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Hard Drive Issue with Windows XP

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January 17, 2007 3:00:35 PM

I recently un-installed a beta for Windows Vista on my primary HD. I have decided to put Windows XP back on. In the process of installing XP, I got to around 11% install, when it tells me Driver.cab can not be copied. I ran a CHKDSK, and it told me that there were one or more unfixable errors. After formatting several times, and using several XP cds, I have gotten no where. Does this mean my HD is dead? Is there a solution for this outside of buying a new one?
January 17, 2007 3:29:20 PM

Your DVD/CD-ROM drive could be toast or possibly the Hard Drive.
January 17, 2007 3:39:16 PM

Thanks. I have 2 cd roms, 1 a fairly new HP DVD burner. So Im pretty sure both of them cant be dead. Its ok though, within the year i plan to build a new pc. As soon as Vista gets their act together. And I get some money. :D 

In the meantime, does any have suggestions for my other post?:

http://forumz.tomshardware.com/hardware/Computer-Keepin...
Related resources
January 17, 2007 6:03:35 PM

Quote:
I ran a CHKDSK, and it told me that there were one or more unfixable errors. After formatting several times, and using several XP cds, I have gotten no where.

Maybe someone else out there can see right to the heart of your problem, but I'm still not sure I understand what's going on and would like a little more information.

Are there any other reasons other than CHKDSK errors that lead you to think your hard disk has failed? Have you booted the manufacturer's diagnostic CD/floppy and tested the drive? This would be the first place I would start if I suspected the hard drive had failed.

Some additional questions ... I'm puzzled by your "formating several times" remark. Do the formats always succeed, but then the install fails when copying files? Is the drive PATA or SATA? Are you installing from a Windows XP CD that includes SP2?

-john, the essentially clueless redundant legacy dinosaur
January 17, 2007 6:32:33 PM

I say it is a hard disk problem because I have used several different Windows CDs (Vista RC2, Windows XP Home with SP2, Windows XP Pro without SP2).

The formats were all successful, (I believe it is NTFS formating, quick and regular) Unfortunately I do not have manufacturer disks for my hard drive. Can I download that from the Western Digital Site? As well can you direct me as to how to install this disk without an operating system? My hard drive is PATA.
January 17, 2007 6:43:01 PM

delete the OS partition and create a new one. Perhaps some leftovers are interfering with your installation.
January 17, 2007 6:48:35 PM

I have an 80GB hard drive. So what I do is delete all partitions, and then proceed to put the OS on unallocated space. The computer then formats and promptly installs after. Is there another process I should be using?
January 17, 2007 7:10:13 PM

after you delete try a new partition instead of installing on unallocated space. not sure if this will make a difference but its worth a shot. May also want to reduce the ram to one good stick of ram.

Since you have two cdroms, disconnect the slave and any other devices on the IDE channels. Make it as simple as possible for the installation, then you can trouble shoot the problematic hardware as you add them back.

and do the long format. no quickies :lol: 
a b G Storage
January 17, 2007 7:57:30 PM

Quote:
May also want to reduce the ram to one good stick of ram.


The Windows installer has a way of finding bad memory. This just bit me a couple of months ago while repairing a friends computer by reinstalling XP Home. After the third try I ran MemTest86 and found a bad memory module. Installed new memory and XP installed with no errors.
January 17, 2007 8:10:56 PM

Quote:
Unfortunately I do not have manufacturer disks for my hard drive. Can I download that from the Western Digital Site?

Here's a link to the WD support tools download page. You'll have to select the right tool package based on which hard drive your are testing so you'll need to know the hard drives model number. What I believe you are looking for are the Data Lifeguard Diagnostic Tools as either a CD or a floppy image, whichever is easiest for you to deal with. They will let you test the integrity of your drive.

If the drive is still within the warranty period, then I believe these are the tests you would have to run to get WD to authorize an RMA replacement of the drive under the warranty. (There would be more about that on their website).

Quote:
As well can you direct me as to how to install this disk without an operating system?

Not sure I understand the question. What I'm suggesting is that you download a CD or floppy disk image file from WD. You would then either a burn a CD from the .iso image or write a floppy from the floppy image. They both will be bootable so you just boot your computer, the diagnostic software loads, and then you run the diagnostics to determine the health of your hard drive.

-john, the essentially clueless redundant legacy dinosaur
January 17, 2007 8:33:31 PM

The problem is the CD of Windows XP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


when u got at the bad driver, insert another cd-copy of XP, SURE it will work

:D  :D 
January 17, 2007 8:37:50 PM

Try another ide cable . had a similar problem last week , i replaced the ide cd rom cable and all was good .
a b G Storage
January 17, 2007 8:48:48 PM

I'm pretty sure he said he used more than one XP CD already.

Do what someone else mentioned and check the disk with the WD tools, and try re-formatting the drive from that app. Vista has a different way of storing information (which I'm sure does something to the boot-sector) so that might have done something to your drive. You want to start out from square-1 in any way you can, as if the drive were brand-new.

