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Friend's HD giving a warning


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#1 koooba

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Posted 25 March 2014 - 07:26 AM

A friend's laptop when you first turn it on, gives him the SMART warning that a hard drive crash is imminent and to back up all data.

When I continue on and check the drive with defraggler, it says the drive of the the health is good.

So what gives?

Should he just buy a replacement drive?

Now if he does so, the HP Windows partition will obviously be gone(since it's a new drive), and he made a system recovery disc, is that sufficient enough to reinstall Windows 7?

Thanks in advance

Edited by koooba, 25 March 2014 - 07:27 AM.


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#2 zingo156

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Posted 25 March 2014 - 08:47 AM

If smart data is warning of drive failure I would suggest replacing the drive or at least backing up important data to a different device frequently. Smart data is not always 100% accurate. Sometimes system recovery discs work and sometimes they do not. You can try to use it to install windows on a new drive, if it does not work, you can order recovery discs from HP and those should work fine. You could run a hard drive test such as MHDD or the Seatools test to find out more about the drives condition. I recommend strongly that you backup data before running a full scan of the hard drive. Instructions for MHDD are below in my next post (you need to be able to change sata operation to ide, compatibility or ata or it will not work). Some HP bios's do not allow you to change this option.

 

If you download and run Speccy, I may be able to tell you what smart is warning about:

 

  • Go to Piriform's website, and click the big download.png button.
     
  • Next, click Download from Piriform.com (the FileHippo link requires an extra click). Or if you want to use a portable version of Speccy (which doesn't require installation), click the builds page link and download the portable version.
     
  • You will now be asked where you want to save the file. The best place to put it is the Desktop, as it will be easy to find later.
     
  • After the file finishes downloading, you are ready to run Speccy. If you downloaded the installer, simply double-click on it and follow the prompts until installation is complete. If you downloaded the portable version, you will need to unzip it before use. Right-click the ZIP file and click Extract all. Click Next. Open up the extracted folder and double-click on Speccy.
     
  • Once inside Speccy, it will look similar to this (with your computer's specifications, of course):
    p22004369.gif
  • Now, at the top, click File > Publish Snapshot
  • You will see the following prompt:
    p22004371.gif
  • Click Yes > then Copy to Clipboard
    p22004372.gif
  • Now, once you are back in the forum topic you are posting in, click the p22004370.gif button. Right-click in the empty space of the Reply box and click Paste. Then, click Add Reply below the Reply box.
  • Congrats! You have just posted your specs!

Edited by zingo156, 25 March 2014 - 09:08 AM.

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#3 zingo156

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Posted 25 March 2014 - 08:49 AM

MHDD

 

Before running this test it would be a good idea to backup any data that you cannot afford to lose. This test uses the hard drive at 100%. If the drive is failing or has problems it is possible for the drive to fail suddenly especially during heavy use as this test will do. It is unlikely but still I recommend backing files up to be safe.

 

 

Here are the instructions to run the test:

 

The first step will be to burn MHDD to a disc as an image (cd preferably). MHDD Can be found here: http://hddguru.com/software/2005.10.02-MHDD/

 

After burning the disc, restart the laptop and start tapping f2 or f1 or delete right away to get into the bios. There you should see System Configuration, expand that by clicking the + button. In that list there should be something called Sata operation. (Sata Operation may also be by itself in that first screen list)

 

Click on sata operation and take note of the current setting to the right it will probably be set to AHCI it will need to be switched back to this after MHDD is done running. Select ATA, compatibility or ide mode and then click apply. Save and exit the bios, or if apply was the only option you can use Ctrl+Alt+Delete to restart.

 

Now with the burned disc in the drive after a restart, start tapping F12, F9, or Esc on the keyboard. This will bring up the boot options menu. Select cd/dvd/cd-rw drive and hit enter.

 

If this worked correctly and booted to mhdd you should see a screen that says Microsoft windows 98 startup menu. You can let the timer run out or just hit enter on option (2 . Start computer without SCSI support) in that menu .

 

Now you should see a screen with numbers, most of these will not have any device listed behind them but one number should for example on my dell computer number 6 has WDC WD1600BEVT-75A23T0… and at the end a number in white which is the size of the drive.

