More on HDD2 boot problems with my Crucial M4-mSATA

I have been battling my Crucial M4-mSATA 256Gb SDD for a while now. The drive seems OK most of the time, but if for any reason my PC crashes (i.e. a blue screen, which I have found is luckily rare on Windows8) the PC will not start-up giving a ‘HDD2 cannot be found’ error during POST.

I had not had this problem for a few months, so though it was fixed, then BANG yesterday Windows crashed out the blue (I was writing a document in Word whilst listening to music, not exactly a huge load for Core i7) and I hit the start-up problem. Of course I had been working on the document all afternoon and was relying on auto-save, not doing a real Ctrl S save to a remote network drive, so I expected to have lost everything.

A few attempts at a reboot, using tricks that worked in the past got me nowhere. After a bit more digging in forums I found this new process suggested as a ‘fix’ from Crucial

  1. Plug the system into the mains, then start the system you will get the disk not found error, go into the BIOS settings
  2. Leave the PC running, but doing nothing for 20 minutes. As you are in BIOS there will be no activity for the SDD, this gives it a chance to do a self test and sort itself out.
  3. Switch off the system, unplug from the mains and pull the battery out for 30 seconds
  4. Plug the system back in and it hopefully it will restart without error
  5. If not repeat step 1 – 4 until you have had enough.

Well this process got me going, and it does sort of fit with the procedures I had tried before, they all gave the SDD time to self test after a crash. However, I really needed a better fix, this is my main PC it needs to be reliable. So I checked to see if there was any new firmware releases from Crucial, and it seems there is. I had 04MF and now there is 04MH. Version 04MH includes the following changes:

  • Improved robustness in the event of an unexpected power loss. Significantly reduces the incidence of long reboot times after an unexpected power loss.
  • Corrected minor status reporting error during SMART Drive Self Test execution (does not affect SMART attribute data).
  • Streamlined firmware update command for smoother operation in Windows 8.
  • Improved wear leveling algorithms to improve data throughput when foreground wear leveling is required.

So well worth a try it would seem. Only issue is my SSD is bitlockered, was this going to be a problem? It takes ages to remove it and reapply it.

Well I thought I would risk the update without changing bitblocker (as I had now got the important data off the SDD). So I

  1. Downloaded the Windows 8 firmware tool and current release from Crucial.
  2. Ran it, it warned about backups, and BIOS encryption (which had me a bit worried, but what the hell!)
  3. Accepted the license
  4. Selected my SDD and told it to upgrade
  5. And waited……..
  6. And waited…….., the issue is the tool does not really give you much indication you actually hit the update button, and disk activity is also very patchy. Basically the PC looks to have hung.
  7. However, after about 5 minutes the application came back, tried to run again as I had pressed update twice and promptly crashed. However, it had done the upgrade.
  8. I re-ran the tool and it told me the drive was now at 04MH

I rebooted the PC and all seemed OK, but only time will tell.

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