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Windows 7 Ultrabay HDD for storage - incorrectly disconnecting on sleep?

W500/W510/W520 and W700/W701 Series
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scottyw520
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Windows 7 Ultrabay HDD for storage - incorrectly disconnecting on sleep?

#1 Post by scottyw520 » Sat May 21, 2022 1:56 pm

Wasn't sure where best to post this, some-time lurker, first time poster here.

I've got a W520 running Windows 7, and recently I got an off-brand Ultrabay caddy off eBay so I could install an internal HDD in the optical drive slot. I get to the point a bit further down so feel free to skip ahead to the bold text.

(For a bit of context, I was given this laptop by my dad - he's the real ThinkPad collector - so it was mostly upgraded by him until now. Pretty sure the boot drive is an SSD, and with his old stuff and all my digital-hoard it's a bit full. Slowly gearing up to getting an external HDD to back things up so I can clean it up a bit and let the SSD breathe, but in the mean time I have managed to make a decent little bit of space. However, definitely hasn't got enough space free for all the games I'm installing from my Steam account now that I have a USB controller to play them with. These are games I've been itching to play for about a decade and finally, thanks to my dad's generosity, I have a laptop that can handle them. I was hesitant about ThinkPad's at first; I cannot stand the little red dot :lol: but the W520 has quickly become my ride-or-die laptop. I love it. My dad did a fantastic job upgrading it and it's a real workhorse! Anyway, point is, I got the internal HDD so I could install all my gigantic game files and it's already a third full. It's 1TB!!)

Right, back to the point. I've managed to install the caddy and the HDD all fine - it took me a bit to figure out that I needed to format the drive for Windows. I'm very used to Macbook's OS and external drives working out of the box. Ended up finding an article on ghacks by Martin Brinkmann (forever grateful) explaining clearly how to do so.
I was content that it now recognised the drive for what it was, and considered the problem solved.

Now, to the issue I'm having:
When I put the ThinkPad to sleep overnight (I know, bad habit from Macbook times) or when it goes idle by itself after a period of inactivity, on waking I get an error.
Problem ejecting <internal HDD - Toshiba 1TB SATA iii>
Windows can't stop your generic volume device because a program is still using it close any programs that might be using the device and then try again later
This doesn't seem quite right to me... I intended to have this HDD installed as a storage drive, and I want it to behave like any other internal HDD. It seems like the system is treating it as removable storage, like a flash drive/USB, instead. I'm not sure what's causing the issue and have searched around without much luck. (Some Win7 forums suggest an AHCI issue, others ESATA? I have no idea and I'm a bit overwhelmed by the possibilities at this point.) So, I'm not sure what to ask and am open to any ideas (or if you had the same issue and know how to fix it, or can see what I've done wrong setting it up) but I wonder if it's ignorance on my part about how the Ultrabay optical drive HDD caddy connects up?
The drive was sold as SATA III, as was the caddy, but I'm oblivious to how the optical drive in a ThinkPad/W520 connects or if I'm missing something about how to set up the Ultrabay.
There are so many moving parts here (my HDD formatting setup, the various hardware, Windows7, etc.) I am just a bit lost for what to check first.
I've done a lot of searching in here and elsewhere already and not found a solution which leads me to believe I've missed something obvious. (I know there's things like hotswitching or whatever it's called, and the option in the drive properties regarding "removal policy", but that that shows up at all strikes me as being part of the problem. And I don't want a workaround that just makes "Safely Remove Hardware" stop showing up.)

So, that's a lot of words - apologies. TL;DR - why is my 1TB SATA III internal HDD in my off-brand Ultrabay optical drive caddy seemingly recognised by Windows as removable (flash/USB) storage, and how can I fix it so that it's treated as a permanent connection to be put to sleep in the same way as the boot drive?
Thanks for reading and any suggestions!
My 71 year old dad got into collecting ThinkPads years ago and kindly gifted me his old W520 running Win7 with 20 GB RAM (which I use for gaming, naturally.)

