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Dell N5010 problem


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#1 md92h

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Posted 12 May 2014 - 07:14 AM

i have a Dell N5010 laptop (i5-4GB-Intel Graphics) with the following problem:
when booting into windows 7, on the welcome screen the blue screen shows and less than a second the laptop restarts so i can't read what's written. i figured maybe there is problem with HDD. so using HDD Regenerator i scanned and did find bad sectors on the disk. however after about 10 minutes HDDR stops and says there is no HDD. in other words the HDD has shut down.
i used a new HDD and started to install windows but copying and extracting procedures were so slow and after restart windows installation couldn't continue saying it can't boot from HDD. on top of that the new HDD now has bad sectors! i checked the RAM (2X2GB) and it seems both of them are OK.
what can be the problem? is it the mainboard?



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#2 zingo156

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Posted 12 May 2014 - 09:19 AM

Can you give an exact model with all the numbers on the bottom of the laptop. The generation 1 sandybridge with Cougar point chipsets had sata controller problems that will cause issues exactly like this. Your hard drives may not have errors. I would recommend testing those hard drives from a different computer if you have the ability to do so, plug them into the sata port of a desktop or another laptop and run a hard drive scan. The hard drive test I use is MHDD but you can use whichever you wish.

 

In the retail world I saw a rather large number of n5010's m5030's with bad motherboards. There was a definite issue with reliability and those models.

 

It is still possible you got unlucky and have 2 bad drives... If the drives test fine on a different computer, my guess would be you have a sata controller problem.

 

If you can give me the service tag on the bottom of the laptop, I can check dells website for which chipset driver is available and see if it is the cougar point chipset.

 

To see the BSOD error longer, when booting the computer, tap F8 repeatedly, when you get to the boot menu options use your arrow keys to highlight the option below and hit enter.

Disable automatic restart on system failure

This prevents Windows from automatically restarting if an error causes Windows to fail.

 

Report the error bug check code here if you can.


Edited by zingo156, 12 May 2014 - 09:31 AM.

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#3 md92h

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Posted 12 May 2014 - 02:00 PM

@zingo156

thanks for the answer

it is the sandybridge model and the service tag is: CHYV5N1

now, if it's really the sata controller problem, can it be fixed? or the mainboard should be replaced?


Edited by md92h, 12 May 2014 - 02:06 PM.


#4 zingo156

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Posted 12 May 2014 - 02:16 PM

Your chipset Ibex Peak-M HM57 was before the cougar point chipset which was HM67 Cougar Point. It does not appear to be included in the official recalled chipsets. I can not say for certain this isn't still a mainboard problem but at least it would seem less likely at this point.

 

That being the case, is there any cable between the hard drive and the mainboard in your model, or does the drive slide directly into the mainboard through a soldered on sata connection (sata soldered to the mainboard)?

 

You might try sliding the drive in and out a few times to remove possible debris or corrosion on the connection. A few times maybe 2-3 should suffice.

 

Try to get the error code reported by the BSOD, it might give a better idea of what is going on. You can disable the automatic restart on error by going into the F8 boot options menu...

 

Next let's try a different hard drive diagnostic tool: MHDD (I like this test because it shows the speed of blocks as well as failing blocks in an easy to read layout).

 

If a hard drive has a smart status warning or the drive is questionable this test may be of use NOTE this test does not work with AHCI or Raid sata operation. It must be done with IDE, ATA, or compatibility mode:

 

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/  Click the Last version of MHDD, CDROM iso-image download and burn this file directly to a disc.

 

TO CHANGE SATA OPERATION: (You may need to use your keyboard arrow keys and enter key if you can not click to change settings).

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 (or using your arrow keys and enter key). 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.

COMMON BOOT MENU/BIOS keys: https://support.fixmestick.com/hc/en-us/articles/201577043-How-to-get-to-your-Boot-Menu-or-your-BIOS-settings

 

Now with the burned disc in the drive after a restart, start tapping (F12 Dell, Toshiba, Lenovo), (F9 HP), or (Esc HP, Samsung, Sony) on the keyboard (or change your boot options to boot to cd/dvd first). 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).

 

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 255 sectors (130560 bytes) 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 one after another (several 1000 or more) the drive should probably be replaced. 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 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 IDE, ATA, or compatibility).


Edited by zingo156, 12 May 2014 - 02:21 PM.

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#5 zingo156

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Posted 12 May 2014 - 02:54 PM

By the way, it still would be worth running a test on those hard drives from a different machine. If the drives are fine on another computer, I would assume either a bad connection to the n5010, or a possible mainboard problem. If it is the mainboard, generally it is not cost effective to replace nor do I recommend it. If you can find a "new" board for a low enough cost, it may be worth replacing but I would never replace with refurbished or used boards.


