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Hard drive issues, maybe?


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#1 OFFLINE   SueD

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Posted 29 August 2017 - 05:52 PM

Hi all! *waves*

It's been a while but yous taught me so well, I hardly have the need to shout out for help anymore...at least till now.

I'm still trodding along on my 7 year old Inspiron, running Ubuntu 16.04 lts on it and quite happy, until recently. The darn thing would start to freeze or shut down randomly. Then it got pretty bad last week when it did its infamous shut down but wouldn't reboot for a couple of hours. Then it stopped rebooting at all. Being 7 years old, I figured the hdd was going so I went out and bought a new one this morning, a Seagate 1tb. Seagate and I have never gotten along and this one seems no different. It's not seen by the cmos, any live cd or even Seagate's own utility. Popped this WD back in and everything shows up in the cmos where it belongs. Booted it up, went past grub and got some message about Clean yadda yadda so I went and did something else only to come back about 15 minutes to my login page.

Is it the hdd or am I facing some bigger issue?
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#2 OFFLINE   securitybreach

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Posted 29 August 2017 - 10:10 PM

Is this a desktop or laptop? If desktop, have you tried different sata cables on different ports and have you tried to mount the old drive on another computer? If you bought a new harddrive, then the drive isn't the issue. Since the old one worked again, that makes me think that the new drive was formatted incorrectly or something but why would the bios not see it? The only other thing could be the motherboard as you replaced the drive but the old drive is recognized. So I dunno, I would test the drives on another machine (if you are able).
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#3 OFFLINE   raymac46

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Posted 30 August 2017 - 07:00 AM

I believe this is a desktop if I remember correctly.
Ubuntu has a simple disk check GUI called Disks.
https://help.ubuntu....disk-check.html

I would boot the machine with a USB or DVD ISO and see if you still have problems. Does this machine have a video card or is it integrated graphics?
I'd make sure you have the SATA cable connected firmly and the power plugged in on the drive properly as well. It doesn't make sense to me that the BIOS wouldn't see the drive. To be on the safe side I would format the new drive with MBR partitions. A 7 year old machine won't need GPT I shouldn't think.
What sort of "beep sequence" do you hear before the machine boots up. Single beep?
One other silly thing. Have you replaced the CMOS battery lately?

Edited by raymac46, 30 August 2017 - 07:05 AM.

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#4 OFFLINE   SueD

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Posted 30 August 2017 - 08:18 AM

Josh, I have no way to test the drive on another machine. This is the only one I have that uses sata. And no matter what ports I tried, the Seagate was never detected in the bios.

Ray, it's my desktop. Separate video card. Battery was changed less than 2 years ago.

The live DVD didn't see the Seagate neither. The only thing I didn't have a double for was the data cable but as far as I'm concerned, if it works on the WD then it should work on the Seagate. Everything is/was connected nice and snug. As for any beeps, I'm suffering from sinusitis atm and it's affected my hearing in a big way so I can't tell you if there were any beeps or how many.LOL

I'm taking that Seagate back. After dealing with them on the phone yesterday, I see their customer service is just as bad as it was 20 years ago. They don't have a customer with me.

I was going to try e2fsck on my WD but when the warning If you continue you ***WILL*** cause ***SEVERE*** filesystem damage came up, I aborted. And the Disk Utility says it's ok. I'll spend the money on a replacement hd if needed but if that's not the problem, I'll be stuck at square one again. :(

*I realized this is a hardware issue and out of habit, I posted in the Linux forum. If an admin wants to move this over to Hardware, I'm fine with that.*
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#5 OFFLINE   securitybreach

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Posted 30 August 2017 - 08:41 AM

That is very odd..
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#6 OFFLINE   zlim

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Posted 30 August 2017 - 08:48 AM

What size hard drive is currently in the computer? My thoughts, it might not be able to "see" any 1TB hard drive, no matter who makes it because of a BIOS from 2010.

My computer from 2009 has a 150GB hard drive (emachine desktop). The netbook purchased in 2011 has a 250GB hard drive.

What is the exact model Inspiron?

Edited by zlim, 30 August 2017 - 08:49 AM.

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#7 OFFLINE   securitybreach

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Posted 30 August 2017 - 08:59 AM

Yeah, I didn't think about that. You may be right..

I did have some terabyte drives back in 2010 (WD Caviar Black) though. Actually I am still using one of them..
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#8 OFFLINE   SueD

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Posted 30 August 2017 - 09:25 AM

Hmm, it's an inspiron 560 quad core, I think. The WD in there now is 500gb, that much I'm sure of.
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#9 OFFLINE   raymac46

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Posted 30 August 2017 - 10:57 AM

This just does not look like a hard drive issue to me - not if your old drive is OK. I assume you have cleaned out the dust bunnies and reseated the memory. A 1 TB drive should work in a machine like this. I have no idea why you aren't seeing the Seagate drive. The machine you have is SATA II but that should not affect matters.
Cooling fans all running OK?
To me this is more likely to be failing video card or motherboard.
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#10 OFFLINE   SueD

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Posted 30 August 2017 - 11:16 AM

Yup, all dust bunnies re-homed, fans all running smoothly, everything is seated nice and tight.

