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upgrading hard drive; C:\ is failing


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#1 teiresias

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Posted 24 February 2009 - 03:37 PM

Hi! You may have seen my unanswered posts in the past regarding my hard-drive problems; I have a 160-GB Seagate SATA hard-drive (model ST3160023AS) for my C:\ main drive, and it is failing. I had a 300-GB Western Digital hard-drive (G:\, for storage) which I got last Xmas (it's only like 14 months old!) which became corrupted and then failed; I turned it off in BIOS and now my computer has been running fine for a while again.

The problem is, now my main C drive is failing as well, and I need to both backup the information somehow as well as focus on getting a new harddrive. I have been trying to burn information onto DVD-Rs using Nero 6, but while I seem to be able to burn audio and video onto them fine, I try to burn regular files/folders onto them only to reinsert the DVD-R a few minutes later and have the system read it as "Blank CD" rather than a burned data DVD. I set it to test maximum speed before burning, which made it downgrade to 12x from 16x because apparently the 'speed of the data being burned' is slower, and had it run a simulation before burning that worked fine, actually burned it, then had the data verified, all before 'finishing' in Nero. After the 'successful' burn I took it out and put it back in — only to have the system recognize it as a blank CD! This happens over and over, and I am not sure if (A) the burning malfunctioned, [B] my computer isn't recognizing it even though it is full and successful, etc. ...

So my problem is two-fold:

(A) I need to backup my data somehow with only one barely-functioning hard-drive (can't copy it to another) and burning to DVDs isn't working (CDs are obvious unfeasible for their size, but they seem to be burning fine).

[B] I need to buy a new hard-drive, and I am sick enough of this computer and its malfunctions along with the junk that came with it and the problems that have been made in the registry that instead of copying an image/etc. of my current drive onto the new drive, I want to backup the important files/documents/audio/video/etc. but start 100% fresh with the new hard-drive and install XP SP2 on that and simply add all the backed-up files later; I can reinstall w/o problem the programs I have on here that I actually want to keep, so that's not an issue.

I realize you have a tutorial on using Cobian Backup, but I have no second hard-drive or partition to backup to, and DVD-burning seems to be malfunctioning, so I am at a loss as for what to do. I realize there is the option of buying a portable/external hard-drive and transferring all the files I want to keep onto there, but I don't think I could afford buying both a new internal hard-drive AND an external when in the end I'll only be transferring or copying the contents of the external onto the new internal drive anyway.

Help? I really don't know what to do, and it's only a matter of time before this drive fails too. It's hit or miss whether the drive is recognized when I turn on the computer, and when the C:\ isn't recognized I have nothing to boot from so I can only turn it off and come back in an hour or two hoping that this time it WILL be recognized.

Sorry for making you read such a long post! I can post specs or run tests if you want/need them; I already just figured out what type and amounts of RAM I have but that's another issue.

Edited by teiresias, 24 February 2009 - 03:38 PM.


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#2 Sterling14

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Posted 24 February 2009 - 06:16 PM

Well, if you think your hard drive can last long enough, why not buy a hard drive soon and then put it in as the master drive. Then, leave your old hard drive in, but make it a slave drive. Do a clean installation on the new one, and then you could copy the files over from the old to the new.
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#3 teiresias

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Posted 24 February 2009 - 08:51 PM

Thanks, but I thought SATA drives were incompatible with master/slave drive relationships?

On another note, I ran some of the Seagate hard-drive diagnostic scans and they all came back fine; I also ran HDD Health (just installed that) but don't know how to interpret the results/values. However, I am certain the hard-drive is failing — it is making an insane racket like never before (I opened the case and used my ear to confirm the sound IS from the hard-drive in question and not a fan/etc.); additionally, whenever I turn on the computer it is hit-or-miss whether the drive is recognized to boot from or if no drive is identified.

Edit: I have been wondering what could cause two drives, first one that was new last Xmas (so 14 months old) and then one from 2005, to fail one after another — could insufficient cooling cause hard-drives to fail? Just as a thought I looked at the failing hard-drive's internal temp. and it was reported as 46 C / 115 F though sometimes in the higher 40s F; I'm not sure if that's really bad or not though I read about temps decreasing to in the 30s C with a case/chassis fan added. Thoughts?

