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Hard drive problem?


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#1 PCIlliterateGal

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Posted 08 October 2005 - 11:08 PM

It may not be a big deal, or any deal at all, but I've noticed my hard drive is much louder than usual. First it was only the fan (or what I assume is the fan), but now the grinding seems to go on longer than usual whenever my computer is starting up, or when I'm maneuvering around a website.

It only began the last time I turned on my computer, and when I turned it on, it was in Safe Mode, but I didn't know what to do in Safe Mode, so I shut down. And now the loud fan and grinding continues.

I haven't been on the computer for long, but could it somehow be overheated?

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#2 micaman

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Posted 09 October 2005 - 02:31 AM

You should examine your fans. I have had machines come in for repair, only to find a bug caught in the fan.

Unplug your machine and remove the cover. Before touching anything inside, touch the "metal frame" that the cover was attached to. This will release any static charge you have on yourself. Be very careful in here! Do not bumb or knock anything. Next, blow out / clean all of the fans and dust inside. The best thing to use is the "Air-Cans" you buy at the office supply store. They are cans of clean air for cleaning computer components. Remember to release your static charge 'everytime' before touching your components. Then install case and restart.

If the noise is still there, you should go to your hard drive's website and see if they offer a free scan for checking for trouble. Noisy HD can be the first sign of failure ~ SOON.

Also, do you run maintenance on your machine? Do you defrag? Have you run Disk clean-up lately? Have you run disk check? You can find this by "right clicking" on your hard drive and selecting "Properties." Then click "tools" and check disk for errors and check all boxes and restart your machine. All of these maintenance items will not fix a HD that is about to crash, but you may just be over-working your HD and these maintenance items will help in a big way.

One other thing to consider is the thought that you may be infected with malware and it is maxing out your resources. Open Task Manager and look at your "processes" and the "performance" and see what is going on. If this is the case, you will need to submit your "HiJackThis" log, in the proper topic room, here at Bleeping for help scrubbing your machine.

:thumbsup:

Edited by micaman, 09 October 2005 - 03:19 AM.


#3 PCIlliterateGal

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Posted 12 October 2005 - 02:45 PM

All this sounds very foreign to me...

"Unplug your machine and remove the cover. Before touching anything inside, touch the "metal frame" that the cover was attached to. This will release any static charge you have on yourself. Be very careful in here! Do not bumb or knock anything. Next, blow out / clean all of the fans and dust inside. The best thing to use is the "Air-Cans" you buy at the office supply store. They are cans of clean air for cleaning computer components. Remember to release your static charge 'everytime' before touching your components."

Couldn't I just take it to a shop and have them do it? I am so clumsy and uninformed... I might electrocute myself or something. But I might try it...if I can ever get back behind the desk with all the dust and cords in order to unplug the thing.

"If the noise is still there, you should go to your hard drive's website and see if they offer a free scan for checking for trouble. Noisy HD can be the first sign of failure ~ SOON."

I will check the site. So what happens if the hard drive does fail? Can it be fixed, will all my info be lost?

"Also, do you run maintenance on your machine? Do you defrag? Have you run Disk clean-up lately? Have you run disk check? You can find this by "right clicking" on your hard drive and selecting "Properties." Then click "tools" and check disk for errors and check all boxes and restart your machine."

I've never heard of defrag and I've never done a disk clean-up or disk check. I will see about all this, but how do I right click on my hard drive? Dumb question, I know.


"One other thing to consider is the thought that you may be infected with malware and it is maxing out your resources. Open Task Manager and look at your "processes" and the "performance" and see what is going on. If this is the case, you will need to submit your "HiJackThis" log, in the proper topic room, here at Bleeping for help scrubbing your machine."

....OK, but how do I open task manager? I submitted a HiJackThis log a couple months ago, and it seemed my system was clean. I guess I could submit another one, but I had so much trouble producing the first log. I have protection on my machine...ZoneAlarm firewall, AVG Antivirus, Spybot S&D, Adaware, SpywareBlaster, SpywareGuard...I don't surf the net much, and I rarely download any kind of attachments or anything.


This computer is pretty old, a Windows98 system, and it was used by someone else years before I started using it. It has lots of errors and there's always something going wrong. I wouldn't be surprised if the hard drive IS about to conk out.

