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System Suddenly Started Hanging


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#1 kjm782

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 03:18 PM

I was working on my computer yesterday and suddenly when I went to open a file from a folder on my desktop it began to hang. All the programs that were currently running on my computer continued to run fine and the mouse was still responsive. Some things became really slow like clicking on the Start menu. It took a long time but eventually the menu appeared. I immediately suspected that I had suffered a hard drive failure or one was in the process of failing. This happened to me about 6-7 months ago and I sent it back to Seagate for a replacement.

I am running Windows 7 64-bit and have 3 Seagate hard drives. I restarted my computer and ran the Seatools for Dos utility. All of my hard drives passed (my faulty drive last time failed this test). Could this be a hard drive controller issue? I tried starting the computer in safe mode and am having the same problem with very slow operation so that makes me suspect a hardware problem and not software although anything is possible. I really only use the computer for surfing the internet, school work, Office, etc. and don't download anything so I'd be surprised if it was a virus.

The strange thing is Windows boots up at normal speed. It is when I get to the desktop and try to use the computer that it begins running slowly. The Task manager doesn't show anything hogging the computer's resources. I'm not sure what to do at this point. Does anyone have suggestions for what the problem might be? Thank you in advance for your help.

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#2 hamluis

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Posted 19 October 2012 - 11:50 AM

I'd check for overheating first...then malware...before jumping to many conclusions.

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#3 kjm782

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Posted 23 October 2012 - 09:38 AM

So I think I've fixed the problem, but maybe only temporarily. I tried turning the computer off and letting it sit for a day before turning it back on to see if overheating could be a problem. Unfortunately when I turned the computer back on the problem was worse. It took Windows about half an hour to boot up. I tried doing some more extensive tests on the hard drive and found 3 bad sectors. The software was able to repair them and now Windows boots up quickly and everything seems to be working fine again. I have two questions:

1) When the software repairs bad sectors, my understanding is that it just goes into a table that has all of the pointers for the disk (I'm not sure what the technical term is) and sets it to point to a different part of the disk for those bad sectors. Does this mean that the data that was originally on those sectors is lost? In other words, I have a bunch of pictures, music, etc. on the disk. Could a few random files on my disk now be corrupted because of the repair? If so is there any way to know which ones?

2) The software tells me after the repair that a few bad sectors isn't a big deal because hard drives have millions of sectors. That may be true but isn't this usually a bad sign of things to come? When one sector goes bad does it often mean that other sectors or even a full disk failure aren't far behind?

This is a Seagate hard drive and I have been very frustrated with it. I have an older 300 gb Seagate drive that is about 8 years old in my system and it is still going strong. I've never had an issue with it and my computer runs 24/7 for several weeks at a time. When I bought this new drive two years ago I made sure to get the line that was made for enterprise reliability. It has been anything but reliable as I have already sent it in to be replaced several times now. Luckily I back up my data but the time that that has wasted is frustrating. I don't think my next drive will be a Seagate. Can anyone recommend a line of hard drives that tends to be very reliable? Thank you.

#4 dc3

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Posted 23 October 2012 - 12:14 PM

The following information is an excerpt from an article at The Paulski Pages.

"Bad Sectors
Once hard drive bad sectors start "appearing" in any numbers it is time to consider a new hard drive. A modern hard drive will attempt to isolate such sectors by mapping them in a special inaccessible area and thus exclude them from ever being seen by operating systems. Once this area has been filled it is likely that the OS will begin to be increasingly affected since the sectors can no longer be hidden from the OS. At the start (and particularly with sectors that just have write failures) the OS can copy the data elsewhere and itself isolate the bad sectors from being further accessed by the operating system. Eventually inaccessibily, crashes and data loss may all ensue."

There are three more paragraphs which you may be interested in reading.

Edited by dc3, 23 October 2012 - 12:15 PM.

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#5 graphicsman

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Posted 23 October 2012 - 05:05 PM

just am FYI I learned a few weeks ago a HDD can be assumed to be going bad by a bad SATA cable. I ran into an issue with my HDD freezing up and ordered all new sata cables when I started swapping cables around and it corrected the issue.

Also note I went through a lot of programs in my arsenal:

HD Tune
Spybot Search and Destroy
CPUZ
CCleaner
and a few more

#6 trashcan7

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Posted 24 October 2012 - 10:47 AM

So I think I've fixed the problem, but maybe only temporarily. I tried turning the computer off and letting it sit for a day before turning it back on to see if overheating could be a problem. Unfortunately when I turned the computer back on the problem was worse. It took Windows about half an hour to boot up. I tried doing some more extensive tests on the hard drive and found 3 bad sectors. The software was able to repair them and now Windows boots up quickly and everything seems to be working fine again. I have two questions:

1) When the software repairs bad sectors, my understanding is that it just goes into a table that has all of the pointers for the disk (I'm not sure what the technical term is) and sets it to point to a different part of the disk for those bad sectors. Does this mean that the data that was originally on those sectors is lost? In other words, I have a bunch of pictures, music, etc. on the disk. Could a few random files on my disk now be corrupted because of the repair? If so is there any way to know which ones?

2) The software tells me after the repair that a few bad sectors isn't a big deal because hard drives have millions of sectors. That may be true but isn't this usually a bad sign of things to come? When one sector goes bad does it often mean that other sectors or even a full disk failure aren't far behind?

This is a Seagate hard drive and I have been very frustrated with it. I have an older 300 gb Seagate drive that is about 8 years old in my system and it is still going strong. I've never had an issue with it and my computer runs 24/7 for several weeks at a time. When I bought this new drive two years ago I made sure to get the line that was made for enterprise reliability. It has been anything but reliable as I have already sent it in to be replaced several times now. Luckily I back up my data but the time that that has wasted is frustrating. I don't think my next drive will be a Seagate. Can anyone recommend a line of hard drives that tends to be very reliable? Thank you.



I've been having an extremely similar problem to yours. Although, my computer has never had a problem booting up. And I can use it fine in safe mode as long as I don't open too many programs (after which it hangs). But my computer has been stuck in chkdsk for ~5 days now without progress. Could you tell me what software you used to repair the bad sectors?

#7 kjm782

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Posted 24 October 2012 - 03:45 PM

I used Seatools for Dos. I'm not sure what brand of hard drive you have but it's Seagate's diagnostic software that you can download off of their website and burn to a disc. After you do the "Long Test" it will give you the option to repair bad sectors.

#8 dc3

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Posted 24 October 2012 - 05:04 PM

I've been having an extremely similar problem to yours. Although, my computer has never had a problem booting up. And I can use it fine in safe mode as long as I don't open too many programs (after which it hangs). But my computer has been stuck in chkdsk for ~5 days now without progress. Could you tell me what software you used to repair the bad sectors?


You will need to know the manufacturer of you hdd, if you don't know can download SIW (System Information for Windows). When it opens scroll down to Hardware and then click on Storage Devices.

Once you know the manufacturer of your hdd you can go to their website and download their diagnostic tool for that hdd. I would suggest running the long test for the best results.



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