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réjean

dying hard drive

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Hi all!

I think that my wife's hard drive is dying.

She had a dinosaur computer running Win XP on a 1 Ghz processor and just over 600 something MB of memory on a 40 GB hd.

A friend of mine who sells and repairs computers for a living gave me 4 or 5 machines lately in different states.

I put one together (on a http://www.cnet.com/products/abit-ip-95-motherboard-micro-atx-lga775-socket-p4m890/specs/) with a Penthium 4 3.2 Ghz processor and 2 GB of RAM (DDR2), and a SATA Hitachi Deskstar 250 GB.

I installed Windows 7 and migrated as much data from her old machine as I could.

It worked fairly well for a couple of weeks but now I suspect that her hard drive is dying. It is making a lot of noise and freezing frequently.

Remember those were all old parts.

So how can I tell if the clinking sound is her drive going or something else and how can I put her back into business as quickly and as painlessly as possible?

 

 

p.S. I also got a SATA Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 500 GB from the "presents" that I was hoping to put on a 3rd machine were I could clone her machine and one of my distros on.

and I have a Western Digital IDE W1200 120 GB hard drive.

I couldn't guarantee that either one is super good or not.

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If you hear any clicking/knocking noises from an hdd, it's usually its death knell. When you first boot up, set your finger nail lightly on the drive housing and feel for any vibrations that correspond to the clicking noises. If confirmed, pull whatever important data there is off that drive as fast as you can. It's on the way to the graveyard.

 

Luck!

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Thanks Eric! That's what I'm afraid of.

I'll make my wife use her old machine for a few days. Install Win 7 on one of the other drives and migrate everything I can.

I forgot to mention that during the installation and again I made sure that all her fans were clean.

The only message she gets from her BIOS ( I presume) is about a "boot device" missing and sometimes her drive is not seen after reboot or else it takes a long time for it to be seen.

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If you hear any clicking/knocking noises from an hdd, it's usually its death knell. When you first boot up, set your finger nail lightly on the drive housing and feel for any vibrations that correspond to the clicking noises. If confirmed, pull whatever important data there is off that drive as fast as you can. It's on the way to the graveyard.

 

Luck!

 

Agreed :thumbup:

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Generally, a lot of clicking means the hard drive heads are moving around collecting data. The real time to worry is if you hear a rhythmic kerchunking That usually means the drive failed to get the data it was looking for, the heads then go to the parked position, the heads recalibrate, and then the drive sends them back out to look for the data again. If that process happens over and over, you get that kerchunking sound.

 

Here's a video that shows how the sound is made:

 

 

Adam

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Great video Adam. Hopefully I still have time to recover the data before it is totally dead.

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I would do so ASAP. See if you can run a scan on the drive with SpinRite or other drive diagnostic tools. They will let you know if the drive is bad or not. SpinRite is especially good at this.

 

Adam

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So I intend to replace the dying hd (SATA 250 GB) with the IDE WD 1200 (120 GB). I am planning to keep the dying drive out ( or unplugged) until I finish installing Win 7 with all the drivers and malware protection and what not. So should I set the jumper to Master with Slave present or Single or Master or Cable Select Setting?

And before I try installing I should probably run a Live DVD Linux and do a chkdsk, right?

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If both drives are SATA, then there are no jumpers.

 

Your plan is generally good. My preferred tool for hard drives is SpinRite, but if you don't have it, there are other tools. Perhaps someone could pipe in with a good drive analyzer that works for Windows that would check the integrity of the drive....

 

Adam

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I would do so ASAP. See if you can run a scan on the drive with SpinRite or other drive diagnostic tools. They will let you know if the drive is bad or not. SpinRite is especially good at this.

 

Adam

I do have a few CDs or DVDs ( like; System Rescue, KAV Rescue 10 or Trinity-Rescue 3.4, PC Magic) already. Can they be of some use?

Edited by réjean

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I am not sure. I have not used those tools before. I could look at UBCD when I get home and see if there is anything on there that would be helpful.

 

Adam

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I am not sure. I have not used those tools before. I could look at UBCD when I get home and see if there is anything on there that would be helpful.

 

Adam

I mean using one of them as a diagnostic.

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I am not sure. I do not have those discs. I think the Ultimate Boot CD (UBCD) has some on board, but I will have to look.

