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Corrupting Files on 'Healthy' Hard Drive and RAM - What Could it Be?

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January 3, 2009 11:38:00 AM

I have 2 PCs which have been built with very similar hardware both running XP.

Specs:

* AMD Athlon 64 X2 6000 3.1GHz Socket AM2 1MB L2 (2x512KB)
* Kingston 2GB Kit (2x1GB) DDR2 800MHz/PC2-6400 Memory Non-ecc CL5
* Seagate ST3250410AS 250GB Hard Drive SATAII 7200rpm 16MB Cache
* Gigabyte GA-M57SLI-S4 Socket AM2 Nvidia MCP55P PCI-E 8 Channel audio ATX Motherboard
* Innovision Geforce 7300LE 256MB DDR2 PCI-E Graphics Card
* Second Slave Hard Drive
* A DVD RW Drive and CDRW Drive

One PC has an old 450 Watt Power Supply
The other has a brand new 650W power supply:
http://www.ebuyer.com/product/128675

Problem:

After working fine for a couple of months files started to randomly corrupt until one PC failed. The other PC followed a few weeks later with random files corrupting until the PC becomes unusable.

After reinstalling XP the same thing happens, and seems to be happening in a shorter and shorter time frame, from lasting a day, to now a matter of hours on the 4th reinstall.


I ran SeaTools both Short Test and Long Test but it said the drive passed.

I also Zero Filled the entire hard drive before doing a fresh reinstall but the problem still persisted with files quickly corrupting until XP wouldn't load. Also Zero filled with KillDisk and that went fine too.

It was not just XP files that corrupted but any random file on the hard drive was corrupting (but not on other slave hard drives or USB Drives).

I also suspected RAM so ran MemTest86+ overnight and it passed 21 tests.

So to sum up:

- Files Corrupting After fresh Installs
- RAM passed MemTest overnight Diagnostics
- Passed SeaTools long test and was Zero filled

What could this be? Someone told me to disable AHCI in the Bios as SeaGate drives dont support "native command queue" - however I can't find that option.

Any other ideas? Is the power supply enough?

Any help appreciated
January 3, 2009 12:14:54 PM

It could possibly be your sata controller or a bios update/reset. I had that problem b4 I ended up scraping the mobo because the SATA controller was causing the problem and I didnt want to put a pci/e card in since mobos are so cheap now. If you have another computer though switch the hard drives and ram and see if it does it on that mobo. If it doesnt you prob should replace your mobo. You can buy a controller card if you want so you dont use the mobos also. If the mobo already has one problem it will eventually take a crap on you anyway. Also try replacing SATA cable cheapest fix if it is that problem. Try BIOS RESET AND FLASH ETC..
January 3, 2009 12:20:54 PM

both psus should be fine if they are still ok, and of good quality.

the only things I can come up with are:

Viral (are you installing AV software shortly after windows?)
SATA cables/ports, can you change cables or ports? (the slave drives could be used little enough that problems are not easily seen.)
1 memory stick at a time?

Are you using FAT or NTFS? (would be nice to know)

Temp in the case, it could be a heat issue (I doubt it though)
whats cooling like in the case, could be a north/south bridge overheat, can you check the mobo fans?
speed fan's view of voltages and temps might help.

Thats all for now...
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January 3, 2009 12:27:22 PM

edenrow said:
It could possibly be your sata controller or a bios update/reset. I had that problem b4 I ended up scraping the mobo because the SATA controller was causing the problem and I didnt want to put a pci/e card in since mobos are so cheap now. If you have another computer though switch the hard drives and ram and see if it does it on that mobo. If it doesnt you prob should replace your mobo. You can buy a controller card if you want so you dont use the mobos also. If the mobo already has one problem it will eventually take a crap on you anyway. Also try replacing SATA cable cheapest fix if it is that problem. Try BIOS RESET AND FLASH ETC..


I'd checked the BIOS version. I have the rev 2.0 version of the motherboard and the FF BIOS version. Since it is pretty up to date I have not tried updating it yet because I've never done it before - but may give it a go.

I doubt it is the cable since the problem is replicated across two (almost identical) PCs - it would seem extremely rare for two cables to randomly break and give these identical symptons.
January 3, 2009 12:32:29 PM

13thmonkey said:
Viral (are you installing AV software shortly after windows?)


I'm installing Avast after install and have done a boot check on all drives and it passes.

13thmonkey said:
SATA cables/ports, can you change cables or ports? (the slave drives could be used little enough that problems are not easily seen.)

