Author Topic: Is my hard drive really failing ... ?  (Read 7314 times)

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Offline Washbush

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Is my hard drive really failing ... ?
« on: March 10, 2014, 12:04:58 PM »
Greetings Everyone ...


Over the last week or so, I have spent a lot of time with almost all of the Tweaking.Com products.  If I could buy Tweaking.Com a drink, I would.  You, Tweaking.Com, have taken an almost abandoned HP Presario 2212us lap top and restored it to pretty darn near new performance.  The only way I can tell you how impressed I am is to simply say "I AM impressed".  So, Thank You.


At no time during that week, did your software give me any idea of a failing hard drive.  I did mention that I had seen the rotating blue circle more than I though I should.  However, whenever I asked for it, Windows had never failed to run ckdsk successfully and send me off for another day in the digital sandbox. 


Until today, that is.


This morning I went through the entire rig-a-marole that comes along with Windows trying to alert me to the fact that the death of my hard drive is just seconds away. It was very hard to follow, especially since a person would tend to be a little bit anxious at that moment anyway.  I made the decision that since the old lap top didn't have much on it that I couldn't live without, I made a quick DVD with my good stuff and decided to let the issue play itself out and see what happens.  The blue indicator light that shows HD activity is blinking away just like it always did. I see nothing at all, but, from time to time, even my typing slows down.  But, then it speeds right back up and, so far, so good.  The HP is clicking along like a warm spoon in a bucket of strawberry ripple.


So, I would like to ask you help with two things that might show this problem to be what it really is.


First, at some time in the past, before I put this laptop into retirement, I did some HD clean up.  I removed a lot of stuff.  It looks now like one of the things I removed is something that windows wants to run during bootup.  At every boot up I get this message ... "  *** ".  I am sure that I removed this by mistake.  So, the first question is, "How do I put it back?"


Second, at the moment the only access I have to the Internet is wireless.  I have ATT Universe service that is supposed to be 6 mbs and the only outlet in the entire apartment is behind the desk in another room.  I have this lap top in the kitchen operating off the modem that ATT provided.  Is there any possibility that an irregular signal or an irregular modem/router would effect the computer enough to see the spinning blue wheel or provoke the HD problem routine from Windows. 


While I am thinking about it, could it be a virus that is mimicking a Windows message trying to trick me into thinking I need to buy something?


I am going to post this, and then run both the Quickie and the Full Boat fixes and I will let you know what happens.


Thanks all ...


John Washbush
Bloomington, Indiana








Offline Shane

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Re: Is my hard drive really failing ... ?
« Reply #1 on: March 11, 2014, 11:51:14 AM »
Hard drives can fail and start to die without a single warning, just like any hardware can really.

There are somethings that can warn you that there is a problem, such as looking for bad sectors, which is that the chkdsk does. It checks the files system and makes sure that it can read and write to the sectors, and thats it.

Almost all drives have a built in tool called Smart Status which monitors the drive and reports if it finds a problems, which when you turn the computer on would get a warning the drive is going to die.

And even with those a drive can still just up and die without a single problem before had.

That is because in a normal hard drive you have 3 spinning platters that look like discs and 1 arm that does all the reading and writing. The platters psin at 7200 RPMs and when ever you have moving parts you have more chance of something wearing out physically and then the drive is dead.

SSD drives are the newer expensive drives, they are almost 20X faster and more stable mainly because they dont have ANY moving parts. So you no longer are waiting for that 1 arm to startup 60 programs and services at Windows startup and with no moving parts makes it even faster as well, not to mention things dont get warn out like they used to.

But even with those they can still just up and die! Why? Because a controller board could fry out, but the number of things that can go bad in a SSD are far less than the old school normal HDD.

Normally the #1 sign that any hard drive of any type is getting warn out is that it gets slower and slower, and simply cant not do the speeds it use to when it was new. Kind of like a car engine if you think about it and how it gets worse as parts get worn out.

Shane

Offline Washbush

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Re: Is my hard drive really failing ... ?
« Reply #2 on: March 11, 2014, 02:10:49 PM »
Here is my follow up about 24 hours later and after I read your reply ...


The laptop is still clicking along just fine.  I have run all of your stuff one more time with no mention of a HD problem.  I bought the anti-malware program you recommended and I ran it.  It found 100+ items, they are now gone and it is happy.  I have updated all of my drivers, removed some old software, dumped some files of ancient videos, and have the HD at almost exactly 50% capacity.  So, just like the Girl with the Curl in the middle of her forehead, when the computer is good, it is really, really good.  However, every so often it gives me the graphic on the screen warning me that I should start my back up before it is too late.  I did make an observation though, that warning appears EXACTLY every 15 minutes and I have seen it no less than 10 or 12 times just today.  You can set your clock on those 15 minute intervals.  What the significance of that might be, I don't know.  I'll see if I can get a screen shot of it the next time it comes up.  Also, I have run chk dsk twice and it says that all is well.


But ... when I run your Quick Tweak, there are some entries that I see flying by that say "failed" and twice or three times there is a band of red in the window that suggests it is fixing something.  But, it seems to go unfixed as it looks like it is doing the same thing every time it is run.