Example: If your drive is a 500gb I would expect that number in white to be somewhere around 500,107,862,016 or close to. Find the correct drive to test then on the keyboard type the number in front of the drive (in my case it was 6) and then hit enter.

 

Now you should have a screen with MHDD> and a blinking cursor.

 

Now hit F4 on the keyboard 2 times and this will start scanning the hard drive.

 

You should be able to see the computer start scanning, each block represents one sector on the hard drive. What we are looking for will show up on the right side of the screen.

 

There is a list on the right which shows numbers:

<3

<10

<50

<150ms

Etc…

 

Anything below the <150ms is a slow sector or a problem sector. Slow sectors <500 or >500 will slow down the computer. If there are a lot of these the drive should be replaced. Even new drives have around 3-4 slow sectors so if it has no more than 10 I would say the drive is ok.

 

Also if you have any at the end that were marked as UNC this means the drive has uncorrectable errors and the hard drive should probably be replaced.

 

Basically if you have any sectors that are below <150 (green) let me know and if possible the total number of them.

 

If all of the sectors were ok and fell within the range of:

<3

<10

<50

<150ms

Then the hard drive is ok, if there are only a few (no more than 10 sectors that are slow <500 or >500) the hard drive should be ok to use.

 

NOTE: that if there are many slow sectors one after another or you start having error after error the drive is in bad shape and I recommend ending the test. To end the test hit the Esc key.

 

After you are done testing you will need to go back into the bios by restarting the computer and tapping F2, F1, Delete (or whatever key gets you into bios). Go back to Sata Operation and change it back to the default which probably was AHCI.

 

Then restart and the computer should boot again.

 

(If you are getting a blue screen and the computer restarts go back into the bios and confirm that Sata Operation is set to what it was before changing it to ATA).


Edited by zingo156, 25 March 2014 - 09:23 AM.

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#4 waldojim42

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Posted 25 March 2014 - 09:21 AM

Smart will occasionally lie. If the machine is working fine, and passes all tests, it is likely fine.

 

I don't understand the fascination on these forums with unrecoverable errors... but they are normal to a certain extent. Every drive on the market has SOME errors. The drive controller will HIDE as much of that as it can. The problems come from either weak sectors that develop into errored sectors, or physical damage (such as kicking a running machine). Get some quality software to go through the drive, Spinrite is a good example, and let it determine the actual status of the drive surface. Now, while some errors are normal, having hundreds, or thousands of them is NOT. Use your best judgement to determine if you need to replace the drive.


Laptop: Alienware 14 : Intel i7 4700mq : 8GB ram : Nvidia GTX 765 : 256GB Plextor M3 : 1080P IPS display

Test rig: AMD Phenom X4 955 @ 4.0Ghz : MSI 970A-G46 : 8GB Ram : 128GB Plextor M5s : 2x AMD 5770's (Flashed to 6770) : PC Power and Cooling Silencer 750 : Pioneer BR

Hackintosh : Gigabyte GA-H61m : Intel Celeron @ 3Ghz : 8GB ram : EVGA GTX 550Ti : Patriot Torx 2 64GB : Silverstone Strider ES-50 : OSX Mavericks

 


#5 zingo156

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Posted 25 March 2014 - 09:44 AM

You are correct, the problem isn't necessarily having bad sectors, but having lots of them that can not be re-mapped to a reserve sector is the problem. If you end up with too many bad sectors and run out of reserved sectors to remap to, you end up wrtiting to bad sectors and having corrupted files etc. S.M.A.R.T generally will warn when the reserve pool is getting low. This is a considered a critical warning.

 

After a sector is "re-mapped" by spinrite or MHDD or the hard drives built in controller firmware the next test you do with spinrite or MHDD should show "no unc sectors" as long as there were open reserves and no new bad sectors developed. The controller permanently disables (Hides) and prevents writing to the bad sector. I have had drives with 60-80 bad sectors and running spinrite (in recovery mode 2) or MHDD with re-map enabled fixed the drive for use. However with that many bad sectors already re-mapped and limited amount of reserves remaining I never recommend trusting a drive like that with valuable information.

