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Failing Hard Disk

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Usman55
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Posts: 2821

Failing Hard Disk

Wed Jul 03, 2013 12:57 pm

Hello Codenstuffers,

I might not be posting much or maybe nothing at all but I do come online and check new posts almost everyday. I'm busy with my studies and I don't think I'll ever get free time. But the good thing is, this isn't going to last for ever, is it? Hard work done right now will pay back in the future.

So coming to the topic, I installed Windows 8 in the start of last month and a few days later it started showing an error stating "Your hdd is going to fail soon, backup your important data before it fails". I thought it was a minor error so I didn't pay any heed to it. One reason was that I already had my stuff backed up as I had just formatted my laptop with Windows 8. Anyways, the error first showed up when I installed and turned on the game "The Path of Neo" (related to The Matrix trilogy). After that the error showed up a couple more times that day. The next day the computer stopped working. Windows would start but then instead of loading to start screen, showed a black screen. I tried formatting again using my flash drive but that too instead of starting setup, booted to Windows (just fine) and said something about Windows2Go. A few hours later, even that stopped working and now the computer wouldn't boot.

I tried the recovery discs, another Windows 7 disc and Windows 8 flash but nothing worked. Now I knew for sure the HDD has failed. I read somewhere about live CDs and gave Ubuntu (live USB) a try. I used it for some time and thought of trying the hard disk installation. At the second try, it worked. The first two days, the computer sometimes won't boot up and I again used the live USB to reinstall and then it would work. Now I've used Ubuntu for about a month and I love it, but it just ain't good for my kind of user.

So yesterday I took my laptop to a local repair shop and he simply put in a flash and installed Windows 7 without any problem and then installed all the drivers. He was a nice man and charged just a little. But he said there's no problem in the hard disk. I disagreed and I still do. He tried the DVD-Rom and it didn't work, he even tried cleaning the lens with some spray bottle with a nosel (maybe compressed air). I came back home, it was late night so I went to sleep. Now today, the first thing I did was clean the DVD-Rom lens with a wet tissue, insert the Windows 8 disc and install it. It worked.

Oops... while writing this whole thing, I missed the main point of this post. Okay, so when the hard disk was not working, I tried lots of disc utilities to find the problem and most of them referred to "Bad Sectors". In Ubuntu the SMART test said the reallocated sector count was 2047 and "Fail" was written in bold red letters. The HD tune pro reported the following: (I don't remember which button I used to start this test)

------------------------------------------------------
HD Tune Pro: TOSHIBA MK6465GSXN Error Scan

Scanned data : 638 gB
Damaged Blocks : 0.2 %
Elapsed Time : 2:50:33
1 Error at 1095 MB (LBA 2244508)
2 Error at 1097 MB (LBA 2248476)
3 Error at 1391 MB (LBA 2849699)
4 Error at 1393 MB (LBA 2854307)
5 Error at 1419 MB (LBA 2906275)
------------------------------------------------------

Is there a way to repair this hard disk or avoid errors? I don't want to be interrupted by lags and freezes.

Sorry for the long post, thanks for your time.
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CodenStuff
Site Admin
Posts: 4387

Re: Failing Hard Disk

Fri Jul 05, 2013 12:26 am

As long as the drive isn't completely failed or about too then just go to drive properties, click tools and then run an error check and defrag which should sort it out and get rid or avoid the bad sectors.
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Usman55
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Posts: 2821

Re: Failing Hard Disk

Fri Jul 05, 2013 11:26 am

I tried chkdsk but it didn't do much. And I've heard degraggers were good on older OSs like XP but they mess up the drive in newer OSs like 7 and 8. Is that true?
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mandai
Coding God
Posts: 2585

Re: Failing Hard Disk

Fri Jul 05, 2013 11:25 pm

It sounds very much like there is some kind of issue with the drive judging by the SMART result.
It is generally not possible to repair bad sectors with something like chkdsk, and a defrag won't do much good. If chkdsk finds bad sectors it will just mark them as not for use by the filesystem.

Once a drive has bad sectors it is typical that it will become less reliable over time.

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Usman55
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Posts: 2821

Re: Failing Hard Disk

Sat Jul 06, 2013 8:59 am

What can cause bad sectors? My laptop is a little more than 2 years old and it's in perfect condition. I never move it much, only like 10 times a year (as compared to other people moving their's 10 times a day).
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mandai
Coding God
Posts: 2585

Re: Failing Hard Disk

Sat Jul 06, 2013 3:45 pm

There can be several causes of bad sectors - even if the drive is not moved.
It is difficult to say the exact cause without going into disassembly but for example some areas of the disk may have lost their magnetic property. It is also possible for there to be a fault with the logic board/read heads.

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Usman55
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Posts: 2821

Re: Failing Hard Disk

Sun Jul 21, 2013 7:53 pm

The hard disk works fine most of the time. The problem starts when I restart the computer or turn it on. Whenever the laptop tries to boot from the hdd, it immediately shows a black screen (with small bits of colors on top) as if it was going to boot but interrupted. It would just hang there. Other times, it will boot to a screen saying "no device to boot from". I assume that's because the hdd doesn't get detected.

When I restart the computer, I have to keep on trying to get it to boot for about 20 minutes (it's really frustrating, trust me!). Most of the time, either of the 2 mentioned cases occur.

I'm not getting a new hdd before September and I can't bear to restart it for 20 minutes to get it to work. I definitely need some suggestions.

I've noticed when the computer is freshly formatted, Windows boot perfectly for a few days but then the problem starts all over again.
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dualz
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Posts: 29

Re: Failing Hard Disk

Mon Jul 22, 2013 12:20 am

it may not be a hdd fault
as its a laptop the surfaces that laptops are sat on determines how hot and how much air flow are passed through the sinks.

this could just be a simple case of clogged intake fans or the side rad depending on the model.

I have came across this issue multiple times with customers laptops and all i did was pull the unit back to bare bones and rebuilt while cleaning all fans and ensuring that the voltage was passing correctly.

also power sullies may not be running a stable amount of current as they get hot it can cause issues.

hope this helps somewhat.
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dualz
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Re: Failing Hard Disk

Mon Jul 22, 2013 12:24 am

dualz wrote:it may not be a hdd fault
as its a laptop the surfaces that laptops are sat on determines how hot and how much air flow are passed through the sinks.

this could just be a simple case of clogged intake fans or the side rad depending on the model.

I have came across this issue multiple times with customers laptops and all i did was pull the unit back to bare bones and rebuilt while cleaning all fans and ensuring that the voltage was passing correctly.

also power sullies may not be running a stable amount of current as they get hot it can cause issues.

hope this helps somewhat.
ahh woops i didnt notice the image as it did not load for some strange reason, sounds to me it could be the hdd or the host controller on the mobo, the only way to really determine this is to take out the hdd and put it into an external caddy that supports laptop hdd's and run a full diagnostics of the hdd, which takes 46 hours "around about this time".

this will tell you if it is indeed the hdd or something more sinister.
Dualz
Co-Owner TADStools Network
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    Microsoft Software Engineer
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Usman55
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Posts: 2821

Re: Failing Hard Disk

Mon Jul 22, 2013 2:21 am

@ #dualz

If you read the original post then you'd know that it in fact IS a hdd problem. I think I already talked about the laptop's condition: It's 2 years old and still looks new, it remains in one place, I don't take it around much (since I use it as more of a desktop), and I have checked air vents, not much dust there. Moreover, because the laptop stays on 24/7, the fans should keep running, and that should prevent dust from accumulating.
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