Re: Hard drive on way out, not sure

Discussion in 'NZ Computing' started by ~misfit~, Jun 17, 2008.

  1. ~misfit~

    ~misfit~ Guest

    Somewhere on teh intarweb "Nighthawk" typed:
    > A few times in the last few days I have had various read failure
    > messages on bootup. Tonight I had three attempts to bootup into my
    > normal Win98SE partition but kept getting "general failure reading
    > drive" messages. Eventually I booted into my small 98SE partition and
    > ran Norton Disc Doctor with thorough surface scan. It came up clean.
    > But on the forth attempt to bootup, it was successful. I had a
    > similar scare a couple of weeks ago. But once I am in Windows, as
    > now, everything runs perfectly normally.
    >
    > SpeedFan shows no faults, everything looks in good shape, performance
    > and fitness as usual. There is no unusual noise and the performance
    > doesn't seem to be dropping. Fortunately I have image backups.
    >
    > The Samsung SP1614N 160GB IDE drive has been a good drive but it has
    > served for a bit over three years now. I used to leave it on for P2P,
    > sometimes for many days at a time. Perhaps something is getting
    > tired? I guess it is about time I cloned to a new drive.


    Have you had a look at the drive with HD Sentinel?

    Tried a new IDE cable?

    Checked and re-seated both molex and IDE?

    Are you confident that your PSU is adequately specced and in good condition?

    Is there lots of dust and crap around the IDE controller chip?

    If I had to pick I'd say PSU.
    --
    Shaun.

    DISCLAIMER: If you find a posting or message from me
    offensive, inappropriate, or disruptive, please ignore it.
    If you don't know how to ignore a posting, complain to
    me and I will be only too happy to demonstrate... ;-)
    ~misfit~, Jun 17, 2008
    #1
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  2. On Wed, 18 Jun 2008 00:59:31 +1200, Nighthawk <>
    wrote:

    >On Tue, 17 Jun 2008 22:58:38 +1200, "~misfit~"
    ><> wrote:
    >
    >>Somewhere on teh intarweb "Nighthawk" typed:
    >>> A few times in the last few days I have had various read failure
    >>> messages on bootup. Tonight I had three attempts to bootup into my
    >>> normal Win98SE partition but kept getting "general failure reading
    >>> drive" messages. Eventually I booted into my small 98SE partition and
    >>> ran Norton Disc Doctor with thorough surface scan. It came up clean.
    >>> But on the forth attempt to bootup, it was successful. I had a
    >>> similar scare a couple of weeks ago. But once I am in Windows, as
    >>> now, everything runs perfectly normally.
    >>>
    >>> SpeedFan shows no faults, everything looks in good shape, performance
    >>> and fitness as usual. There is no unusual noise and the performance
    >>> doesn't seem to be dropping. Fortunately I have image backups.
    >>>
    >>> The Samsung SP1614N 160GB IDE drive has been a good drive but it has
    >>> served for a bit over three years now. I used to leave it on for P2P,
    >>> sometimes for many days at a time. Perhaps something is getting
    >>> tired? I guess it is about time I cloned to a new drive.

    >>
    >>Have you had a look at the drive with HD Sentinel?
    >>
    >>Tried a new IDE cable?
    >>
    >>Checked and re-seated both molex and IDE?
    >>
    >>Are you confident that your PSU is adequately specced and in good condition?
    >>
    >>Is there lots of dust and crap around the IDE controller chip?
    >>
    >>If I had to pick I'd say PSU.

    >
    >Don't have HD Sentinel. What OS does it need? I don't see an OS
    >requirement on their site.
    >
    >No, not tried new cable. Do cables fail? I have checked the seating
    >of cables. Little dust in my PC at all. PSU is specced well above
    >what the PC requires, being a 350W Enermax.
    >
    >The problem has only ever manifested on bootup, at various stages.
    >Once up and running there is never a hickup. It has always been a
    >cool running drive, sometimes below 19ºC when doing nothing, only goes
    >over 30 on warm days. It has had a great deal of use.


