Is my HDD dying?

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go4saket

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Dec 19, 2005
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306
Hello friends!

I have a Sony Vaio Laptop with Windows 7 Ultimte installed on a 360 GB HDD. Since a month or so, the performance of my Laptop dropped drastically and I started getting a warning whenever I started my Laptop from BIOS. Ithe message is as follows:

"SMART failure Predicted on hard disk. Warning: Immediately back-up your date andd replace your hard disk drive. A failure may be imminent. Press F1 to continue"

In the beginning I ignored the message but then the performance dropped so much that I didnt had a choice but to delete all partitions, create 3 fresh partitions and reinstalling Win 7 Ultimate. Installing took a hell lot of time and later after installing when I tried to format drive D, I got error. Anyways, I somehow managed to format drive D, but now I am getting the same warning from BIOS as well as from Win 7 every now and then. Performance is very poor.

Is this a sign of a failure or could be for some other software problem? If it is a HDD problem, is there a way to rectify this or will I have to buy a new HDD?

Thank you.
 
Joined
May 7, 2011
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14,142
The system is telling you that your hard drive is failing, you should believe it.

If you want to prove it's condition then run the hard drive diagnostics from the manufacturer. By the sound of it I would expect the results to be conclusive.

Once a drive starts to fail there is nothing you can do to stop it, it's the one item of hardware on your PC that is bound to fail sooner or later.

Identify the make of your hard drive and then use one of the links below to get the manufacturer's diagnostics for ISO (CD) not the one for Windows.
When the download is complete right click the file and select Extract Here and burn the image to a CD.
In Windows 7 right click the extracted file, select Open With, then select Windows Disc Image Burning Tool then follow the prompts. For all other versions of windows (if you do not have an ISO burner) download this free software. ImgBurn
Install the program and start the application. Select the top left hand option to burn image file to disk and then on the next window click on the small yellow folder icon and browse to the file you have downloaded from the links below. Then click on the two grey discs with the arrow in between (bottom left) and leave it to complete the operation.
Boot the PC into the Bios setup and set the CD/DVD drive to 1st in the boot sequence. Insert the disk in the drive then reboot and the disc will load into dos.
Excelstore
Hitachi/IBM
Samsung
Seagate, Maxtor & Quantum
Western Digital
Toshiba/Fujitsu
If you have a Toshiba/Fujitsu hard drive I would suggest the use of the diagnostics from the Seagate link as this will work on all makes of drive and on any OS.
 

Triple6

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Rob
I wouldn't even bother wasting the time to test the drive; its giving you a failure warning AND it's performance has dropped - I would have replaced it upon receiving the SMART warning.
 
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Since you have already experienced the pain of a full clean install of windows which include the OS, win updates, drivers, peripherals, programs, etc. etc. I suggest you consider creating a backup image to another hard drive. Doing so would certainly simplify the installation of a new hard drive. Just boot into the backup program and recover the new hard drive to the same configuration as was installed on the old hard drive. Takes about 15 minutes or so depending on the size of your installation and you are back in business.

A program for the backup can be downloaded free. I like Easeus ToDo Backup Home. One really nice thing about it is you can create a bootable flash drive to use as your boot device for loading the image into the new hard drive.

Of course, you would need to purchase 2 hard drives instead of one because you need a place to store the backup image. Then you would have it available for futre use if needed. My personal preference is an external enclosure into which just about any size drive can be installed. There are a number of them available online. An advantage to an external drive is it does not always need to be powered on, just when you need it. That makes them last a lot longer.
 

go4saket

Thread Starter
Joined
Dec 19, 2005
Messages
306
Thanks guys! I have changed my HDD. Do you think its safe to use the old HDD as an external backup device?
 

Triple6

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Messages
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Rob
Risky to rely on a failing drive for a backup, what happens if your main drive fails and you can't read the data off this one to restore?
 

jiml8

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Jul 2, 2005
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I have had drives (Seagates, specifically) issue SMART warnings of "imminent failure" from the first time they were powered up and continuing until I cycled them out of service - still working fine - years later. In the case of those drives, it was a firmware issue in the drive.

In fact, I have a drive right now that is a bit less than 4 years old that is giving that same dreaded SMART warning, basing its complaint upon the number of bad blocks. However, this drive experienced a serious head crash a few weeks ago as a result of a rather profound external event (which I documented on this board...), and the platter was damaged in one region. I have effected those repairs that are possible and mapped out the damaged section of the drive, and now I'm ignoring the SMART warnings and using the drive. I'm also periodically running diagnostics on the drive to ensure that the damage isn't spreading.

Don't ignore the SMART warning, of course, but don't blindly believe it either. Verify it, and determine that it is either right or wrong. It certainly could be wrong.

I would certainly be running diagnostics on that drive before deciding on a disposition for it. Your description of what you've done and what you've encountered doesn't provide any solid, quantifiable information that shows the drive is indeed failing. It very well might be failing. It is entirely possible that you need to just heave it into the trash can, or use it as a paperweight. But until you run diagnostics, you don't know that.
 
Joined
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SUE
I just hope you have saved everything you care about on cds or dvds before the drive goes completely if thats what it is.
 
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Aug 1, 2003
Messages
51,988
Don't trust it. It will only bring heartache and cost you more in time or money than a new drive.

Make disk images. Then everything is backed up.

Free drive backup software (imaging, cloning, and archiving):

Paragon Backup & Recovery
Macrium Reflect (Free)
O&O Disk Image Express
Easeus Todo Backup
Redo Backup & Recovery (Boot CD)
Comodo Time Machine (Complete system, files, programs, and settings restoration, but not "bare-metal" for failed drive)
Clonezilla Live (A bootable CD of Debian with Clonezilla.)
Drive Image XML
PING (Partimage is not Ghost) (Boot CD with option Clam Antivirus)
Partition Saving
Clonezilla

There are also many commercial products with more features.
 
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