I doubt it is the cable since the problem is replicated across two (almost identical) PCs - it would seem extremely rare for two cables (or ports) to randomly break and give these identical symptons.


13thmonkey said:
1 memory stick at a time?
Have not tried this but with 2 sticks in on both machines thy both passed MemTest.

13thmonkey said:
Are you using FAT or NTFS? (would be nice to know)

NTFS

13thmonkey said:
Temp in the case, it could be a heat issue (I doubt it though)
whats cooling like in the case, could be a north/south bridge overheat, can you check the mobo fans?
speed fan's view of voltages and temps might help.

CPU Temp: 35C
Hard Drive Temp when Using Long Test on SeaTools said Best 20C and Worst 44C on one machine - other machine was 30C worst.

Second Machine has much better fan setup and is very cool.

BIOS says voltages are okay.

Hope thats the info you needed :) 




January 3, 2009 12:37:01 PM

I'm out of ideas, i'll have a think whilst i'm out and about.
January 3, 2009 12:38:33 PM

If You have a spare IDE HDD try installing on it instead of SATA HDD
January 3, 2009 12:46:40 PM

Nvidia RAID/SATA/IDE drivers are rubbish - try using stock microsoft windows ide drivers.

Also set everything in the bios manually (timings/speeds/ratios etc).

Avast is rubbish from what i have seen.

How did you validate that your ram and hdd are aok?

Seagate and NCQ??? They were one of the first to support it and iv been using it since day one on my rig (years ago now, first get NCQ drives - all aok)
January 3, 2009 12:47:41 PM

ainarssems said:
If You have a spare IDE HDD try installing on it instead of SATA HDD

I've got a second (older) Segate SATA drive as well which I can test it on as well as an IDE drive I could use.

The thing is though the problem can be intermittent and sometimes the PC can last a week or more before it gets problems so Id like to do some easier tests first.
January 3, 2009 12:49:52 PM

Try the BIOS update. Also do what ainarssems said (good idea!). Also are your driver revisions up to date and or correct drivers. Also are you using sp2 or sp3 and or a slipstream copy. Have you tried burning another copy of xp. I know that AMD mobos are having problems with the bug and drivers. So you might want to try a fresh install and new drivers. If you are using the mobos original disc drivers then definately.
January 3, 2009 12:54:41 PM

Let me know how it works out
January 3, 2009 12:56:25 PM

apache_lives said:
Nvidia RAID/SATA/IDE drivers are rubbish - try using stock microsoft windows ide drivers.

Got any further reading on this? How do I get the standard Microsoft Drivers - do I use those after install?
apache_lives said:
Also set everything in the bios manually (timings/speeds/ratios etc).

Thats way beyond my knowledge and if I have to do that to get the PC working properly I'd rather buy new hardware that is more stable.
apache_lives said:
How did you validate that your ram and hdd are aok?
Seatools and MemTest as I said above.

apache_lives said:
Seagate and NCQ??? They were one of the first to support it and iv been using it since day one on my rig (years ago now, first get NCQ drives - all aok)

Where do I get NCQ drivers? I have drivers which come with the motherboard for Serial ATA (and can also get them from the Gigabyte website) but you said to use the stock windows drivers???

Thanks for your help and sorry if I'm a bit slow with this but a lot of it is new to me. First time I used SeaTools and MemTest was this week.
January 3, 2009 12:56:26 PM

If the computer with the old 450W power supply is the one with the trouble, swap it out and use the new 650W from the other computer.

Also, it it is an old Antec 450W, it is your rail in that piece of crap that isn't giving your HDD enough juice.

I had this exact same problem 2 years ago, you'd do a fresh install and your files are buggered.

I am 99.9% sure this is the same problem that you are having. It was SO HARD to diagnose, thought it was HDD failing, mobo probs, SATA etc. Was just the crap PSU.

I learned my lesson, never skimp on the PSU!!!
January 3, 2009 12:58:00 PM

Falken699 said:
If the computer with the old 450W power supply is the one with the trouble, swap it out and use the new 650W from the other computer.

Also, it it is an old Antec 450W, it is your rail in that piece of crap that isn't giving your HDD enough juice.

I had this exact same problem 2 years ago, you'd do a fresh install and your files are buggered.

I am 99.9% sure this is the same problem that you are having. It was SO HARD to diagnose, thought it was HDD failing, mobo probs, SATA etc. Was just the crap PSU.

I learned my lesson, never skimp on the PSU!!!