If you've been doing the "Quick" format, try the "Full" format. It's a lot slower, but it'll find any problems with your HDD and skip that particular spot in the install.

I'd also delete your partitions just for the sake of being consistant.
January 17, 2007 9:55:37 PM

Quote:
I have an 80GB hard drive. So what I do is delete all partitions, and then proceed to put the OS on unallocated space. The computer then formats and promptly installs after. Is there another process I should be using?


Not necessarily "should" but yes there is another you could use. Boot to DOS w/CDROM support (a la Win98 boot disk or similar), make a couple partitions- 1 for OS and 1 for diagnostic, utility, etc. Format the 2nd one FAT32, at least 650MB or so and copy your XP CD's files to it.

Note whether all the files copied. It will take eons, or it could go a lot faster if your DOS boot device loads Smartdrive (Google for a howto if unfamiliar with these old DOS programs).

So you see if the CD will copy all to the HDD, AND then you have them all on HDD which would makek subsequent attempts at installation much faster.

Another alternative is to put the files on a thumbdrive, if your system will boot to it. Again it should load smartdrive.

These aren't really cures though, you probably have a memory problem, rarely it could be other instability from motherboard, overheating CPU, flaky PSU, etc. We could start an urban myth that Vista breaks hardware! :twisted:
January 17, 2007 10:14:17 PM

Wow! Thanks for the advice and perspectives guys. Keep it coming if anyone thinks of a different approach. Now that we are talking about all my other components being bad, does anyone know how to check to see if all those components are bad? CPU, PSU, motherboard, all that crap. Do I need to go to another forum to get that answer?
January 17, 2007 10:54:30 PM

Quote:
May also want to reduce the ram to one good stick of ram.


The Windows installer has a way of finding bad memory. This just bit me a couple of months ago while repairing a friends computer by reinstalling XP Home. After the third try I ran MemTest86 and found a bad memory module. Installed new memory and XP installed with no errors.

Reducing to one memory stick can actually help sometimes though. I've tested both my memory modules previously and they were 100% perfect (Memtest86+) But, when it came to using 2 memory sticks as opposed to 1, installing XP tended to be a bit more stubborn. Going back to 1, which one didn't matter, helped.

A bit odd, I'm not completely sure why, but I've seen this happen on four other computers I've installed XP on.
January 17, 2007 11:11:46 PM

Quote:
I recently un-installed a beta for Windows Vista on my primary HD. I have decided to put Windows XP back on. In the process of installing XP, I got to around 11% install, when it tells me Driver.cab can not be copied. I ran a CHKDSK, and it told me that there were one or more unfixable errors. After formatting several times, and using several XP cds, I have gotten no where. Does this mean my HD is dead? Is there a solution for this outside of buying a new one?


chkdsk can't repair errors... that would be why they are not repairable
a b G Storage
January 17, 2007 11:50:47 PM

Quote:
Reducing to one memory stick can actually help sometimes though. I've tested both my memory modules previously and they were 100% perfect (Memtest86+) But, when it came to using 2 memory sticks as opposed to 1, installing XP tended to be a bit more stubborn. Going back to 1, which one didn't matter, helped.

A bit odd, I'm not completely sure why, but I've seen this happen on four other computers I've installed XP on.


Then it may have been a memory timing issue. On most modern MBs when you instal two same-size memory modules they will operate in dual-channel mode. Dual-channel is much faster, and and lead to subtle software errors in poorly written software...

I have also seen for myself situations where two modules that tested fine individually but failed together. All but once they were two different brands.
January 18, 2007 1:04:55 AM

I say that when you are installing xp, and when driver.cab fails, at 11%, you remove the cd, and insert another cd-copy of xp.

I have 2 cds of xp and one fails in driver.cab (lie yours), so I insert the other cd, and this fails at the 70% (more or less), and I finish installation with the first cd. xD

I think you said that you try to install xp with several copies, but from the beginning, insert cd and restart. I say that u should remove the cd when the driver fails and insert another copy

:?

sorry for mi english
January 18, 2007 1:24:03 AM

If you have the ability to download torrents you could download Diskkeeper Pro Premium which will allow you to test whether or not your hard drive is shagged.
January 18, 2007 2:31:12 AM

Quote:
If you have the ability to download torrents you could download Diskkeeper Pro Premium which will allow you to test whether or not your hard drive is shagged.

Uh, not sure I see where you're going with this suggestion. How would installing a disk defragger help him test his hard drive? More to the point, how would he install it? A big reason for why he is posting is because he can not get Win XP to install on his hard drive?

-john
January 18, 2007 11:55:19 AM

I think the best option is to re-format and full "zero"the hard disk.

U can get utilities from your hd manufacturer, or through windows command line: type

cipher.exe /W c:
January 18, 2007 11:56:57 AM

Quote:
I think the best option is to re-format and full "zero"the hard disk.

U can get utilities from your hd manufacturer, or through windows command line: type

cipher.exe /W c:


What effect does that have?
January 18, 2007 12:33:45 PM

Quote:
I think the best option is to re-format and full "zero"the hard disk.

