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Thread: Can a virus ruin a hard drive?

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    Can a virus ruin a hard drive?

    Well my nephew ask me to fix his computer as it wouldn't bootup and he said it might be a virus.

    Well the only thing readable on an 80 gig HD was a 12gig partition.........well to cut a long story short I tried everything from fdisk and format to hiren's cd, via winxp install, even Maxtors low level format.

    The annoying thing it is recognised as 80 gig at bootup and you can do a surface scan for bad sectors, but the drive is unusable, so unless someone knows of a program that can fix the drive (that's not on hirens) it must be the electronics that have packed up.

    Yeah I know another say 160gig HD is only £32 so why bother................but its my hobby playing with computers.
    Last edited by excalibur2; 20-03-2007 at 11:03 AM. Reason: added info

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    Administrator Moby-Dick's Avatar
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    I dont think its a virus per se - most likely just dead kit
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    Vive le pants! directhex's Avatar
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    it is *technically* possible for a virus to damage hardware, but viruses have been more focused on profit than damage for years & years

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    Quote Originally Posted by directhex View Post
    it is *technically* possible for a virus to damage hardware, but viruses have been more focused on profit than damage for years & years
    All he had was a few trojans on the 12gig partition that was working, unfortunately mfg date dec 2001, war.end Mar05................. but it's running smoothly i.e. no odd noises........ Oh well I will phone him to buy another HD.

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    BTW it's an Intel D845hv motherboard on an appx 2001 computer and has ata 100 support, and I've been checking on google and one guy has fitted a 160gig HD to his similar system and Intel say 137gig and higher.
    So to play safe have told my nephew to buy a 160gig HD.

    But as a general question:- Is there a limit to the max size IDE Hard drive that a computer of the 2001 era can handle.

    A 80 gig hard drive didn't show up on my old P233 spare computer..........erm well not on auto, couldn't be bothered to type in cylinders etc

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    Banhammer in peace PeterB kalniel's Avatar
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    Depends on the BIOS and OS. I vaguely remember something like LBA or something being an option that needed to be supported. File system type (FAT, FAT32, NTFS) is also important.

    As an aside, while I've never seen a virus kill a drive, I have seen fragmentation kill one

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    Vive le pants! directhex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kalniel View Post
    Depends on the BIOS and OS. I vaguely remember something like LBA or something being an option that needed to be supported.
    this is correct. 48-bit lba is what's needed for >128GiB (137GB). it's supported in XPSP1+, 2KSP3+, 2K3, Linux 2.4.19+, and others

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    if a virus causes a pc to thrash a hard drive too much it can cause cheaper consumer drives to fail. scsi's ftw
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    Quote Originally Posted by alsenior View Post
    if a virus causes a pc to thrash a hard drive too much it can cause cheaper consumer drives to fail. scsi's ftw
    or it could just reflash the drive firmware with garbage

    but there's no good reason to do it. virus writers these days are interested in selling botnets, not breaking hardware

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    Have you tried F disking the drive?

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    "well to cut a long story short I tried everything from fdisk and format to hiren's cd, via winxp install, even Maxtors low level format."

    yer I think he has

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    Senior Member grayg1's Avatar
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    lol sorry in the middle of copying things from my hard drive preparing for a reinstall, not paying attention much

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    A lot of people will automatically blame a virus when things go wrong, but it's just as likely to be a hardware or other software problem. In this case it's a failing hard drive.

    As you said it is 'your hobby playing with computers', now may be a good opportunity for you to experiment with various data recovery programs. Even if there's nothing on the drive which needs to be rescued, it's a skill which will be sure to come in handy one day.

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    Fried Chip Extremist alsenior's Avatar
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    might just be unlucky timing and the drive has had it
    Quote Originally Posted by Jay View Post
    What kind of emergency would need Windows 95? I think you are already in a bad state of emergency when your backup plan is Windows 95.
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    What does fdisk show after removing all the partitions?

    When creating a new one, what is the maximum size listed?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fabula View Post
    What does fdisk show after removing all the partitions?

    When creating a new one, what is the maximum size listed?
    Does all the normal things like create primary, make active, and the max use of the disk, but only shows about 8gigs now, so 72 gigs are missing ..............but this is mis-information because that 8gigs is not recognised by winxp, or a partition manager...... to instal on it (message is "unknown").

    Using winxp bootup CD and floppy drive to format and they both abort, checked the drive for bad sectors there were a few but they were then marked so winxp etc would just not instal on them.

    Before I started the hard disk recovery winxp flashed up on bootup for a second then crashed and there was a 2nd partition. erm what's the problem? easy to solve just format c:, check for virus on d: and re-install, but.............................................

    BTW tried another hard disk and the computer works perfectly, also put the dodgy hard disk in a newer computer it is recognised as 80 gigs but still unusable after further attempts to get it working.
    I'm sure Maxtor engineers can get it working but I certainly can't and have given up..
    Last edited by excalibur2; 20-03-2007 at 10:22 PM. Reason: more info

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