Recently, I upgraded my desktop computer by adding a new hard drive — a Seagate 4 TB internal drive — to give me lots of storage space for backup of my main drives, as well as temporary storage of video files recorded by Windows Media Center.
Everything went well for a while. My desktop is using Windows 7 Professional 64-bit. Without any special software, Windows 7 recognizes the 4TB drive and can handle it as a data drive or a boot drive.
However, after a couple days, I got a Windows Media Center error that it could not record because there was no storage space available.
I checked the WMC configuration to make sure the drive was set up — it was, but WMC reported that there was 0 GB available. I opened Windows Explorer and got a shock — the new drive was no longer shown in Windows Explorer.
I rebooted. No luck. So I did a shutdown of the computer. When I restarted the computer, all was well. My 4 TB drive was available as K: just as I wanted it to be.
That lasted about 2 days.
I used Device Manager to "remove" the device. Windows, of course, found it on the next boot and reconnected the Windows built-in driver. All was well for a couple days.
After a few more episodes like this, the drive was vanishing every night, or even every 8 to 12 hours. I was seriously starting to worry that either the drive was bad or the motherboard had issues.
I downloaded the Seagate diagnostics software, but it didn’t find anything wrong. I did some Google searching again, and this time I hit the right combination of words to find a hint.
I found a post one a web forum that said that a particular motherboard model had a problem with one of the SATA interfaces. The motherboard had some SATA connections that were using an Intel chipset and another set that used a chipset from a different manufacturer.
Why would they use a chipset from a different manufacturer? In order to add more SATA3 connectors than were provided by the Intel chipset, which only provided 2 SATA3 (6 Gigabits/second) connectors. My adding two Marvell 88SE9172 chips, Gigabyte was able to add another 3 internal SATA 6Gb/s connectors plus 1 eSATA 6Gb/s to the motherboard.
I have a Gigabyte GA-Z77Z-UD5H motherboard, which isn’t the same model they were writing about, but I decided that this "fix" was easy and worth a try…especially since I had just tried to watch a recorded TV show and the drive vanished after about 10 minutes!
I had originally installed my new Seagate 4TB hard drive into the #7 SATA3 6Gb/s, which is the top right in the image, and is the closest pair to the middle of the motherboard.
My fix was to move the drive from the Marvel #7 connector to the Intel #1 connector. Intel #0 has my C: solid-state drive.
That solved the problem. The problem has not recurred.
I previously had a 2TB drive connected to the Marvel #6 connector without any problems. Apparently this issue only happened because of the size of the drive.
Longtime readers will recall that I use SageTV on my home theater PC, so what am I doing messing with the much less friendly Windows Media Center? SageTV was purchased by Google, which could have been a great change for the better. Unfortunately, SageTV went off the market and is no longer updated or available for sale.
There are still a large number of people still using it. There is also significant third-party development of add-on software, including an add-on enabling SageTV to handle digital signals. Unfortunately, it can’t handle the encrypted signals. This means it won’t record the premium channels like Showtime and HBO. It also can not handle the "Copy Once" digital rights management that is used on some channels like BBC America and the SyFy channel.
So, my home theater PC does both SageTV and Windows Media Center. I added a 4TB drive to it, too, since the standard HD recording takes is 8 GB per hour recorded. It gives me recording space as well as a "remote" storage location for backing up other computers across my home network.
As I wrote in High-Definition TV Direct to My PC, my HDHomeRun PRIME adds three high-definition tuners to my computer network. Any computer on my network can either run the included software for non-encrypted shows or run Windows Media Center to watch and/or record shows.