May be gone for an extended period

Ex_Brit

If you're going through hell, keep going.
Staff member
#1
The hard drive with both my Vista OS's on has started to act up...strange clicking and whirring sounds and it fails to show up in Disk Management.

Have to do a lot of troubleshooting. It's the newer of the 2 HD's.

I'm using XP for this post. At least I still have web access.
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#2
Check the connections are secure Peter, hopefully it won't be anything worse. I've had disks disappear at boot and stop the IPL in its tracks, which responded to un/plugging a few times. The strange noises could be as innocent as an intermittent power supply turning the disk on/off.
 

Ex_Brit

If you're going through hell, keep going.
Staff member
#3
Thanks Terry.
OK I panicked...hopefully unnecessarily. After switching off for a while and then back on I'm using that OS now. The event viewer has one sole entry:
The device, \Device\Harddisk1\DR1, has a bad block.
I was in the midst of a Google Search when everything except my cursor seized up and the noises started.
The screen went black for a minute or so and one white pop-up in the middle which I can't remember what it said unfortunately.

I'm doing chkdsk's as we speak. Actually the machine did one on its own as I booted up and it found 4kb in bad sectors. I'm about to do a five stage one.. chkdsk C: /r - hopefully that will correct whatever it was.

I'll also do a malware check.

I also have a Western Digital Diagnostics tool which I might use when I'm booted back into XP, that can check the entire hard drive in one operation and can correct errors on the fly without destroying data. It's also faster than the Windows utilities.

I was trying to find out via Google if Microsoft Works 9 contains Word 2007, Excel and Powerpoint Viewers 2007 as not sure I can afford to pay for Microsoft Office when my free trial ends.

Anyone know? MSFT website doesn't give a list of "the ingredients".

This experience has reminded me that it's about time I cleaned the dust out of the interior of my PC case.

Addendum:

Terry,

I ran the WD Diag. tool extended diagnostic on disk 1 from disk 0 and it found some bad sectors (even after Windows did the same) which it said it could repair but data might be lost. I took the chance and it now says the entire disk is "Smart" healthy.
No malfunctions thus far, so hopefully those bad sectors were where there was no data.

What a weird experience...!
 
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Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#4
We get very used to our PC's plugging on and on relentlessly and tend to forget what a miracle of technology is spinning round constantly at 7200rpm with 500,000,000,000 bytes of data available for more or less instant access.
Even when it reminds you, like yours, just what's at stake, it can still fix itself (and all for a mere £60)
 

Ex_Brit

If you're going through hell, keep going.
Staff member
#5
Well, I regret it was a flash in the pan. I decided to clean the innards and even plugged it in while the case was open. Unfortunately I can't reconnect everything without tearing 300 miles of wires apart so just connected it and switched on. Everything appeared to work fine and theoretically it reached the first boot choice XP on C:. No issues.

I then put it back in the PC desk & reconnected everything and switched on. I got as far as selecting Vista (Main) and got a rapid clicking sound...power supply tripping I believe as it has a safety mechanism to safeguard itself. Now my Vista disk is kaput. I think I'm going to have to buy another hard drive dammit. So for now, I'm stuck with XP....how quaint.

Addendum: Vista drive trashed along with all my recent work which I had failed to backup around a month's worth now... a thousand curses!!

Had to as it was taking 15 minutes to boot and wanted to do a chkdsk every time.
 
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Mak 2.0

Mod...WAFFLES!?!?
Staff member
#6
Peter,

Have you tried to access the Vista disk from XP? You might get lucky and get enough out of it to recovery your data.

Also if the hard drive is dead there is a fix. Buy the exact same make and model. From there remove the mother board on that drive and replace it on the dead drive. If the head did not crash this will fix the issue and allow you to use the disk. Even for long enough to get yoru data off of it.

If the head did crash sadly the only real fix is to send it to a Pro to have them get the data off of it which costs serious money.

But at least it is something to try. I have done this a few times and have saved hard drives and then send the new one back saying it was defective. It is a cheat but it works from time to time.

Cheers,
Mak
 

Ex_Brit

If you're going through hell, keep going.
Staff member
#7
When ever I tried to access it I could hear the head thrashing and clattering & Windows would hang interminably...obviously shot. So I destroyed it. No one will be able to access it. I couldn't even open My Computer in XP as that HD wouldn't respond.

