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Hard drive disappearing for no reason? Reward $210
Created by MrOwnage, 108 days ago, 509 views

Hello everyone!

Today I ran into a very strange problem. I was just doing the usual, playing games and such then the computer got a little slow and my D hard drive disappeared for no reason! I tried checking online what could have caused it but I didn't find anything that might help me with this.

The hard drive DOES reappear after a restart, but only for a short while : if I try defragging or deleting things from it it will disappear again after a short while.

If it helps, some kind of GDI + Window sometimes "prevents" my restarts/shutdowns.

It only happens with the D: drive, a Toshiba 500 GB hard drive. It doesn't show up neither in Device Manager or Disk Management either after disappearing, but does before.

I can still see it on My Computer menu but with a question mark and is inaccessible. Malwarebytes scan found nothing. Any ideas?
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√ Best Answer

1

ha14107 days ago

@MrOwnage


it can be connectivity problem, yesn chnage cables get new one, if you can access the hard drive easiily then your drive is okay...or if you have other ports available plg your cable there.

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2

socheat108 days ago

it is virus scammer , so you need to clean virus on your driver.

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3

ha14108 days ago

@MrOwnage


Toshiba Utilities and Diagnostic Tools
http://support.toshiba.com/support/viewContentDetail?contentId=4009373

is this drive D where windows installed??

maybe the driver is corrupted, try to reinstall or download a new one.
http://www.toshiba.eu/support/drivers/

you can try to make chdsk on that drive but it can be a little dangerous if it will try to recover files....

which windows version you have

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4

MrOwnage107 days ago

@ha14 UPDATE : Forget everything I've written here. I searched BIOS settings and moved the computer left a bit and suddenly both BIOS recognized the SSD again and I was able to boot in successfully... Weird.

Thanks for the link btw, will check it out.

I can't seem to find a way to actually download that diagnostics tool. It didn't come pre-installed in my computer and the link you gave me is only about it's use. Or did I miss something?
Will try running a chkdsk, that helped me a lot previously. Also will run sfc/scannow.

Sfc/scannow found no integrity violations.

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5

MrOwnage107 days ago

@socheat
I am pretty sure it's no virus. I ran both Malwarebytes and after that a full scan with Windows Defender (it might not be the best but it may do the trick) and no results came up with either of them.

I am almost sure it's something with the drive or the cables : I can't defrag the drive whatsoever neither through command prompt or Drive Optimize by riight clicking it then going to Tools menu and doing the defrag from there. So it's probably something with the drive.

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6

MrOwnage107 days ago

Currently running HD Tune. I am doing a benchmark and will update with the results. Health status is read as Ok for both the SSD and the HDD so far.

Okay, got benchmark results. Here they are :

Ran error scan as well and no bad sectors (according to HD Tune) whatsoever, so.... maybe it was the cable or misalignment all along?

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7

ha14107 days ago

@MrOwnage

If this utility or feature is not installed on your computer, you can verify if it is available for your specific model under "Downloads" on the TOSHIBA support web site (support.toshiba.com). Not all utilities are available for every model and operating system. When installing any utilities, install the TOSHIBA Value Added Package first.
http://support.toshiba.com/

it could be cable problem

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8

MrOwnage107 days ago

@ha14 D drive optimizing still doesn't work as it should as it's still pretty slow.

I tried searching for my hard drive (Device Manager reads DT01ACA50) utilities but can't find it still.

I did find a weird process , dllhost.exe in my Task Manager, reading it's a COM Surrogate process. Reading about it online it could be a virus but I scanned the file both with Malwarebytes and Windows Defender, and also VirusTotal for good measure and they all reported that it's harmless.

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9

ha14107 days ago

@MrOwnage

well

check ESET sysinspector, It gives you better view about running files
https://www.eset.com/int/support/sysinspector/#download

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10

MrOwnage107 days ago

@ha14
I tried to update with Windows Update, do Maintenance and defrag the drive again. However the defrag was still incredibly slow and when I did a reboot I got a disk read error again. I lightly "smacked" the computer and I could boot successfully once more.

I think this slowdown/ disk read error issue is because of the dust or something came loose perhaps? I also hear clattering sounds which are likely from the HDD as well, which is either that the drive is failing (I highly am against this as HD Tune reported back with very good results) or that it's also loose (had a rough ride after transport in car). My tray icons also randomly flash as well and there's a wsappx process "eating" up memory...

The ESET tool you sent me somehow marks skypehost.exe as risky... Why? Also the flashing tray icon issue still exists after closing it.

Sometimes the clattering sound stops before coming back again.

Didn't add it yet, but I can still play games properly on the D drive. It's just disk optimize and moving/deleting files feel really slow and sluggish and I don't think that's normal.

