Hard drive light flickers continuously.


J

John Corliss

First of all, if this is the wrong group, please point me in the right
direction.

Now on to the problem:

I just put a new ASRock K7VT4A PRO motherboard in a friend's computer
(512 MB, AMD Athlon XP 1600+ CPU, Western Digital WD400BB-00DEA0 model
40 GB HD) and installed XP Home on it. Then I updated the OS to SP2 and
installed all critical updates possible.

At some point, I noticed that the hard drive light flickers about every
second. Not only that, but the activity happens if I boot to Safe Mode.
It doesn't do it while I'm in the BIOS though.

AAARRRGHHH!

Other than the continual flickering of the light, the computer runs
okay, but *MY* computer is running the same OS and the hard drive light
doesn't flicker unless it's doing something.

Here's what I've done to try to stop the hard drive light activity in my
friend's computer:

I've turned off all tasks and file indexing, made no difference.

I don't have MS Office installed on it.

After configuring the Task Manager's "Processes" tab to show all I/O
reads and writes, I looked to see what's causing it but it didn't show
anything. Sysinternal's Process Monitor doesn't show anything going on
either.

I turned of Auto-Insert Notification, but it didn't stop light from
flashing.

I checked for rootkits, but found none (not that the computer should be
infected, what with a fresh install and all.)

I've probably done a few other things which I'm forgetting too.

I've killed all unneeded services but it didn't do any good.

Does anybody have any other ideas as to what's causing this? I'm
snatching myself bald with this problem!

NOTE: Please don't tell me that it's normal or acceptable, and to put up
with it or suggest putting electrical tape over the light. I'm sorry,
but I will ignore any such replies because IMO the hard drive light
flickering can also be a sign of malware activity (although not in this
case). Because of this, it's a good idea to have nothing non-malware
related causing it to flicker all the time when the computer is idle.

TIA.
 
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J

John Corliss

That program looks like a subset of Process Explorer, but I gave it a
try anyway. It showed no activity and nothing appeared that was timed
with the light's blinking. When I minimized it to the tray, it showed no
activity in fact.

One thing I've found on the internet about this kind of problem is the
following:

"The usual reason for this blinking is that Windows thinks there's an
IDE device (such as some CD-ROM drives) that doesn't support the media
change signal, so it checks the IDE devices every few seconds to see if
it needs to report that the disk has been changed."

AFAIK, there are no proprietary drivers available for CD-ROM or CD
Burner devices; you have to use what comes with XP. This means that it
might be a hardware configuration problem, but I doubt it. I will break
open the case and look though.
 
J

John Corliss

I broke open the case, totally disconnected both CD devices (power AND
data cable) but it didn't make a bit of difference. The flickering HD
light still keeps happening.

I checked to make sure the light is connected to the board correctly, it
absolutely, positively is. Besides, whenever there's legitimate hard
drive activity, the light works as it's supposed to.

Any other ideas?

TIA
 
K

kim

Not much help i`m afraid but i`ve had the exact same issue with my machine.
New build last year, Asus m2n8-vmx mobo, Athlon 64x2 duel core processor,
Maxtor HDD 80gb, Nec DVD-RW ND-3550a, ATAPI DVD D DH16D2P dvd rom, Nvidai
Geforce 6200, 2gb RAM, XP home sp2. Clean install and the HDD light flicks
on and off about every 2 or 3 seconds but as in your setup not in the bios
but still does it in safe mode, Turned off indexing disabled startup items
ect, disconnected optical drives,tried different cables, Asked in various
forums you name it. I gave up in the end :-( It`s still doing it now but the
machine seems to run ok. Please post back if you do find an answer.
Kim
 
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K

kim

Just to add you could try posting in this group
"microsoft.public.windowsxp.hardware" I posted a similar post about 7 months
ago but can`t seem to find it.
Kim
 
R

R. McCarty

Since both of you are using an AMD processor I'm assuming that you
both have the latest "Cool-&-Quiet" driver installed (?). Also I'd make
sure you have the latest nVidia Chipset driver installed. Finally, I would
check the BIOS firmware history chart and see if any mention is made
of a fix for the SATA controller or drive access LED.
 
R

rod

A FYI

I have the same experience on my computer
the hard drive flickers and the chip clicks every second
<almost> in time with my analog clock aboard.
I've posted here and no solution as yet.

Occurence: this <only> happens when I engage my scanner software
Epson 1670 perfection with Seiko software.
I click on the scanner icon, click "scan and save" and instantly, the hard
drive
light begins to blink incessantly with accompanying clicks of the CPU.

I've uninstalled, re installed and tried upgraded software, same result.
 
K

kim

Yep latest drivers chipset drivers ect installed.
I just checked the bios updates history and there`s no mention of anything
aluding to this "problem"
Thanks
Kim
 
R

R. McCarty

One last suggestion, on the traditional PATA controller you might
check the Device Manager entry and make sure that any taps on
it that are unused is set to None. This option is usually found on the
Advanced (TAB) of the Primary or Secondary controller.
 
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K

kim

But at least you know what`s causing it Rod.
Isn`t that normal behaviour when starting/running an app?
Kim
 
K

kim

Right I`ve look in the dev manager under the advanced tab for the
primary/secondry pata conterollers which displays, Device 0 and Device 1
with 3 fields in each section, Device Type, Transfer Mode, and Currant
Trasfer Mode. I don`t know what you mean "check the Device Manager entry and
make sure that any taps on it that are unused is set to None"
What are "taps" did you mean tabs lol.
BTW on the general tab for all the controllers it says "this device is
working properly"
Thanks
Kim
 
R

R. McCarty

On each controller, Device 0 & 1 denotes the Master/Slave devices.
If your configuration doesn't use both, then set the unused tap = None.
This prevents XP from searching/autodetecting a device on that tap.
 
J

John Corliss

Thanks Kim, that's a good idea. I'll give it a go after I look up your
post and the replies.
 
J

John Corliss

Remarks interjected below:

R. McCarty said:
Since both of you are using an AMD processor I'm assuming that you
both have the latest "Cool-&-Quiet" driver installed (?).

In my case, processor is to old to make use of this technology I believe.
Also I'd make
sure you have the latest nVidia Chipset driver installed.

Did that day before yesterday. No effect.
Finally, I would
check the BIOS firmware history chart and see if any mention is made
of a fix for the SATA controller or drive access LED.

The BIOS that came with the MB is the most current one available.

Thanks for your suggestions though.
 
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J

John Corliss

I did as you suggested, but I'm afraid it made no difference. I did
Google Usenet and found all this though:

http://tinyurl.com/29p57r

Seems a LOT of other people have run into this kind of problem.
Solutions have been spotty though.
 
U

Unknown

In control panel---power options do you have "turn off hard disks"? If so,
set it to never.
 
J

John Corliss

Thanks for replying. I set all the power settings at "Never" the day
before yesterday, didn't stop the flickering.

A little while ago, I opened "Services" in Administrative Tools and, one
by one, started turning all of them off that I could. I finally got down
to the ones I can't turn off and even THAT didn't stop the hard drive
light from flickering.

Damn... I just snatched the last hair out of my scalp. I'm bald as a
billiard now. 80)>
 
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U

Unknown

Mine does not flash so there is a difference somewhere. I'll post another
idea if I think of one.
 

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