Do you know of a way to disable the indexing?  Would that give any performance benefits (other than searching, I mean)?
What is "shadow copy service" and do I need it?
Can I turn off the backup function all together?  - presently it is set to back up to a partition called D:\.  I have a 32GB chip from a camera.  I would like to try to use that chip in a USB adapter and try to backup to it so I can remove that little 6GB D:\ partition.  Is there a way to tell the computer that I don't ever want multiple backups?  All I ever want is the most recent one. 


Finally, do you think it would help if I opened this computer up and to see if it is dirty inside?  Would that cause this kind of a problem.  I am running your HD activity indicator and it looks perfectly fine to me.


I just had a chance to make a screen print and so it is attached also.  That somehow just does not look like a "very serious message" from Microsoft or HP either. 


Thanks for everything.


John
 

Offline Shane

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Re: Is my hard drive really failing ... ?
« Reply #3 on: March 11, 2014, 02:13:34 PM »
That error is from Windows and it is reporting that the smart status on the drive is reporting it is in bad shape. The hard drive does need to be replaced. :wink:

Shane

Offline Washbush

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Re: Is my hard drive really failing ... ?
« Reply #4 on: March 11, 2014, 03:26:56 PM »
Oh, nuts ........... !

Offline Washbush

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Re: Is my hard drive really failing ... ?
« Reply #5 on: March 11, 2014, 07:24:04 PM »
That error is from Windows and it is reporting that the smart status on the drive is reporting it is in bad shape. The hard drive does need to be replaced. :wink:

Shane

Problem seems to be the drive is running hot.  Any chance that the fan has failed and caused the drive to overheat?

Offline Washbush

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Re: Is my hard drive really failing ... ?
« Reply #6 on: March 11, 2014, 07:26:05 PM »
Oh, nuts ........... !

A quick question ... the drive seems to be working error free but its operating temperature is elevated.  Since I an almost deaf, I can't tell if the fan is working or not.  Could this be a fan failure?

Offline Shane

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Re: Is my hard drive really failing ... ?
« Reply #7 on: March 12, 2014, 08:20:22 AM »
Heat is a computers #2 enemy. Electric shock is #1 lol

So yes a drive running hot will shorten its life and even cause it to malfunction. It is also possible the Smart Status is reporting the high heat as well. You need to use a smart status viewer tool to see exactly what smart status is complaining about.

Here is a list of some
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_S.M.A.R.T._tools

Looks like this one should be free
http://sourceforge.net/apps/trac/smartmontools/wiki

Shane

Offline Washbush

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Re: Is my hard drive really failing ... ?
« Reply #8 on: March 12, 2014, 10:02:36 AM »
Hi Shane ...


I did install a SMART reporter.  As near as I can tell, everything is OK and well within limits, including drive functionion, EXCEPT for the fact that the temp goes up.  Drive performance is at 98%, everthing else is OK, the drive is 47% empty, but the temperature is going up.  It did the same yesterday until it reached the max.  Last night I took the computer apart, took the drive out, the keyboard out, and blew out the case.  I was surprised at how clean it was inside. 


Later today I will take a small fan and blow it into the air intake port on the bottom and see what happens.  I have no way to telling if the computer's fan is running or not.


One FINAL question, I promise.  The computer came with XP installed.  I upgraded to VISTA and than upgraded again to Windows 7.  Since my copy of Win 7 is an upgrade, can I just install it again right over the existing Win 7?  Will that correct any repairs that are needed?  And, will that reinstall the "AUTOCHECK" that seems to be missing?


What is the worst thing that can happen if I try that?


John

Offline Shane

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Re: Is my hard drive really failing ... ?
« Reply #9 on: March 12, 2014, 10:10:26 AM »
The upgrade key wont work on a fresh install of 7 BUT during the install you can tell the setup you will put in a key later. Then once Windows is installed you can go and activate it, change the cd key to the upgrade one and it will take it :-)

As for the laptop fan, you would hear it when the fan runs and the fan is more for the CPU, sometimes they do have small pathways for the air to help pull heat from the other hardware. A hard drive running real hot could be a sign the drive is working at its max non stop. Which of course makes heat. Keep a fan blowing on the bottom of the laptop where the drive is and see if it helps. It is also possible the old drive simply isnt reporting the correct temp or something inside of it that helps keeps temp down is no longer working.

Old drive, warn out parts. :wink:

Shane

Offline Washbush

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Re: Is my hard drive really failing ... ?
« Reply #10 on: March 12, 2014, 07:31:05 PM »
OK ... I got it.  I saw on one report that this hard drive has something like 15,000 hours on it.  I have decided that I will start shopping for a USB HD now, and then a replacement internal HD later.  I will keep you posted when anything changes ...


Thanks a million ...


john

Offline Shane

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Re: Is my hard drive really failing ... ?
« Reply #11 on: March 13, 2014, 11:36:49 AM »
If the drive in the laptop is a sata drive I can give you a like on newegg for a western digital 7200 rpm 5 year warranty drive, they are around $57 last time I checked :-)

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822236564

Shane