Along with the louder noises, my computer has started to slow down quite a bit. Doesn't slowness and the never-ending grinding noise signal low memory?

#4 usasma

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Posted 13 October 2005 - 10:25 AM

The very FIRST thing you should do is to backup anything important to you. Loud noise from a hard drive usually is a sign of an impending failure.

Here's a free tool to check the SMART status of your drive: http://www.almico.com/speedfan.php
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#5 PCIlliterateGal

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Posted 14 October 2005 - 12:54 AM

I want to check all this out. But I haven't had much time and my mom insists we take the hard drive to a repair shop. Could one of the technicians find out what's wrong and fix it, at least some of it? It could be a bug or dirt in the fan or something...and I'm pretty sure there's a memory problem. That could be the main problem or it could be part of the entire thing about to break down, but is there anyway it could be repaired by a pro beforehand so the breakdown won't happen?

Edited by PCIlliterateGal, 14 October 2005 - 12:56 AM.


#6 acklan

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Posted 14 October 2005 - 01:52 AM

They could find out whats wrong, but if it is a failing hard drive the only fix is to replace it. If you want to save yourself (your mom ) a repair bill download http://www.download.com/Digital-Dolly/3000...tml?tag=lst-0-1 , make an ISO cd so it will boot your computer. Buy yourself a equal or greater HD and use Digital Dolly to make a drive image to the new HD. Digital Dolly is freeware.
It is the cheapest solution if the drive is going to fail.
Good luck.

Edited by acklan, 14 October 2005 - 01:53 AM.

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#7 stidyup

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Posted 14 October 2005 - 02:59 AM

Ultimate Boot CD contains serval cloning tools plus tools to test the fitness of your hdd.

UBCD4Win also has a couple of drive cloning utilities. Drive Image is currently freeware and there's a bartpe plugin for it here.

clone maxx is a freeware product and is a smaller download, but I don't think it's that quick.

If your drive is making grinding noises, backup your data and replace the drive immediately.

#8 PCIlliterateGal

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Posted 17 October 2005 - 08:01 PM

"If your drive is making grinding noises, backup your data and replace the drive immediately."

Well it's been making that noise ever since I started using it two years ago. I figured all computers made grinding noises. But it's just that the noise goes on a bit longer than usual, like it's struggling to retrieve data or something. The excessive grinding noise coincided with the fan being a bit louder and the computer being a little slower.




"If you want to save yourself (your mom ) a repair bill download http://www.download.com/Digital-Dolly/3000...tml?tag=lst-0-1 , make an ISO cd so it will boot your computer. Buy yourself a equal or greater HD and use Digital Dolly to make a drive image to the new HD."

What's a ISO cd?

Do you have an idea of how much a repair would cost? And what is the average price of a new hard drive?



I guess I need to check out all the options and make one of the back-up thingys. I can't get to the back of the hard drive to check the fans. I need instructions on how to defrag and how to run a disk clean-up.

Edited by PCIlliterateGal, 17 October 2005 - 08:00 PM.


#9 Rimmer

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Posted 17 October 2005 - 08:32 PM

Hi PCIlliterateGal,

Just reading through this thread I think there is a terminology problem which could confuse people - when you say "hard drive" do you mean the whole PC tower (the box where the CDROM drive and the power switch are found)? Lots of people call that the 'hard drive' but in reality the hard drive is a single component inside this case. I'll refer to that part as the "tower" (even though yours may be a desktop rather than a tower but you know...)

If your tower is making grinding noises its most likely the bearings gone on the CPU fan or the Video card fan (if there is one) or it could be the power supply(PSU) fan. If you wish you can open the case and blow out the dust with a can of compressed air from a computer or electronics shop etc like micaman suggested. Doing this outside is probably the best idea because there can be lots of dust. Don't use a vacuum cleaner inside the case.

If your feeling adventurous you can power up the PC with the tower cover off and listen for the source of the noise. If you think its coming from a fan then stick the blunt end of a pencil in until it just jams the fan for a moment (but not the PSU one). If the noise goes away that's the culprit. CPU fans can be ordered to suit your CPU - there are a thousand diffferent varieties and prices. Video/Graphics card fans may be harder to come by but should be cheap. PSU fans you DO NOT attempt to change. Get the repair shop to change the whole PSU. Or fit it yourself - they're not hard to do.