Both PCs with the different PSU have the same problem.
January 3, 2009 1:03:01 PM

edenrow said:
Also do what ainarssems said (good idea!). Also are your driver revisions up to date and or correct drivers. I know that AMD mobos are having problems with the bug and drivers. So you might want to try a fresh install and new drivers. If you are using the mobos original disc drivers then definately.


I was using the disc that came with it but the drivers had not been updated for 2 yrs anyway and I only bought it a month ago so assumed the drivers were up to date.
http://www.gigabyte.com.tw/Support/Motherboard/Driver_M...

I can download the latest ones from the website above but not the SATA driver and use a Windows one instead - once I find out how to do that.

edenrow said:
Also are you using sp2 or sp3 and or a slipstream copy. Have you tried burning another copy of xp.

Using SP3.

I'm going to try another copy of XP to see what happens.

edenrow said:
Try the BIOS update.

That's on my to do list of things to try - but lower down since I've never done it before and also it is not too out of date:
http://www.gigabyte.com.tw/Support/Motherboard/BIOS_Mod... - its the FF version.
January 3, 2009 1:03:13 PM

I have been rolling through the forums and this seems to be a very buggy mobo with AM2+ processors. Still though get a new set of drivers and a BIOS update.
January 3, 2009 1:17:32 PM

edenrow said:
I have been rolling through the forums and this seems to be a very buggy mobo with AM2+ processors. Still though get a new set of drivers and a BIOS update.

Will get a new set of drivers but still confused about which Sata drivers to use from apache's comment...

edenrow said:
Where do I get NCQ drivers? I have drivers which come with the motherboard for Serial ATA (and can also get them from the Gigabyte website) but you said to use the stock windows drivers???
January 3, 2009 1:44:01 PM

Falken699 - He has the Identical problem on both computers. Although it's possibly issue, it would not be my first choice.

(1) try running orthos prime, or Prime 95 to stress test memory. I've seen a couple of posts where mem passed memtest86, but failled Orthos (my self included - Passed Memtest86+ but failed Orthos within 10 Min.)

(2) I don't think you answered the question about your Bios revision, Is it the latest. If not down load and update -PLEASE DO NOT used windows flasher.

Just a Point - Do not just use Bios to check voltages/temps. In the case of voltages - (1) does it state "OK", or list the Voltage. If just OK, then it could be on the boarderline. (2) in Bios you have minium load on the PSU - You need to check it UNDER load. IE using a program such as CPUID HDWaremonitor run Orthos prime, OR a 3D graphics program (I use Furmark or ATI Tools View 3D.
January 3, 2009 2:00:26 PM

RetiredChief said:
(1) try running orthos prime, or Prime 95 to stress test memory. I've seen a couple of posts where mem passed memtest86, but failled Orthos (my self included - Passed Memtest86+ but failed Orthos within 10 Min.)

Prime95 is a windows program right?
I'll try it next time I install and report back.

RetiredChief said:
2) I don't think you answered the question about your Bios revision, Is it the latest. If not down load and update -PLEASE DO NOT used windows flasher.

That's on my to do list of things to try - http://www.gigabyte.com.tw/Support/Motherboard/BIOS_Mod... - its the FF version currently.

However, I have no idea how to do this so any links or info on how to do it would be great.

RetiredChief said:
Just a Point - Do not just use Bios to check voltages/temps. In the case of voltages - (1) does it state "OK", or list the Voltage. If just OK, then it could be on the boarderline.

It says okay in BIOS.

RetiredChief said:
(2) in Bios you have minium load on the PSU - You need to check it UNDER load. IE using a program such as CPUID HDWaremonitor run Orthos prime, OR a 3D graphics program (I use Furmark or ATI Tools View 3D.


So once I have XP installed again I should run this:
http://www.cpuid.com/hwmonitor.php

and use programs that put the Pc under load right?

Will give that a go too. What reasings should I look for?
January 4, 2009 2:16:30 AM

I see you opened a 2nd topic and got excellent response on how to update your bios. I looked on the gigabyte web site and for the 2 newer bios revisions they only indicate updates to cpu microcode. May not help your problem, BUT definately worth a try. They don't alway List the "BUG" Fixes - Bad PR value.

In reference to Voltages. Max delta is +/- 5 percent from Nominal value. Most "Good" PSUs will be with-in +/- 3 % UNDER Load. The Min for the + 5 V: MUST be above 4.75 V which is the Min for TTL Logic(CMOS logic is lower). +12 V should be above 11.4 V (Myself - do not like below 11.6 Again this is under load)
January 4, 2009 11:08:00 AM

I've updated BIOS, installed a 64bit version of Windows and I'll use HWMonitor and Primer32 to see how PC is acting under load.

