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Fujitsu Hard Drive in Dell Laptop Making Popping Sounds


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#1 chemwiz1

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Posted 23 June 2011 - 06:23 PM

I was recently infected with a couple of trojans on my Dell Inspiron 1520 laptop running Windows XP SP3. The laptop has been cleaned of all traces of the trojans (see Topic 403207 in the Virus, Trojan, Spyware, and Malware Removal Logs Forum). However this problem of random popping sounds being made by the Fujitsu hard drive remains. The sounds started when I installed a fake version of Dell Support Center (including PC Doctor) upon prompting by one of the trojans after I thought I had removed it. It could be coincidence that the hard drive is getting old and just happened to start making the sounds while the malware was on the laptop.

I've found a couple of articles on the Web that describe exactly the kinds of sounds I'm hearing. It appears that the Fujitsu hard drives have had a history of making these sounds from the built-in power management system that causes the heads to constantly park and unpark while the system is idling. The sounds apparently get worse with age.

The author of the Dougit blog below describes the sounds as those of a "ping pong ball being dropped on a hard surface," and says, "This problem is most recognizable when one’s computer does not have many applications in use, and is sitting in a fairly idle state, like when one is trying to read from a website through a browser, and not doing much else that will tax the CPU and the HDD." Although his blog is about Fujitsu drives in Macs, he says that this problem has been identified in Windows PCs as well.

http://dougitdesign.com/blog/2009/12/mac-clicking-hdd-hard-drive-noise-hdapm-html/

The Dell article below says that the sounds could be caused by "something in the file structure telling the disk to look for a sector that didn't exist, and the arm holding the heads was overshooting the disk and hitting its stop."

http://en.community.dell.com/support-forums/disk-drives/f/3534/t/5031665.aspx

It's possible that the malware overly taxed my hard drive, speeding up its aging process, and resulting in more frequent popping sounds that caused me to notice them for the first time. Or the malware has left some trace that continues to cause my disk to look for a sector that doesn't exist.

I tried defragmenting my hard drive as recommended in the Dell article, but the sounds are still there.

I realize that this means my laptop probably won't last much longer. My data files are already backed up, so I won't lose anything if it dies. But, I would like someone to investigate this problem to see if there is something I can do to fix this problem short of reformatting the hard drive.

Here's my Speccy link: http://speccy.piriform.com/results/KSlYkKw6PTEcw5cpv4QrVJ6

Thanks so much!

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#2 caperjac

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Posted 24 June 2011 - 04:31 AM

my opinion ,if every thing is backed up then format and reinstall , you haven't had a good clean install in over 3 yrs so i see why you don't want to do one,replacing all those programs .! , but its best sure fired way to get rid of any files that may be causing it ,you say these drives have a history of making this sound but your never made it until the trojan go on you computer

Edited by caperjac, 24 June 2011 - 04:35 AM.

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#3 chemwiz1

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Posted 24 June 2011 - 07:00 AM

It just doesn't seem worth it to reformat and reinstall everything because I would be reinstalling Windows XP, which won't be supported by Microsoft anymore, leading to more security problems down the road. I could buy Windows 7, but it costs over $100. Plus, the battery on my laptop died about a month ago, and it's over $100 to replace that as well. I'd be better off buying a new laptop or iPad.

Unless there's something I can do to investigate this popping sound further, short of reformatting the hard drive, I guess I'll just let it go on and be prepared for the hard drive to fail, at which point I will be forced to buy a new laptop or iPad.

#4 AustrAlien

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Posted 24 June 2011 - 07:05 AM

Windows XP, which won't be supported by Microsoft anymore

Windows XP will be supported until 2014.

I don't think that you have anything to be concerned about. Your HDD checks out just fine.

How long since you ran chkdsk?

Use the Windows Error Checking utility (Check Disk), with the options to scan the disk surface for errors, and attempt recovery of data and repair the disk.
  • Open "My Computer"
  • Right-click on the drive that you wish to check > Properties > Tools > and in the "Error checking" section, click on "Check now".
  • Place a tick in both boxes > Start.
  • If the disk you have chosen is the system disk:
  • A message will notify you that a restart is necessary: Click OK, and close all windows.
  • Re-start the computer. The disk will be checked when the system boots.
    This test will take some time to run and at times may appear stalled but just let it run.
  • When the disk check is complete, the system will re-start automatically and load Windows.

A log of the disk check is recorded only if the scheduled re-start is used, and only for drives on the same HDD as the Operating System.
To open Event Viewer and view the log:
  • Go to Start > Run > and type eventvwr and press the <ENTER> key.
    The Event Viewer window will open.
  • In the left pane, click on Application.
  • In the right pane, at the top, click on the column heading Source to sort the list alphabetically.
  • Look in the Source column for "Winlogon", with an entry corresponding to the date and time of the disk check.
  • Double-click on that entry to view the log.
  • Click on the Posted Image button to copy the log text to the clipboard.
  • Paste the log text into your next reply.

