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Strange Hard Drive Noise...?


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#1 Ed022

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Posted 22 October 2005 - 03:53 PM

Hi all, I just signed up for this forum after Googling my problem for a few hours with no valid matches...

I have two hard drives in my system, and a DVD+RW and a floppy drive. My first drive just went bad a month ago, several sectors went bad and I bought a new one to replace it. Fortunately I was able to salvage most of my stuff, since it never fully died. The new one replacing it is a Seagate 250GB, but only formatted for 167. My second hard drive (E) is a Maxtor 250GB, and it's acting up now. Though it's always visible in My Computer, sometimes I can access it just fine, but sometimes it makes a strange sound while trying to read from it, and then freezes the computer 10-20 seconds later, while the hard drive light on my case stays on. Most of the time, the noise sounds while accessing my floppy or DVD drives, and then if I try to access the second hard drive afterwards, it freezes as described above. The sound, if anyone's familiar with it, is about the same sound as it makes when coming out of standby mode, on which I put my computer each night. For those unfamiliar with the sound, it's like a click, sometimes a faint beep, a second or two of what I'd call "powering up", and then maybe a short instance of the typical grinding of it reading. I may have described that all wrong because I was doing so from memory, but that's what I seem to recall.

So anyway, I looked all over Google for a long while, and have concluded that it could be just about anything. What do you think? Has anyone encountered anything like this before? What should I do or check? Thanks, I'd really like to avoid having to replace BOTH hard drives within a month of each other.

Edited by Ed022, 22 October 2005 - 04:57 PM.


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#2 Rimmer

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Posted 23 October 2005 - 02:23 AM

:thumbsup: to BC Ed022.

Powering off and reseating the drive cables is probably a good first step. (Well second step really, backing up your data is the first step!)

Go to the Maxtor site, enter your hard drive model number and look for a download of the PowerMax utility which will enable you to run some tests on your drive. Follow their instructions and then get back to us. :flowers:

Edited by Rimmer, 23 October 2005 - 02:25 AM.


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#3 Gothmog

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Posted 23 October 2005 - 03:33 AM

A drive isn't neccesarily scrap if it has a few bad sectors. Running scandisk on 'thorough' mode can weed out all the bad sectors. Itcan mark them as bad so in the future the drive will skip over them in favor of the good ones. Now that being said I wouldn't have my only surviving copy of grandma's wedding photos on a drive that has a less than perfect reputation, but with two 250GB drives you could probably have them in a redundant array and still not fill them up.

The only problem you might have is that a drive as massive as 250 GB or even 167 will take a looooooooooooooooooooooonggg time to scan. I think that my puny girly-man 80gb baracuda takes a long time to scan! The only fix to that would be to partition them with fdisk(eww reformat) or partition magic, but then your last drive would be somewhere between J and N

Also I wouldnt just trash that old drive, I had a maxtor drive that failed, and was at least 3 years old at the time, and after a half hour on hold i got an RMA and a new hard drive free! Or if you dont want it you could send it to me! I could always use a spare, massive drive ;)

EDIT-
ohh i almost forgot, the sound you mentioned seems normal. However the whole reads half the time/ doesnt the other half sounds like it has some bad sectors too(must be contagious). Definately scandisk your drive, even if it takes a day. The way you describe your problem sticks in the back of my head and reminds me of that maxtor i mentioned above. but definately go with rimmer's suggestion first since it will probably take way less time

Edited by Gothmog, 23 October 2005 - 03:50 AM.


#4 Ed022

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Posted 23 October 2005 - 12:16 PM

Hey guys, thanks for the input! By reseating the cables, do you mean unplugging and replugging them all? I tried that, and it still seems to do it. I might have to try the MaxBlast software, which I considered at first, I just didn't know if it'd be able to track down a hardware issue, which at this point I believe it is.

Now regarding keeping the old drive, I dunno, it seemed pretty bad. Maybe I could try ScanDisk and see if that improves performance, but last time, yes, it did take a long long time. Not solely becaue the drive was large, it seemed to slow down to a crawl every time in ran into bad sectors (reporting them in multiples of 8 in a row), but flew through the good areas. I also scanned my other hard drive when diagnosing the first (the other hard drive is now the one giving me problems), and that scan took a matter of a couple minutes at most (despite 250GB capacity), whereas scanning the first took several hours because of all the bad sectors. Is that normal? Performance on the first one was generally degraded too, taking a long time to open directories and files, etc. That's also probably due to the bad sectors, as in the scan.

I still have the first hard drive that failed, just not in my machine. I figured it'd be a shame to waste, especially since it has a copy of all my years of data (don't worry, I have several backups as well). Maybe I can call Maxtor and hope for a free drive too...

Yeah, the sound does sound normal to me, since I hear it every time it comes out of standby, except now it stirs up fear every time I hear it during normal operation, because I know a lock up is imminent. It's certainly not the same breed of bad sectors as the first drive I replaced, because it still reads very quickly when it does, but following this noise, it can't read from it at all, and when I try, it hangs with the HD LED lit until I reboot. That's the part I can't figure out, that and why the noise happens in the first place. As I posted originally, it happens when I access the DVD or Floppy drive. I can't figure out why, because those two are on a separate cable from the two hard drives. For that reason I suspected some kind of power issue, but even that seems illogical. As far as I know, my power supply can more than handle my devices, though I'm not sure of it's exact wattage, I'm thinking 400W.

Well, with all that, any further input? Thanks again for that which you've offered so far!

