PC won't boot with external HDD attached


M

MikeM

Since I plugged in a MyBook external HDD when the computer is rebooted
it freezes at the BIOS screen. If I disconnect the external HDD and
reboot it boots ok. Is it likely to be a problem with the HDD or a
compatibility problem?
Thanks
Mike
 
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P

philo

MikeM said:
Since I plugged in a MyBook external HDD when the computer is rebooted
it freezes at the BIOS screen. If I disconnect the external HDD and
reboot it boots ok. Is it likely to be a problem with the HDD or a
compatibility problem?
Thanks
Mike

Truth is I've seen that on quite a few machines even though the machine
itself was OK
and the external drive was OK.
The solution was simply not to boot up with the device attached!
 
P

PhantomWriter

Since I plugged in a MyBook external HDD when the computer is rebooted
it freezes at the BIOS screen. If I disconnect the external HDD and
reboot it boots ok. Is it likely to be a problem with the HDD or a
compatibility problem?
Thanks
Mike
Sounds like the BIOS is looking for a bootable USB device BEFORE it
looks at a bootable harddrive. Since your USB probably doesn't have
an OS on it, it just freezes because the system doesn't know what to
do.

You can try to change the boot order in the BIOS and see if that fixes
it. In case you don't know, you can access the BIOS at boot. Look for
the prompt to get into setup. Depending on the BIOS, it's usually the
DEL key, F1, F2, or something to that extent. Move around until you
find the boot order option. Don't change anything else unless you are
familiar with how the changes effect your system.

I would suggest a boot order of Floppy first, if you have a floppy
drive, then CD ROM, then hard drive. If you don't have a Floppy
drive, move CD ROM to the top, then hard drive and if available, USB
last. If USB not available, choose something safe like CD ROM again.

If after you change the boot order and it still doesn't fix your
problem, I'd just unplug it to boot each time. You don't say what
kind of USB drive you have, but I know Firelite casuses this problem
no matter what boot order is chosen.

Hope this helps.
 
S

spike.baron

Truth is I've seen that on quite a few machines even though the machine
itself was OK
and the external drive was OK.
The solution was simply not to boot up with the device attached!
Certain older Bios' are set to boot from a USB device by default. If a
USB device is plugged in then it looks to that drive for a Boot file.
If it doesn't find one, it just hangs, instead of going to the next
boot device (i.e. HDD, CD-Rom etc) This is not an incomparability or
problem with the USB drive but just an issue with the Bios, You might
be able to change the boot preference to not boot from "Other Devices"
or "USB Device" or you could just unplug the USB cable from the
computer end when booting the computer.
 
T

trojanfoe

Sounds like the BIOS is looking for a bootableUSBdevice BEFORE it
looks at a bootable harddrive. Since yourUSBprobably doesn't have
an OS on it, it just freezes because the system doesn't know what to
do.

You can try to change thebootorder in the BIOS and see if that fixes
it. In case you don't know, you can access the BIOS atboot. Look for
the prompt to get into setup. Depending on the BIOS, it's usually the
DEL key, F1, F2, or something to that extent. Move around until you
find thebootorder option. Don't change anything else unless you are
familiar with how the changes effect your system.

I would suggest abootorder of Floppy first, if you have a floppydrive, then CD ROM, then harddrive. If you don't have a Floppydrive, move CD ROM to the top, then harddriveand if available,USB
last. IfUSBnot available, choose something safe like CD ROM again.

If after you change thebootorder and it still doesn't fix your
problem, I'd just unplug it tobooteach time. You don't say what
kind ofUSBdriveyou have, but I know Firelite casuses this problem
no matter whatbootorder is chosen.

Hope this helps.
I have the same problem with an external usb hard disk attached as the
OP. I am in the process of repartitioning it for reiserfs (linux) -
is there any value is making a very small primary partition on the
external hard disk and formatting it as FAT and leaving it empty?
Will that solve the problem or make it worse?

I really want to leave the drive attached all the time as I often
access the machine remotely, rebuild kernels, and reboot so I'm not
normally there to remove the drive. Not the end of the world, I know,
but I do like the kit I own to do whatever I want it to do =)

Cheers,
Andy
 
T

trojanfoe

I have the same problem with an external usb hard disk attached as the
OP. I am in the process of repartitioning it for reiserfs (linux) -
is there any value is making a very small primary partition on the
external hard disk and formatting it as FAT and leaving it empty?
Will that solve the problem or make it worse?

I really want to leave the drive attached all the time as I often
access the machine remotely, rebuild kernels, and reboot so I'm not
normally there to remove the drive. Not the end of the world, I know,
but I do like the kit I own to do whatever I want it to do =)

Cheers,
Andy- Hide quoted text -

- Show quoted text -
Just to answer my own question; yes it works. I was unable to
convince the BIOS to not look at the USB drive so I changed the first
partition on the USB drive from a ext3 filesystem to a vfat filesystem
and left it empty. The PC now boots with the USB drive connected.
Much joy =)

Andy
 
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J

jameshanley39

Certain older Bios' are set to boot from a USB device by default. If a
USB device is plugged in then it looks to that drive for a Boot file.
If it doesn't find one, it just hangs, instead of going to the next
boot device (i.e. HDD, CD-Rom etc) This is not an incomparability or
problem with the USB drive but just an issue with the Bios, You might
be able to change the boot preference to not boot from "Other Devices"
or "USB Device" or you could just unplug the USB cable from the
computer end when booting the computer.
holy mackeral, that might explain it!

I have seen a number of machines " crash " at the BIOS when any USB
device is plugged in. (prob USB mouse and keyb too. I saw it with a
printer and with a scanner)

But it didn`t give the error that it cannot find a bootable device. It
just crashed at the BIOS.

So maybe that does not explain it.
 

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