    Yes, cables do indeed fail. I have had two that gave all sorts of
    daft symptoms when they did. So I now always have a spare I can swap
    in to test for cable problems.
    Stephen Worthington, Jun 17, 2008
    #2
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  3. ~misfit~

    ~misfit~ Guest

    Somewhere on teh intarweb "Nighthawk" typed:
    > On Tue, 17 Jun 2008 22:58:38 +1200, "~misfit~"
    > <> wrote:
    >
    >> Somewhere on teh intarweb "Nighthawk" typed:
    >>> A few times in the last few days I have had various read failure
    >>> messages on bootup. Tonight I had three attempts to bootup into my
    >>> normal Win98SE partition but kept getting "general failure reading
    >>> drive" messages. Eventually I booted into my small 98SE partition
    >>> and ran Norton Disc Doctor with thorough surface scan. It came up
    >>> clean. But on the forth attempt to bootup, it was successful. I
    >>> had a similar scare a couple of weeks ago. But once I am in
    >>> Windows, as now, everything runs perfectly normally.
    >>>
    >>> SpeedFan shows no faults, everything looks in good shape,
    >>> performance and fitness as usual. There is no unusual noise and
    >>> the performance doesn't seem to be dropping. Fortunately I have
    >>> image backups.
    >>>
    >>> The Samsung SP1614N 160GB IDE drive has been a good drive but it has
    >>> served for a bit over three years now. I used to leave it on for
    >>> P2P, sometimes for many days at a time. Perhaps something is
    >>> getting tired? I guess it is about time I cloned to a new drive.

    >>
    >> Have you had a look at the drive with HD Sentinel?
    >>
    >> Tried a new IDE cable?
    >>
    >> Checked and re-seated both molex and IDE?
    >>
    >> Are you confident that your PSU is adequately specced and in good
    >> condition?
    >>
    >> Is there lots of dust and crap around the IDE controller chip?
    >>
    >> If I had to pick I'd say PSU.

    >
    > Don't have HD Sentinel. What OS does it need? I don't see an OS
    > requirement on their site.


    http://www.hdsentinel.com/

    It lists them on the left there. Win, DOS and Linux. (Thanks for that BTW, I
    see there's a newer version for Windows, d/ling now.)

    > No, not tried new cable. Do cables fail?


    Yes. Not often but they do. I think the conductors break, being so fine and
    all. I've had two that 'went bad'. However, your symptoms don't point to a
    bad cable as being the most likely cause of the problems you're getting.

    > I have checked the seating
    > of cables. Little dust in my PC at all. PSU is specced well above
    > what the PC requires, being a 350W Enermax.


    What are the components? 350W isn't that high. Is it an old machine? Enermax
    are good but most everybody was caught out by the bad caps thing....

    > The problem has only ever manifested on bootup, at various stages.
    > Once up and running there is never a hickup.


    Exactly the same symptoms as my flatmates PC a couple weeks ago. After much
    investigation it was found that the smoothing caps in the PSU (good brand)
    had blown causing spikes on the (most likely) 5V rail, causing head crashes.
    When the machine *did* start it ran fine. Except HD Sentinel reported
    /another/ bunch of reallocated sectors.

    > It has always been a
    > cool running drive, sometimes below 19ºC when doing nothing, only goes
    > over 30 on warm days.


    Same with my flatmates. Hers was attacted to one of those big aluminium DSE
    HDD heatsinks with twin 40mm fans that sits in a 5 3/4" bay. The fans need
    lubing often but the temp stays good.

    > It has had a great deal of use.


    What do you consider a "great deal of use"? I have a Seagate 80 GB here that
    I bought new that has run for 1037 days and 3 hours (on time) that has zero
    reallocated sectors and zero spin-up errors. It used to be my primary drive
    back when 80 GB was big. I also have a Maxtor 40GB (both 7,200rpm drives
    BTW) that I bought second-hand, taken from a corporate machine and DoD
    scrubbed, that has been powered up for 1,639 days and 4 hours. Likewise, no
    problems.

    IOW I can't see age being a problem for your 160 GB HDD. Also, you've ruled
    out temperature, dirty controller contacts and have re-seated the cables.
    The next thing is power. Dirty power will do in a drive fairly quickly and
    your drive is showing classic symptoms of a failing PSU.

