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Having Trouble Defragging - Is My Hard Drive Dying?


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#1 hagbag69

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Posted 20 October 2005 - 08:06 AM

Hi folks,

When I defrag my C: drive in Normal mode, it gets to 4% then resets to zero, repeating this over and over till it comes up with an error message. When I defrag in Safe mode the defrag gets to 10% and won't respond.
It's Win 98 and everything seems to work normally except for the sound (none at all) and when I restart, the screen goes black and leaves me with no other option but to hit reset on the tower.
I was referred to the Hardware forum by Bricat in the Spyware forum. For more details of what's happened, I think this is the link...!!

http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/ind...topic=32469&hl=

If you've got any ideas about what's going on, I'd be very grateful
Hagbag69

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#2 Rimmer

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Posted 20 October 2005 - 08:33 AM

Thanks for the link, that explains the problem well.

What make and model is the hard drive in your system? If you don't have any info download the Everest tool and have a look through that:
Everest download

Boot in Safe Mode and do a scandisk with the 'Thorough' and 'Fix' options checked.
If you are not sure how to boot in Safe Mode there is a tutorial here:
Safe Mode
How to find scandisk:
Start>My Computer. Right click the C: drive then Properties>Tools tab, click on Check Now

Let us know what you find. :thumbsup:

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#3 ddeerrff

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Posted 20 October 2005 - 10:14 AM

First off, complete Rimmer's suggestions.



Old Win98 installation can be rather problematic when trying to run defrag. What worked for me:

Disconnect from the net.

Open HijackThis, select 'Just open the program', then from the lower right select "Config...".
Under the "Misc Tools" tab open "Open Process manager".

'Kill Process' on EVERYTHING except Explorer.

Now try the Scan disk and defrag.
Derfram
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#4 Gothmog

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Posted 23 October 2005 - 04:57 AM

from what i remember about win98 and scandisk/defrag the progress will be reset if there is the smallest change to the drive. Then, if you understand that doing almost anything in windows (including nothing) can alter the HD, esp. since windows loves VM, you realize it is futile to do without booting off a disk. Floppy or OS cd, either will have those rudimentary tools in that pseudo DOS enviornment. (I think i'm right but i may only be right about the scandisk half.)

How full is the drive you are attempting to defrag? ages ago when my only HD was an 8GB beast i remember the defrag could only go so far because it didn't have enough room to shuffle around the larger files that were fragged to hell. I recall that a game I installed that pretty much topped off the drive had some files with 8000 fragments, to which I said "ohh is that all?" which explained why it took my guy 5 minutes to move 3 inches on the screen. Anyway, my point was that my magic number was somewhere between 12 to 15% of total drive space free before it would go to 100% complete and get rid of all those ugly frag stripes. I dont know if the required amount is a % or a fixed amount (.15x8=1.2gb?) but i bet it is probably related to the size of the files that are fragmented.

Rimmer's method will probably work, since he is the forum addict ;), but I personally hated safe mode more than jello with fruit in it. Give me a good o'l DOS promt anyday.

#5 usasma

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Posted 23 October 2005 - 08:48 AM

As I recall, from long ago, use Ctrl-Alt-Del and kill off everything except for explorer.exe and systray.exe

You might even try that from Safe Mode to see if it works.
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#6 hagbag69

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Posted 23 October 2005 - 09:48 AM

Hi everyone,

Rimmer, I got into safemode, ran scandisk with the "thorough" and "fix" options checked. Scandisk returned 245760 files in defective areas. I defragged in safe mode, and it reached 100% quite happily. So that's that sorted.

As for Everest, I haven't a clue what I'm looking for! I've pasted what I think is the right info below, and from what I can make out, the hard drive is GENERIC IDE DISK TYPE47, but gives no other info. (hope you understand Spanish!)

Almacenamiento (Storage):
Controlador IDE Controlador primario IDE (FIFO doble)
Controlador IDE Controlador secundario IDE (FIFO doble)
Controlador IDE Controlador VIA Bus Master PCI IDE
Disquetera de 3 1/2 GENERIC NEC FLOPPY DISK
Disco duro (hard disk) GENERIC IDE DISK TYPE47
Lector óptico PIONEER CD-ROM DR-A01S (24x CD-ROM)
Lector óptico SONY DVD RW DW-D22A (DVD+R9:2.4x, DVD+RW:16x/4x, DVD-RW:8x/4x, DVD-ROM:16x, CD:48x/24x/48x DVD+RW/DVD-RW)
Estado de los discos duros SMART Desconocido

Particiones:
C: (FAT32) 28609 MB (9523 MB free)
D: (FAT32) 28601 MB (26138 MB free)
Tamaño total 55.9 GB (34.8 GB free)

In the other forum, Bricat suggested that I might need a new hard drive, is this the case? How do I know whether the drive is OK? And what can I do about the sound not working?!

