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Hard Drive failure warning

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February 22, 2006 2:12:51 PM

I'm working with a coworkers Dell Dimension 8400 and she has been getting a HD Failure warning for a few weeks now. I ran chkdsk and the warning went away. She noticed that is was back the other day. i told her to rn chkdsk again and it went away. Now it has reappeared. Any ideas? I think it is a SMART 0 error or something along those lines. Mucho thanks!
February 22, 2006 2:41:20 PM

In my experiences a SMART error usually means imminent drive failure. I say backup all the data now while you still can!
a b G Storage
February 22, 2006 2:42:59 PM

Backup what she really needs incase it does die on her. If you want to turn off the message you should be able to do that in the bios.
Just turn off the SMART monitoring. Just make sure to keep things backed uped
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February 22, 2006 2:48:41 PM

How reliable is the smart monitoring? I was thinking of running some tests and then either turning that off, as you said, or installing a new HD.

Thanks!
February 22, 2006 2:52:05 PM

I don't know how reliable it is but I have seen it before on three machines. Two of them lasted for a couple of months before becoming unusable and the third died about a week after throwing the warnings.

I had the same symptoms you did and chkdsk would fix the errors for a little bit. You can try running the drive diagnostic in the bios, that's usually accurate.
February 22, 2006 2:55:55 PM

Man... I googled for 10 minutes trying to find error codes for SMART. NOTHING.

I'm with everyone else- back up data and replace it.

-mpjesse
February 22, 2006 3:00:01 PM

did you hear the click of death if you did then yes its gonna die but smart was wrong alot of times on my freinds dell!
February 22, 2006 3:12:10 PM

SMART Codes are hard drive Firmware Warning Error codes, that usually signify that a hard drive failure possible, due to high disk error rates, or other issues.

If the Dell is still under warranty, and/or the Hard drive is still under manufacture warranty, I would try to get a replacement as soon as possible. Somtimes there is a 3-5 year warranty on the hard drive, even when the computer has only a 1 year. So it pays to check with the hard drive manufacturer.

Many of them will replace a hard drive giving a SMART code. Even if the drive has not completely failed yet.

What ever you do, make sure you back up everything quickly. I sugguest you do a full image of the hard drive, using Ghost, or R-IMAGE, or some simular program. That way, you can restore the to the replacement drive and be running quickly if you get them to replace it.
February 22, 2006 3:21:13 PM

INteresting. I wasn't aware that the HD may still be under warranty. That could save some money right there! Is there a freeware imaging program??

Thanks!
February 22, 2006 3:21:25 PM

yeah absolutly back up the drive and if you know the hard drive brand you can download there diags to run on the drive. if she still has her dell cd's they have a decent diag utility on there as well but do the backup asap
February 22, 2006 3:35:34 PM

I know Maxtor has a drive backup utility that ships with their on-touch external USB/FIREWIRE hard drives. I haven't used it so I don't know how good it is.

R-Drive IMAGE has a 15 day trial period, that will allow you to image, but not restore the drive. (Give's you the back up at least to hang on to, and you can pay them if you need to restore it)
www.r-tt.com

I don't know of any free utilities out there, but maybe someone else does. It would probably be worth downloading the R-IMAGE, and getting an image of the drive stored somewhere else as a just in case senario. Then pay the $50 if you need it. If you want more intensive data recovery, I've used the R-Studio from www.r-tt.com as well. It's a good program, and worth the $80, especially if you are helping people out, or the drive fails to boot. (It has an image capability as well.)

Toms Hardware recommended another drive backup/image package awhile ago, but I can't remember it's name. I haven't tried that one, but they raved about it.
February 22, 2006 4:39:38 PM

What about Norton Ghost? I think I could get my work to purchase it. I've heard good things about it but I really have no clue about imaging and ghosting since I have never had to do it. This seems like a good time to learn!
February 22, 2006 4:48:56 PM

Norton Ghost use to be the way to go.. But recently I've not been impressed with Symantec products primarly do to the fact that there programs and getting to fat, and calling home to much.. I've had good success with Ghost 2003. But there was problems with Ghost 9. I think they are up to 10 now.
I would say it's probably good for full images, but avoid the incremental images, and auto image capabilies, because it really thrashes on the hard drive.
February 22, 2006 5:00:13 PM

OEM drives can't be returned to the manufacturer, I've tried with wd, maxtor, and samsung, they only have 1 year warranties to the oem, dell and such. So when you buy an extended warranty through dell, you're basically paying for the most likely component to fail, the HD.
February 22, 2006 5:28:04 PM

Ok, we have decided to replace the HD. This may be a stupid question but I'm not sure. ANyways, the existing HD is a 80 gig Maxtor Serial ATA. Can I replace that with an 80 gig IDE-ATA Western Digital HD?? I'm not sure exactly what the difference is. Mucho thanks!!
February 22, 2006 5:31:36 PM

Yeah, if you have an open ide port, I'd just get another sata drive and swap it straight across. Should cost the same maybe a buck or two more.
February 22, 2006 5:42:37 PM

KK, now I'm stuck on teh difference between SATA drives. The existing HD is an '80GB, I, 8M, 7.2K, Serial ATA, Maxtor Calypso.' That's straight from Dell's website. I checked newegg.com and they had hd's with SATA150 and such. Does that make a difference?? Can I use one of the SATA150's?
February 22, 2006 6:10:55 PM

sata is combatible with any other sata, just like ide generations are compatible with each other. sata uses a skinny cable to connect the motherboard and hard drive, ide uses a wide flat ribbon cable like a floppy or optical drive would use. I'd pop the side of the case to verify.
!