    Maybe crack the PSU and examine the main smoothing electrolytic capacitors?
    They'll be slightly bigger than mobo caps, likely near the area where the
    wires exit the PSU. The ones I've just replaced (that were causing exactly
    the same symptoms) were 12mm in diameter, 4700uf/10V.

    Good luck.
    --
    Shaun.

    DISCLAIMER: If you find a posting or message from me
    offensive, inappropriate, or disruptive, please ignore it.
    If you don't know how to ignore a posting, complain to
    me and I will be only too happy to demonstrate... ;-)
    ~misfit~, Jun 18, 2008
    #3
  4. ~misfit~

    ~misfit~ Guest

    Somewhere on teh intarweb "Nighthawk" typed:
    > On Wed, 18 Jun 2008 11:36:44 +1200, "~misfit~"
    > <> wrote:
    >
    >>> Don't have HD Sentinel. What OS does it need? I don't see an OS
    >>> requirement on their site.

    >>
    >> http://www.hdsentinel.com/
    >>
    >> It lists them on the left there. Win, DOS and Linux. (Thanks for
    >> that BTW, I see there's a newer version for Windows, d/ling now.)
    >>
    >>> No, not tried new cable. Do cables fail?

    >>
    >> Yes. Not often but they do. I think the conductors break, being so
    >> fine and all. I've had two that 'went bad'. However, your symptoms
    >> don't point to a bad cable as being the most likely cause of the
    >> problems you're getting.
    >>
    >>> I have checked the seating
    >>> of cables. Little dust in my PC at all. PSU is specced well above
    >>> what the PC requires, being a 350W Enermax.

    >>
    >> What are the components? 350W isn't that high. Is it an old machine?
    >> Enermax are good but most everybody was caught out by the bad caps
    >> thing....
    >>
    >>> The problem has only ever manifested on bootup, at various stages.
    >>> Once up and running there is never a hickup.

    >>
    >> Exactly the same symptoms as my flatmates PC a couple weeks ago.
    >> After much investigation it was found that the smoothing caps in the
    >> PSU (good brand) had blown causing spikes on the (most likely) 5V
    >> rail, causing head crashes. When the machine *did* start it ran
    >> fine. Except HD Sentinel reported /another/ bunch of reallocated
    >> sectors.
    >>
    >>> It has always been a
    >>> cool running drive, sometimes below 19ºC when doing nothing, only
    >>> goes over 30 on warm days.

    >>
    >> Same with my flatmates. Hers was attacted to one of those big
    >> aluminium DSE HDD heatsinks with twin 40mm fans that sits in a 5
    >> 3/4" bay. The fans need lubing often but the temp stays good.
    >>
    >>> It has had a great deal of use.

    >>
    >> What do you consider a "great deal of use"? I have a Seagate 80 GB
    >> here that I bought new that has run for 1037 days and 3 hours (on
    >> time) that has zero reallocated sectors and zero spin-up errors. It
    >> used to be my primary drive back when 80 GB was big. I also have a
    >> Maxtor 40GB (both 7,200rpm drives BTW) that I bought second-hand,
    >> taken from a corporate machine and DoD scrubbed, that has been
    >> powered up for 1,639 days and 4 hours. Likewise, no problems.
    >>
    >> IOW I can't see age being a problem for your 160 GB HDD. Also,
    >> you've ruled out temperature, dirty controller contacts and have
    >> re-seated the cables. The next thing is power. Dirty power will do
    >> in a drive fairly quickly and your drive is showing classic symptoms
    >> of a failing PSU.
    >>
    >> Maybe crack the PSU and examine the main smoothing electrolytic
    >> capacitors? They'll be slightly bigger than mobo caps, likely near
    >> the area where the wires exit the PSU. The ones I've just replaced
    >> (that were causing exactly the same symptoms) were 12mm in diameter,
    >> 4700uf/10V.
    >>
    >> Good luck.