Thanks again for your input everyone,
Hagbag69

#7 Rimmer

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Posted 23 October 2005 - 06:32 PM

Bricat suggested that I might need a new hard drive, is this the case? How do I know whether the drive is OK?

"Scandisk returned 245760 files in defective areas" is not a good sign. I'd be looking at replacing my hard drive asap. Having said that, if the data on your system is not important (e.g you just use the PC for internet access and collecting your emails and you have them backed up anyway) then this need not be catastrophic. The damage could have been due to a one-off problem and scandisk will have worked around it. The trick is to run scandisk (with a surface scan) often and make a note of how many bad sectors are recorded. If the number is stable you could just carry on regardless. If the number increases order your new drive immediately!

Here's a blurb I've just written on finding hard drive info with Everest 2.2:

Start Everest.
In the 'Menu' pane on the left click on 'Storage', a number of icons will appear in the right hand pane.
Clicking on these icons will replace them with more detailed information.
For example clicking on 'Optical Drives' lists all your DVD or CDROM drives and gives details for the drive which is highlighted.
To go back to the Storage screen use the green up-arrow on the toolbar or click on 'Storage' in the menu again.

Clicking on 'ATA' in the Storage screen will list your hard drives and give details for the one highlighted.
  • At the top of the list under 'ATA Device Properties' is the model number of the drive (Model ID).
  • Look under 'ATA Device Features' to see if there is a tick next to 'SMART'
  • 'ATA Device Physical Info' shows the manufacturer, the model name, the size (Formatted Capacity), the rotation speed and other data.
  • The manufacurer's website is listed under 'ATA Device Manufacturer'
If there was a tick next to SMART you can go back to the Storage screen and click the 'SMART' icon to look at drive performance statistics.
The right hand 'Status' column should have "OK:value is normal" or a similar message in each row.
If there are other messages you should download a diagnostic from the manufacturer's website and test your drive.

Remember to backup! If your data is important to you, backup today!

hth :thumbsup:

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#8 hagbag69

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Posted 25 October 2005 - 05:19 AM

Hi Rimsy,

I got as far as Storage> ATA in Everest, but nothing shows up in the Devices properties, field or value windows, and I'm guessing something should!

I went into the control panel> system, thinking I could find the hard disk info there, but all I could find was
GENERIC IDE DISK TYPE47 , same as before. No manufacturer, model etc, but it did state the date of installation as 5-5-99..!!!! Perhaps I should retire the poor thing before it's seventh birthday.

I'll keep an eye on scandisk, back everything up, and pray that the problem stabilizes, unless you've any other suggestions (I might whip the shell off, see if there's anything printed on the actual drive itself and run the manufacturers diagnostic).

If you've got any advice about cleaning the nozzles on the chicken soup machine or favourite websites about Napoleon I'd be interested to hear about them... and don't forget that November the 25th is (inter)National Gazpacho Soup Day - I'll send you the recipe if you like!
Hagbag69

#9 Rimmer

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Posted 26 October 2005 - 03:24 AM

I got as far as Storage> ATA in Everest, but nothing shows up in the Devices properties


Strange, have you got Everest v2.2 ?

If you've got any advice about cleaning the nozzles on the chicken soup machine or favourite websites about Napoleon I'd be interested to hear about them


:thumbsup:

Let us know of any progress. :flowers:

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#10 hagbag69

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Posted 26 October 2005 - 06:11 AM

:thumbsup:
Red Dwarf, Rimmer was the Napoleon obsessive who cleaned the nozzles on the chicken soup machine before the radiation leak wiped out the crew.

So I've realised I made a silly mistake on a previous post. I said there were 245760 files in bad sectors, and it should read 245760 BYTES in bad sectors. Dunno if you'd picked up on that..?

Everest I've got is Version 2.20.405, downloaded from the link you provided on your first post.

Now the latest...
I've just run Scandisk again, there's still (only!) 245760 bytes in bad sectors, so no change over a five-day period. Would you call this stability?

I shut the PC down to have a look at the hard drive and it stuck again displaying only the desktop background (no icons or menu bar) and after 5 minutes I disconnected the mains power. Printed on the unit is: Seagate Barracuda ATA IV Model ST360021A Capacity 60GB. So I go to Seagate.com> Support and look at diagnostics.
The first browser-based diagnostic by Seatools Online Drive Self Test returned "No S.M.A.R.T. thresholds exceeded"
The second, more thorough, browser-based diagnostic returned "One of your Seagate disk drives has returned a S.M.A.R.T. alert or failed a self test. Would you like to verify your warranty and obtain an RMA online?"
I'm not very hopeful that after 6 years my warranty's still valid, but I'll hit Yes anyway...

