1: HDD / 2TB ST2000DM001 disk, GPT Layout, Win8 Pro 64-bit in bootable partition and others

       SATA Port 2: ODD / PLDS DVD+/-RW DH-16ACS H

       SATA Port 3: ODD / TSSTcorp_CDDVDW_SH-S223C

       SATA Port 4: HDD / 2TB WD20EARX disk, MBR Layout, multiple partitions (including Win8 Pro 64-bit as the first)

    Windows 8 booted successfully but Disk Management only saw Disk 0 in SATA Port 1, CD-ROM 0 in Port 2 and Disk 1 in SATA Port 4.

    TEST 3

    Still with the Secure Boot still disabled, I reversed the devices in SATA Port 3 and Port 4:

       SATA Port 1: HDD / 2TB ST2000DM001 disk, GPT Layout, Win8 Pro 64-bit in bootable partition and others

       SATA Port 2: ODD / PLDS DVD+/-RW DH-16ACS H

       SATA Port 3: HDD / 2TB WD20EARX disk, MBR Layout, multiple partitions (including Win8 Pro 64-bit as the first)

       SATA Port 4: ODD / TSSTcorp_CDDVDW_SH-S223C

    Windows 8 booted successfully but Disk Management only saw the same SATA Ports that it saw in the previous test: Disk 0 in SATA Port 1, CD-ROM 0 in Port 2 and CD-ROM 1 in SATA Port 4.   In no test did Windows 8 see a device in SATA Port 3.

    TEST 4

    I reenabled Secure Boot in the UEFI BIOS and left the devices in the same ports as the previous test:

       SATA Port 1: HDD / 2TB ST2000DM001 disk, GPT Layout, Win8 Pro 64-bit in bootable partition and others

       SATA Port 2: ODD / PLDS DVD+/-RW DH-16ACS H

       SATA Port 3: HDD / 2TB WD20EARX disk, MBR Layout, multiple partitions (including Win8 Pro 64-bit as the first)

       SATA Port 4: ODD / TSSTcorp_CDDVDW_SH-S223C

    Windows 8 booted successfully and again Disk Management only saw three devices.  But this time it saw the devices in ports 1, 2 & 3!  Now SATA Port 4 could not be seen by the operating system. The second CD-ROM drive was gone but the second hard disk was back.

    CONCLUSION

    Nothing is predictable about adding additional SATA devices on an Inspiron 660.  I had planned to run this new desktop as my primary workstation for a few years and then reassign it to a server role.  I may end up spending more time and effort as a support person rather than as an end user during the service life of this system :-)

  • I had to deal with the same nuisance for days and have gone through like 8632 forum post trying to resolve the issue.

    mg_vc's suggestion on booting up with Secure Boot DISABLED appears to do the trick, at least for me.

    Cheers mate !

  • Over the recent holiday period I took the time to experiment further with the Inspiron 660 to try and narrow down the problem.  I learned something, but did not find a solution.  All the tests were done with the Legacy BIOS with a 2TB Western Digital disk in the SATA 1 port , the original Dell 2TB Seagate GPT disk in SATA port 3 and two DVD drives in ports 2 and 4.

    • I deleted all partitions on the SATA 1 hard disk, set it to an MBR format and installed Windows Vista.  Windows Vista saw the MBR disk as DISK0, the original Dell GPT disk as DISK1 and two DVD drives as CD-ROM0 and CD-ROM1.  All four SATA ports were populated and this was good.
    • I then updated the operating system using the Windows 8 Professional 64-bit Update DVD followed by all the Windows 8 updates (with device drivers) from Microsoft.  The second DVD drive was now gone, but the two hard disks and one DVD drive were present -- exactly where I was on my normal system booting Windows 8 from the GPT disk.
    • After restoring Vista back to the bootable partition, I updated the operating system using the Windows 7 Professional 64-bit Update DVD, Service Pack 1 update, device drivers for Win7 from Dell and all the Windows 7 Updates from Microsoft.  The two hard disks (DISK0-MBR and DISK1-GPT) and the two DVD drives were found and worked as expected.  This was also good.

    It would appear that the source of the problem is in Windows 8.  To enable all four SATA ports on the Inspiron 660, reverting the OS to Windows 7 may be my best short-term solution.

    I was directed to the Microsoft Community website where a problem was asked last March about Windows 8 Pre-release not recognizing DVD drives.  This problem relates to not recognizing SATA ports, regardless of what device type is attached.  I tried the suggested fix anyway and it had no effect at all.  See: http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/windows_cp-hardware/windows-8-does-not-recognize-my-dvd-drive/f115e396-34df-4795-8c72-b2d4029346a5?auth=1

  • I've encountered something similar with my Inspiron 660.

    I left everything the same as it came shipped:

    • SATA 0 - Main HDD with Windows 8 OS (1TB - WD W10EZEX)
    • SATA 1 - DVD-RW drive
    • SATA 2 - Nothing
    • SATA 3 - Nothing

    For my second SATA drive (a Maxtor 6V300F0 that has Windows XP on it), I added it in SATA 3, but the BIOS would not recognize it in UEFI mode.  Only when I set the Boot Mode to "Legacy" would my second drive be detected in the BIOS.