I'll also install the drivers direct from the Gigabyte site. The LAN, Chipset and SATA Raid drive all come in one file so I have to use that driver package and as far as I know can't use the stock Windows IDE driver that apache was talking about.
January 4, 2009 11:35:56 AM

Okay it has an option for SMBus Driver, Ethernet and Storage driver.

I'm leaving the SMBus and Storage Driver out - is that what I should do?
January 4, 2009 12:57:07 PM

Okay I've installed a 64bit version of XP and used 64 bit drivers. I left out the Gigabyte SMBus and Storage Drivers.


RetiredChief said:
In reference to Voltages. Max delta is +/- 5 percent from Nominal value. Most "Good" PSUs will be with-in +/- 3 % UNDER Load. The Min for the + 5 V: MUST be above 4.75 V which is the Min for TTL Logic(CMOS logic is lower). +12 V should be above 11.4 V (Myself - do not like below 11.6 Again this is under load)

Did some voltage tests using HW monitor - here are the results:

While running a Virus Scan:
Voltage sensor 0 1.52 Volts [0x5F] (CPU VCORE)
Voltage sensor 1 1.92 Volts [0x78] (DDR)
Voltage sensor 2 3.26 Volts [0xCC] (+3.3V)
Voltage sensor 3 5.03 Volts [0xBB] (+5V)
Voltage sensor 4 12.42 Volts [0xC2] (+12V)
Voltage sensor 7 5.00 Volts [0xBA] (+5V VCCH)
Voltage sensor 8 3.06 Volts [0xBF] (VBAT)
Temperature sensor 0 26°C (78°F) [0x1A] (TMPIN0)
Temperature sensor 2 31°C (87°F) [0x1F] (TMPIN2)
Fan sensor 0 1517 RPM [0x1BD] (FANIN0)

While Running Primer95 Tests:
Voltage sensor 0 1.57 Volts [0x62] (CPU VCORE)
Voltage sensor 1 1.92 Volts [0x78] (DDR)
Voltage sensor 2 3.25 Volts [0xCB] (+3.3V)
Voltage sensor 3 5.03 Volts [0xBB] (+5V)
Voltage sensor 4 12.29 Volts [0xC0] (+12V)
Voltage sensor 7 5.00 Volts [0xBA] (+5V VCCH)
Voltage sensor 8 3.06 Volts [0xBF] (VBAT)
Temperature sensor 0 26°C (78°F) [0x1A] (TMPIN0)
Temperature sensor 2 48°C (118°F) [0x30] (TMPIN2)
Fan sensor 0 2722 RPM [0xF8] (FANIN0)


Are the 12V results worrying? It has gone as high as 12.48 as well when I left it on for longer - but tends to stay around 12.29.

I'm running Primer95, doing a defrag on slave drive, and a CheckDsk Surface Scan on the main drive all at once right not and all voltages are staying in 3% range. CPU is at 45C and hard drives are at 42C.
January 4, 2009 3:21:38 PM

Voltage/temps look OK. Might try running furmark to stress +12 V (But looks good as Only have about 0.13 volts diff. Do not know about Vcore as I have Intel E6400 OCed to 3.2 at 1.25Vcore.

As too drivers - Not sure, But I think you need storage
January 5, 2009 8:40:48 AM

Faulty PSU's are hard to diagnose as it can differ with usage (eg heavy load issues, or cold start issues etc)

NCQ - dont chase it and dont worry about it for now

SMBus drivers are aok to install and not so much required

Storage Drivers - windows can use its standard/generic drivers fine, i dont trust nvidia storage drivers and rather the microsoft drivers for IDE/SATA.
January 5, 2009 10:34:00 AM

Okay I seem to have go tit working - so far so good :) 

Here's what I did:


- Updated the BIOS to latest version.
- Installed from a new XP Disk.
- Installed 64bit XP version of XP (was using a 32bit version before).
- Used the latest drivers from the Gigabyte sute but did not install the SMBus Driver or the Storage Driver.
- Used Comodo Firewall and Antivurus instead of Sygate and Avast.

Put PC through Prime95 Stress tests, defrags, Checkdisks, and did lots of installing. This would have normally been when files to start to corrupt but it has stayed healthy.

Generally the PC seems a whole lot faster too, as does the hard drive.