 

Adam

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I downloaded UBCD for Windows 3.60 from here and burned it. http://www.securitywonks.net/download/ubcd-for-windows/4/get

Won't I need to boot into the dying hard drive to do a diagnostic or can I tell the BIOS to boot from the cd first? I am a bit confused. Now once the new hd is running I can use the cd to install some of the software.

Ok I think I've got my answer;

Descripion: UBCD4Win is a bootable recovery CD that contains software used for repairing, restoring, or diagnosing almost any computer.

Edited by réjean

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You will need to boot from the CD to use the tools.

 

Adam

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Just today I discovered that a "failing 20g Seagate hd " was actually caused by a very low voltage on the checksum battery.

 

In fact half the time the bios went looking for the hd. Repalced the battery and all ok now .

 

May help . Dunno

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Just today I discovered that a "failing 20g Seagate hd " was actually caused by a very low voltage on the checksum battery.

 

In fact half the time the bios went looking for the hd. Repalced the battery and all ok now .

 

May help . Dunno

It could also be my problem but since I have 2 extra hd and I cannot afford to lose 3 weeks of my wife's (our) business I'll do both. Replace a battery, install Win 7 on a hd with everything, then migrate her data and after that if all goes well I will format her old drive and use it for backup. How does that sound?

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So I did installed Win 7 on the other drive. I migrated all of my wife's stuff. I unplugged the dnew drive, changed the battery and I am now running her computer, replying from it and there is no weird sound coming from her drive. The only thing is that I find it takes an eternity for the machine to go from nothing->to seeing the drives->to booting Win 7 which shouldn't be because she has a Penthium 4 3.2 Ghz processor with 2 GB of RAM. I know it's not the ultimate but still. But once Windows is running it is decent. I'll see if it crashes in the next day or 2 before giving it back to her. I'll keep you posted.

Edited by réjean

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It crashed again overnight. I get a message about "rebooting the system with the proper device". Does it sound like a bad hard drive or could it be something else? I'll unplug the old drive and try the new one and see if it last.

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Can you run from a LiveCD and see if it still does that stuff?

 

If it is something else (like RAM or Motherboard), it will likely crash overnight on the LiveCD/DVD too.

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From everything I've ever heard about it, spinrite is fabulous. Steve Gibson is a wiz.

Unfortunately, the buy-in was too steep for me and I never got a copy.

 

I would do so ASAP. See if you can run a scan on the drive with SpinRite or other drive diagnostic tools. They will let you know if the drive is bad or not. SpinRite is especially good at this.

 

Adam

Edited by Cluttermagnet

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Cluttermagnet.....

 

Yeah, it really is a fabulous tool.... and I have found it to be worth every penny. I don't have too many spinning drives floating around here anymore (except for the NAS), so the usefulness of the tool is starting to decline. But hard drive are "built to almost fail" in order to get that last few GB of space for MB/sec of transfer speed. The drives would actually last a LOT longer if they were built with say 25% less performance/speed in mind. The truth is, the market for drives is a very tight one with minimal margins.

 

SpinRite is especially cool when you consider that it takes every bit off the drive and rewrites it, effectively "refreshing" the data. In many cases, this repairs a system that does not boot, or a file that can no longer be accessed. Once I had SpinRite running on a drive for a week on a drive from a laptop that had been dropped. The user had obviously not backed up their pictures, etc. either. When SpinRite finally got done, I was able to recover all but 12 of the files. Impressive, to say the least.

 

Adam

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Can you run from a LiveCD and see if it still does that stuff?

 

If it is something else (like RAM or Motherboard), it will likely crash overnight on the LiveCD/DVD too.

Good suggestion Fran. For now I have the other drive on. I still have to migrate her bookmarks, install Firebird, etc. So I'll see what happens during the day and then try a Live CD overnight. Thanks!

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Use the disk-utility found on Ubuntu or Porteus Live Linuxes to determine hard drive condition. It's accurate and free. My guess is that your problem is that hdd. Another warning sign was when you stated in an earlier post above that the BIOS POST was delayed in detecting the drive.

 

The only message she gets from her BIOS ( I presume) is about a "boot device" missing and sometimes her drive is not seen after reboot or else it takes a long time for it to be seen.

 

This is most often caused by hdd spin-up or seek failures at power up. Bad drive.

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