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Re: Windows 7 Ultrabay HDD for storage - incorrectly disconnecting on sleep?

#2 Post by kfzhu1229 » Sat May 21, 2022 2:32 pm

I think I had experience with running one of these generic SATA to optical drive adaptors on the ultrabay on a ThinkPad T520, T530 as well as a E-Module II on Latitude E6430, and I have never experienced anything close to these sorts of problem before.
I guess with a very weird problem like this, you might as well either try another SATA to optical drive enclosure, another hard drive or maybe just get a mSATA SSD (full size, NOT m.2) and free up your internal 2.5" bay
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Re: Windows 7 Ultrabay HDD for storage - incorrectly disconnecting on sleep?

#3 Post by dr_st » Sat May 21, 2022 2:56 pm

In the Device Manager, find the external drive and click Properties. Under Policies, make sure it is set to "Better performance", not "Quick removal".
Thinkpad 25 (20K7), T490 (20N3), Yoga 14 (20FY), T430s (IPS FHD + Classic Keyboard), X220 4291-4BG
X61 7673-V2V, T60 2007-QPG, T42 2373-F7G, X32 (IPS Screen), A31p w/ Ultrabay Numpad

scottyw520
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Re: Windows 7 Ultrabay HDD for storage - incorrectly disconnecting on sleep?

#4 Post by scottyw520 » Mon May 23, 2022 11:08 am

dr_st wrote:
Sat May 21, 2022 2:56 pm
find the external drive
The point is, it's an internal drive.
It shouldn't have the removal policy options at all, surely? The other two SATA drives don't.

Is this something that just happens with Ultrabay caddy HDDs?
Regardless everything else everywhere (Device Manager, Computer Management, System Information, BIOS, etc.) recognises it as a SATA HDD the same as the two other internal (SSD) drives. The only thing is this error on waking from sleep/idle because Windows has treated it as removable.
I really don't want to damage the drive, I simply want it to be seen as internal.

I've looked at the BIOS and there's nothing awry there. It's set up as AHCI.
I did try to update the Intel AHCI driver (the one I have is from 2012 and the newer version on the Lenovo support site is 2014) but can't make sense of the readme file because Intel wants me to install its Rapid Storage Technology.
I also tried this: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/top ... 65a976c8dd and it said it was successful. Then when I tried putting my W520 to sleep afterwards it still had the same removal error on waking.

Totally and utterly perplexed by this.
My 71 year old dad got into collecting ThinkPads years ago and kindly gifted me his old W520 running Win7 with 20 GB RAM (which I use for gaming, naturally.)

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Re: Windows 7 Ultrabay HDD for storage - incorrectly disconnecting on sleep?

#5 Post by dr_st » Mon May 23, 2022 11:34 am

scottyw520 wrote:
Mon May 23, 2022 11:08 am
The point is, it's an internal drive.
It shouldn't have the removal policy options at all, surely? The other two SATA drives don't.
Should... shouldn't... Did you try what I suggested, or did you go and try everything else but that?
scottyw520 wrote:
Mon May 23, 2022 11:08 am
Is this something that just happens with Ultrabay caddy HDDs?
It does for me. Except the policy is set the way I mentioned, and I don't get the message. It may or may not be related, but worth the shot, in my opinion.
Thinkpad 25 (20K7), T490 (20N3), Yoga 14 (20FY), T430s (IPS FHD + Classic Keyboard), X220 4291-4BG
X61 7673-V2V, T60 2007-QPG, T42 2373-F7G, X32 (IPS Screen), A31p w/ Ultrabay Numpad

scottyw520
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Re: Windows 7 Ultrabay HDD for storage - incorrectly disconnecting on sleep?