Possible Causes

So that narrows it down to what possibly caused the file corruptions:

- Outdated BIOS
- Use of 32 bit XP (the drivers on the motherboard CD might have been for 64bit XP which could have caused problems)
- The XP Install CD was dodgy
- Outdated motherboard drivers
- The Nvidia Storage or SMBus drivers for this motherboard are dodgy

I'm not going to narrow it down - I'm just happy the PC is working.

Thanks everyone for all your help! I learned a lot and wouldn't have got it fixed without you.




January 6, 2009 7:19:05 PM

Hello Everybody!

I have similar problem with my computer. First of all - my config:

- CPU ATHLON 64 X2 5200+ BOX S-AM2 2.7GHZ 1MB
- PSU MC P4 FEEL-400 III ATX 400W (FAN 120MM)
- HDD SEAGATE 250GB BARRACUDA 7200.10 SATA/300 16MB NCQ ST3250410AS
- GIGABYTE GF 8600GT 256MB DDR3 PCI-E HDTV 2XDVI
- ATX MIDITOWER TRO-797 IMPULSE
- MDM DIMM 2048MB (2X1024) DDR II 800MHZ CL5 KINGSTON
- MOMO GIG M57SLI-S4 AM2 NFORCE 570SLI DUALDDR2-800 SATA2 RAID FW GBLAN ATX
- DVD LG RECODER
- Creative PCI 64 audio
- WIFI SWEEX

- XP PRO SP2 later SP3

Since i bought my PC one year ago i have problems with corupted files, missing partitions etc.

I sent PC to the service. They changed several times memory, HDD, PSU, updated BIOS and problem still exists. They didn't want to change my MOBO. Their tests were OK. PC can work week, month or longer time and suddenly hangs and after reboot is problem. Sometimes some not important files are corupted, sometimes system files. I'm very close to change MOBO.

P.S. Sorry for my English.
January 8, 2009 8:01:14 AM

holo said:
Hello Everybody!

I have similar problem with my computer. First of all - my config:

- CPU ATHLON 64 X2 5200+ BOX S-AM2 2.7GHZ 1MB
- PSU MC P4 FEEL-400 III ATX 400W (FAN 120MM)
- HDD SEAGATE 250GB BARRACUDA 7200.10 SATA/300 16MB NCQ ST3250410AS
- GIGABYTE GF 8600GT 256MB DDR3 PCI-E HDTV 2XDVI
- ATX MIDITOWER TRO-797 IMPULSE
- MDM DIMM 2048MB (2X1024) DDR II 800MHZ CL5 KINGSTON
- MOMO GIG M57SLI-S4 AM2 NFORCE 570SLI DUALDDR2-800 SATA2 RAID FW GBLAN ATX
- DVD LG RECODER
- Creative PCI 64 audio
- WIFI SWEEX

- XP PRO SP2 later SP3

Since i bought my PC one year ago i have problems with corupted files, missing partitions etc.

I sent PC to the service. They changed several times memory, HDD, PSU, updated BIOS and problem still exists. They didn't want to change my MOBO. Their tests were OK. PC can work week, month or longer time and suddenly hangs and after reboot is problem. Sometimes some not important files are corupted, sometimes system files. I'm very close to change MOBO.

P.S. Sorry for my English.


Nvidia chipsets are rubbish

Update the bios, otherwise perhaps a new motherboard, and a BRANDED PSU
April 17, 2009 5:30:46 PM

I've been having similar problems with files corrupting.

It only happens when i'm running a version of windows (XP 32bit SP3) from an SATA drive and not an identical version of windows from an old IDE drive.

I've noticed that the corruption events happen soon after i plug in or unplug something from a USB port... It runs fine until i do anything with the USB ports whether it's a mass storage device or HID (mouse etc..)

Anyone have any idea what might be going on? I'm might try & install a 64-bit version of XP to see how that solves it.

Cheers,

mobo: Gigabyte m57sli-s4
processor: AMD Athlon 64 X2 5600+
2G RAM
500 GB SATA running win XP SP3 32 bit
250 GB IDE running same
April 19, 2009 9:57:43 AM

actually uninstall the nvidia driver package and reinstall the latest from there website, and DONT install the SATA/IDE/RAID driver package and see what that does for you
April 19, 2009 11:39:39 AM

Are you formatting or repairing your HDD before every install? if not mabye there is corrupted software on your very first install try repairing and if this doesent work format it and start fresh and clean and if that doesnt work im stumped
April 19, 2009 12:05:46 PM

AdamDBurns zero write is the better bet for that one - kill everything off the drive while your at it etc too
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