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Bad Power Chord?


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#1 Eyesee

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Posted 16 December 2007 - 02:34 PM

Working on a system for a friend that I built about 5 years ago.

A few years back a power outage scrambled the data on the hard drive.
I reloaded it & everything worked fine for a long time.

Twice this year the hard drive has become scrambled again. The last time I took it home. There were weird characters in the volume label. Used a debug script to blow it away. Fdisked and formatted the drive. Drive is a Western Digital & passes full diags. Memtest reports the ram good.

I formatted it and reloaded it at my place. Had the system for over a week. Turned it on multiple times. Everything appeared ok. Turned the system on for one last check immediately before taking it back. It was fine.
I figured I was done. Not so.
As soon as I plugged it in at her house the hard drive was scrambled again.
She suggested that the power chord at her house might be bad. When I took it home I took nothing but the box.

Interesting thing we noted is that what is now on the scrambled drive is exactly the way it was when I picked it up except the volume label is blank.

Any ideas?
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#2 usasma

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Posted 16 December 2007 - 04:10 PM

There's something wrong with her system - most likely the PSU, motherboard, or BIOS (IMO). But it'll take some troubleshooting to figure out exactly what's causing it.
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#3 Eyesee

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Posted 16 December 2007 - 04:28 PM

I thought the same as well at first
But everything worked perfectly on my workbech for over a week. Scrambled as soon as I turned it on at her place.

I have heard of a bad power chord causing a weird problem before, but only once. One would never think of that either.
I inspected the chord & didnt see any obvious damage.
My thinking is that it has to be power related somehow. Chord or power strip possibly?

You thing it might be something as simple as a failing battery?
I think it was plugged in the entire time it was here but I cant say for certain.

Edited by Eyesee, 16 December 2007 - 04:31 PM.

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#4 usasma

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Posted 16 December 2007 - 04:50 PM

Sorry, I didn't see that you had the entire system - thought it was only the hard drive.

Still, there's something wrong here - and it's at her house. I don't see how a power cord could do this (although power fluctuations could cause it) - does she have a surge suppressor (not just a power strip - but a real surge suppressor)?
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#5 garmanma

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Posted 16 December 2007 - 05:38 PM

If you have a voltmeter double-check the line voltage and make sure the ground hasn't been compromised and/or polarity reversed. Maybe something shifted(?) in the transport between locations
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#6 Eyesee

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Posted 16 December 2007 - 06:52 PM

Yes usasma, I made her buy a new one after the frist time it happened. We definitely know the first scramble was caused by a power outage. The other times were completely random. No power outages or dips.
I dont have a volt meter. Nor would I know how to use it.

I have known her for about 15 years. She is pretty computer savvy. Used to be a student of mine when I taught college.

Strikes me as really odd that the scrambled files are exactly the way they were when I picked it up originally. We both noticed that. Same date stamps and everything. Some were 1980, 1900 & the like. Wouldnt you think that whatever is scrambling the drive would make the file names random? I cant imagine how they would be exactly the same.

FWIW its an IWILL KK266 motherboard & 98SE. I already swapped the IDE cable.
I have the system back over here but probably wont be able to get to it untill after Christmas

Could it be a battery? I am almost positive that the system was unplugged when it was over here as I bring systems home all the time to work on
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