*Very* strange problem with an IDE!

This one is driving me up the wall.

I have a system with an ASUS mobo, XP+SP2 and a Samsung 40 GB IDE drive.

After a few very wierd observations, I determined that the Samsung, which is also the boot drive, is not erasing or deleting any data. For example, in windows, if I delete a certain file, it shows up in the trash can. I empty the trash can, no protests from the system. *But* when I reboot, the file is still lying right there where it was.

Likewise for files edited; they seem to be edited, but after a reboot the original file is still there in all its glory.

I tried this disk on another machine, same results.

Connected to another machine as a slave, same.

Connected to another machine thru' a USB to IDE interface, same.

Booted thru' non Windows CDs (Hiren's BootCD, Bart's PE), and deleted the partition. After booting into Windows, the partition, data et all is still intact.

The irony is this drive is in warranty, but I cant exercise it since it has some sensitive data on it.

Has anybody seen this kind of a thing before?

Is there any fix, or alternately any way at all to trash the data, so that I could get a replacement?

Any help would be greatly appreciated!


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  1. first: since the drive is readable, backup all sensitive data. Then, get the Ultimate Boot CD image, and burn it. Boot with said CD. Go to Hard disk tools, select Samsung's own tool, and run its diagnostics. If available, perform a disk wipeout (it's akin to a *low-level* format). Use the disk again; if you get the same problem, return it (you have made backups, right?)
  2. I agree with mitch074. His idea seems to make the most sense. It does sound like the computer has some kind of freeze HD software installed. It writes all 'changes' to a temporary location(mind you this all happens in the background) and when you reboot all changes are erased. It's like starting the computer up every day as if it was when it was first frozen.

    Try something like erasing the partition table ;). Make sure that you are capable of restoring it before trying it. If you can delete the partition table and when you reboot it boots you have to have a freezing program/hardware installed.
  3. A 40GB still under warranty???

    Really strange, it's your HD for sure, not the OS (You tried it in another computer as slave). The write head must be damaged. But, why you can still read? Don't know. Too technical for me.

    HD are so cheap today. Get a new one, transfer data, throw it in garbage if you don't want somebody to see your xxx files! :)
  4. Mitch, Cyberjock, thanks for the replies.

    I had already tried something similar using other boot disks, but this time I used the UBCD as suggested by Mitch.

    I used the samsung utility, with precisely the same outcome. Looks like I have the safest backup in the world.

    I guess I'll just have to trash the disk.

    Thanks again.

  5. very interesting. do a windows search for files modified within the last week/days or so and see if anything shows up. I didn't know windows could boot up with a damaged write head (referring to a previous post). Booting windows is about 60% reads 40% writes isn't it (or maybe it was 80/20)? I might be a software/hardware mechanism to prevent permanent changes to the HDD (referring to a previous post). Just back it up and buy a new HDD for $40. Or you can keep it and not worry about loosing your data since it seems to not go away anyways. lol Good luck!
  6. if the drive has sensitive or confidential data on it too, after you transfer the data i would suggest physically opening up the drive and destroying the platters. scratch em to hell, take a razor to em, whatever it takes.

    and why does the data HAVE to be pr0n? i don't even care if it IS! it might be. or it might be his business' records.

    or it could be pr0n posing as business records...

    or pr0n really COULD be his business' records...

    or it could be business records posing as pr0n...

    ok i'm done :-D
  7. Gwolfman, I think there's merit in your theory about some mechanism thats built in to protect the data in case of a certain kind of failure; just reiterates my belief that I would have to write it off.

    And cpburns, thanks for your advice too. That is precisely what I intend to do. Also, thanks for your remarks loneeagle's post. I found it amazing that a person might imagine somebody to be more worried about his xxx collection than his her financial / investment spreadsheets. So much so that I had not even bothered responding.

    Thanks again, guys.


  8. If it is a kaputt write head, you would think the diagnostic utilities would have caught that. Ooops! However, that would definately explain what's happening.

    Something like Spinrite (that actually writes some data and then physically reads what it just wrote) might at least be able to confirm if it's the write head that is wrecked.

    I was going to suggest using DBAN (Darik's Boot and Nuke) but, if all it is doing is sending endless write commands, that don't actually get written to the drive, that wouldn't help at all.

    Looks like it might be "Hammer Time!" :)
  9. I was just joking! :) Anyway, a 40GB is quite small today and would not hold a lot of it! :)

    Aint a head read and write (not seperate)???

    If your data are important, I would do a backup ASAP. Don't try anything or even use it until you have done a backup. After that, you could try to save it but for the price and time, just forget it.
  10. LoneEagle said:
    Aint a head read and write (not seperate)???
    The read and write head are located at the end of the same arm, right next to one another, but since about 1995 are physically separate bits. See Wikipedia So, one could fail while the other continues to function.
  11. As said by "The_Gremlin" the two heads are completely different pieces of hardware since many years: the read head is a GMR (Giant Magneto-Resistance), that is a resistor that changes its value according to the magnetic field, while the write head is a normal inductive gap magnetic head.
    This is beacuse GMR are extremely sensitive to small magnetic fields, but they cannot generate them, they are passive sensors only.

    Anyway, a failed write head would be detected by the drive's diagnostics logic, I think the problem could be a defective drive board or some write protection mechanism activated in the firmware.

    Try to create 2 new files, copying for example 2 zip archives from a DVD or an USB key (not from another HD!), bigger than your PC phisical RAM (1GB or so); them remove the DVD or USB key (in order to flash the buffers) and them compare back the two files using "fc" from DOS command line, in the same order you copied them (for file system cache flushing).
    If it fails it could be the drive not wrinting any data (maybe a damaged board), if it goes ok it could be some strange write protection mechanism that prevents modifying existing files.
  12. The_Gremlin said:
    The read and write head are located at the end of the same arm, right next to one another, but since about 1995 are physically separate bits. See Wikipedia So, one could fail while the other continues to function.

    Cool! :) We learn something everyday! And problems are also part of life... :(
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