Edited by teiresias, 24 February 2009 - 08:56 PM.


#4 the_patriot11

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Posted 25 February 2009 - 02:46 AM

Just buy a new sata drive, and plug it in, and format it as a NTSF system, and the computer will automatically set it up as a storage drive, then just transfer the files across. another way to do it would be to back it up over a network to another computer.

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#5 teiresias

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Posted 25 February 2009 - 12:21 PM

Forgive me if I seem dense, but I'm not that familiar with this kind of stuff. The thing is, I want to basically do a clean installation of Windows on the new hard-drive, and essentially make it (or at least a partition of it) the new C:\. If the computer automatically sets up the new drive as storage and the main drive with the OS fails, wouldn't I have to re-format the new drive in order to be able to install Windows on it? Since all I'd have on there would be video, audio, text, pictures, program application data, etc.

Is there a way with SATA drives for me to clean-install the OS on the new drive and make it C:\? Would I have to remove the current C:\ first, i.e. are the drive-letters unchangeable once selected? I mean, I think I could install Windows on the new drive and have all the file-paths for everything be H:\ or whatever, but once the old drive fails 100% will there be a problem of not having a C:\ (default main) drive at all? As you can see, I don't really know what I'm doing.

As for a network, that's not possible right now there's one other computer in the house and it can't hold capacity-wise the amount (GB) of files I need to backup; it's an older computer with a very small hard-drive, at least by recent standards.

#6 hamluis

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Posted 25 February 2009 - 12:33 PM

I like Sterling's approach...buy a new drive, format/install XP...and go forward.

System manufacturer and model?

Does your current motherboard have SATA connectors?

Not to suggest that SATA drives are a prerequisite, just wanting to know what your current system supports.

It doesn't matter whether the drive is SATA or PATA...installing XP is basically the same set of procedures, with the only difference (possible) being that the SATA drivers may have to be installed as part of the XP setup. On some systems, it's not necessary.

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#7 czhang

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Posted 25 February 2009 - 03:01 PM

Connect only the new hard drive to the motherboard when you do a clean installation of XP SP2. You can partition your new hard drive into C: for the OS and D: for your data. After you have finished installing XP SP2, you can connect your old hard drive to the motherboard. You will need a SATA cable with two connectors for hard drives (the other end is for the motherboard), or two SATA cable and two SATA ports on the motherboard. The computer should set the new hard drive as the default boot device. If not, you will need to change the BIOS setting to specify which hard drive you want to boot first.

Edited by czhang, 25 February 2009 - 03:02 PM.


#8 teiresias

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Posted 25 February 2009 - 04:54 PM

Hamluis, my computer is a Dell Dimension 5100, the OS is Windows XP Prof. SP2 2002 version, and the motherboard is Dell model 0J8885 with an Intel i945G/GZ Rev. A2 chipset, Intel 82801GB (ICH7/R) for southbridge, and SMSC for LPCIO according to CPU-Z 1.50. BIOS is Dell v. A01. I'm not sure if that's what you were looking for or not ... ?

SATA connectors? I'm not that familiar with the inside of my computer or the motherboard other than recognizing where the drives, motherboard, power supply, air vents, etc. are I'll take a look inside. Those would be what are orange in this picture?

czhang, that makes sense.

#9 hamluis

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Posted 25 February 2009 - 05:56 PM

Yes sir, those orange things are SATA connectors :thumbsup:.

Since you have those, installing XP should simply be a matter of connecting the drive...inserting the CD/DVD...and doing it.

If you don't have your Dell key available on your system somewhere, you can any number of tools to get it before you start the install.

You will also want to have at least your network drivers available, since that will facilitate activation, updates, etc.

Your BIOS should reflect your SATA drives as SATA, older BIOSes would reflect them as SCSI.

http://pcsupport.about.com/od/fixtheproble...derchange_2.htm

Louis




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