Laptop doesn't see the internal hard drive after I reseated it.


New Member
Hi all.

I'm trying to diagnose a friend's old laptop but I've managed to stop it working entirely. I'm hoping someone here can advise.

It's a Toshiba Satellite Pro C50, circa 2013, running Win 8.1. System BIOS v1.20 and/or InsydeH20 Setup Utility Rev. 3.7 (that's what's written at the top of the BIOS page).

A couple of weeks ago it started running extremely slowly (very long startup and shutdown, slow to open apps or save files) and started failing to read USB sticks, or at least taking ages to register when they were inserted and failing to eject them when requested. I haven't yet had a chance to check the installed software or run malware scans, but it is running a paid-for version of McAfee.

I tried booting from one of my diagnostic USB sticks but even after I'd set USB as the primary boot method in the BIOS, it still skipped past them, so I decided to swap the hard drive for one of my spares while I diagnosed the problem. However, once I plugged in my spare drive, the system failed to see it. I put the original drive back in and the laptop failed to see it too. I briefly connected the original drive to my own desktop to confirm that I hadn't managed to kill it (I hadn't: I can still read the contents, subject to the usual Windows permissions) and tested it again in the laptop with no success. I then disabled SecureBoot in the BIOS, stuck my spare drive in again, and the drive was detected as expected. As a test, I installed Win10 on my spare drive (I had to disable SecureBoot in order to boot from my USB stick with the Win10 .iso on it) and tested all the USB ports, and everything was fine.

Full disclosure: I don't recall for certain whether I connected the original drive to my desktop immediately after pulling it out of the laptop the first time, or whether I'd stuck it back into the laptop first. However, I suspect that I'd connected it to the desktop before the first time I got the "no bootable device" message, as it's the only thing that I think can have changed anything.

However, I still can't get the laptop to detect the original drive, either with SecureBoot enabled or disabled. I figure that the act of connecting the drive to my desktop must have changed something about it that SecureBoot or something else in the laptop's BIOS doesn't like, but I don't know enough to figure it out on my own.

When I boot the laptop, a message "checking media [Fail]" appears, then "checking media" again, then "No bootable device -- Please restart system". Restarting makes no difference.

Looking in the BIOS at the boot priority page, the "HDD/SSD" entry is completely blank with the original disk in place. With my spare disk installed, the drive is recognised in the BIOS whether or not SecureBoot is enabled (if I recall correctly, I had it disabled when I did the Win10 installation) and the laptop boots successfully either way.

Can anyone tell me what I did to cause this problem and, hopefully, what I can do to fix it?

If I can get the laptop to recognise the drive again, I intend to attempt an in-place repair using the Win8 troubleshooter, or failing that a repair from a Win 8.1 .iso on a USB stick. The owner doesn't have the original rescue CDs, if they were actually included in the box. I'm going to clone the original drive first so I should at least have a backup of the data.

Thanks in advance.

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 8.1
    Computer type
    System Manufacturer/Model
    Toshiba Satellite Pro C50-A-1E1
First thought....have you checked the CMOS battery in the laptop? If you can, check it with a Digital volt meter (multimeter) and the voltage on the little CMOS battery must be 3.0 volts Minimum. If below that, then change the battery before you do anything else.

That little CR2032 battery is not often checked or replaced because it's generally under the keyboard or some other hard to get to place.

Good Luck,
TM :cool:

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Computer type
    System Manufacturer/Model
    Acer X-1200
    AMD 2 Core
    Crucial, 4GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    NVIDEA GeForce 9200
    Sound Card
    On Board
    Monitor(s) Displays
    24" Acer
    Hard Drives
    Sandisk, SSD 500GB
    SFF Slimline
    emachines 101 key
    Logitech Wireless
    Internet Speed
    5 Meg
    Windows Defender
    Other Info
    Using Classic Shell on Win-8.1 /pro/64
Thanks for the suggestion, but I've done all I'm going to do with the machine now and handed it back. I rebuilt it using a spare hard drive: while I had to turn SecureBoot off to get the laptop to see the spare drive, it couldn't see the original drive with or without SecureBoot, though it could see it perfectly when I attached it using a USB adaptor.

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 8.1
    Computer type
    System Manufacturer/Model
    Toshiba Satellite Pro C50-A-1E1