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BSOD 7a, hard drive issues

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by bushpilot223, Nov 18, 2013.

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  1. bushpilot223

    bushpilot223 Thread Starter

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    Hi all, I have a Dell XPS 15 (L502X) with Windows 7 Home Premium (x64) and I just recently had to replace the hard drive, it's only been a year or year and a half. The past few days I've been getting random system failures...the system just shuts off without warning. Upon booting up, Windows Problem Reporting reports a BSOD with BCCode 7a. Research confirms this is most definitely a hard drive issue, where there are bad sectors or a damaged drive.

    According to HDSentinel, my HD Health is only 76%!! I'm wondering if it would be worth it to run a full surface check and full disk check with HDSentinel. It will take 12-24 hours to complete both..as I have a 1TB hard drive.. and I will lose all of my data...but it's either that or buy a new hard drive for $120.

    My question is: would it be worth it to try and save the hard drive? Or, is it too far gone, with only 76% health? Also, what might cause such a drastic change in the HD Health? The laptop hasn't had any sudden shocks, hits, or anything, but all of the sudden I am getting 4-5 BSOD's per day, all 7a. S.M.A.R.T. status is OK, but obviously the drive is having issues. I ran dskchk on C:/ and it didn't help.. would SeaTools possibly be able to save it? It's a Seagate drive. I'd just like some outside opinions--I've worked on computers for years but I've never had to/wanted to save a dying hard drive. I've heard it's possible to repair damaged drives using tools such as the ones I mentioned, but I have no idea if it would be possible when the HD Health is only 76%..

    Things I've tried: dskchk on C:/, updated hard drive firmware, updated BIOS, updated sata controller driver and chipset (all were already up to date, but I re-flashed/reinstalled anyways)
     
  2. Macboatmaster

    Macboatmaster Trusted Advisor Spam Fighter

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    The more writes you subject that drive to the greater the chance of it failing good style

    If the report is accurate and it is the drive, as against another issue for instance a failing component that is causing the error - there is only one course of action open to you and that is to make a clone of the drive to protect all the data

    Whether it will make the clone depends on how bad the file system is and where the errors are.

    If it is the disc itself and there is no severe corruption of the MFT you may get away with it

    If it is the read/write head the chances are slim

    No matter what you read, even in the first example you cannot repair it - you simply have the utility copy the data from the bad sector and attempt to write it to a good sector. The bad sector is then marked bad so that data is not written to it in future.
    IF it is the read/write head there is no chance of any repair to produce any meaningful results

    what error code did Seatools give you
     
  3. managed

    managed Trusted Advisor Spam Fighter

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    If there is vital data on that HDD then the 1st priority is to try and copy it to somewhere safe. A clone will do that or if it's only a few files simply copying them onto an external HDD or burning them onto a CD might be easier.

    Once that's been done the usual recommendation is to run the HDD maker's diagnostic software, so in your case that would be SeaTools. You can run it from a Dos CD which eliminates any problems with Windows and is preferred.

    You can get the ISO here :- http://www.seagate.com/gb/en/support/downloads/item/seatools-dos-master/

    You should not lose any data with this tool. Run the short and long tests.
     
  4. bushpilot223

    bushpilot223 Thread Starter

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    Sea tools failed the short test after only a few seconds...HDSentinel failed quick test with error: Test Failed By Read Element. Performing long test via sea tools right now. Going very very slow..but no errors yet at 10%. SeaTools also says S.M.A.R.T. has not been tripped under Drive Information.
     
  5. bushpilot223

    bushpilot223 Thread Starter

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    Also, the reason I said I couldn't backup my data is because I have no large USB sticks or external HD's..and I have a good 120GB of important data, and some of HDSentinel's more aggressive options erase your entire hard disk.
     
  6. Macboatmaster

    Macboatmaster Trusted Advisor Spam Fighter

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    Well there is no way forward if you want your data other than to buy an external or a flash and then transfer the data to another computer that has enough spare capacity

    OR take out the hard drive connect it in an enclosure and do it that way to another computer

    I suppose it depends on the value you place on saving your data AND/OR the chance of getting back to how you are with a clone#
     
  7. bushpilot223

    bushpilot223 Thread Starter

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    Long test failed at around 25% with error..had the code typed on my iPad but for some reason it got erased...but it said bad sectors were found and it recommended attempting to repair the bad sectors. I pressed enter to close the error dialog and it automatically started another test, Short DST. it found a lot of bad sectors, it didn't say how many but judging by the list I estimate at least 100 bad sectors, all of which it repaired.