I'm not sure about anything anymore. My computer rebooted itself again about 2 hours ago. As I said before, I won't replace the hd if I don't absolutely have to. The vid card's easy and cheap enough to replace. Is there even a way to find out if it is a failing mobo?

I'm not in a hurry at the moment to spend lots of $ to replace bits and pieces of this machine.
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#11 OFFLINE   raymac46

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Posted 30 August 2017 - 11:34 AM

Normally you narrow a bad mobo down if everything else checks out. Namely  memory, video card, power supply, HDD are all OK if tested. Sometimes you can see bulgy or broken capacitors on the mobo but maybe they'll look fine and you'll still have trouble.
Normally I would try a different power supply but that is hard to do with a Dell sometimes. The power connections aren't always the normal ATX type. Random reboots indicate something is overheating. If you have integrated graphics you could try running with that for a while and see if it's the video card at fault. If you get that working I'd advise pulling the video card out before any extended test.
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#12 OFFLINE   striker

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Posted 30 August 2017 - 12:59 PM

Does that Seagate drive spin up at all??? In your case Sue, you may be able to feel it causing a slight vibration.

If it does, then the following link may give you some clues, help or put you in the right direction:
https://askubuntu.co...stallation?rq=1
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still the same...

#13 OFFLINE   SueD

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Posted 30 August 2017 - 02:38 PM

When I had it installed, there was power going to it. I could feel a very slight vibration coming from it. And yup, already saw and tried that yesterday.

Just a little idea...what speed should my mobo fan be spinning? I have psensor installed and it hasn't gone over 900 rpm yet today. Should it not go faster than that?
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#14 OFFLINE   V.T. Eric Layton

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Posted 30 August 2017 - 04:23 PM

I don't have anything to add here. I just wanted to pop in and say HI to Sue and Striker. :th_waving2-1:

#15 OFFLINE   SueD

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Posted 30 August 2017 - 04:31 PM

Hiya Eric! :th_smiley-wave2:

I know I'm not around much anymore but like I said in my first post, you all taught me so well. It's your fault!!!!! ;)
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#16 OFFLINE   V.T. Eric Layton

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Posted 30 August 2017 - 04:49 PM

You don't need to have technical issues to stop by here (or the Cabin) and visit a bit. Of course, being slightly off mentally is a requirement. ;)

#17 OFFLINE   raymac46

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Posted 30 August 2017 - 06:02 PM

I just checked my Windows 10 system and the processor fan was turning 1000 RPM so 900 doesn't seem to be too bad.
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#18 OFFLINE   Hedon James

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Posted 31 August 2017 - 08:50 AM

Seems like everyone else has this well in hand, with good advice, but figured I'd chime in with another 3rd party perspective.

Good advice in this thread for troubleshooting, isolating components as much as possible to eliminate/confirm them.  It's too bad the OP can't remove the suspect drive and place it in another machine to see if the problem persists.  This would isolate the HDD, completely exonerating or squarely isolating the HDD as the source of issues.  Since that's not possible, a little more patience and trial & error is in order.  If a "left hand turn" isn't possible, three "right hand turns" will point you in the same direction!

My initial thoughts were the same as everyone else on here:  HDD, GPU, or MOBO are the most likely culprits to cause the OP reported symptoms.

HDD - this is probably the low-hanging fruit; in the absence of pulling the suspect drive and testing in another machine, the next best option is a new HDD;  unfortunately, the Seagate failed (and I share the OPs opinion of Seagate...NOT a fan), which suggests a faulty Seagate, or GPU, or MOBO issues....we're no further ahead, and have accomplished nothing, other than to verify a LiveSession doesn't see the HDD either....we can rule out OS issues; I'd purchase a WD HDD and see if that is seen by the MOBO; if the MOBO sees the new WD, problem likely solved; if the MOBO doesn't see the new WD, the likelihood of 2 faulty new drives from 2 different makers is quite small (although still possible), which would elevate the GPU or MOBO to the top of my suspect list.

GPU - Ray's advice regarding pulling the discrete card and running internal graphics is good, provided the Inspiron has internal graphics;  not sure a faulty GPU would cause reboot though, I'd expect screen failure/blackouts, but not reboots

MOBO - probably the toughest thing to diagnose or isolate, as diagnosis typically relies on elimination of every other component, leaving the MOBO as the lone remaining culprit; OP indicates it's clean, no dust bunnies, and everything is seated securely; Ray's advice for a physical inspection is good, looking for "popped" or "rounded" capacitors; "scorch" marks are telltale also; if a visual inspection reveals nothing, I'd suggest looking into the BIOS to see if there's an update; fairly quick & easy, cheap, and non-invasive, this is also low-hanging fruit

