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Computer locks up on defrag and chkdsk; suspected hard drive failure


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RoyBizoy's Avatar
RoyBizoy RoyBizoy is offline
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16-Jan-2010, 10:54 PM #1
Computer locks up on defrag and chkdsk; suspected hard drive failure
Hello everybody,

At the beginning of the month, my computer began experiencing what I assumed were random lock ups. I could have the computer on for about 20 minutes or so at a time before the lock ups occurred. The odd thing about these crashes was that they took place one program at a time. First my browser would lock up, but I could still use my taskbar until I tried to use the start menu or open the clock, etc. Then my desktop would lock up if I tried to use any shortcuts. I eventually got frustrated with trying to troubleshoot it and completely reformatted, installing XP from scratch. Everything was perfectly fine up until I installed Diskeeper 2007 and tried to run a defrag on my computer. The lock ups occurred once more. Because Diskeeper also uses its auto-defragger tool, I realized that it was the cause of my lock ups prior to reformatting my drive as well. I tried defragging in safe mode, using a different defragging software, and ran chkdsk. In all cases, my computer froze, with chkdsk consistently locking up on phase 4 at 40%.

I suspect that my hard drives (I have two 150GB WD Raptors in a RAID 0 array) maybe failing, or at least one of them, but it's hard to tell; outside this defragging/chkdsk issue, my computer runs flawlessly, though I have noticed the slightest bit of lag when accessing files and programs lately (which could be attributed to the lack of a defrag). If one of my hard disks was failing, I would expect a much more cumbersome degree of errors, like blue screens or disappearing/inaccessible files. The computer seems fine unless I try to defrag or run chkdsk, and I just don't understand it.

Like I said, everything on my computer is nestled on a RAID 0 array of two 150GB WD Raptor drives on a P5N-E SLI motherboard (nForce 650i chipset) with Windows XP as my OS. The stripe size is 16kb and my Nvidia RAID controller always lists the array as healthy. I've considered the possibility that my motherboard's RAID controller is failing or somehow damaged, but I wouldn't know how to verify this. My computer, with this hardware and using Diskeeper 2007 as my primary defragging software, has ran flawlessly up to this point (about 2 years). I would love to save myself from spending $60-$75 on a replacement hard drive, so any and all help that can be contributed would be much appreciated! If there is any other information required, please let me know. Thanks in advance.
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17-Jan-2010, 01:43 PM #2
1. Back up important data now.

2. After #1 is done, try installing the latest raid driver available for that chipset, then try chkdsk again. Try running chkdsk in safe mode with command prompt.

Quote:
with chkdsk consistently locking up on phase 4 at 40%.
Are you sure it is locking up?, if it is recovering bad sectors, stage 4 could run for quite some time depending on how many bad sectors it finds, I had one run last week for several hours before it completed sector recovery.

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RoyBizoy's Avatar
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17-Jan-2010, 02:10 PM #3
Thanks for the reply Mumbodog.

My RAID drivers are up to date and I've backed up my files. I will take your advice on running chkdsk in safe mode. When it would freeze at 40%, I would let it idle there for about an hour and nothing would happen, but I'm going to be gone for most of the day so I'll allow the computer to run in my absence and report back with results.
RoyBizoy's Avatar
RoyBizoy RoyBizoy is offline
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18-Jan-2010, 03:31 PM #4
Well I left chkdsk running all day yesterday. To no surprise of my own, it was still at 40% before I shut my computer down last night. This seems like an issue with my hard drives, but again, since the computer seems to run fine so long as I don't attempt to defrag or anything, I really haven't the faintest clue what's happening. A friend of mine suggested I try buying new SATA cables, but I'm not sure how this would make any significant difference.
Elvandil's Avatar
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18-Jan-2010, 03:47 PM #5
One drive is toast.

Free Hard Drive Testing Applications:

Manufacturer's Tests
Victoria for DOS
Victoria for Windows (Both versions of Victoria are among the best and most thorough tests available.)
HD Tune
CheckDisk 1.03 (Marks bad sectors as unusable.)
HDAT2 (Diagnostics and bad sector recovery)
MHDD Low-level Diagnostics
Bootable Hitachi Drive Fitness Test Floppy or CD Image (works on most drives)

Hard Drive Manufacturers' Diagnostic Utilities Links:

TachTech
BleepingComputer
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RoyBizoy's Avatar
RoyBizoy RoyBizoy is offline
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18-Jan-2010, 05:03 PM #6
Well I downloaded Victoria and let it test my drives out. Saw quite a bit of warning text and after the test completed my computer locked up. Seems to me that there's no way around it, at least one drive is definitely out of commission or well on its way. Looks like I'll be purchasing a cheaper, spacier, single 7200RPM drive this time around. Thanks for all the help!
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