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#5 caperjac

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Posted 24 June 2011 - 12:59 PM

yeah,just winxp sp1 and sp2 are not supported by Microsoft

Edited by caperjac, 24 June 2011 - 01:00 PM.

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#6 chemwiz1

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Posted 24 June 2011 - 01:25 PM

I had run Chkdsk a few days ago, but we ran another ComboFix after that in cleaning up the malware, so I ran another Chkdsk earlier today. I see that Chkdsk found some things and fixed them (the previous Chkdsk log was clean). However, the sounds are still there.

I also downloaded and ran the Fujitsu HDD Diagnostic Tool for Windows (v. 1.12.0.0) on 6/22/11 after all the malware had been cleaned up -- everything was OK. Let me know if you'd like me to run this test again. The logs are below.


Chkdsk Log

Event Type: Information
Event Source: Winlogon
Event Category: None
Event ID: 1001
Date: 6/24/2011
Time: 9:13:11 AM
User: N/A
Computer: KEPLAPTOP
Description:
Checking file system on C:
The type of the file system is NTFS.
Cleaning up minor inconsistencies on the drive.
Cleaning up 45 unused index entries from index $SII of file 0x9.
Cleaning up 45 unused index entries from index $SDH of file 0x9.
Cleaning up 45 unused security descriptors.
CHKDSK is verifying Usn Journal...
Usn Journal verification completed.
CHKDSK is verifying file data (stage 4 of 5)...
File data verification completed.
CHKDSK is verifying free space (stage 5 of 5)...
Free space verification is complete.

72292499 KB total disk space.
16455552 KB in 63016 files.
21536 KB in 6269 indexes.
0 KB in bad sectors.
209555 KB in use by the system.
65536 KB occupied by the log file.
55605856 KB available on disk.

4096 bytes in each allocation unit.
18073124 total allocation units on disk.
13901464 allocation units available on disk.

Internal Info:
a0 90 01 00 b1 0e 01 00 0e 66 01 00 00 00 00 00 .........f......
eb 02 00 00 02 00 00 00 a2 06 00 00 00 00 00 00 ................
ea 37 f0 06 00 00 00 00 ba 17 5a 2e 00 00 00 00 .7........Z.....
7a fc fa 1a 00 00 00 00 98 3e b4 45 02 00 00 00 z........>.E....
02 37 df 93 03 00 00 00 ea 12 4f 2b 06 00 00 00 .7........O+....
99 9e 36 00 00 00 00 00 a0 38 07 00 28 f6 00 00 ..6......8..(...
00 00 00 00 00 00 5e ec 03 00 00 00 7d 18 00 00 ......^.....}...

Windows has finished checking your disk.
Please wait while your computer restarts.


For more information, see Help and Support Center at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/events.asp.

===============================================================================

Fujitsu HDD Test Log

Model Name : FUJITSU MHY2080BH
Serial No. : K42ZT7A25885
Firmware : 0085000B
Total LBA : 950F8B0 h

Test Name : Extended Test
Result : PASS
Test Time : 02:49:26, June 22, 2011




The drive passed the Extended Test.

#7 AustrAlien

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Posted 24 June 2011 - 06:15 PM

The HDD checks out just fine: There is no need for further testing at this time. However, you may be interested in downloading and installing the free version of HD Tune to test and keep track of your HDD performance over time.

Cleaning up minor inconsistencies on the drive.
Cleaning up 45 unused index entries from index $SII of file 0x9.
Cleaning up 45 unused index entries from index $SDH of file 0x9.
Cleaning up 45 unused security descriptors.

You might wish to run chkdsk again (one or more times) to whittle down the errors to zero if possible (not always possible). Run chkdsk like this now (there is no need to run the full scan again):

Use the Windows Error checking utility (Check Disk), with the option to "Automatically fix file system errors".
  • Open "My Computer"
  • Right-click on the drive that you wish to check > Properties > Tools > and in the "Error checking" section, click on "Check now".
  • Place a tick in the upper box ONLY (beside "Automatically fix file system errors") > Start.
  • If the disk you have chosen is the system disk:
    • A message will notify you that a restart is necessary: Click OK, and close all windows.
    • Re-start the computer. The disk will be checked when the system boots.
      This test will take some time to run and at times may appear stalled but just let it run.
    • When the disk check is complete, the system will re-start automatically and load Windows.
    • If any errors were found, or repairs made, re-start the computer a second time.
  • If any errors were found, it may be prudent to repeat Check Disk.

What do you use to defrag the HDD? Windows XP's built-in defrag utility, or some third part defrag tool?
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#8 chemwiz1

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Posted 24 June 2011 - 09:28 PM

I ran Chkdsk 4 more times, rebooting an extra time in between. First, it found 18 unused index entries, then 2, then 3, then 3 again. The last Chkdsk log is below.

Should I run Chkdsk more times, or has it done all it can?

