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Windows 7 detected hard disk fault

Last response: in Storage
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June 6, 2010 6:23:42 PM

Hello,
I just tried to start up my computer from the standby phase. The computer run but no image showed up on my screen, so i tried to do something by clicking ctr-alt-del on the keyboard and checked all the cables, but nothing worked. So I shut down my computer again and start it up. As soon as I'm logged in a popup comes up (from Windows 7) saying that a hard disk fault was detected. The further hidden details show that both hard disk (2x F3 Spinpoint 7200) have some fault. It doesn't give me any details but it advices me to save a txt file with a rather unsatisfactory instruction what to do (backup, shut the PC down and get professional technical HD support -.-*) and additionally it started up the Win 7 backup tool. And that's what I'm using now to backup all my stuff on an external HD.
What makes me question the diagnose is that both HD's suddenly have this fault. If one would be bad, ok, even though they are quite new (March 2010) that's possible, but both together seems rather strange. That's why i'd like to know if i can somehow check the HD's with other (if possible, free) software that will prove the result of the Win 7 diagnosis.
Thanks for your advice!

ABBDVD

PS: the backup options of the Win7 tool ask me if i want to create a system image. does that really work to put it later onto a new HD if the old ones are damaged?
June 6, 2010 8:20:58 PM

Haven't seen the exact screen but a guess on why it says both have the fault:

1. You have them in some sort of striped configuration and thus it is reporting on the state of the logical drive comprised by the two physical Spinpoints.

2. It's a controller issue and thus not really a physical drive issue yet windows still can't read it properly so it says it's a "drive" issue.

i.e. Windows might be saying "there is a problem with the disk (/array) which contains 2x F3 Spinpoint", not necessarily saying specifically "there is a problem with the physical hard disk(s)". Again I haven't seen the screen, but MS notorious for misleading unhelpful error messages.

Yes, it would be pretty strange for 2x physical disks to simultaneously develop the same fault, so I would be looking at a cause that is common to both drives. e.g. striping or controller issue.

Sorry I can't answer any of your specific questions as I have not used these specific tools in Win7, but I will say this much: if your system at least boots, things could be worse.

If it was me, I would back up my important data ASAP and then start worrying about what the actual problem is. ;) 
June 7, 2010 5:02:07 AM

thank you for your help!
ok, so i got it all backed up.
first of all, i don't have them striped. one got a system partition c: and a data partition (with all the user data) on partition d:. The other HD is used for backup. I copie from time to time the whole system partition with some partitioning program on the second HD and set it as a hidden drive. The data partition is saved on an equal partition on the second HD with a simple xcopy bat.

I don't know exactly how to understand 2. It says that it's something messed up in the software... has anybody got an idea how i could check that?

Windows listed all 3 visible partitions that i got naming both drives in the error message so i don't think it just a misleading message.

by the way, after restarting the computer once, the error message didn't come up again and as before i still don't notice any difference while using the computer. so i hope that detection was some fault, but i guess we'll see.
Related resources
a b $ Windows 7
a c 342 G Storage
June 8, 2010 7:47:26 PM

If you have an intermittent fault on a HDD, one thing to check is just loose cables - power or data - to the drive. However, I agree it seems REALLY odd that TWO drives should have the same type of problem simultaneously.

To check a disk for hardware faults the best (and free) tools usually are a diagnostic package from the disk's manufacturer as a download from their website. In your case, look for ESTOOL from Samsung's HDD support site. Use those test tools to check out each HDD in turn for indications of hardware problems. If there are none you can start concentrating on software issues if the problem persists, or on intermittent causes if the problem seems random.

If you're lucky this was just a software "glitch" that does not come back.

By the way, congratulations on paying attention to an important error message and following the recommendation of backing up everything immediately. You would be amazed how often on these forums we see stories of someone who ignored those messages two months ago and is now asking how to recover valuable data from a really failed HDD!
June 9, 2010 2:20:34 PM

thanks for your answer. i guess a connection error would have shown up somehow.
I tried checkdisk and no faults were detected.

I guess it's just a software "glitch" as you say because the error message didn't come up again and i didn't notice at all that something might be wrong while using the computer.
!