Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums


Black screen with flashing cursor, caused by 3rd hdd?

  1. #1


    Posts : 17
    Windows 8

    Black screen with flashing cursor, caused by 3rd hdd?


    Hey everyone, I recently started having the black screen with the flashing cursor come up sometimes when I start my PC. I have narrowed it down as being my 3rd HDD (2TB WD) as the culprit, which I only use as media storage. It is not set as a boot device since windows is on my SSD and when I unplug the drive from my mobo, windows always starts up without any issue.

    Basically my question is, is this just a case of a hard drive going bad? I ran chkdsk on all 3 drives and none of them had any issues and it is not fragmented or anything that I can tell, so I don't know. I have had this setup for a while now and about a month ago it started doing this. The screen doesn't always come up however, so I have no clue what the issue is.

    Any help would be great, thanks.

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #2


    Posts : 2,191
    Windows 8.1


    Hello Hayman19,

    Well, it seems you found the problem; however, the why may be a bit more difficult. So you can start off by running some additional diagnostics on that particular hard drive, check the smart data to see if there are any spin up timeouts, and possibly swap the SATA cables (with a known good cable), and if none of those work, you could try moving the HD to a different SATA port if available. Good luck.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #3


    Sloe Deth, Californicatia
    Posts : 3,908
    Windows 8 Pro with Media Center/Windows 7


    It could be a bad SATA cable as well, or a bad power connection. If you stick the drive into an external USB box, will it do the same thing?

    I would run GWscan on it, or Seagate Seatools or WDdiag. The drive has to be mounted on the SATA bus to use those. The Windows version of WDDIAG may work with a USB drive.

    I tried adding a 3rd 1 TB drive to my system, I already have 2 Seagate drives. a third one was causing lots of problems. Sometimes it would detect all drives and boot, sometimes not. I finally just stuck it into an external case.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4. #4


    Posts : 17
    Windows 8


    Hey sorry for such a late reply, I have been kind of busy as of late. I tried removing the HDD and putting it into the external enclosure it originally came with, and left it plugged in and I get the same screen. Happens the same amount as it did when it was in the PC. I ran the Western Digital data lifeguard diagnostics, did the extended test and this is what it shows when I view the SMART data:Click image for larger version
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  5. #5


    Posts : 17
    Windows 8


    So I am still having this issue, really annoying when trying to start my PC up when it is off. Does anyone have any other suggestions?
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  6. #6


    Sloe Deth, Californicatia
    Posts : 3,908
    Windows 8 Pro with Media Center/Windows 7


    I meant, you gotta do a full drive scan, not just the SMART test. It's more accurate when you run it from Dos, the Dos version is on Hiren's Boot CD. Or you can use GWscan which is the exact same program.

    And if you have it mounted in the External, you can't run it, it has to be right on the SATA bus.

    You can try the same WD Windows Program, It should be in the same Program, "Extended Test" run that one, it will take over an hour because it's running within Windows. But I like to run Extended Test from a mounted hard drive rather than an External.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  7. #7


    Posts : 17
    Windows 8


    Well I ran the WD Extended Test after putting the HDD back into my PC. It took a few hours and said pass on SMART status and Test Result when it was completed. I checked the SMART data and it was the same as what I posted before. I am not quite sure what the DOS program on Hirens boot CD was that you wanted me to run. I found HDDScan for Windows version 3.3 but when I go to extended test it finishes instantly.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  8. #8


    Sloe Deth, Californicatia
    Posts : 3,908
    Windows 8 Pro with Media Center/Windows 7


    OK, so now we know the drive is OK

    I think when you are sticking that drive in, your boot sequence is changing. When connected internally, it is probably trying to boot off that drive. And when plugged in USB, you may have USB devices set as higher priority than your mounted HD, and its th3 same exact problem. You have to set your main OS drive to boot first.

    It's all in your BIOS, plug the drive in and make sure it is not the first drive that boots- And remove USB booting from before HD booting. So it,s First Optical Devices, second your System HDD, and third USB.

    You should also be able to choose the drive by pressing F12 at startup. ASUS systems are F8.

    Is there any way to boot your system with the drive in? I need you to make me a drive map of your mounted drives in Disk Manager.

    If you cannot do it with that drive in, do it with the drives in that work.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  9. #9


    Posts : 17
    Windows 8


    Ok so I think it was trying to boot from this drive. I had thought I disabled all drives except my SSD to boot but there was another menu(cant think of it off the top of my head) and changed that to only being able to boot from the SSD and the past 5 boots have worked flawlessly. Thank you.

    One other issue that I was hoping was related to this, is sometimes when I start windows it will freeze for about 20 seconds on the user sign in screen and at times do it after windows has loaded. It is fairly annoying. Any hint as to what that might be?

    Again thanks for the help.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  10. #10


    Sloe Deth, Californicatia
    Posts : 3,908
    Windows 8 Pro with Media Center/Windows 7


    It could be some program that is trying to load, or if you are booting with an USB HDD plugged in, that might account for it.

    After you enter your password, you should get the spinning dots for a few seconds, maybe the animation is not working.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

Black screen with flashing cursor, caused by 3rd hdd?
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