    However, here is where things get interesting.  In the hard drive options, I set the Windows 8 drive to boot first, followed by the Windows XP drive.  I saved the BIOS settings and reboot.  However, the computer attempted to boot  from the Windows XP drive.

    So, next I go back into the BIOS settings and disable the second drive from booting and attempt to boot up with only the Windows 8 drive.  Now when I reboot, I expect Windows 8 to boot up, however I get this error message:

    "Reboot and select proper boot device or Insert boot media in selected boot device and press a key"


    Forgot to write that I tried mg_vc's suggestion of disabling secure boot with UEFI mode enabled and that didn't do anything for me.

    I have to think this is an Inspiron 660 problem.  Any advice would be appreciated.

    In the meantime, I'm going to revert back to UEFI mode and will probably just take out the Maxtor drive and shove it in a USB enclosure so I can access my files.

  • I am disappointed in the support received from Dell Technical Support regarding this Inspiron 660 issue.  A case was logged with Dell on December 8 and a Service Request Number issued and still I've heard nothing constructive.  "We appreciate the opportunity to work with you... blah - blah", just doesn't help when the problem is so simple to recreate.

    Moving on, the next solution that I tried was to bypass the SATA 3 and SATA 4 ports on the motherboard that were at the heart of the problem.  I bought a 2-port SATA III PCI-e card that is commonly available, relatively inexpensive and that reviews informed me would be supported by Windows 8 without installing any extra drivers.

    The two hard disks in the system were:

    • the original 2TB GPT disk with Windows 8 that would boot with the UEFI BIOS enabled
    • a second 2TB MBR disk with Windows 7 that would boot with the Legacy BIOS enabled

    I connected the GPT hard disk to the motherboard's SATA 1 port, the original DVD drive to the motherboard's SATA 2 port and I plugged the second MBR hard disk and second DVD drive into the ports on the new SATA card.

    • with the UEFI BIOS enabled, a boot of the system came up in Windows 8 and the operating system sees all four SATA devices.
    • with the Legacy BIOS enabled and changing nothing else, a boot of the system came up in Windows 7 and again the operating system sees all four SATA devices.

    The two operating systems are configured to share data in partitions on both hard disks and I've installed most application software on the system disks of both operating systems.  Right now I can boot up from either hard disk, either operating system, by selecting which BIOS and do my work.

    I plan to continue running this way until Dell comes up with a fix for this problem.  Then I'll reassign the SATA card to my old Studio 540 server and add more disk space for online backups. Dell better hurry up as the clock is running on the support period for my Service Tag.

  • What can we do at the moment to get this fixed?

    Get Dell to replace the motherboard?  How long does Dell's warranty last for?

  • What can we do at the moment to get this fixed?
    Only Dell can answer your question.  You can call their Technical Support line and post any findings to this thread on Dell's Community Forum until it is resolved.

    Get Dell to replace the motherboard?
    It's not clear (to me) where the fault lies:

    • In the UEFI BIOS that could be fixed with an BIOS update
    • In Windows 8, in which case it might be a Microsoft problem
    • A fault on the motherboard seems unlikely because the four SATA ports work with Windows Vista and Windows 7 when the Legacy BIOS is enabled

    How long does Dell's warranty last for?

    • At www.dell.com you get "90 days Premium Phone Support + 1 Year In-Home Service after Remote Diagnosis" for an Inspiron 660.  You can extend the support by paying extra for 1, 2 or 3 Year Enhanced Support.
    • At www.dell.ca you get "1 Year Basic Service Plan" included for an Inspiron 660.  You can pay extra for 2, 3 or 4 Year Basic or 1, 2 or 3 Year Enhanced Support.

    You get what you pay for.

  • This same procedure was required in order for my Gigabyte GTX 650TI OC 1gb video card be recognized by Windows Pro 8 on the Dell Inspiron 660. Use the Legacy setting in bios to get the card recognized removing Secure Boot and then after it is recognized by Windows, revert bios back to secure boot by setting the bios to default. I went through two cards from Amazon trying to figure this out. Without this procedure there was no display whatsoever testing two different monitors and connections to the video card. I hope there is a firmware update to the MB to resolve some of these problems but then again am concerned that would break my system.

  • I spoke with Dell Technical Support on March 2 about my Service Request for using additional SATA ports on the Inspiron 660/Win 8 system and learned that the problem had been reproduced by Dell.  They agreed that there is a problem with the SATA ports in some configurations.

    The tech could not tell me:

    • a statement of the problem that had been investigated
    • what had been done to reproduce/troubleshoot the problem
    • what they had learned
    • or what was going to be done about it

    In the old days when I worked on mainframe computers we used to call it "Broken As Designed" or "BAD".

    I was told to expect BIOS upgrades from Dell sometime after March 15 for Dell products running Windows 8.  The tech couldn't say if this update would have any effect on this reported SATA port problem.

    For now, I'll continue to run with an additional 2-port SATA III PCI-e card with Windows 7 (Legacy BIOS) and Windows 8 (UEFI Secure BIOS).