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#6 md92h

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Posted 12 May 2014 - 04:01 PM

@zingo156

thanks. i will try what u suggested tomorrow and i will give a report. by the way HDD is directly connected to the mainboard. 



#7 md92h

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Posted 13 May 2014 - 03:20 AM

I tested both HDD's with MHDD and HDD Regenerator on a PC and both of them have unrepairable bad sectors. this time HDD Regenerator did finish the scan (unlike when attached to laptop as i said above). i know the new HDD was ok before i put it in place of old one because i partitioned it with Acronis Disk Director with no errors but now when i use Acronis it shows errors about bad sectors. all of these i did on a PC.

as for windows and BSOD there is a new problem as windows in not booting on the laptop AT ALL !

any suggestions? 

oh and something i remembered is the owner of this laptop used it most of the time with charger plugged in while battery was attached. can the extra heat of battery caused this issue?


Edited by md92h, 13 May 2014 - 03:34 AM.


#8 zingo156

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Posted 13 May 2014 - 07:49 AM

Using it with the charger all the time should not cause any problems, it might wear the battery out faster. I would be skeptical if the computer is actually breaking the hard drives. I have seen a fair share of new dead hard drives or drives with bad blocks or drives that fail within a week. I have seen a fall of 4 inches destroy a hard drive, gforce is the #1 cause of hard drive related problems in laptops.

 

EDIT: The drives most likely have been disappearing from the laptop due to the drives failing. Some computers handle drive errors better than others, this is bios related. Some have shorter timeouts, etc. It depends on the programming. The desktop likely handles the failing drive better than the laptop.

 

As far as not booting windows at all, do you mean it will no longer boot to the windows disc? Or it will no longer boot to windows from the hard drive? Bad drives tend to get worse not better. I am not sure what Acronis does when it encounters a bad block or slow sector. Running hard drives tests uses the drive at 100% so if the drive is failing these tests can speed up the failing process.

 

If you need data from the hard drive, I would mount it on a different computer and get whatever data you can while the drive is still readable.

 

I would then try a brand new hard drive in the n5010, the first thing I would do is run MHDD to see if the new drive had any bad blocks, most new drives will not have more than 4 bad blocks if any at all. They might also have a few slow sectors. It is normal for drives to have unreadable blocks and slow blocks which is why the hard drive has firmware to add these to a list of "do not use blocks" so they do not cause errors.

 

If a new drive scans fine with MHDD but then fails shortly after, your computer may be damaging drives. I have only had 1 computer that I suspected of doing this which was a toshiba the model I can not remember. I replaced the drive 3 times with new ones all failed within a week. It wasn't until I replaced the drive with an SSD that I realized it was just a bad run of luck (that or the customer was rough on the laptop or dropping it) now the computer is fine.

 

The samsung evo 840 has come down in price so it might be worth a shot. Samsung or Intel are the 2 SSD's I would recommend. Standard hard drives I recommend Seagate or Wester Digital.

 

Samsung Evo: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=9SIA2W01AZ5378

 

That is only the 120GB model which will give you about 111gb of usable space. They are much faster than standard spindle drives and are not affected by drops as much as standard hard drives.


Edited by zingo156, 13 May 2014 - 09:03 AM.

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#9 zingo156

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Posted 13 May 2014 - 10:12 AM

After running MHDD and Acronis, I would recommend now running chkdsk. If you can get the computer to a command prompt or even safe mode you could tell it to do a chkdsk.


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#10 md92h

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Posted 14 May 2014 - 05:28 AM

yesterday i was busy but today i got a new HDD. before installing it on the laptop i checked it with MHDD and it was absolutely fine. i installed it and started the windows installation and guess what: again the process was slow and after the restart it said it can't find the boot media!! i removed the HDD and attached it to PC and checked it and now this one too has bad sectors!

on another forum someone said the problem is definitely the sata controller chipset  and the only solution is replacing mainboard!



#11 zingo156

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Posted 14 May 2014 - 06:30 AM

I can't argue with that result. Intel never officially recalled that chipset but it seems it is the cause. The person is correct about replacing the board. Since it does appear to be the sata controller or possibly bad improperly filtered power going to the hard drive, the mainboard would need to be replaced. I can't recommend it since likely a new board will have a similar problem over time.

 

I will be adding the Ibex Peak-M HM57 chipset to my list of suspected problem chipsets. The good news is we know what is bad. The bad news is that is the most expensive component to replace and also requires the most work.

 

I recommend a new computer, best of luck.


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#12 md92h

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Posted 14 May 2014 - 07:37 AM

@zingo156

Thanks for all your help






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