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glnz
2 Iron

BIOS enable SATA2 Drive makes boot error if no actual HDD in SATA2 socket - Optiplex 780 Win 7

Today, in my Optiplex 780 Desktop with Win 7 Pro 64-bit and 8GB RAM, I cloned my hard drive from old drive to new drive.  To do that, I went into BIOS (which is the A14 version), went to Drives, enabled SATA2, and plugged the new empty hard drive into the SATA2 socket on the motherboard.  The original drive has always been in the SATA0 socket, and the CD-DVD has always been in the SATA1 socket.

The clone went well (using Macrium Reflect Free in a USB stick).  When I took out the old drive and connected the new cloned drive to the original SATA0 socket, the Optiplex gave me errors on the reboot.  It said it was missing a drive in SATA2 and did i want to Continue, go into System or run Diagnostics.  After a few reboots with that error, I went back into BIOS - Drives and disabled SATA2.  Then reboot went very well without errors, a few times.  All good.

However, those errors aren't right.  I should be able to enable SATA2 in BIOS and not get errors just because no actual drive is plugged into the SATA2 socket on the motherboard.  (That's how it works in a different Dell Optiplex 3010 I have).

So what's going on?  Why am I getting this error?

Thanks.

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7 Replies

RE: BIOS enable SATA2 Drive makes boot error if no actual HDD in SATA2 socket - Optiplex 780 Win 7

Greetings,

Thank you for reaching us here. Sorry to know that you're facing issues with the system. I request you to share pictures of the error that you get, while SATA 2 is enabled under BIOS.

Also, please share the system service tag, registered owner's name and email via private message, so that I will review the details and assist you further. 

You could send a private message by hovering the mouse cursor on my username and by adding me as a friend.

Dell-Mohan G
Social Media and Community Professional
#IWork4Dell
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glnz
2 Iron

RE: BIOS enable SATA2 Drive makes boot error if no actual HDD in SATA2 socket - Optiplex 780 Win 7

Mohan - thanks for your concern.  It's a nice old Optiplex 780 DT that I bought used on eBay exactly three years ago.

The error message was white letters on a black screen before successful bootup,so there was no way to take a screen shot.  But I have described what it said very nicely.

I enabled SATA2 in BIOS so that I could plug my new empty hard drive into the SATA2 socket on the motherboard to clone the old HD to the new, using Macrium Reflect Free on a USB stick.  While the new HD was plugged in, reboots were fine.  After the clone, when I unplugged the new HD from SATA2 and plugged it into SATA0, reboots snagged as I've described.

When I got those errors the first two times, I elected Continue (which I think was F1), and the machine rebooted.  Then, I went back into the BIOS to disable SATA2 in the Drives category.  After that, there has been no trouble rebooting.

Please provide some assistance here for the benefit of all.  You'll probably have to confer with your BIOS-expert colleagues.

Thanks.

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RoHe
6 Thallium

RE: BIOS enable SATA2 Drive makes boot error if no actual HDD in SATA2 socket - Optiplex 780 Win 7

Most old(er) systems give an error at boot if a SATA port is enabled in BIOS but no physical drive is connected to that port on the motherboard.

There's no way around that without a new version of BIOS, and that's not likely to happen for such an old system...

But why would you want to leave SATA2 enabled after you removed the drive? That makes no sense - to me.

Ron

   Forum Member since 2004
   I am not a Dell employee

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glnz
2 Iron

RE: BIOS enable SATA2 Drive makes boot error if no actual HDD in SATA2 socket - Optiplex 780 Win 7

RoHe - Long time since I've posted here, so nice to see you're still the Rockstar!

1)  I think you've answered the question: per your post, what I see is normal in an older machine like an Opti 780 and not a fault.  And it may well be different in a newer machine, such as my 3010.  Good!  (But please confirm.) 

2)  Now - here's why I may turn SATA2 on again (in BIOS - Drives):  I might install a second new drive (to be plugged into SATA2) and buy a fuller version of Macrium Reflect to have it make automatic backups of the C:\ drive in SATA0 to the second drive in SATA2, on a set schedule.  What do you think, and is there a forum thread here that will lay out the dos and don'ts?

3)  One thing I noticed yesterday is that the physical space for a second drive in an Opti 780 Desktop is very tight. The space is designed to hold a removable floppy-disk reader unit, and not really another 3.5" HD.  In fact, when I did the clone, the new drive was a few millimeters too long in that space and the screws on its sides could not really lock in to the slots in the chassis portion that holds the main hard drive below, this space and the CD-DVD above.

So I wonder whether I should choose a 2.5" laptop drive and put it in the right small caddy to sit properly locked in that space.  Do you know of any such caddies that work well in this particular space?

Also, will there be too much heat with the three devices packed into that space almost like stacked rectangular sardine cans?

Rosewill makes a 2.5" - 3.5" caddy with its own built-in fan.  Do you think that's a way to go?

4)  Finally, I noticed yesterday - for the first time ever - that when the Opti 780 first boots, there are yellow number lights under the front USB sockets that light up in a sequence, and these number lights are only for numbers 1, 2, 3 and 4 (from left to right).  I never noticed that before.  Is there a guide to what they mean?  Could they be secret alien transmissions with the designs for an FTL spaceship?

[So, I'm asking four questions here - maybe that's what the lights mean?]

Thanks again, RoHe !!

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RoHe
6 Thallium

RE: BIOS enable SATA2 Drive makes boot error if no actual HDD in SATA2 socket - Optiplex 780 Win 7

 And it may well be different in a newer machine, such as my 3010.  Good!  (But please confirm.) 

Don't know, but I guess it's possible...

I might install a second new drive (to be plugged into SATA2)

Manual says: NOTE: Your computer can support up to two 2.5 inch hard drives with brackets.

Would a USB HDD be another option?

physical space for a second drive in an Opti 780 Desktop is very tight.

See above...

these number lights are only for numbers 1, 2, 3 and 4

The manual says: Your computer has four lights labeled 1, 2, 3, and 4 on the bank panel. When the computer starts normally, the lights flash before turning off. If the computer malfunctions, the sequence of the lights help to identify the problem.

Keep in mind the sequences that flash aren't important. Only the "final" sequence matters. If the PC boots normally all 4 LEDS will be off. If there's a problem, look up the error codes in the manual.

Ron

   Forum Member since 2004
   I am not a Dell employee

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glnz
2 Iron

RE: BIOS enable SATA2 Drive makes boot error if no actual HDD in SATA2 socket - Optiplex 780 Win 7

RoHe --

I had missed that "Note" about two 2.5" drives before I bought my new 3.5" replacement drive yesterday.  (It's also not clear which of the forms factors it points to.)

However, I had looked carefully at the pictures in the manual for Removing the Primary and Secondary Hard Drives from a Desktop model, and those pictures show 3.5" drives!

I don't want to use an external USB drive for automatic backups because USB2 is too slow and cable could come undone too easily.

Anyway, has anyone had success with a second 3.5" hard drive in an Opti 780 Desktop?  Somehow you can lock it in place?  Not too hot?

Thanks.

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RoHe
6 Thallium

RE: BIOS enable SATA2 Drive makes boot error if no actual HDD in SATA2 socket - Optiplex 780 Win 7

You could install a USB3 PCI-e card in the PC and use a USB3 external drive. I back up my files to an external USB HDD that's connected to a port on the back of my PC. I've never had the USB cable "come undone".

You'll have to wait to see if anybody replies about using two 3.5" HDD in the 780.  And/or search these forums...

Ron

   Forum Member since 2004
   I am not a Dell employee

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