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[ The PC Guide | Troubleshooting and Repair Guide | The Troubleshooting Expert | Troubleshooting Specific Components | Troubleshooting Hard Disk Drives | Booting or Operation Problems ]

I had a hard disk that was functioning properly in one PC, but when I moved it to another PC or upgraded the motherboard, it stopped working, or the data on it was not accessible

Explanation: You have a hard disk that was working properly in an existing PC but stopped working when installed in a new PC (or after upgrading the motherboard or making another similar change).

Diagnosis: There are many different reasons why this sort of thing can happen. Often, it is simply an installation or configuration problem that can plague any PC after it has been worked on. However, it is also possible that there is an incompatibility between how the two BIOSes access the disk. In particular, BIOSes can use different translation modes to access the disk sectors. So it may be the case that the new PC is referring to the sectors on the disk in a different order than the old one was, which can cause many problems. The use of dynamic drive overlays can also complicate matters, especially if you are moving from a system that does not have native BIOS translation support, to one that does.


  • Try troubleshooting the hard disk by looking back in the hard disk troubleshooting index and diagnosing the specific problem you are having (hard disk not recognized, won't boot, etc.) It is possible that a configuration, setup or cabling issue is what is at fault, and the disk will work properly once it is fixed.
  • Make sure that the new hard disk is set up with the correct translation mode in the BIOS setup of the new PC.
  • If you were using a dynamic drive overlay on your previous PC, you may have a problem when you move to a new machine that has native BIOS support, because the new system may enable translation when the overlay is expecting it to be turned off. One option is to go into the BIOS setup and turn off translation support by setting up the hard disk as "Normal" instead of "LBA", "Large" or whatever. However, this is not a great solution, since you are keeping the drive overlay when you don't have to. Instead, you should remove the drive overlay, and set up the disk with native large-disk support.
  • If you want to be safe, then perform a full backup of the disk before transferring it to the new system. Then, detect, setup, partition and format the disk on the new system, and transfer the contents back to the disk again. This of course is not without its risks also (the backup medium could fail, so be very careful) but will ensure that the disk is being set up in the correct new environment.

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