Eh? How can my HDD disappear and reappear? (Help!)

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Eh? How can my HDD disappear and reappear? (Help!)

Post by Jedinovice » Mon Oct 09, 2017 4:19 am

Are there any hardware gurus that can solve the mystery of the disappearing hard drive here? I am confused and a little worried.

Yesterday it seemed the HDD in my laptop ‘vanished.’ I cannot figure out what happened so can people help explain?

I have just purchased an Acer ES1-132 cheapo laptop. The hardware is absolutely perfect for my needs (cheap, portable, long battery life whilst being a full laptop and not a Chromebook) and I really like it. Except… it has a busted BIOS that will not handle Linux properly even though the machine came with Linplus Lite installed. Took me ages to get Mint to boot and I needed rEFInd and to force in boot devices into the BIOS via shell. Ow.

The sorry story is here if you really want to know - hope will be of use to other Acer users:

After all that - the machine worked fine for 12 hours but then, as I shut the laptop down I noticed the hard disk was making grinding noises. The laptop is pretty much silent - it uses passive cooling - and so the sound was noticeable but it was nothing I had not heard before on other 5,400RPM laptops when working hard. So I shrugged.

Come the morning and Mint would not boot and I had the dreaded ‘No bootable device’ error on screen. After the pain of getting Mint to boot I was STRESSED! I need this laptop to work and work reliably! I booted up rEFInd and there was no bootloader! Nothing!!

I managed to boot Mint 18.2 via USB and… no HDD at all! Only the USB stick was recognised.

Eh? Had the hard drive failed?

Into the broken BIOS I went (it is a very broken BIOS where support for booting anything other than Windows 10 is just, well, broken) and checked if the HDD was recognized there. It was. I saved the BIOS settings and rebooted to rEFInd again. Now the bootloader was detected - by rEFInd, not the BIOS which was still broke - and I was able to boot Mint and see my data and the OS all installed and working.

Well, that meant I stood a chance.

Back to booting rEFInd, into the shell and writing a new entry for the hard disk into the boot table. There wasn’t one. AGAIN.

Since then it has been fine and the whole machine has been soundless. So it all looks good now but I cannot explain what happened.

Ultimately I plan to get this machine to the local Acer support center and get them to update the BIOS. (It can ONLY be updated via Windows 10 which I don’t have. So they gotta do it. I’ll offer money. They’ll bite.) But I am really busy right now so can't travel to Acer yetand I kinda need to know this machine is going to hold together. An explanation would remove … fear. I can’t be fixing the boot table on a train. Note that I live in Indonesia where warrenty means very little.

How could the HDD ‘disappear’ and then re-appear?
I have checked the HD SMART status via KDE partion Manager and no faults found.

What happened? Was it a bit of grit between the HDD and the interface?
Is this just a ‘burn in bug?’ I have known those on occasion.

As I say, I actually really like the ES1-132. Sure, it’s minimal but when your need is for portability and computing on the move it’s great! But I now have this uncertainty with a glitch that I cannot reproduce but cannot explain.

Can anyone explain?

Mint Linux 18.0 64 bit KDE edition.
Video editing (AMV's mainly) on a dual core n2840 atom!
Results here: ... yVKS7X1Rlg

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