However if the noise does seem to be coming from the actual hard drive then I agree with acklan you need to burn a CD(s) with a drive image on it to back up your system asap

Finally if you want to check for overheating without taking the covers off: Download the system analysis program 'Everest' so you can get detailed information about your system:
Everest download
Temperatures, voltages and fan speeds are shown under Computer>Sensor.

Hope that helps! :thumbsup:

Edited by Rimmer, 17 October 2005 - 08:41 PM.


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#10 PCIlliterateGal

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Posted 18 October 2005 - 09:29 PM

Lots of people call that the 'hard drive' but in reality the hard drive is a single component inside this case.


Ohhhh...

when you say "hard drive" do you mean the whole PC tower (the box where the CDROM drive and the power switch are found)?


Yep...

I have no idea where the noise is coming from -- all I know is it's down there in the tower. The only 'unsual' noise I hear sounds like a fan. And it's not particularly loud...just sounds like a fan turned from low to medium. The grinding noise is something that's been there the entire time, just lingering more than ever. I'm not feeling like getting behind there and checking it out for myself...way too dusty for someone with allergies. I'm sure my mom won't do it. So I guess I'll take it to a shop. I'll have them check and clean the fans and add RAM, something I'm low on. I have no idea how much it'd cost though. I guess I need to make a back-up of my system first?

#11 Rimmer

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Posted 18 October 2005 - 10:12 PM

Backups are always a good idea!

Did you work out how much RAM your system can take? - don't have time to re-read the thread at the moment - because you could just ring the repair shop and ask for a quote to "clean the fans and add an extra 128MB RAM" for example.

If you go to the Crucial Memeory website they have a diagnostic which will specifically identify what RAM you can add to your system. Go to http://www.crucial.com/ and click the 'Crucial System Scanner'.

If your in the US have a look at the newegg online site - you don't have to order from them but it will tell you what is a good price. Expect to pay more from a shop.

Edited by Rimmer, 18 October 2005 - 10:23 PM.


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#12 acklan

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Posted 18 October 2005 - 11:00 PM

I think that Rimmer has the best idea. Do it yourself. The only danger to you is if you jam a screw driver into the power supply and hit the capacitor :thumbsup: . We don't want that. Other than that be careful and you could save money and learn something. All your really need is a screw driver (cross head), a couple of cans of compressed air from Walmart, and a touch of common sense. Have fun. :flowers:
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#13 Rimmer

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Posted 19 October 2005 - 04:02 AM

Like acklan says.
After all you will have to "get behind there" to unplug everything so you can take the tower in for repair....

Once you get it out you might as well have a look inside....

Once you've opened the case you might as well blow out the dust....

Once you've blown out the dust ....
Would you like me to shut up now? :thumbsup:

Edited by Rimmer, 19 October 2005 - 04:05 AM.


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#14 PCIlliterateGal

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Posted 22 October 2005 - 10:18 AM

lol...well *I'm* not gonna be the one who goes back there to unplug it and blow out the dust. I'm gonna have to have someone else install the memory anyway. I did manage to get a peek at the back of the tower...I didn't see any kind of removable cover to anything.

If you want to save yourself (your mom ) a repair bill download http://www.download.com/Digital-Dolly/3000...tml?tag=lst-0-1 , make an ISO cd so it will boot your computer. Buy yourself a equal or greater HD and use Digital Dolly to make a drive image to the new HD.


It's cheaper to buy a hard drive than to repair??

#15 acklan

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Posted 22 October 2005 - 01:39 PM

I was referring to having a shop replace your hard drive. I was recommending going online and buying a replacement drive and transferring a mirror image of the old drive onto the new drive. This would not cost you any thing but the drive. If you go to a shop they will charge you for the drive (maybe twice what you could get it online for), then charge you to do a drive image from the old drive to the new drive.
Once you have the image on the new drive pull the old drive, and set the new drive as master.
Digital Dolly is free and is mush like Partition Magic. It also has a utility to test your hard drive.

Edited by acklan, 22 October 2005 - 01:41 PM.

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