OK, so the warranty is history. The diagnostic "has determined that logical block 135358 is failing. This address is being used by the following file: . Run Seatools Desktop for additional information on this product.
Any Drive reporting a S.M.A.R.T. error should be considered likely to fail at any time. Back up your data and contact your vendor for return information".

So that's good news..! I backed everything up onto CDs yesterday and I suppose I'll be adding a hard drive to my Christmas list.

While I was at it, I ran the File System checks on both partitions and no problems were found on either. I also ran the Generic Drive tests:
90 second surface scan: No errors were found
Complete surface scan:
SeaTools scan has encountered an error reading sector 135358. To continue scanning click OK. > OK.
SeaTools scan has encountered an error reading sector 135643. To continue scanning click OK. > OK.
SeaTools scan has encountered an error reading sector 139376. To continue scanning click OK. > OK.
SeaTools scan has encountered an error reading sector 139510. To continue scanning click OK. > OK.
The scan was cancelled.
SeaTools has found errors on drive ST360012A. One or more sectors on the drive are unreadable. Back up your data etc...

Now the question is what do I do?! Buy a new hard drive and have it installed with the same Windows 98 licence or get with the times and have XP installed on it?
I hope this has helped expand your knowledge a bit, cos it certainly has mine!

Hagbag69

#11 Rimmer

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Posted 26 October 2005 - 08:20 AM

Rimmer was the Napoleon obsessive who cleaned the nozzles on the chicken soup machine

I was not obsessive about Napoleon and I'll have you know cleaning the chicken soup machine nozzles played a vital role in maintaining crew moral and wellbeing. Of course they're all dead now, but still not a role to be sneezed at, at all! I can tell you! :thumbsup:

245760 BYTES in bad sectors

I was wondering about that.

no change over a five-day period. Would you call this stability?

Nope, try a couple of months.

Now the question is what do I do?

Order your new hard drive.
As far as XP is concerned it depends on whether your system can handle it - I can't see anywhere you've listed your processor type and speed and amount of RAM you have. You would want to have 256MB RAM and a fairly good processor to make XP worth installing. See www.microsoft.com for the Windows XP Upgrade Advisor but be advised it is about 30MB to download. It checks for problems you may encounter with hardware and software if you changed/upgraded to XP.

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#12 acklan

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Posted 26 October 2005 - 10:00 AM

If you replace your hard drive before it fails you can drive image and save yourself the time of reinstalling all your programs, and OS. I have to agree with Rimmer it's not if, but when it will fail. This is about all I would use it for. Chances it will go out long before your new drive.
Use the old drive to back up everything (OS to pictures) in case, in the unlikely event, the new drive fails.
If you decide to make an image and don't have a program like Partition Magic to accomplish the task, try Digital Dolly. It's freeware that will do the trick.
Good luck.
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#13 hagbag69

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Posted 26 October 2005 - 11:00 AM

Thanks Rimmer, Thanks Acklan,

I'll have to use Digital Dolly, but have you any links or tips for a clean transfer of data from one HD to another?
Will I need to install both HD's and once and what if there's no 2nd connection available?
Does it matter if I buy a bigger (>60GB) HD and transfer the partitions, data, OS, etc?

I've also noticed that 60GB is the bottom end of the market in terms of HD storage space. I'm guessing that I'd be better off looking at 400GB or thereabouts, cos if this HD lasted 6 years, a new one'll last till at least 2010 and I'm thinking about storage and compatibility in the future. Any opinions?

Hagbag69

#14 acklan

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Posted 26 October 2005 - 11:43 AM

Go to this link and read up on Digital Dolly. It will make a one for one copy of your drive. I would do a google on imaging hard drives. I have heard that it is best to keep the same size hard drive. You maybe able to create an equal partition for the image. Ireally think is has to do with the physcal drive though.
As far as the IDE chain being filled. Unplug the CD and plug the new drive there until the transfer it complete. Make sure the target drive is set t slave and the source is Master.
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#15 hagbag69

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Posted 02 November 2005 - 01:59 PM

Dear Rimmer and Acklan

Thank you both for your help with this topic. I am now the proud owner of a new 160Gb hard drive with extra whistles and bells attached. I've finally abandoned win98 forever (I hope) and had XP installed on the new HD, opening up a whole new world of system stability or lack thereof..!

Look after yourselves and keep up the good fight
Hagbag69




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