Sounds very much like the hard drive is failing/has failed.
Test the hard drive. If you tell us the hard drive manufacturer's name (brand name) and model we can point you to the most appropriate diagnostic utility to use.
It is best to use the hard drive manufacturer's own diagnostic utility, but Seagate's tool will work OK on most brands. The diagnostic tool is run from a bootable CD (Windows does not need to be working).The first two steps are done on a working computer, while the third step is to boot the ailing computer with the CD that you create in the first two steps.
Please download SeaTools for DOS (CD)
from Seagate's SeaTools for DOS web page
or use the following direct download link to download the latest version of SeaTools for DOS:Download SeaTools for DOS ISO Image
The downloaded file name is SeaToolsDOS223ALL.ISO
Burn the downloaded .ISO image to a CD using the appropriate burning software.
- If you do not already have a suitable burning program for writing .ISO images to disc ...
- Download and install ImgBurn.
Ensure that you UN-check the box agreeing to install the Ask toolbar during the installation.
- Place a new (blank) CD disc in the drive tray.
- Choose Write image file to disc.
- Under Source, click on the Browse button: Navigate to and select the .ISO file that you wish to burn.
- Place a check-mark in the box beside Verify.
When the CD has been burned and verified as successful, it will be bootable.
Boot from the CD.
- (You may need to access the BIOS Setup Menu or the Boot Menu and change the boot order to enable booting from CD before hard drive.)
- From Basic tests on the Main Menu, run the Short test and then the Long test.
(The long test will take some considerable time to complete.)
The results will be shown as either a PASS or FAIL.
There is a chance that during the Long test, you may be offered the opportunity to attempt repairs on the hard drive:
- If so, go ahead and attempt to do so, but ONLY after backing up all important personal files.
You may wish to view the following ...
Please let us know the results of the tests.
When you can, include the make and model number of the problematic hard drive. If you do choose to use SeaTools, you will see the model number (and maybe the make) when SeaTools first detects the hard drive.