Solved: HDD stops

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cristian_vizu

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Hello!
I am having this issue for some time now, and it became curious when the issue recurred after replacing the hard disk drive.
The issue occurs like follows: from time to time the HDD will just stop. After a few moments it starts working again, but not for long before it happens again. I usually turn the computer off, since the issue won't go away.
This already broke a 500GB WD, and I thought the disk was faulty, so I replaced it with a 200GB Maxtor. I was amazed to see the issue happen again with the new drive. So I concluded that it wasn't the hdd who was faulty.
Also, I tried different power and data cables.
Do you have any ideas on this?
THANKS!

Tech Support Guy System Info Utility version 1.0.0.2
OS Version: Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate, 32 bit
Processor: AMD Athlon(tm) 64 X2 Dual Core Processor 5200+, x64 Family 15 Model 107 Stepping 2
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Hard Drives: C: Total - 51199 MB, Free - 15553 MB; D: Total - 40754 MB, Free - 18391 MB; E: Total - 102421 MB, Free - 29962 MB;
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If the hard drive just stops spinning at random that would suggest a problem with the power supply. Tricky to test an intermittent fault with a voltmeter, the easiest way would be to borrow a PSU from another computer.
 

cristian_vizu

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At first it happened when installing or copying large amounts of data, also when I was playing. Recently it happens as you said, randomly, and also, more frequent.
I also suspected the power supply, but the problem is that the issue does not occur periodically, nor is it triggered by a specific action, so testing with another PSU can't conclude the problem for sure.
Could the MB be the problem?

Update: I recorded some parameters while a HDD crash, including voltages [screenshot attached]. Any anomalies there? Is the 0.03V drop in the +12V enough to have caused it?
 

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I see what you are getting at but the voltage readings are just a snapshot and will not be showing the true voltage at the precise time that a crash took place. And no, I doubt the small drop in voltage could have caused a problem.

The hard drive requires a constant supply to keep running and only Green drives spin down during periods of inactivity. The power to the drive is direct from the PSU not via the motherboard so the drive should never stop spinning unless the power supply is interrupted..

Testing with another PSU should prove the point, I have suggested, as the crash will not occur any more, at all.

The only other thing you could do would invlove connecting a voltmeter to the 12V supply that feeds the hard drive. It would have to be visible at all times so you could see if the voltage drops when the crash occurs.

Are you quite sure that the hard drive is spinning down, what exactly happens, does everything freeze? Freezing can be caused by other faults, graphics card or memory, etc.
 

cristian_vizu

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Okay, this is what exactly happens:

I can hear a sound made by the hdd that suggests it's stopped working, after that there's a sound suggesting it starts again. The delay between the two is less than a second. It's like the power supply to the hdd is interrupted for a bit.
The PC does not freeze; the mouse pointer is responsive, I can hover over programs in the taskbar, the visual effects are still present, but the previews of the programs don't show.
After a while it all comes back to normal...until the next crash at least.
Also, I held my hand on the hard drive while a crash, I could feel it spin down, and then spin up again.

I just ran MemTest86+ and no errors were found.
 
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From what you have discribed I would say it is a farly safe bet that your PSU is the cause. As this behaviour was identical with another drive that rules out the other possibility of the drive being faulty.

If you can get your hands on another PSU that would be a good way to prove it before spending money on a new one.
 

cristian_vizu

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May 21, 2007
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Hope I find a PSU that nobody uses, since there can be days without a crash.
I'll mark this as solved as soon as I replace the PSU and confirm the diagnostic.

Thanks a lot, Mark.
 
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Your welcome, just keep using the PC with the temporary PSU for several days until you are convinced the fault is not recurring.
 

cristian_vizu

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May 21, 2007
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I've been running a new PSU for some days now, and all looks good. The HDD does not stop randomly any more, and I am able to use my old HDD which I thought was broken.
Thanks a lot Mark!
 
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