It's unfortunate in that I lost a month's worth of stored email which was semi-important, but nothing that's Earth-shattering.

I appreciate your thoughts however, thanks very much.
I've ordered a new 250gb SATA HD, should have it by Tues or Weds. (Can get them cheaper online than locally).
 

mqudsi

Mostly Harmless
Staff member
#8
I've never heard of this working, but you have nothing to lose...

Stick that drive in a plastic bag, and leave it in the freezer overnight. Reconnect it and see if you can't back up your data.

Scientifically speaking, it's a valid idea... The metal pieces will contract under extreme cold, unsticking any stuck parts or heads, theoretically allowing it to work long enough to get your data off it.
 

Ex_Brit

If you're going through hell, keep going.
Staff member
#9
It went into the furnace Mahmoud, none retrievable I'm afraid as it's now a molten blob somewhere. Made a decision and stuck with it. It pissed me off but can't do anything about it now.

Thanks for the thought anyway!
 

Mak 2.0

Mod...WAFFLES!?!?
Staff member
#10
I have seen firends use the Freezer method. That along with putting the drive in upside down.

Some strange things that people come up with to try and recover a disk.

Stinks that it is a blob now. :frowning:
 

mqudsi

Mostly Harmless
Staff member
#11
That's too bad, Peter!

Hopefully the new disk won't die on you this lifetime :smile:
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#12
Peter, out of interest, how old was the now defunct HDD ?
I've still got my original (tiny) HDDs from the last millenium in working order, but I always have my power settings turn off the monitor and HDDs after 2 minutes of idle, (for planet-saving reasons primarily) so they don't spend as much time spinning and wearing the bearings as some. (and I shutdown at night and cold reboot every day)
What was the typical working profile of the failed disk ?
 

mqudsi

Mostly Harmless
Staff member
#13
In my experience, it's a matter of luck more than anything else. HDs are designed to last decades; so if it fails before that it could be a day, a month, or 5 years - it's your luck that your drive wasn't up to par.
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#14
I thought it might be interesting CG, to find out if people whose disks fail are just unlucky, or whether they have a similar pattern of use. Maybe we'll find with a mini-survey whether "install it, power it up and it never stops spinning again" is a better or worse philosophy than "spin it up when you use it".
I wonder whether the MTTF is cumulative use, i.e. the latter would be better, or just time-elapsed regardless, or that constant stop/start is detrimental i.e. the former is preferable.
 
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Ex_Brit

If you're going through hell, keep going.
Staff member
#15
That HDD was 5 years old. The one I'm using right now is 2.5 years old.

Addendum:

I just noticed a strange thing on the end of my original XP boot menu.
Right after "Fastdetect" it says "\PAE \NOPAE" - that isn't on my other XP entry and I never noticed it before.,
Where does that come from?
 
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mqudsi

Mostly Harmless
Staff member
#16
I thought it might be interesting CG, to find out if people whose disks fail are just unlucky, or whether they have a similar pattern of use. Maybe we'll find with a mini-survey whether "install it, power it up and it never stops spinning again" is a better or worse philosophy than "spin it up when you use it".
I wonder whether the MTTF is cumulative use, i.e. the latter would be better, or just time-elapsed regardless, or that constant stop/start is detrimental i.e. the former is preferable.
Interesting point there - the only time a disk ever failed me was after turning on my PC after a prolonged vacation.

This machine has 2x 6yr old drives and a 6 mos. old Raptor 150 (a Velociraptor 300 is in the mail!!! :grinning:) that have been running since the day I bought them.......

I guess you have a fairly valid thought there!!
 

Ex_Brit

If you're going through hell, keep going.
Staff member
#17
Any thoughts about that PAE/NOPAE extension on one of my drive entries in boot menu?
 

mqudsi

Mostly Harmless
Staff member
#18
That's just whether Physical Address Extension will be enabled or not - it makes no difference except on 64-bit systems with more than 4GB of memory.
 

Ex_Brit

If you're going through hell, keep going.
Staff member
#19
Thanks. That's what I thought, wonder how it got there. Could I edit it out with no problem?
 

mqudsi

Mostly Harmless
Staff member
#20
Yeah, you can remove that switch - shouldn't have any effect whatsoever.