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Thread: Dying Hard Drive.. What to do?

  1. #1
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    Dying Hard Drive.. What to do?

    Hi All,

    Well I managed to get myself an a64 X2 4800+ last week for just under £200 and promptly put it in on Thursday. However, yesterday I put the computer into hybernation from my keyboard and got some error messages about one of my HDD being corrupt (I'm running XP SP2 with the latest updates installed etc just so you know). The disk was visible in My Computer but I got an error message saying the disk or directory was corrupt when I tried to open it. Thankfully it didn't have anything too important on it so I just reformatted.

    I started to copy some data onto it and noticed it was running WAY too slow. I have 4 x 250Gb Seagate SATA drives in my PC and this one is running about 40% slower than the other drives which are the exact same model. I've switched it to a different SATA port and changed the cable. I'm also running a checkdisk on it now, but obviously I'm not going trust it with any important data. Seems to me it's on it's way out.

    Problem is it's still working, so I don't know whether the shop I got it from will accept there's anything wrong with it. Has anyone got any suggestions?

    Here's my system spec in case there's anything else you need to know.

    ASUS A8N SLi Deluxe
    AMD A64 X2 4800+
    Nvidia 6600GT
    4 X 250Gb Seagate Sata HDD
    Terratec DMX 6Fire

  2. #2
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    Hi,

    The first thing I was going to suggest was that maybe you dislodged a cable when you put your new CPU in, as I did that once and only realsied what was wrong after waiting about 2 hours for windows to install! However, as you've changed ports / cables, I'm guessing thats not the problem!

    Even if its still "working", if you're getting error messages and are not happy with it (and its still in warranty), take it back - I'd be very surprised if they didn't change it for you - computer shops are used to the occasional duff / failing compnent - its an unfortunate side effect of their business!

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    I spoke to the shop today and they said I should run the seagate disk checking tool which will give me an error code, then I should bring it in for them to send off. However, I've just spent the last 4 hours running the disk check and it's come back with no errors.

    I'm actually rather hoping the drive will pack up all together, I hate these faults that are intermittent or leave the hardware still working. I'm a little worried that if I take it back and they find nothing wrong with it(i.e. at the moment it still reads/writes), they'll charge me for the privelege. I've not had any error messages since I reformatted, but it's running incredibly slow. I've even upgraded my MB drivers to Nforce 6.86 and that did nothing.

    Any suggestions?

  4. #4
    YUKIKAZE arthurleung's Avatar
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    • arthurleung's system
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    Download HDTune and do a printscreen of the Health and do a Error Scan (don't use the quick scan mode). If the health scan come out all green then do a benchmark.

    This will check if the disk have any bad sector and also if the driver performed abnormally
    Workstation 1: Intel i7 950 @ 3.8Ghz / X58 / 12GB DDR3-1600 / HD4870 512MB / Antec P180
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    Thanks for the suggestions guys. I've downloaded HDTune and the health checks don't show anything up, but when I try a comprehensive scan, my machine resets itself. It did that when I was running some recovery programs yesterday before it reset itself.

    I'm going to check the RAM is properly seated in the morning before I turn the machine back on, but I doubt it's that. All my other HDD are working fine so at the moment the HDD is still the prime suspect.

    If anyone else has a suggestion please let me know. Hopefully the HDD will refuse to spin up tomorrow, I hate taking stuff back to a shop with an intermittent or non-crippling fault.

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    Okay, an update for you all

    I've been very suspicious of the HDD over the last week or so and it turns out to be something incredibly simple. The answer was, it had reverted to PIO mode.

    Don't ask me how this happened but I've been into device manager and there it was looking at me with a yellow exclamation mark saying the drive had been downgraded (had to go into the IDE/ATA/ATAPI -> nForce 4 Serial ATA Controller). It would be nice if it had told me this but it's all good experience I guess.

    So, for the moment the drive is running as expected and HD Tune brings back a near identical benchmark to the rest of my drives. Hopefully this will be of help to someone in the future.

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    Good to know you got it sorted but any idea how it changed itself to PIO mode?
    Is it set on Auto in the BIOS. I always change the setting in BIOS.

    It could be during boot for whatever reason the BIOS detected it as PIO and Window/Device Manager changed the setting. But then you would have expected Windows to change it back later, especially when you moved it to a different SATA port.

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    I have no idea why it decided to switch to PIO mode. I did read somewhere that windows will switch to PIO if it detects a lot of write/read errors on the drive so I'm guessing that is the cause. It had been working perfectly for 3 months and then one day decided to give me grief, I suspect windows was having a brain fart

    I guess that windows keeps track of the drive by serial number or assigns it a disk ID or something so moving it to a different SATA port wouldn't have made the difference which is pretty annoying.

    Either way, I know now that high CPU usage when accessing a HDD could indicate it's been switched to PIO mode. Lets hope thats all there was to the problem.

  9. #9
    Pedandic mo-fo IAmATeaf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wombar
    I have no idea why it decided to switch to PIO mode. I did read somewhere that windows will switch to PIO if it detects a lot of write/read errors on the drive so I'm guessing that is the cause. It had been working perfectly for 3 months and then one day decided to give me grief, I suspect windows was having a brain fart

    I guess that windows keeps track of the drive by serial number or assigns it a disk ID or something so moving it to a different SATA port wouldn't have made the difference which is pretty annoying.

    Either way, I know now that high CPU usage when accessing a HDD could indicate it's been switched to PIO mode. Lets hope thats all there was to the problem.
    Have a look in Event Viewer to see if there are any error messages logged by the Disk subsystem and keep an eye on the logs to see if there are any more logged. I too had a suspect Seagate drive which would give intermittent problems, in my case the drive lasted a year before it finally gave up the ghost on me but using the Seagate tools I managed to revive it but before I did I made of a note of the message that SeaTools reported. I then emailed Seagate and they advised me to RMA the disk as it's likely that the fault could re-occur which I did.

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    Windows will drop down the speed of a CD drive if it's getting problems with it. That could also happen with HDDs?

  11. #11
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    I've had a look in the Event Viewer and there are a few errors over the past few weeks relating to the HDD. Haven't had any since I changed the mode back to PIO but I'll keep an eye on the disk just in case.

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