    After the test completed I pressed enter to close the dialog, it started another short DST test, and it said that it passed without errors. Rebooted..ran fast self test with HDSentinel, it successfully completed! My disk health is up to 81%. Estimated disk life left went from 700 days to over 1000 days.

    Another Short DST yielded no errors. I'm running another Long Test right now.

    Thanks for your help, seems to be good results..
     
  8. Macboatmaster

    Macboatmaster Trusted Advisor Spam Fighter

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    It HAS NOT repaired IT
    Please read my first post
    It has simply recovered data from bad sectors and written it to good sectors
    THE disk is still failing
     
  9. bushpilot223

    bushpilot223 Thread Starter

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    I understand that, but if I can squeeze more life out of it I will..also it's extremely difficult to remove the hard drive from an L502x. If I can at least have the OS stop giving me a BSOD 5 times daily that would be great. If HDSentinel is even remotely close to the estimated life left in the drive that'd be even better. There are only 207 days on the hard drive right now.
     
  10. managed

    managed Trusted Advisor Spam Fighter

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    You can't trust that drive any more, it might last 5 years or 5 hours. The wise thing to do is back up the data asap. Easy way is get an external HDD and copy or clone it onto that. You should have a backup of any data you regard as important, in fact you should have 2 backups.
     
  11. Macboatmaster

    Macboatmaster Trusted Advisor Spam Fighter

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    Indeed, as I said on my first reply post 2
    and as managed has said on his post 3

    Good luck with it, hope it goes as well as it can

    NB You are going to have to remove it eventually - unless you are going to pay for the installation of a new one
     
  12. bushpilot223

    bushpilot223 Thread Starter

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    Thanks.

    Yeah I've replaced it before on my own, and it took a couple hours and was very delicate and tedious work. You have to be soooo careful to not break any of the small plastic pieces that clip the top of the laptop case together. You have to access the hard disk from the top...quite ridiculous. (For the first replacement, it took me over an hour and talking to 3 different people to convince Dell to send me the hard drive so I could replace it myself, didn't want to wait 3 weeks) Most laptops have small access doors on the bottom with a hard drive symbol on them..easy stuff, but this XPS is terribly difficult. I ran the long test again, it got to 40% this time, and ran a Short DST, repaired some more bad sectors, and now my Hard Drive Health is up to 86%. going to run another long test tonight before I go to sleep. I'll report as to whether I continue getting the BSOD with code 7a, but so far I haven't had a BSOD since I ran the first Long Test with SeaTools.

    Edit: I found the Long Test error it was giving: A3A8D852
     
  13. managed

    managed Trusted Advisor Spam Fighter

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    My idea was to use something like a linux live CD or the UBCD and copy/clone the internal drive onto an external drive so you have a copy of the data. Then after that you can remove the internal drive, as Macboatmaster said you will have to remove it at some stage.
     
  14. bushpilot223

    bushpilot223 Thread Starter

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    So far the machine seems to be working fine (knocks on wood). A big chunk of the data I'd like to save is stuff like games, HD movies, etc. that I have bought digital copies of..and since I have only a 50gb cap with CableONE it would suck to have to redownload all that stuff. I'd hit the cap in no time. But if worst comes to worst, I have already backed up vital documents and pictures to a set of DVD's. Now I'm just crossing my fingers that this drive lasts until I can get a new one. I checked online and a replacement drive is about $70-$80 USD, quite a bit cheaper than they were a year ago or so when I bought the one that's in it. It sucks though, because I have had terrible luck with Seagate lately, but the only compatible replacement drives listed for the L502x are Seagate drives..although I could probably get one that's not officially supported, right? Hmm..

    Had several Seagates die at work, the one in my desktop died after only 2 months, the one that was in my laptop before was the same model and it only lasted about a year, and now this one has only lasted about a year.
     
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