#5 Rimmer

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Posted 23 October 2005 - 08:21 PM

it seemed to slow down to a crawl every time in ran into bad sectors (reporting them in multiples of 8 in a row), but flew through the good areas

Yep, its got a lot more to do when it finds a bad area.

that scan took a matter of a couple minutes at most (despite 250GB capacity), whereas scanning the first took several hours because of all the bad sectors. Is that normal?

No it's not. Try again making sure the 'Thorough' box and the 'Fix' box are selected.

following this noise, it can't read from it at all, and when I try, it hangs with the HD LED lit until I reboot. That's the part I can't figure out, that and why the noise happens in the first place.


Your drive sounds like its got an electronics problem - if the drive thinks it has got into an unusual state it will do a 'hard home' on the heads powering them back into the start position which can make quite a noise. If it does that and still thinks it's in an unusual state it could 'hang'. Run that Maxtor diagnostic!

There's a website somewhere with faulty drive noises you can compare with your own - but I can't find the address! :thumbsup:

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#6 Ed022

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Posted 25 October 2005 - 12:02 AM

If you happen to find that address, I'd be interested to take a look. I'll try those suggestions when I have the time, I'm keeping pretty busy with both work and class. In the mean time, if you have any other ideas for either causes or solutions, let me know so I can try a bunch of things at once! Thanks!

Edited by Ed022, 25 October 2005 - 12:02 AM.


#7 stidyup

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Posted 25 October 2005 - 02:09 AM

HDD Regenerator 1.51

$59.95
HDD Regenerator is a unique program for regeneration of physically damaged hard disk drives. It does not hide bad sectors, it really restores them!


I've used this in the past to recover bad sectors, but it is expensive. It will only recover sectors that aren't phyiscally damaged, if they are there is nothing you can do.

However the free option is to zero out your drive this will also work but you will need to back up your data as you will lose it all doing this.

Ultimate Boot CD has several free utilities that can wipe your drive and the UBCD4Win also has several tools which can do a zero wipe as well.

#8 Rimmer

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Posted 25 October 2005 - 06:02 AM

The link for hard drive noises is right here, in a magnificent compendium of hard drive diagnostic tools created by our resident expert, Leurgy:
Hard Drive Tools

-which I omitted to read. :thumbsup:

Edited by Rimmer, 25 October 2005 - 06:04 AM.


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#9 Ed022

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Posted 25 October 2005 - 08:06 PM

Well I'm happy to say my sound is much friendlier than any of the noises featured on that page (assuming it was just the 6 or 7 immediately visible?), though it still scares me each time I hear it 'cause I know it's gonna lock up. Perhaps when I'm feeling brave I'll record my sound, though I'll have to do it with an external device since invoking the sound causes the computer to stop responding.
Zeroing out the drive may be a good idea to try to reuse that one, but since I've already replaced that one, my primary concern right now is my other one, which is for whatever reason becoming unreadable when I access the floppy or DVD drive, until I reboot. Any further thoughts on that?

Edited by Ed022, 25 October 2005 - 08:22 PM.


#10 Rimmer

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Posted 25 October 2005 - 11:12 PM

What were the results from the Maxtor diagnostic?

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#11 Ed022

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Posted 17 February 2006 - 10:53 AM

I'm back again. My computer was doing well the past few months, mostly, but this error came up again more frequently recently. I pretty much don't use my E hard drive anymore, for fear of it causing the system to freeze like I described. However, the symptoms often arise when I use, or have used, the optical disk drive. And sometimes it seems to come up on its own, even when I don't access it. Sometimes it recovers, in which case it does the following: initial beep/click noise, hard drive LED on steady for about a minute, computer performance normal otherwise. (However, if I try to enter standby after such a recovery, it freezes.) When I'm not so fortunate, I hear the click, the HD LED is steadily on, and a few seconds later the system freezes entirely. I did a bit of quick research on Google again, and I found two cases that seem to be describing the same experience:
http://forum.majorgeeks.com/archive/index.php/t-32647.html - This one starts sounding like me about half way down the page
http://www.opentechsupport.net/forums/arch...ic/26253-1.html - This one sounds exactly like what I've seen, but I couldn't find any such logs.
Edit: I did actually find a log item that may be related:
Source: Disk
The driver detected a controller error on \Device\Harddisk0\D.
Does this information provide any additional clues?

Edited by Ed022, 18 February 2006 - 02:00 AM.


#12 Ed022

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Posted 20 February 2006 - 05:29 PM

Here are a few more symptoms to consider, if anyone is still following this thread.

As I mentioned, the hard drive related freezing has been increasing in frequency the past couple days, so I decided to pull it out and perhaps try to return it to Maxtor. Before doing so, I went to check whether I had any critical files left on it, but each time I opened that drive in Windows Explorer, it would make the familiar click, the LED would come on steadily, and a second later it would freeze, as usual. I tried it about three times. Assuming I didn't have anything to extract from the drive, I performed a quick format, which I think just erases all files on it. That succeeded, and just out of curiosity, I tried to see what would happen if I copied files back to it. That too completed successfully, but when I went back to the drive to look at the said files, it froze again. After rebooting, I did another quick format, followed by a Scan Disk. Surprisingly, that completed without a freeze up, as I'd come to believe that it would freeze upon any sort of read access. It didn't report any results other than the scan completed. I think that was the last thing I did with the drive. Does this make any sense at all, and/or does it point to some specific problem? And if so, is it something that may be overcome, or should I see what Maxtor can do about it? Thanks.

#13 Michael Giacchetti

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Posted 21 February 2006 - 02:52 AM

The link for hard drive noises is right here, in a magnificent compendium of hard drive diagnostic tools created by our resident expert, Leurgy:
Hard Drive Tools

-which I omitted to read. :thumbsup:

sadly, ive heard all of these at one point or another :flowers:




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