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11

Aravi107 days ago

Hi @MrOwnage

1) dllhost.exe is a micorsoft system file. It is COM+ hosting process controls processes.

http://www.neuber.com/taskmanager/process/dllhost.exe.html

2) It is a issue arise when operating system fails to find the portion of hardware. Follow the below article.

http://windowsreport.com/second-hard-drive-not-detected-windows-10/

3) skypehost.exe is skype system file. If you have suspect of virus, Remove via ESET and reinstall skype. The valid reason is hacker target Microsoft tool to inject malware. It could be corrupted file too or false alert.

Regards,

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12

ha14107 days ago

@MrOwnage

Close / Kill / Turn Off SkypeHost.exe
https://community.skype.com/t5/Preview-on-Windows-10/Close-Kill-Turn-Off-SkypeHost-exe/td-p/4298432
it cant be responsible for your hardware problem
SkypeHost.exe is not used by Skype desktop version, but the new Messaging and Skype Video apps.
https://www.thurrott.com/windows/windows-10/6950/new-skype-messaging-apps-now-available-for-windows-10
if you uninstall Skype Video it will delete SkypeHost.exe
How to Uninstall Desktop Apps and Windows Apps in Windows 10
https://www.tenforums.com/tutorials/4689-apps-uninstall-windows-10-a.html


crystal Disk Info
http://crystalmark.info/software/CrystalDiskInfo/index-e.html

The Windows Store service (WSService) is started on demand and if disabled applications from Windows Store will not behave correctly.. you cannot disable it through Windows Services control panel and the only option that is available is to start or stop the service.

try to run System Maintenance and see if it will help

Automatically diagnose and repair Windows file and folder problems
https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/17590/automatically-diagnose-and-repair-windows-file-and-folder-problems

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13

MrOwnage107 days ago

@Aravi @ha14 Thanks for both of your replies! About what Aravi said :

I looked after that dllhost.exe file and thus I do know that it's a Windows file but I found it strange that sometimes there were three of them running at the same time and they were randomly shutting themselves down as well. I scanned with Malwarebytes, Windows Defender and then with Virustotal. Neither of them saw it as virus.

I was able to fix the letter and path issue with the drive and it's not disappearing anymore either so that part is OK!

I don't suspect skypehost.exe as a virus but that ESET tool marked it as a risky file, that was what I found weird.

As for ha14's reply : I tried running System Maintenance but the only change I noticed so far is that the GDI + Window executable doesn't stop my shutdowns/restarts anymore.

What I am trying to do now is using MyDefrag to do the defragmentation instead of Win 10's built-in one. It really is a through program and shows that the drive is in fact quite fragmented! However I don't think how much of a help will this be as it doesn't really seem to do anything other than reading the files as unmovable (I store games on the HDD).

I ran the tool you sent to use (ha14) and it read that the Recycle Bin is damaged : fixed? The Recycle Bin can actually be damaged? Didn't know that. Will see how it all turns out from now.

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14

ha14107 days ago

@MrOwnage


yeah recycle bin can be damaged i get that message also...
Turn off hibernation to see what will happen with files as unmovable (Windows defragger cannot move some types of system files including the hiberfil.sys; page files... )

Boot Time Defrag (MAybe to consider this defrag)
https://www.piriform.com/docs/defraggler/technical-information/boot-time-defrag
complete offline defrag during the boot process with full OS support
Settings > Options > Defrag tab > Check run boot-time defrag of system files

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15

MrOwnage107 days ago

@ha14

Good to know that recycle bin damage actually happens.
Boot time is normal, it was the disk speed and the speed of deleting things that were annoying me. Also sometimes programs hanging for a few seconds before going back to normal, mainly Firefox.

Will check some things after MyDefrag finishes the defragging/optimizing and I will restart too to see if I get disk read error again.

It's actually the games' files which are marked as unmovable by MyDefrag. Anything to say about this?

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16

ha14107 days ago

@MrOwnage

maybe because your game files are already physically arranged for quicker access or marked read only otherwise defragging them would violate the read only request!

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17

MrOwnage107 days ago

@Aravi @ha14
I think I got the problem nailed down. It's probably loose parts/cables. At first the computer refused to boot and got me boot error. BIOS didn't detect the HDD either. Now I moved computer around a bit and it booted fast again and I accessed HDD with no problem... Any thoughts? I am not a hundred percent sure about it as shutdown was a little bit slower than expected though.

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18

MrOwnage107 days ago

@ha14 @Aravi
Yes, I can access the hard drive now without problems, it shouldn't be HDD failure either as HD Tune reported back perfect results. I also have a weird symptom where (totally randomly) Explorer (windows explorer) totally freezes and I can't do anything whatsoever, not even closing open "apps" as even Task Manager freezes, only hard reboot works... but I did NOT get disk read error or anything afterward.

