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Hard drive dying? possibly more? how to find out?


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#1 caspian915

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Posted 13 April 2011 - 12:17 AM

Hi all,

First time posting.

Background: I have a Gateway MT6705 notebook with a Intel T2060 Pentium 1.6 processor, 1.5GB ram, 120GB hard drive, and dual booting Windows 7 and Linux (Jolicloud OS), but it isn't in the best of shape. I'm trying to figure out the best option here since I'm on a severely limited budget (no way I can get a new computer): do I simply replace the hard drive, which is cheaper ($40-$50) but may not be the whole problem, or do I pick up a used, working computer off of craigslist ($100-$150)?

Problem: just yesterday my computer started siezing up. The hard drive no longer made any sound (which is unusual because it had been spending every second creaking away, regardless of what I was doing), and Windows seized up; mouse didn't work, keyboard didn't respond, nothing. The only way out was to press the power button. After a few restarts like that, it started occasionally not even getting to the bootup screen. I'd have to power off and back on again once or twice to get it to boot. It started happening sooner and sooner. Today I spent most of the day moving files over to an external hard drive, fearing the worst. Took a long time because I'd get some transferred and then it would seize up again. That's all finished thankfully.

I have run CHKDSK and HDTune but it doesn't appear to tell me anything is wrong except for a few bad reallocated sector counts. What else can I do to determine the cause of the problem/health of the machine? I need to be absolutely certain if I'm going to buy another computer instead of just a hard drive.

thanks!

- sps

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#2 cryptodan

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Posted 13 April 2011 - 12:24 AM

What kind of Hard Drive do you have?

#3 caspian915

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Posted 13 April 2011 - 12:53 AM

According to the device manager: Western Digital WD1200BEVS

#4 cryptodan

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Posted 13 April 2011 - 12:59 AM

Head on over to http://www.wdc.com and download the Data Life Guard Tools for your drive, and run the tests.

#5 caspian915

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Posted 13 April 2011 - 01:07 AM

Thanks! I'll report back.

- sps

#6 caspian915

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Posted 13 April 2011 - 08:01 AM

Head on over to http://www.wdc.com and download the Data Life Guard Tools for your drive, and run the tests.


Data Lifeguard Tools passed it with no hint of a problem. However, given that when the computer is completely shutdown and I press the power button sometimes it boots up and other times it doesn't even get to the boot screen (and when this happens, the hard drive is absolutely silent, presumably not running) I do suspect there is a problem and this program is simply not finding it.

#7 caspian915

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Posted 13 April 2011 - 08:05 AM

Furthermore, I really don't t think hard drives should creak as much and as loudly and as continuously as this one does, especially when nothing is going on. I have had this problem repeatedly with Windows-based computers: format the hard; load the OS, things nice and snappy and quiet; start adding data, things ok; start adding more data (mainly music since I have a lot of music), things start to slow down a little; load enough data that the hard drive is now about 3/4 full, things start to slow down a LOT even though there's still 25GB+ free space.

Exactly how much free space does Windows need so that it doesn't cannibalize it's own hard drive? I ask this not as a zealot, but as someone who has observed this pattern over and over and over again.

#8 cryptodan

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Posted 13 April 2011 - 11:11 AM

What kind of sounds is it making, and its probably not a windows things. What brand of drives have you noticed this with? I do not recommend Hitachi or western Digital drives to anyone.

#9 caspian915

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Posted 13 April 2011 - 11:56 AM

The current drive is Western Digital, but this is a pretty consistent problem I have had across Windows-based computers, regardless of hard drive. As soon as the drive is filled up to a certain point (that is nowhere near critical), the whole system slows.

Regardless, the current drive is making a creaking sound. Like read/write is VERY loud and goes on for 2 minutes when I click one link or open a text editor. It just keeps going. This didn't start happening until I started getting under 50GB filled. Then it just got worse.

#10 cryptodan

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Posted 13 April 2011 - 12:07 PM

Try a Seagate drive, as they tend to be higher quality in my opinion. Other people may disagree, but in the last 10 years I have had to get warranty service on 1 Seagate Drive, and that was due to a power issue. In the last 10 years I have had to perform warranty service on 18 western digital, and that was in an 24 month span. It was the same for IBM/Hitachi drives. Due to the issues I had with Western Digital and IBM/Hitachi drives I do not recommend them to anyone.




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