I use the built-in Windows XP defrag utility.


Last Chkdsk Log

Event Type: Information
Event Source: Winlogon
Event Category: None
Event ID: 1001
Date: 6/24/2011
Time: 10:11:30 PM
User: N/A
Computer: KEPLAPTOP
Description:
Checking file system on C:
The type of the file system is NTFS.

Cleaning up minor inconsistencies on the drive.
Cleaning up 3 unused index entries from index $SII of file 0x9.
Cleaning up 3 unused index entries from index $SDH of file 0x9.
Cleaning up 3 unused security descriptors.
CHKDSK is verifying Usn Journal...
Usn Journal verification completed.

72292499 KB total disk space.
16885912 KB in 63246 files.
20908 KB in 6337 indexes.
0 KB in bad sectors.
209623 KB in use by the system.
65536 KB occupied by the log file.
55176056 KB available on disk.

4096 bytes in each allocation unit.
18073124 total allocation units on disk.
13794014 allocation units available on disk.

Internal Info:
a0 90 01 00 db 0f 01 00 54 66 01 00 00 00 00 00 ........Tf......
ee 02 00 00 02 00 00 00 7c 06 00 00 00 00 00 00 ........|.......
82 ae e6 06 00 00 00 00 5a 3d 80 2e 00 00 00 00 ........Z=......
a0 03 60 1a 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 ..`.............
00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 24 f1 4d 51 00 00 00 00 ........$.MQ....
99 9e 36 00 00 00 00 00 a0 38 07 00 0e f7 00 00 ..6......8......
00 00 00 00 00 60 a2 06 04 00 00 00 c1 18 00 00 .....`..........

Windows has finished checking your disk.
Please wait while your computer restarts.


For more information, see Help and Support Center at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/events.asp.

#9 AustrAlien

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Posted 26 June 2011 - 01:38 AM

Sometimes it is just not possible to reduce the number of errors reported by chkdsk to zero, and you have to be content with just a few. I do not think that there is no benefit to be gained by continuing to run chkdsk.

Re: "I use the built-in Windows XP defrag utility."
The following is not likely to stop the "weird sounds", but it might be worth investigating. Try using a third party defrag utility instead of the Windows XP built-in defrag utility. There are many to choose from, but I use and recommend MyDefrag.

Note: "MyDefrag can take a long time to complete, depending on the optimization that you have chosen. You will need some patience."
Let it run over-night.

Edited by AustrAlien, 26 June 2011 - 01:39 AM.

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#10 chemwiz1

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Posted 26 June 2011 - 03:37 AM

Thanks so much for the tip about MyDefrag. I downloaded it and ran the System Disk Monthly. It didn't take super long to run as I'd just defragmented with the Windows XP Defragmenter.

The sounds have gotten less frequent with various fixes. When the malware was still on my laptop, the sounds were almost constant. After some fixes, they went to every 15-30 sec. After the laptop was clean and I ran the XP defrag, they were down to every 3 min. After running MyDefrag, they're down to every 5 min.

I think I'll wait a few days and run the MyDefrag System Disk Monthly again. Maybe after a few runs over time, the sounds will go away!

I can post the MyDefrag log if you'd like.

#11 caperjac

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Posted 26 June 2011 - 04:11 AM

did you use a temp file cleaner yet ! if not try this one
http://www.geekstogo.com/forum/files/file/187-tfc-temp-file-cleaner-by-oldtimer/page__st__30

My answers are my opinion only,usually


#12 chemwiz1

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Posted 26 June 2011 - 02:45 PM

I already have TFC but hadn't run it before doing Chkdsk or MyDefrag. So, I ran TFC and then Chkdsk and MyDefrag again. This time, Chkdsk reached a steady state of 2 unused index entries.

However, the popping sounds are still there and behaving about the same.

I'll just wait a week or so until my hard drive is more defragmented and run TFC, Chkdsk, and MyDefrag again.

#13 chemwiz1

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Posted 30 June 2011 - 11:11 PM

I just ran TFC, Chkdsk (getting down to 2 unused index entries), and MyDefrag System Disk Monthly. The popping sounds are now occurring about every minute when the laptop is idle.

Would it help to flash my BIOS? Or was that done by ComboFix when we cleaned the malware off my laptop?

I downloaded the latest BIOS update for my laptop from Dell. However, it won't run because my battery has been dead for some time -- the program requires that the battery be charged to at least 10% of its capacity.

I tried running the update with /forceit in the Command Line under Start\Run, but it still required a battery.

The other option would be to create a bootable USB drive that allows me to go purely into DOS to run the /forceit command. I've seen instructions for doing this on other websites but don't know if I can trust them. If you think it would be a good idea to flash my BIOS, i.e., run the latest BIOS update, I'd greatly appreciate it if you would provide me instructions for creating the required bootable USB drive.

Edited by chemwiz1, 30 June 2011 - 11:20 PM.





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