Thoughts?

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19

ha14107 days ago

@MrOwnage

open event vieiwer and check the error number it can help to see what is going on,

you can also do How to Repair Windows 10 Image using DISM
https://www.tenforums.com/tutorials/7808-dism-repair-windows-10-image.html

1) Open Control Panel
2) File Explorer Options
3) change Open File Explorer to: This PC (from quick access.)

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20

Aravi107 days ago

Hi

http://superuser.com/questions/980281/how-to-fix-windows-10-explorer-exe-not-responding

You should delete register entries of third party program files under

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Image File Execution.options

And run sfc/scannow

I too had same issue 2 years back with windows 7

But make sure you have backed up register before that in case of accidental deletion.

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21

MrOwnage106 days ago

@Aravi @ha14
Thanks for the replies. I ran sfc /scannow yesterday and it said : "Windows did not find any integrity violations."
Will run it again just to be sure though, and check out the registry section.

Alright, I checked the registry. I indeed found the entry Aravi mentioned but I have a default REG_SZ and a DisableExpectionChainValidation REG_DWORD entry (my Win 10 is Hungarian). Which one should I delete?

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22

MrOwnage106 days ago

@Aravi @ha14
I don't know if it's connected to the issue but I seem to have some kind of WSHelper program on my computer. I don't remember ever installing it, so it's likely an undercover infection perhaps? I can't access it's path either even if hidden folders are on (it is in Program Files/Common Files/Wondershare but the wondershare folder cannot be accessed in Explorer) so maybe that is the program causing instabilities? I also detected some registry entries of it but I am not sure what to remove.

Advice?

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23

ha14106 days ago

@MrOwnage

well it can be youtube downloader...
http://superuser.com/questions/800294/how-do-i-completely-remove-wondershare-allmytube-from-windows-using-farbar-reco

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24

Aravi106 days ago

Hi @MrOwnage

It should be the entire of all third party application (Except antivirus and Microsoft tools). Third party application marks to any software that is not from Microsoft. This includes google update, flash, acrobat reader etc.

The major reason for this problem is application merges with explorer.exe and makes explorer bulk to open. This is why your explorer crashes.

After removing these resources, you need to repair the register by running sfc /scannow.

If any third party application not working, you can simply reinstall it.

Regards,

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25

Aravi106 days ago

Only delete the known names because it also includes Microsoft files. If any problem give me a snapshot.

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26

MrOwnage106 days ago

@Aravi @ha14
Alright, I managed to remove the registry entries (almost all of them, dll files still remain of it) but that folder is still invisible and I don't know how to delete it. I am sure it was the reason of the freezing, if we can remove it the issue is likely resolved!

Upon reboot I got a THREAD_STUCK_IN_DEVICE_DRIVER BSoD again. Otherwise the comp is running pretty good again. I haven't been able to successfully resolve this error however. Does it only occur to CPU/GPU or other hardware too?

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27

Aravi106 days ago

Hi @MrOwnage

Kindly start your computer in safe mode. It will give you full access to any file.

Unhide system protected files and hidden folder. You should be able to see and delete that folder.

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28

Aravi106 days ago

For safe mode:

http://www.tomshardware.com/faq/id-2569556/safe-mode-windows.html

To unhide folder:

http://www.isunshare.com/windows-10/show-hidden-files-and-folders-in-windows-10.html

To take ownership of viral file:

http://winaero.com/blog/how-to-take-ownership-and-get-full-access-to-files-and-folders-in-windows-10/

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29

MrOwnage106 days ago

@Aravi @ha14 Just when I was thinking the issue stopped... the drive disappeared yet again when I was trying to make a video on it. Does the drive disappear upon heavier load or... I don't know now and can't understand either. Once again the drive is acting weird, only can be seen in quick access without a name and marked as a question mark. Hopefully a restart will fix it, but what could cause this in the first place?

Checked safe mode but the folder wasn't there. Probably deleting ALL of it's registry entries did the trick because even search can't find it now. However that is the problem as it wasn't actually the culprit, even more so because I tried to use Filmora quite a bit earlier and those files were on the computer for a long time yet the issue only started yesterday.

What else could be causing this? (Also like I suspected the drive did reappear on restart but still no idea what is making it disappear)

I have read that something called PUIS might be a cause of this, can it be seen in BIOS or disabled? https://www.mzzt.net/2014/11/25/the-case-of-the-disappearing-hard-drives/

Also most of the sites that I read often point to this being a bad SATA cable.... So tomorrow I'll try to open up the case and attach the drive to a different SATA port, hopefully it'll help.

