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Computer frequently hangs, questions related to replacing hard drive.


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#1 William_D

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Posted 14 January 2016 - 01:13 AM

I am a U.S. citizen living long-term in India.  I am basically self-taught in the use of a computer, and my understanding of many issues is still very limited.

 

I have several issues with my 6-year-old Dell Inspiron desktop (64-bit Intel Core 2 Duo 2.93 GHz processor, 4 GB memory, 320 GB original Western Digital hard drive) that I would appreciate some help to resolve.

Advice from local computer technicians is often unreliable, and there are no other foreigners here whom I can ask for answers or advice.

 

Here are the issues:

                  1.            Based on advice from CHIP computer magazine, I had Windows 7 operating system (recently upgraded, by Microsoft, to Widows 10) and Microsoft Office installed on my computer’s C Drive.

I install most other programs on D Drive.

I store my personal documents, films, music, and pictures in separate folders on E Drive.

 

The last time he reinstalled the operating system, a local computer technician here criticized and told me that I should store all programs on C Drive—along with the operating system and Microsoft Office.

 

QUESTIONS:  Was the computer technician’s advice correct?  If so, why is it a mistake to store most other programs on D Drive—contrary to the advice in CHIP?

 

                  2.            First some background information:

A few months ago, my computer hard drive began making odd mechanical noises.

It would also shut down suddenly—which was almost-certainly due to the erratic electricity supply here and a nearly-dead UPS battery.

After I replaced the button battery on the motherboard (along with the UPS battery), all these problems seemed cleared up.

 

Now:

Since Windows 10 was installed, my computer has been behaving more and more erratically.

I always let the computer finish booting before I begin to use it.

However, increasingly, the Start menu fails to appear (or flickers and quickly disappears) and File Explorer and many other programs frequently will not open from the task bar.

An external Toshiba hard drive—and the computer as a whole—are hanging more and more frequently.  I often have to shut the computer down using the power button—and restart it.

(Although this is probably due to my Internet service provider—and an unrelated issue:  the Chrome browser has also become dead slow and periodically crashes.)

Due to the erratic electricity supply here, over the years, I have often had to shut down and restart the computer several times a day—which, I assume, increases wear and tear on the hard drive.

Drive C currently has 35 GB of free space.  Drive D has 2.5 GB of free space.  Drive E has 4 GB of free space.

 

I have run several different programs to detect a virus or malware—along with Advanced SystemCare and other programs to clear out junk files.  I have also defragmented the hard drives.

Around the time that I replaced the button battery, I downloaded and ran a program from Western Digital that “stress tested” the hard drive.  At the time, the test did not reveal any problem with the hard drive.

 

QUESTIONS:  My guess is that the computer is hanging more and more frequently because the hard drive is going bad.  Can you venture a guess as to another possible cause?

If the problem is not with the hard drive, could it be due to undetected malware—or some other cause?

 

                  3.            Because of the earlier mechanical noise and the fact that the hard drive is six years old and running out of space, I recently purchased a new 1 Terabyte Western Digital hard drive.

When, for the first time, I opened the cabinet and closely examined the hard drive, I discovered that there are two hard drive bays available—one above the other.

I am tentatively planning to use the new hard drive as my primary hard drive and the old hard drive to back up my personal files.  (First, I plan to run a new “stress test” on the old hard drive.)

 

One cable (that come from what I assume is the power supply unit) has two connectors on it that easily connect to each of the hard drives.

There is a blue cable (with only one connector) that comes from the motherboard and was connected to the old hard drive.  I do not understand why there is not—or, at least, why I was unable to find—a similar connector for the new hard drive.

 

(I plan to have a local computer technician install Windows 10 on the new hard drive, but I prefer to have the hard drives set up and ready to go in advance.

I have read that Windows 7 must first be installed and then uninstalled on the new hard drive—before Windows 10 can be installed.)

 

QUESTION:  Is there something that I do not understand about how two hard drives are connected “in tandem” in this situation?  If so, will you explain how to properly connect the cables to each of the hard drives?

 

                  4.            In the past, whenever I copied an article from the Web, I was able to paste the picture or image that was part of the article into a Word document.

However, for the last several months, when I have done a similar “copy and paste,” the image has not been included—only an empty “picture” frame.  And, the images I have pasted onto past Word documents no longer appear when the Word document is opened.

 

QUESTION:  Can you explain why images from Web articles can no longer be copied and pasted—and why images in old World documents no longer appear when the document is opened?

 

                  5.            Several times recently, my Google browser has crashed while I was watching a video or listening to an audio recording.  However, the audio has continued to play—like some disembodied spirit, and there has been no way to stop it.

The task manager does not show any active program.

 

QUESTION:  Can you explain why this happens—and how to stop the audio playing?

 

I will genuinely appreciate your help in dealing with these issues.



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#2 usasma

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Posted 14 January 2016 - 05:44 PM

1.  This is an opinion.  I prefer storing all files together on the one drive - but others do this on multiple drives without problem.

 

2.  Be sure that you ran the long/extended test using the Western Digital Data Lifeguard Diagnostics (DLG).  That should tell you the status of your hard drive.  You can also run these free diagnostics:  http://www.carrona.org/hwdiag.html

 

3.  It appears that you need another cable to attach the second hard drive (and a corresponding attachment point on the motherboard).

Lot's of different suggestions about the drives, but you'll be best off installing the 1tB drive alone and installing Windows on it.

Once the system is up and running, then attach the 320 gB drive and wipe it clean.  If you don't do this, there may be confusion as to which hard drive it boots from.  For example, the system could start booting from the 320 gB drive, and then transfer control to the 1tB drive as it loads Windows.

 

4.  Word is broken?  I really don't have much experience troubleshooting Word.  At work we uninstall Office and then reinstall it in order to make it work.

 

5.  There is something running in the background, it's just a matter of figuring out what it is.  Once you find it out, then you can open Task Manager and end that process. in order to stop the audio.

Look in the Processes tab of Task Manager - not the Programs tab.


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