U can get utilities from your hd manufacturer, or through windows command line: type

cipher.exe /W c:


What effect does that have?

The general effect and specific effect it has is to write 0's to the whole hdd ereasing all partitions/info,it is quite possible that the errors that you are having with your hdd are logical errors caused by repeat writing of data to a particular spot on the hdd,these can sometimes show up as bad blocks which the os cannot handle thus the need for overwriting the whole hdd with 0's.
Please note: That many hdd's that are rma'd fall into this catagory.if the manufacture's [Western digital ??] utility cannot fix "0" the hdd it will generate an error report for you to rma the hdd.
Also writing 0's to the hdd will result in a totally clean hdd,almost like new...:) 
[Should be done every 2 to 3 years because most os's do not really erase data from the surface of a given hdd they just put a $ sign at the beginning of a given file or directory [at least they used to]this $ tells the os that it can over write the following data/directory after a few years the hdd starts to look like a war zone,bits of crap everywhere]Excuse the lenghty post...:) 
January 18, 2007 1:50:07 PM

Quote:
If you have the ability to download torrents you could download Diskkeeper Pro Premium which will allow you to test whether or not your hard drive is shagged.

Uh, not sure I see where you're going with this suggestion. How would installing a disk defragger help him test his hard drive? More to the point, how would he install it? A big reason for why he is posting is because he can not get Win XP to install on his hard drive?

-john

Ha ha ha :lol:  .......... shows what a long day it had been! I meant to say SpinRite 6 :) 
January 19, 2007 9:11:07 AM

Quote:
The general effect and specific effect it has is to write 0's to the whole hdd ereasing all partitions/info,


If windows recognized (perhaps even created) the filesystem it's writing to, there should be no need to erase it.

Quote:
it is quite possible that the errors that you are having with your hdd are logical errors caused by repeat writing of data to a particular spot on the hdd,


There is no expectation the same data gets written to same spot, the HDD itself will detect and remap physically bad sectors, and "repeated writing" is the whole purpose of a hard drive, not a cause for failure merely by trying to install windows a couple (or dozens) times.

Quote:
these can sometimes show up as bad blocks which the os cannot handle thus the need for overwriting the whole hdd with 0's.


No that will NOT make them show up as bad blocks.

Quote:
Please note: That many hdd's that are rma'd fall into this catagory.if the manufacture's [Western digital ??] utility cannot fix "0" the hdd it will generate an error report for you to rma the hdd.


Actually no. By the time there is a real failure that has exhausted all spare sectors and triggers a smart warning, that's the beginning and end, there was no need to try writing zeros, it is not a requirement stipulated by any HDD RMA policy, and is merely one of many many things you could do which if it fails, would trigger an error code.

Quote:
Also writing 0's to the hdd will result in a totally clean hdd,almost like new...:) 
[Should be done every 2 to 3 years because ...


There is nothing useful about this supposed "totally clean" HDD, opposed to one that had a few "1" instead of all zeros. Maybe if you wanted to prevent a layman from data recovery that would work but there are automated utils that will multipass random write so even then it's not so useful.

Zeroing a drive is typically done only to get rid of a logical partition, boot sector or other type of problem set by a software that you can't undo. For example, can't get DOS FDISK to wipe out a linux partition and don't know to use (or don't have) a linux boot disk? Zeroing will do it. Have a nasty boot sector virus? Zero it out.

If windows creates a partition & filesystem and your installation gets stuck, there is no reason to believe that zeroing the drive then starting over to install windows, won't result in the exact same logical disk configuration as before.

Otherwise, it is absolutely not necessary to do it every 2 or 3 years.

If the health of the drive is in question the HDD manufacturer's utility may be useful, to check for smart errors flag, to do simple diagnostic, and a long whole drive surface test. This latter test is more useful than writing zeros alone, and completely supersedes it.

This is all beside the point though, that it is not likely to be a HDD problem causing failure only at certain points partway into a windows installation. Windows scans the drive for logical problems and a physical problem is either remapped after first time or the drive is shot already, zeroing won't bring it back.

If you find you are continually (supposedly) needing to zero hard drives, you should take a look at what you are doing differently than everybody else because the typical system, especially including the millions that have had windows installed, do not need their HDDs zeroed ever, not even once over the life of the system which may include more than one HDD.
January 19, 2007 5:47:39 PM

FWIW ... which in this case is not much since I don't have much depth with hard drives ... I agree with "I". (BTW, nice post, I) Spending hours tediously zeroing out the drive is unlikely to do you much good. The benefit is not likely to be worth the cost of the time invested.

If you want to zero out the drive anyway, go ahead but use the WD diagnostics disk to do it and use the "quick" method. But a better place to start is to simply run the manufacturer diagnostics. This may not be sufficient to resolve the problem. But it would at least provide another clue to help narrow done the search for what is going wrong.

-john, the essentially clueless redundant legacy dinosaur
!