Start up problem

Since installing my PX-708A I have been experiencing a very strange phenomenon. When I power up my PC from cold all seems normal until Windows XP starts to boot. At this point the green light comes on the DVD drive and stays on. At the same time the monitor signal cuts out. The PC is now locked - it is impossible to turn the power off without unplugging at the mains. However, if I leave the drive churning away to itself it will eventually turn off, the signal will return to the monitor and the PC will reboot. On this second boot Windows starts normally and the system runs perfectly. Once running the 708A will not autorun disks nor does the Windows option menu appear when I insert non-autoplay disks. I have tried all the settings within windows (DMA etc) to no avail. I have no other problems with either the system or the Plextor drive. Can anyone suggest any reasons for this problem and, more importantly, fixes for it.

Welcome to the forum Mr. M.

Please give us some more details about your system (hardware) and how your Plextor drive is attached to your system. Is it running off an onboard IDE controller or off an extra PCI IDE controller? Have you checked your cables, Master/Slave/Cable Select jumper settings? Have you tried running the Plex as single device as Master on the Secondary IDE channel (recommended install)? Have you tried the self-diagnostics test (see the FAQ)? Please report back.

Ps. When you remove the Plex, does your system boot normally?

Thanks for replying so quickly. I’m afraid I’m a bit new to this game so you’ll have to bear with me. The Plextor is connected as the secondary master. The primary is a Samsung spinpoint SATA and this has another Samsung SATA as slave. The system is an Intel P4 3gb on a Gigabyte GA 81875 with 512mb of memory (single channel) running at 400mhz. The graphics card is an Inno3d Tornado geforce4 mx agp8x. I’ve tried the self test which does not suggest a problem and the system seems to boot ok without the Plextor.

I don’t know much about your motherboard unfortunately. Are you using the latest drivers for your system and the latest BIOS version? Have you checked the cables? It’s a weird problem and it’s hard to say what the problem is.

Can you tell if your motherboard BIOS and Windows XP is properly recognizing your PX-708A? You should be able to see the drive listed within BIOS setup, as well as in WinXP device manager, under the DVD/CD-ROM drives section.

If the drive is not showing up properly, then it is likely a drive hardware problem or jumper/cable issue as G@M3FR3@K said.

Also, since your motherboard has the Intel 875P chipset, try disabling the Intel PAT (Performance Acceleration Technology) feature that speeds up memory, if it is enabled, to see if it makes any difference. This setting should be somewhere in the BIOS setup.

Thanks for your suggestions. As far as I am aware the drivers and bios are up to date and all the cables are in place. The drive is clearly identified by both the bios and XP. It is a strange problem because it only does it from cold. When the system is warm it will start up normally. I will try disabling PAT and get back to you. Once again many thanks.

Hmm your last reply let me to think it has something to do with your power supply. When you boot your computer the PSU needs to deliver a lot of power at once and when it’s not working properly this may lead to problems. Is there any change you can try another power unit? Please report back!

My system configuration is similar to yours. My motherboard is ASUS P4C800-E with Intel 875P chipset, and my opticals are Plextor Premium (secondary master), Plextor PX-708A (secondary slave) and Plextor UltraPlex PX-40TS on SCSI. As far as I can tell, all the Plextor drives are working fine in WinXP.

Assuming you haven’t overclocked your processor, it is beginning to sound like you have either a motherboard hardware or BIOS problem.

BTW, the WinXP auto-run feature can get disabled by various reasons. Can you determine if your Plextor can read/play inserted disks, aside from the auto-run not working?

I have updated the bios and tried the PAT solution. Still no joy. I hadn’t thought about the PSU. Wouldn’t the problem start straight away rather than just before the windows start up screen appears?

The Plextor reads and writes perfectly - just won’t auto-start or bring up the windows “what do you want to do” screen.

You may want to take a look at the following Microsoft Knowledge Base article that talks about the WinXP AutoRun/AutoPlay feature not working:

http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;330135&Product=winxp

I think I might have cured my start up problem. I was messing around with the bios on Sunday and a strange thing happened. Originally I had to map my SATA drives as IDE 1 to get the system to recognise them. Having recently updated the bios (again!) the SATA drives were suddenly recognised for what they are. Now on start up instead of the two Samsungs being listed as IDE 1 master and slave these positions are recognised as being empty. IDE 2 is occupied by the Plextor. The two Samsungs are then listed as SATA master and slave. Since this occured I have not had a single occurance of the problem which resulted in me contacting this forum. The system must have confused itself and started to search for a start up attached to the IDE port. As the Plextor was the only such drive physically attached to an IDE port the system must have been sending requests to it, hence the constant read light. Well that’s my theory anyway - no doubt someone with much more technical expertise will offer a more rational explanation. So, not wishing to tempt fate, I think it’s cured - and it wasn’t the Plextor’s fault! Thanks to everyone who offered possible solutions. I am still having problems with autostart but I will look at SCAN80269’s suggestion. Finger’s crossed!