    >
    > PC is ordinary desktop mobo, (ASRock K7 VM2 - onboard sound and video
    > disabled, 4x AGP slot) XP2400+ CPU, Radeon 9550 video card.
    >
    > According to this PSU calculator
    > http://extreme.outervision.com/psucalculatorlite.jsp with 20% aging
    > and two PCI cards, two hard drive, two optical drives, two USB
    > devices, it only requires 285W. My PSU measures 12.29V and 5V on a
    > multimeter.
    >
    > I defragged C: drive the other day, was only 2% fragmented, and it
    > hasn't missed a beat since. But I have downloaded Hitachi Hard Drive
    > tester from http://www.hitachigst.com/hdd/support/download.htm which,
    > I am told, looks at the mechanicals and electronics of the drive.
    >
    > Is there any point in having SMART enabled in BIOS? SpeedFan seems to
    > read SMART data anyway.
    >
    > If it happens again I will try a new cable and open the PSU.


    OK, as it's all a matter of guesswork, my money's on 'dirty power'.

    Luck,
    --
    Shaun.

    DISCLAIMER: If you find a posting or message from me
    offensive, inappropriate, or disruptive, please ignore it.
    If you don't know how to ignore a posting, complain to
    me and I will be only too happy to demonstrate... ;-)
    ~misfit~, Jun 18, 2008
    #4
  5. ~misfit~

    Dave Taylor Guest

    Nighthawk <> wrote in
    news::

    > Is there any point in having SMART enabled in BIOS? SpeedFan seems to
    > read SMART data anyway.
    >
    > If it happens again I will try a new cable and open the PSU.


    smart is doing its job if you have it on. Once the "threshold"
    is reached you get a prompt. You then have a warning. Leave it on and
    stop worrying about all the other stuff. Drive densities are so high now
    that they do remap and they do have errors. I know it sucks but the drives
    have software and caches for a reason. Gone are the mfm-rll days, so get
    over it. Let the drive bios do its job. keep good backups.


    --
    Ciao, Dave
    Dave Taylor, Jun 18, 2008
    #5
  6. ~misfit~

    ~misfit~ Guest

    Somewhere on teh intarweb "Nighthawk" typed:
    > On Wed, 18 Jun 2008 22:49:49 +1200, "~misfit~"
    > <> wrote:
    >
    >>> PC is ordinary desktop mobo, (ASRock K7 VM2 - onboard sound and
    >>> video disabled, 4x AGP slot) XP2400+ CPU, Radeon 9550 video card.
    >>>
    >>> According to this PSU calculator
    >>> http://extreme.outervision.com/psucalculatorlite.jsp with 20% aging
    >>> and two PCI cards, two hard drive, two optical drives, two USB
    >>> devices, it only requires 285W. My PSU measures 12.29V and 5V on a
    >>> multimeter.
    >>>
    >>> I defragged C: drive the other day, was only 2% fragmented, and it
    >>> hasn't missed a beat since. But I have downloaded Hitachi Hard
    >>> Drive tester from
    >>> http://www.hitachigst.com/hdd/support/download.htm which, I am
    >>> told, looks at the mechanicals and electronics of the drive.
    >>>
    >>> Is there any point in having SMART enabled in BIOS? SpeedFan seems
    >>> to read SMART data anyway.
    >>>
    >>> If it happens again I will try a new cable and open the PSU.

    >>
    >> OK, as it's all a matter of guesswork, my money's on 'dirty power'.
    >>
    >> Luck,

    >
    > It still hasn't missed a beat since. Perhaps when I was poking around
    > testing the cable seatings I might have fixed it. The rounded cable
    > is a little stiff and perhaps it was pulling on a wire.
    >
    > But regarding the power supply, yesterday I had it running with both
    > hard drives connected, plus a USB hard drive, USB modem, and burned a
    > data DVD which turned out to be the very best quality DVD burn I have
    > ever done, PIF error peaking at 1. PSUs affect quality of burns if
    > there is a problem.


    Ok, cool. Maybe you've fixed it then. :)

    Cheers,
    --
    Shaun.

    DISCLAIMER: If you find a posting or message from me
    offensive, inappropriate, or disruptive, please ignore it.
    If you don't know how to ignore a posting, complain to
    me and I will be only too happy to demonstrate... ;-)
    ~misfit~, Jun 19, 2008
    #6
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