Under the same category as MOBO-related, I might also suggest that RAM is bad, or PSU is faulty.  Either will cause the symptoms the OP describes.  A MemTest can be run from a LiveSession and is very inexpensive, but time-consuming.  If RAM is faulty, would be a very cheap and easy fix.  Finally, the PSU....for whatever reason, Dell PSUs seem to have a high failure rate.  I have had probably 5-6 Dell desktops over the years, and I've had to replace PSUs in at least 3 of those machines.  Dell forums are littered with posts that were resolved with PSU issues.  My first issue with Dell PSUs was with a circa 2006 Vostro 400, which was originally diagnosed as a failing HDD (confirmed by disk testing), but with symptoms continuing even with a new HDD.  A tech friend suggested the PSU might be failing and the power surges/outages were causing block errors in the HDD by interrupting the I/O read/write processes.  Replaced the PSU with an EBay OEM PSU on the cheap (probably $15-$20 if I remember correctly) and problem was solved!  Haven't had an issue since, and that machine is still in service as a Home Media server.

So based on my experience, I have a HUNCH it's your PSU, but you may still need to proceed with the scientific method of component isolation in order to confirm.  There's also a better than average chance that you have a 2-tiered problem....a failing PSU (invisible component), which is triggering a HDD/GPU/MOBO/RAM failure (the visible component).  2-tiered failures are extremely difficult to diagnose and frustrating, as you solve a KNOWN and CONFIRMED hardware problem, yet symptoms persist.  2-tiered failures require a little luck, IMO, to go along with the expertise.

I told you all that so you can at least be aware that a 2-tiered failure MAY be indicated for the OP, and that PSUs in Dells are notoriously fickle, and PSUs can cause hardware failures that are symptomatic of what the OP describes.  When symptoms and troubleshooting cause you to scratch your head, as nothing makes sense (explains symptom A, but not B, and vice verse)....don't 2nd guess yourself....consider there are 2 problems to describe both sets of symptoms.

Good luck!

#19 OFFLINE   raymac46

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Posted 31 August 2017 - 09:19 AM

My solution:

https://www.tte.ca/c...wer-7010-274195

Add a cheap SSD, get rid of Windows, Bob's your uncle.
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#20 OFFLINE   zlim

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Posted 31 August 2017 - 10:17 AM

I checked the crucial site http://www.crucial.c...ll/inspiron-560
and see one of the options is a 1TB ssd (that would be extremely expensive) at least I know the size of the Seagate is not the issue.
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#21 OFFLINE   SueD

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Posted 01 September 2017 - 10:37 AM

Hello Hedon James. Thanks for your input. I replaced the PSU 3 years ago, give or take. I was aware of Dell's problems with theirs and decided to replace mine with a bigger one before that became an issue. I tried to run a memtest overnight, twice, and both times my computer rebooted itself sometime in the wee hours. But I will try it next week again when I get back using a live DVD.

Ray, I'm not sure I'll go with Dell again for my next machine. They've changed their policy and my warranty will be voided if I remove Windows. Many manufacturers are that way now so :locked: them all and I will have someone build me one with the specs I want.

Liz, ouch! They're not giving those ssd away, are they. :(
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#22 OFFLINE   securitybreach

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Posted 01 September 2017 - 10:39 AM

That's actually a decent price for an SSD. I paid like $100 for my 250gb EVO 850 SSD
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#23 OFFLINE   sunrat

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Posted 01 September 2017 - 06:46 PM

View Postsecuritybreach, on 01 September 2017 - 10:39 AM, said:

That's actually a decent price for an SSD. I paid like $100 for my 250gb EVO 850 SSD
I paid $AU240 for my 500GB EVO 850. I use half of it for OS, 5 Linuxi and Win10, and the other half as a scratch drive for data I'm working on. An audio mixdown session from a live show is often around 20GB. SSDs are still expensive for mass storage so I transfer data to a 2TB HD when I've finished working on it.
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#24 OFFLINE   securitybreach

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Posted 01 September 2017 - 06:54 PM

Well I use an ssd for the installation and normally sata drives as storage. I am up to 14.7 terabytes of space on my main rig B)
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#25 OFFLINE   raymac46

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Posted 01 September 2017 - 08:16 PM

View PostSueD, on 01 September 2017 - 10:37 AM, said:

Hello Hedon James. Thanks for your input. I replaced the PSU 3 years ago, give or take. I was aware of Dell's problems with theirs and decided to replace mine with a bigger one before that became an issue. I tried to run a memtest overnight, twice, and both times my computer rebooted itself sometime in the wee hours. But I will try it next week again when I get back using a live DVD.

Ray, I'm not sure I'll go with Dell again for my next machine. They've changed their policy and my warranty will be voided if I remove Windows. Many manufacturers are that way now so :locked: them all and I will have someone build me one with the specs I want.

Liz, ouch! They're not giving those ssd away, are they. :(

Well that Dell is out of warranty and you are getting the TTE warranty anyway on the hardware. It's a solid choice for Linux that's why I always suggest Dell commercial grade desktops. If you want a good clone supplier I would suggest Everbest in Ottawa. They did one for me in 2008 and it's still going.

http://www.everbest..../ver2/index.php
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