Mr_M, thanks for letting us know what the problem was! Good to hear your problem has now been fixed :slight_smile:

:bow: Thank you SCAN80269. Your link to the Microsoft Knowledge Base highlighted the problem. I needed to change a registry setting in order to get the autorun to work properly. Once again thanks to all who made suggestions. My computer now runs like a dream - I’d better make a system backup!

I’m glad to hear your troubles have ended. Following is an attempt to explain what might have happened to your system. It’s a bit long, so feel free to stop reading any time… :wink:

I believe I know how your startup problem got fixed. Based on your descriptions, your old motherboard BIOS either has a bug or a limitation that prevented the SATA ports from being configured into “enhanced” mode. Thus, your two SATA HDs had to be in “compatible” mode, which made the chipset SATA controller emulate a standard IDE/PATA controller. The newer BIOS apparently improved to allow the SATA controller to function properly in “enhanced” mode, which explains your SATA HDs appearing as SATA master and slave.

Since the ICH5R southbridge of the Intel 875P chipset supports 2 SATA ports and 4 IDE/PATA ports (2 channels supporting 2 devices each), thus 6 storage class devices total, it gets tricky on how to maintain maximum compatibility with older OS’es such as Win9X, NT 4, etc. In standard IDE, the legacy resources are fixed to support a total of 4 IDE/ATAPI devices (primary master, primary slave, secondary master, secondary slave). You may be familiar with the description of legacy IDE resources such as Interrupt 14h and 15h, I/O ports of 1F0-1F7 and 170-177, etc. With 6 storage devices supported by ICH5R, 2 of the devices can no longer utilize legacy resources and must be mapped to “native” resources that are assigned by the OS. For older OS’es like Win9X and NT 4, only 4 out of the 6 storage devices will work. The BIOS of a motherboard with a chipset supporting both SATA and PATA ports will provide various IDE options to configure the chipset SATA and PATA controllers to suit the needs of the OS in question. Windows 2000 and Windows XP support IDE devices in native mode and legacy mode, and have no trouble supporting all 6 storage devices if you hook them all up.

The descriptions of these various SATA/PATA configurations in your BIOS may be somewhat different than what I mentioned here. On my ASUS P4C800-E motherboard with Intel 875P chipset, I set the IDE configuration to “enhanced” mode. This allows all 6 storage devices to be recognized and this works great with WinXP. There can only be a single SATA HD connected to each SATA port via a SATA cable, but since Win2000 and WinXP have a hardcoded concept of master/slave devices for storage, a pair of SATA HDs will appear in the master/slave configuration within Win2000 and WinXP, though all SATA drives are physically masters (no way to connect a slave to the same cable like in IDE/PATA). This is not a problem, though it can be quite confusing to the user.

One more thing. On your motherboard with Intel 875P/ICH5R chipset, it should be possible to set up your SATA controller into Intel RAID mode. RAID mode uses an Intel RAID driver instead of the Microsoft standard IDE driver. Even if you don’t do RAID 0 (striping) or RAID 1 (mirroring) with 2 SATA HDs, you can still gain some performance by configuring your SATA HDs into “RAID ready” mode. This mode uses the same Intel RAID driver, even though the SATA HDs themselves are not in any RAID configuration. To get “RAID-ready” mode, simply enter BIOS to configure the SATA controller in RAID mode, but don’t create a RAID volume using 2 drives. Intel claims that their RAID driver outperforms the Microsoft standard IDE driver. “RAID-ready” mode also allows easy migration to 2-drive RAID configuration by way of the “Intel Application Accelerator RAID Edition utility”. The only catch is that to go from your current non-RAID (plain SATA) config to “RAID-ready” is not officially supported by Intel. A complete HD format is necessary, but I have a special “upgrade” procedure that will work if you are interested.

Nice clarification, scan80269. :bow:

Having the same cold boot problem here. :frowning: Running a different setup though, NO SATA.
Gigabyte ga7vtxe Via chipset mobo
AMD Athlon XP 1600+
GeForce4 Ti4200
Have the drive as the master on the secondary. I have a hard drive set on the primary, and have an ide adapter card with another hard drive.
I have had this drive about half a year, at first I had no problems and then all of a sudden it started doing this. :frowning:

I’m just about to switch from Intel IDE to RAID in BIOS to set up mirroring. Can I please have this special “upgrade” procedure because I would love to not reformat my system…