What are the symptoms of a failing/dead hard drive?

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Zildjian285

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Hi all.

I believe the hard drive in my parents PC has just died.

Basically in the last few days the PC has been freezing, initally just in Windows XP, but then it got worse and started sometimes freezing before it could even boot into Windows.
It froze several times on the BIOS screen, and now when I turn the PC on nothing displays on the screen and none of the lights on the keyboard, etc. are working.

Are these the symptoms of a dead hard drive?
If the hard drive was dead, should I still be able to see the screen and enter the BIOS?

At the moment nothing is displaying on the screen at all.
 
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how old is this PC?
Can you hear the drive spinning when you start? Are there any sounds?
Are there any beeps at starting up the computer?
It could be many things, unless you don't hear anything, then it could be the hard drive. Hard to tell from afar.
 

Zildjian285

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I built the PC a couple of years ago, but it has a new (6 month old) PSU.
The CPU, RAM, HDD and graphics card are probably about 5 or 6 years old now.
Here are the specs:
Intel P4 Northwood 2.6Ghz CPU
Asus P4P800SE motherboard
512MB Kingston PC3200 RAM
Corsair 460W PSU
Maxtor 120GD IDE HDD
nVidia FX5200 graphics card.

I can hear the drive starting but I don't hear any unusual sounds or warning beeps, etc.
It sounds like it starts up as normal, PSU, HDD, fans, optical drives, etc. all start up.
 

Gr3iz

Mark
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The freezing at different times, often early in the boot process, are often indicative of a CPU overheating or going south. Be sure the CPU fan is OK and that the heatsink hasn't come loose. If you think the CPU cooling is satisfactory, I'd suspect the motherboard. It's more likely to go out than the CPU (unless it had been subjected to excess heat).
 
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I always remember my sister's computer acting strange, she thought it was the drive, but I guessed, it was the graphics card, every time it showed less and less. At the end nothing showed but you could hear the usual start process.
We hooked up the computer to another monitor and it still did the same.
A new graphis card fixed problem.
-just another thought!-
 
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you have spyware cleaners an what not on there? Sometimes this could cause it an what not. Just a thought, if you could pull the drive out an attach it as a slave else where an scan it. The OS mite be loseing it stability, so I would try an attempt to repair it useing the xp disk first.
 

Zildjian285

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Oct 28, 2008
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Thanks for the replies.

The PC doesn't even show anything on the screen now.
I don't think it's the hard drive anymore because it does it with the hard drive unplugged. I've tried reseating everything except the CPU to no avail.

I do have a spare CPU I could try, I might do that tomorrow. I also have some spare RAM but I can't find it.

I doubt it's the PSU because it's pretty much new and everything powers up OK.

Graphics card is a possibility, but would it really cause the PC to freeze up like it was before?

Motherboard is also definitely a possibility. I do have a spare one but I think it's faulty, I might try it after trying the spare CPU though.

Anything I should do to help diagnose this issue?
 

Gr3iz

Mark
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If you've stripped out all of the unnecessary peripherals, use one stick of memory at a time, and it still doesn't work, it's pretty much a matter of trial and error replacements. Swap out components one at a time. Swap them back whether or not it fixes the problem to verify that was the problem.
 
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I would try the video card, it could of got shorted. You said everything was reset are you includeing the pci cards?
 
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