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Solved: Hard Drive Reverting to PIO Mode (Dying?)

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by l2rdo, May 31, 2010.

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  1. l2rdo

    l2rdo Thread Starter

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    Hi all. I have two internal HDs on my system, both are 500gb Western Digital HDs about 4-5 years old. One is partitioned into 100gb C:\ (windows) and 400gb D: drive. The other is a 500gb E: drive.

    About a month ago I came home to find that my computer had been infested with some kind of fake antivirus popup virus. I managed to get rid of the virus, but 3-4 days later my PC stopped reading my E: drive. I restarted several times, did some research, but essentially the hard drive wasnt being read (not even in BIOS). I thought my E: drive was dead, but after pulling it out of the system, playing with wires, it all of a sudden was picked up by my computer again. It was running extremelly slow, but I managed to back up all my data. I kept expecting it to die due to the excessive slowdown, but it never did. After a a couple of days of running excessively slow, I looked up some information on HDs running slow, and read about drives running in PIO mode instead of DMA mode. Sure enough, my HD was in PIO mode, even though "run in DMA mode if available" was selected. I managed to revert back to DMA mode by uninstalling the IDE drivers, and things were fine for a week or 2, but recently its been reverting back to PIO mode with more frequency. Unsure if it was my HD, my cables, or my motherboard, I did some trial and error and moved the E: drive between the slave and master IDE channels. Regardless of which cable/channel the E: drive is connected to, it is the only HD that reverts to PIO mode.

    Is it possible this is being caused by a dying or fautly HD? Could the virus I got somehow have affected my E: drive? If so, I would think that my C: drive would be the one affected since thats the HD that windows is installed on, but it hasn't had any problems. I've also tried the registry fix where you change it so the IDE channel needs 6 consecutive faulty errors before switching to PIO mode, instead of 6 cumulative, but that didnt seem to help. Any help would be appreciated!

    Im also thinking about just buying a new HD, what would everyone recommend?

    Rick
     
  2. crjdriver

    crjdriver Moderator

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    Have you checked the drive with the WD diagnostic?

    If you just want a new drive, I generally use WD black series [unless I cannot convince someone to spend the extra few $ for the black]

    Since this appears to be an ide type drive, you are somewhat limited as to what you can get. If your board supports sata, then sata drives are both larger and cheaper than ide. I think the largest ide type drive I remember seeing was 500gig. As an example you can buy a WD 750gig black drive w/32meg of cache for about the same price as the WD ide 500gig w/8meg of cache; better drive with more capacity AND a 5yr warranty for the same money.
     
  3. l2rdo

    l2rdo Thread Starter

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    Where can I get the WD diagnostic tool?

    As far as whether or not my mobo supports sata, I dont know. Its a Gigabyte GA-P35-DS3L motherboard. Under IDE ATA\ATAPI controllers in Device Manager it does list Intel ICH9 2 port Serial ATA Storage Controller 1 - 2921 and Intel ICH9 2 port Serial ATA Storage Controller 2 - 2926.
     
  4. crjdriver

    crjdriver Moderator

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  5. l2rdo

    l2rdo Thread Starter

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    So I downloaded the diagnostic tool, but the scan will take 36 hours to complete thanks to the drive being in PIO mode. The other HD took 3 hours to scan, no issues.

    So what are the chances that this is being caused by a fautly/dying HD? Would reformatting it help? Should I just buy a new one? Could it possibly be caused by something OTHER than the HD itself?
     
  6. crjdriver

    crjdriver Moderator

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    Did you get the windows edition by chance? If so, you need the dos version that runs from a boot CD. It makes no difference whether it is pio mode when you use the dos version.

    Next yes it could be a faulty data cable, bad pw connector, etc however I would tend to think the drive is failing. With the price of hard drives so cheap now, it makes little sense to mess around with old technology. I would get a modern WD black series drive with 32meg of cache. These drives outperform the 1st and 2nd generation raptors from a few years ago. They are close to [but slightly behind] the 3rd gen raptor drives however they are a LOT cheaper than a modern raptor.
     
  7. l2rdo

    l2rdo Thread Starter

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    I did indeed get the windows version. I dont have a floppy drive on my PC, and I havent bought a new CD burner since my last one died. Im going to have to live with the 23 hour wait.

    As for it being a faulty cable. I originally had the E: drive connected to my primary IDE cable. In an attempt to find out what was at fault, I uninstalled the IDE drivers, turned off the PC, unplugged both cables, switched the E: drive to the secondary IDE cable and put the C: drive as my primary IDE cable, and rebooted. The drive affected by the PIO mode switch was still the E: drive, and the IDE slot affected switched from primary to secondary. This would suggest that the drive is at fault, and not the cable or mortherboard correct?

    By the way, thanks for the help, I appreciate it. :)
     
  8. crjdriver

    crjdriver Moderator

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  9. DaveBurnett

    DaveBurnett Account Closed

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    I've seen several disks that have been very slow and still passed the manufacturers diagnostics.
    They all turned out to be faulty. A couple were returned under warranty and it was the cache memory that was in error.
     
  10. crjdriver

    crjdriver Moderator

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    True enough. I have had a few drives that would pass the long test and were still problematic.
     
  11. l2rdo

    l2rdo Thread Starter

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    Thats what I was worried about. If the drive just flat out failed, Id be happy because Id know it wasnt something else more difficult to replace. However, I dont want to go buy a new drive only to find out that its the motherboard thats broken.
     
  12. DaveBurnett

    DaveBurnett Account Closed

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    The cache memory on the drive not the motherboard.
     
  13. l2rdo

    l2rdo Thread Starter

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    So the drive ended up passing all the tests on the diagnostic tool, which means I still dont know whats wrong with it. Im going to reformat the drive, and if that doesnt help, just go out and buy a new one. Thanks for the help everyone.
     
  14. l2rdo

    l2rdo Thread Starter

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    Well, I attempted to reformat the drive, and I got an error message saying that the formatting failed. The drive has since then dissapeared from my PC. So, I guess that takes care of that, off to buy a new HD now.
     
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