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30

ha14106 days ago

@MrOwnage


My Drive does not appear in Windows Explorer view
The drive may be disabled or offline ( switch the power options to default)
perhaps something to do with SATA power management
https://www.sata-io.org/power-management
https://support.g-technology.com/KnowledgeBase/answer.aspx?ID=958

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31

MrOwnage106 days ago

@Aravi @ha14 I edited my previous reply a bit. It could be also that the HDD is failing perhaps? I think of this because Win 10 Disk Optimize is still struggling to defrag it (in fact it goes up 1% percent every 5-10 mins or so) but HD Tune showed perfect results. Nevertheless I'll check the cables, hopefully that will solve the problem.

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32

ha14106 days ago

@MrOwnage

Well my brother in law had a vista with this kind of defrag problem (very slow)!!! but you have wiindows 10 (not vista), why not to try defrag at boot???
Boot Time Defrag (MAybe to consider this defrag)
https://www.piriform.com/docs/defraggler/technical-information/boot-time-defrag
complete offline defrag during the boot process with full OS support
Settings > Options > Defrag tab > Check run boot-time defrag of system files

before that contact their support and ask if you can terminate defrag easily without problems!!!

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33

MrOwnage106 days ago

@ha14 @Aravi Yeah, that boot defrag seems like a good idea.However, now I am really out of ideas about this problem as the drive, yet once again, disappeared when trying to defrag with Disk Optimize (win 10 feature). I'll write it again that I CAN see the drive in Quick Access, and it still HAS got the drive letter but neither the drive's name, it's properties (like remaining free space) and I can't open it. It cannot be seen in Device Manager either until next restart.

It may be also that it just simply disconnects for some reason. Should I try mapping the drive to see if that "brings it back"?

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34

ha14106 days ago

@MrOwnage

why do you want to map it (is it network)?? change the letter of the hard dirve !!! if it disconnects boot to BIOS and check if the Status Is offline. Dod you tru to install a new driver?

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35

MrOwnage105 days ago

@ha14
I did not try a driver install because I cant find driver good for my model. Also didnt know that HDDs had drivers too.

Cant change HDD letter otherwise all appa will stop functioning.

When it disconnects it is gone from the BIOS and cant be seen in device browser either.

Sorry about mapping, I thought that is just simply reconnecting the drive.

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36

MrOwnage105 days ago

@Aravi @ha14
Okay, time to narrow down the problem a bit. From my observations, the HDD disappears, if :
- I try to defrag it, it disappears in a few mins after starting the process
- Running games, it will eventually disappear randomly but in this case it's very rare, it also takes a LONG time.
- Downloading something to it, in this case it will also disappear after a short while

It will NOT disappear if I leave it idle. So? What do you suspect?

In all of those cases it can be still seen in Quick Access, marked with a question mark without the name (Local Disk) but it still has it's letter (D:),I just can't open it or any apps which are on the D drive. It also comes back after restart.

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37

ha14105 days ago

@MrOwnage


how about to plug your HDD to another pc and see if it will be recognized.
try to boot on live cd, browse the net and see if your HDD will disappear

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38

MrOwnage105 days ago

@ha14
I have no problem booting in (windows is on C drive which is an SSD) and I can browse the net etc... normally. It's just the HDD I am having problems with.

I don't have too much experience "digging inside" computers but I'll try to check inside if it's the cable and reseat the drive.

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39

MrOwnage105 days ago

Well, I reseated the cables but after just trying Disk Optimize it was very slow again. I suspected the same problem will happen once more so I simply went ahead to do a defrag with MyDefrag instead. The drive did not disappear yet but I will post more info as it comes.

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40

ha14105 days ago

@MrOwnage

what I meant if you boot on live cd do you see any problems with your hard drive disappearing, you can do some copy paste files to it!

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41

MrOwnage105 days ago

@ha14 @Aravi
UPDATE : YES! The issue has been finally resolved! I am thinking it was the cables as they were a little loose, I reseated them, ran MyDefrag then ran Disk Optimize and it finished, it's also fast now and I am able to start Steam downloads without the hard drive disappearing anymore!

Once more, thanks for both of your assistance. I was thinking for a while it was an infection or that Wondershare program when it was likely the cable all along!
Again, both of you helped a lot, but ha14 responded earlier and more often so this time I am picking his/her answer as best answer, if that's okay with you. I'll mark the answer mentioning cables so if others have the same problem they can try it if it helps!

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42

ha14105 days ago

@MrOwnage

Great the problem is solved easily. thanks for choosing me the best answer.

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43

Aravi105 days ago

Great, glad the issue is solved.

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