#6 Post by scottyw520 » Mon May 23, 2022 3:51 pm

I did try changing that setting. Didn't fix the core issue. (It did disconnect the drive, though, and I had to restart, plus the drive made a couple of quite dramatic noises in the process, but that's probably just me being ultra cautious with my brand new HDD.)
FWIW my tone in my reply to you was neutral - at most curious and perplexed - not combative, but I think from the tone of your reply that I've bothered you somehow. Just wanted to clear up any misunderstanding. I'm autistic and sometimes the way I word things rubs people the wrong way but I don't know why - I am generally being direct (as in, there's rarely any subtext in what I say) and neutral in tone. But that is the difficulty with text-based communication, I suppose. Possibly it was the italics, but that wasn't me being impetuous or argumentative - using text formatting for that kinda thing would be quite passive aggressive - I was just emphasising the word "did" like one might do conversationally. Anyway, I hope that clears things up.

I'm used to forums where it's an annoyance if one posts an issue before exploring obvious options, so my aim was to list everything I've already looked into to save everyone time. I merely wanted to clarify that I'd dismissed that option as it's a symptom of the wider problem, imo. I'm knowledgeable, but not an expert, so I'm open to being directed to a foolish error on my part. But I thought others might find this situation curious and perplexing, too - or that I'd find someone who knows exactly what the problem is. A girl can dream! All I know is it'll be extremely satisfying when I do figure it out :lol:

Going to keep exploring options now. (One thing I'm also going to try is taking the caddy out and double checking everything's working there, but as the drive is running perfectly in every other way I think it might be a dead end.)
My 71 year old dad got into collecting ThinkPads years ago and kindly gifted me his old W520 running Win7 with 20 GB RAM (which I use for gaming, naturally.)

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Re: Windows 7 Ultrabay HDD for storage - incorrectly disconnecting on sleep?

#7 Post by dr_st » Tue May 24, 2022 2:39 am

No problem. Sorry if I appeared annoyed. It wasn't clear from your initial response whether you tried the suggestion before dismissing it.

The Ultrabay caddy is removable, therefore it makes sense for there to be removal policies. I suspect it is managed through SATA AHCI hot-plug capabilities. Most likely, hot plug is enabled on the Ultrabay SATA port, but not the internal port(s), which accounts for the difference in what is exposed through the interface.

I have such a caddy, and I tried it on my X220 Ultrabase (the X220 is running Win7). I do not get the "Problem ejecting" message, and my policy is configured to better performance, so I thought it might be related.

However, as your tests show, it is not the cause. Maybe something really is holding a handle to your drive, which is why you get the message and I don't.

So, the fact that the removal policies are there does not strike me as a problem. The fact that Windows apparently tries to remove the drive when it transitions to sleep may be. I will try to run a few more tests tonight and see if I can reproduce your problem.

There is also a longish thread on Lenovo forums with various workarounds. Two people claimed that installing Intel AHCI drivers version 12.5.something or newer can resolve the issue.
https://forums.lenovo.com/t5/ThinkPad-T ... d-p/347167
Thinkpad 25 (20K7), T490 (20N3), Yoga 14 (20FY), T430s (IPS FHD + Classic Keyboard), X220 4291-4BG
X61 7673-V2V, T60 2007-QPG, T42 2373-F7G, X32 (IPS Screen), A31p w/ Ultrabay Numpad

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Re: Windows 7 Ultrabay HDD for storage - incorrectly disconnecting on sleep?

#8 Post by dr_st » Wed May 25, 2022 11:51 am

Well, I tried, and I could not, no matter how many times I put the computer to sleep, reproduce the issue.

Tried both Win7 with Intel driver 11.2.0 and Win8 with Intel driver 12.8.0. Standard SATA SSD inside an off-brand Ultrabay caddy. :??:
Thinkpad 25 (20K7), T490 (20N3), Yoga 14 (20FY), T430s (IPS FHD + Classic Keyboard), X220 4291-4BG
X61 7673-V2V, T60 2007-QPG, T42 2373-F7G, X32 (IPS Screen), A31p w/ Ultrabay Numpad

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