What is wrong with my hard drive?

My computer has been running great for a year. The other day, I restarted my comp after updating my graphics drivers and now, after the BIOS page, the computer restarts itself. This loop continues forever until I turn off the system.

The reason it is the hard drive's fault is because this exact problem occurs even if I move the hard drive to another system altogether. But what's strange is that the original system suddenly seemed to have a display failure - nothing shows up on any monitor; just the orange standby light is on. So I guess the mobo failed too, at around the same time? I ordered a new one off newegg before realizing this hard drive problem too.

Any ideas what could be the cause and whether or not a simple formatting + new mobo would solve this problem? Thanks a lot.
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  1. gamer2323 said:

    The reason it is the hard drive's fault is because this exact problem occurs even if I move the hard drive to another system altogether.

    ??? Not clear.

    Does the problem occur in the other computer when you move the drive? Then yes, the hard drive is causing a problem. If the problem still occurs in the original computer after the hard drive is removed from the original computer, then how could the drive be causing the problem?
  2. Important info (COPY ME to Wordpad. Good stuff here.)

    Many hard drives are returned when they are physically fine for various reasons. I bought a brand new hard drive, then installed as a 2nd hard drive (so it was formatted of course). When I decided to use it as the main Windows drive it wasn't even recognized!

    Nothing worked, not even the official software and I ended up using an "eraser" program that basically overwrites ALL data. It does NOT format. It overwrites everything which I believe is how the drives arrive in the first place.

    I do the following steps if I have hard drive issues but I also do it every two years for all my drives, or when I donate to a family member etc.

    0. *Recover any data from the hard drive
    1. Physically remove the cables from all hard drives except the one to be erased
    2. **Boot to the drive eraser/wipe program
    3. overwrite all data (i.e. "ZEROS")
    4. Reboot with the OFFICIAL diagnostics CD/USB/floppy and do the most advanced test (preferably destructive READ and WRITE. Should take hours)
    5. If the drive checks out, use it as a Windows or backup (do a FULL FORMAT to build a bad sector table)
    6. Use the official hard drive setup program if you are installing Windows and the drive is not recognized or installing from WITHIN Windows as a secondary drive and it's not recognized.

    *Recover any data:
    If your drive is Windows and it can't boot, install as a secondary drive, or better yet install as a USB drive. There may be advanced ways to recover data if this fails.

    **Boot to the drive erase/wipe program:
    I forget the exact program I used. I believe it was simply "eraser". Get a FREE program that simply overwrites the entire drive. No fancy features required. A simple overwrite by "ZEROS" would suffice.
    Major Geeks-> "Drive Cleaners"-> Try one of these maybe->
    a) Eraser -> http://www.majorgeeks.com/Eraser_d4221.html
    b) Active KillDisk -> http://www.majorgeeks.com/Active_KillDisk_d4791.html

    You may need to change the BOOT ORDER in your BIOS. Boot order starts with the LEAST LIKELY. If your hard drive is first then you can't use boot disks. Example:
    1. floppy
    2. USB (thumb drive/external HD)
    3. CD/DVD
    4. Hard Drive (Windows)

    Other info:
    1. I use Acronis True Image to create an image of Windows. It's an awesome program. I make three backups. First is a basic install (partially because my OEM Windows can only be reinstalled so many times). the second image is after most drivers and several programs. The third image is with everything installed. you can even have it automatically update. The very best method is to assign a folder on a second hard drive. This method is faster and allows for the primary drive to be changed.

    2. I've seen hard drive slow downs that were solved by going into the Device Manager, then right-clicking and removing the disk controller for the hard drive (just remove them all if in doubt). Simply reboot and let Windows sort out the drivers. This solved the problem on four different computers in XP, Vista and Windows 7.

    3. If you have an older drive that's been used a lot, erasing all the data makes it easier to search for accidentally deleted files. If you have, say, a picture that is accidentally deleted it's still there until overwritten by a program, data or by Defragging. Only the link to it is missing. The recover program scans all free space for patterns (like the ".JPG" extension). If all the junk is gone it's far, far easier to search. The same could be accomplished by periodically secure erasing the free space.

    4. Always do a full erase of a hard drive you are getting rid of if there's a chance of there is information you wouldn't want others to recover.
  3. jsc - when set as master, the hard drive caused the same problem (infinite restart loop) in another computer. I've been able to set it as secondary and had no problems (I could read/write into that drive). Also, in my first computer, even if no hard drive is connected, I still no longer get any video display at all. Looks like two separate issues I think.

    photonboy - thanks a lot for that info. I will save it in case I have to follow that procedure. I have already tried a windows repair on that drive but it didn't solve the problem. I haven't backed up everything yet so I am holding off on the full format.

    Thanks for the help. se
  4. Infinite restart loop:

    So this is a PATA (not SATA) drive with a ribbon cable. I assume you've tried->

    1. try a different cable if you haven't already (80-pin and not a 40-pin)
    2. Boot with ONLY that hard drive installed. Also unhook ALL hard drive not needed such as the CD/DVD drive)
    3. Try "Cable Select" instead of Master/Slave.
    4. check jumpers (again)

    You should confirm your computer works with a different hard drive. I always recommend people have two hard drives. The second is for backing up files as well as making an IMAGE of Windows. I use Acronis True Image to backup Windows and the free version of Syncback to auto copy all the files in "My Documents." I'm setup so all I have to do is manually backup my e-mail from Outlook though I'm currently looking for a solution to that.

    1. Try running in SAFE MODE?

    2. Monitor-> easiest way to test is:
    a) enter the built-in settings
    b) hook up to a working computer

    3. Try Ubuntu Linux Live CD. This doesn't use the hard drive but is a quick way to see if most other hardware is functioning. Might as well unhook the hard drive first.

    4. Reflash or Update the BIOS (as a last resort)

    Good luck,
    I'll try to help more if I can so feel free to update this page if need be.
  5. This actually is a SATA. I meant I had it to cable select earlier, not master. On my computer, there is no video display even after taking out my RAM, hard drives, optical drives, video card, and PCI cards. My fans and mobo LEDs turn on properly, I just get no video display. I have tried this on two working monitors. This led me to believe my mobo has died, so I have ordered a new one.

    At the same time, my hard drive causes infinite restart loops unless it is set as a secondary drive. I can no longer test this out on my primary computer since the monitor display no longer works (due to a failed mobo?), but I have tested this on another computer.

    I have tried replacing the 2V battery and also resetting the bios using the jumpers on the mobo. No luck there.

    It would not be a huge deal if I could format this drive and have the problems done with, but I am mostly concerned with whether or not the new mobo will fix the video problem on my original computer

    Thanks a lot.
  6. do what photonboy says you should be fine
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