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Solved: What's wrong with the hard drive?

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by DKTaber, Jan 29, 2013.

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  1. DKTaber

    DKTaber Thread Starter

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    Have a friend who owns a Toshiba Satellite laptop that's barely over 2 years old. He called to tell me he was getting pop-ups telling him the drive was failing and to back up his working files immediately. He brought it to me. Thinking it was probably just some bad sectors, I ran chkdsk /r on it. It indicated there were NO errors at all on the disk. . . but it took over 2 hours to run, and everything the computer did was painfully slow (a Core i5 with 4GB RAM). Everything on the computer worked; i.e., it booted, desktop was fine and you could do essentially everything you've ever done on it, albeit slowly.

    I deduced from this that the electronics on the drive and the stepper motor for the head were A-OK, but the motor that spins the platter was failing/was turning it at a very slow speed.

    I've never seen a drive go "partially" bad like this. Is my conclusion correct that the culprit is the platter motor?
     
  2. managed

    managed Trusted Advisor Spam Fighter

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    I think a drive that spins slowly would fail to work at all.

    What model Toshiba Satellite is it ? How big is the hard drive ?

    Run HDTune free version (not PRO, scroll down to get it) :- http://www.hdtune.com/download.html
    and see what it shows on the Health tab, you can run the Benchmark test as well if you like.
     
  3. DKTaber

    DKTaber Thread Starter

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    I don't remember the model no., even though I bought it and sold it to this friend when I got my Core i7 P755 Satellite. The HD is 500GB. I can't run HDTune on it because he took it home after we ran the chkdsk test. There is definitely something wrong with it. I was just curious whether that was probably due to a failing motor or something else.
     
  4. managed

    managed Trusted Advisor Spam Fighter

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    Well I would say 'something else'. I thought you still had it and you were trying to fix it.
     
  5. DKTaber

    DKTaber Thread Starter

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    That was the original intent, but after seeing the results of chkdsk and how long it took to run (2+ hours), and getting the SMART "your drive has problems and is about to fail" pop-ups on every bootup, we concluded that the message was valid. New drive has been ordered.
     
  6. managed

    managed Trusted Advisor Spam Fighter

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    I think getting a new drive is the wisest thing to do. I would tell him not to use the laptop until you are ready to make backups or clone the drive.
     
  7. dai

    dai

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    chkdsk only checks the file system on the drive not the actual drive

    toshiba have their own drive diagnostic utility that checks the drive

    smart is advanced warning that the drive is on it's last legs
     
  8. DKTaber

    DKTaber Thread Starter

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    I created the recovery disks when the computer was new, and on Tuesday before running chkdsk, I copied all of his working files to a jump drive. So theoretically (meaning that the recovery discs work) all we have to do is install the new drive, run the recovery discs, copy the working files, install the Windows 7 updates that have occurred in the last couple of years, and install the (relatively minor) amount of applications and utility software he had on it.
     
  9. managed

    managed Trusted Advisor Spam Fighter

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    You should be fine then. If you can please let us know how it goes.
     
  10. DKTaber

    DKTaber Thread Starter

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    I will.
     
  11. DKTaber

    DKTaber Thread Starter

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    It went almost perfectly. Turns out what I thought I had given the owner (the recovery discs) was not that; it was a disc image. However, I also have a Win 7 Toshiba Satellite that's only about 1-yr. newer than his and I had made the recovery discs for it. Although Toshiba warns that recovery discs are model-specific. . . they aren't. I used the recovery discs for MY computer on HIS, and it worked. The only glitch was that when it finally booted into Windows, CHKDSK came up, saying there were "inconsistencies" in the new drive (a WD Scorpio Black, 500GB). It ran for only 2-3 minutes, fixed some errant indices, then booted Windows and everything worked. While I had the computer, I installed 76 Windows updates and loaded back all his programs and work files. This was on Wednesday (2/6). He's used the computer for 3 days with no problems.

    I'm still puzzled why a drive would fail in just 2 years. The drive in his former, 13-yr.-old HP is still good. So is the one in my old (2004) desktop. I asked him if he had dropped or hit the computer. He said no, but also said his son had been using it and he wasn't always present when the son had it.

    Thanks to everybody for your posts.
     
  12. dai

    dai

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    they can fail almost as soon as they are installed,i lost 2 drives that were only in for a couple of months
     
  13. DKTaber

    DKTaber Thread Starter

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    I'm aware there are short-, average- and long-lived drives; it's why manufacturers give you a MTBF. My surprise at the early failure was caused by my personal experience with computers (my own and those of the people I support) for the last 29 years. In that time, the shortest HD life I experienced happened to occur on the desktop on which I'm writing this. It had a Seagate Barracuda that died 3 months ago (was only ~52 months/4+ years old). So encountering a drive failure at just over 2 years was rather shocking.
     
  14. dai

    dai

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    over the years they have got faster and faster,which causes heat

    any heat in a computer is a problem

    the old drives were listed at a max of 40c,todays drives are rated to 60c and with the multi layered platters there is a lot more that go wrong
     
  15. DKTaber

    DKTaber Thread Starter

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    Yes, heat is the #1 enemy of all electronic devices. And the owner did tell me that he spent a week in Key West just before the HD started issuing "problem with the hard drive" warnings. Maybe he or his son left it in the (very hot) sun and used it before letting it cool off.
     
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