 

I prefer MHDD over spinrite currently as it can re-map as well as show block read speeds in miliseconds. I had a few drives that spinrite "passed fully green" on but MHDD showed nearly half of the drives blocks were over >500ms, the drives were terribly slow. The drives did still work but loading windows took over 10 minutes. I suppose you could run HDDtach or another hard drive speed test from windows to find a drive speed problem.


Edited by zingo156, 25 March 2014 - 09:49 AM.

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#6 waldojim42

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Posted 25 March 2014 - 09:52 AM

After the reserved sectors are used, the blocks should simply be marked as unusable. Now, the last time I found myself in that position was a good 15 years ago, so that may have changed since then... edit: I mean, the last time I had a drive in that bad a shape without simply dying.


Edited by waldojim42, 25 March 2014 - 09:53 AM.

Laptop: Alienware 14 : Intel i7 4700mq : 8GB ram : Nvidia GTX 765 : 256GB Plextor M3 : 1080P IPS display

Test rig: AMD Phenom X4 955 @ 4.0Ghz : MSI 970A-G46 : 8GB Ram : 128GB Plextor M5s : 2x AMD 5770's (Flashed to 6770) : PC Power and Cooling Silencer 750 : Pioneer BR

Hackintosh : Gigabyte GA-H61m : Intel Celeron @ 3Ghz : 8GB ram : EVGA GTX 550Ti : Patriot Torx 2 64GB : Silverstone Strider ES-50 : OSX Mavericks

 


#7 Kilroy

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Posted 27 March 2014 - 02:31 PM

My general advice is when you start having hard drive problems BACKUP YOUR DATA, then work on the issue.  Personally once a drive starts throwing SMART errors I don't trust it, I replace it.  I've seen drive with the SMART warning last for month and other fail the next boot.



#8 waldojim42

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Posted 27 March 2014 - 07:48 PM

And at the same time, I have seen drives throw smart errors within their first month of use and then work for 5 years... I trust the test results more than smart results.


Laptop: Alienware 14 : Intel i7 4700mq : 8GB ram : Nvidia GTX 765 : 256GB Plextor M3 : 1080P IPS display

Test rig: AMD Phenom X4 955 @ 4.0Ghz : MSI 970A-G46 : 8GB Ram : 128GB Plextor M5s : 2x AMD 5770's (Flashed to 6770) : PC Power and Cooling Silencer 750 : Pioneer BR

Hackintosh : Gigabyte GA-H61m : Intel Celeron @ 3Ghz : 8GB ram : EVGA GTX 550Ti : Patriot Torx 2 64GB : Silverstone Strider ES-50 : OSX Mavericks

 


#9 zingo156

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Posted 28 March 2014 - 07:33 AM

I read a review of SMART at some point and I believe the general consensus was SMART was accurate about 70% of the time. That being the case, would you want to risk your data on the 30% chance the drive is fine and will continue to operate normally? I agree I trust a hard drive surface scan utility over smart, however if I get a smart warning on a drive, that drive goes into spare "not reliable" mode. I have a seagate 1.5TB currently in spare mode. It is in use on my media center pc for TV shows (backups are on a raid 5 NAS) I am just waiting for it to fail. Currently it still works, sometimes it makes a whining noise and disappears from the computer, and other times it clicks and clanks a bit. I am certain it will fail, I just want to see how long it will go.


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#10 waldojim42

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Posted 28 March 2014 - 08:03 AM

I end up using them in the test bed. Try a new flavor of Linux? Toss it on the "failing" drive. Testing other hardware? Toss it on any available drive. Nothing "mission critical" though.


Laptop: Alienware 14 : Intel i7 4700mq : 8GB ram : Nvidia GTX 765 : 256GB Plextor M3 : 1080P IPS display

Test rig: AMD Phenom X4 955 @ 4.0Ghz : MSI 970A-G46 : 8GB Ram : 128GB Plextor M5s : 2x AMD 5770's (Flashed to 6770) : PC Power and Cooling Silencer 750 : Pioneer BR

Hackintosh : Gigabyte GA-H61m : Intel Celeron @ 3Ghz : 8GB ram : EVGA GTX 550Ti : Patriot Torx 2 64GB : Silverstone Strider ES-50 : OSX Mavericks

 





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