HDD Starting and Stopping Problem

Hey guys,

I've got a major problem with my system relating to my hard drive. A few days ago I turned on my computer in the morning and my hard drive seemed to have been freezing up Windows every 30 seconds or so. I could hardly do anything. I managed to get all of my important information onto an external and that was about all I could do.

At first, I thought the problem was the hard drive its self. I would hear the hard drive slow down, and at that time my OS would freeze up, and after a minute or so I would hear a loud click (presumably from the hard drive) when the drive started up again. At least I think this is what's happening.

So, I thought it was a faulty hard drive. I went to a local store and picked up a new drive, the same one I had. I installed it, put Windows 7 on it, and the same problem occurred. At this point I assumed it could be a problem with the SATA on my motherboard, so I tried an old IDE hard drive I had laying around. Same problem. So it's not my hard drive or the SATA on my motherboard...

Does anyone know what could be causing this? Again, the main symptom is that the hard drive seems to stall, then come back on after a short time, and when it stalls, my OS doesn't respond. The only two things I can think of it being are a bad motherboard or power supply, but I don't really have the money to just go out and buy them to try it. Any suggestions?

Thanks guys. Also, here is my system...

Intel Core i7 2.66ghz
6GB GSkill 1600 RAM
Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD3R
WD 1TB Black Caviar HDD
ATi HD 5850

If any other info is required just ask...
11 answers Last reply
More about starting stopping problem
  1. The drive in question is the "Black" drive that you listed? If it's a "green" drive then it's normal for the drive to spin down after a period of inactivity to conserve power. This is controlled in the firmware of the drive itself and there isn't anything you can do to change it.

    For other drives, check your power options (Start -> type "Power Options" into the search box -> hit <Enter>) to see if your hard drives are set to spin down after a period of inactivity.
  2. Hey, thanks for the reply.

    My original drive and my "replacement" drive are Caviar Black 1TB, I made sure not to get green or blue.

    I did check the power options right away when the problem started, and I made sure the drive was not set to spin down.

    The problem is a bit more obscure than the drive "sleeping", it's more of an abrupt stall every minute or two, the stall lasts about 30 seconds or more, it varies. Then I hear a loud click (from the HDD) and the drive resumes, then after a little while longer it stalls again.

    The odd part is that it happened overnight. I was on my computer the night previous to this happening, playing Starcraft 2 with no problems, everything was running fine. But the next morning when I turned my computer on it was like this.

    Thanks again, any other suggestions?
  3. Have you checked the voltages on your PSU to make sure they are within specs? Power sags/spikes can wreak havoc on electronics.
  4. All of the voltages that are listed in BIOS seem normal and fine. I haven't tested anything with a multimeter or anything like that though.
  5. Try running HWMonitor.


    Keep an eye on the "min" values during one of the slow downs. The values should always be within +/- 5%.
  6. Ok, I have ran HWMonitor. Sweet program.

    My +12V is wacky. Min .83V, Max 3.07V.
    +5V VCCH is also wacky. 3.66V across the board, min/max/current.

    I searched this on google before I posted here and other people seem to have problems with HWMonitor and their +12V/+5v VCCH readings... So I'm not sure if anything's wrong with mine.

    EDIT: Okay, small update... I ran something a little more taxing on my machine, and the +12V bounced around a bit. Min .083, Max 8.96. The +5V VCCH stayed at 3.66V.

    I don't know what all of the different voltages are for, what specifically is the +12V? It looks like it could be a problem.
  7. If you can, see if you can find some other free monitoring software. A power drop can cause your drive to drop out or slow down.

    If you have a spare PSU, try swapping it out and see if it makes a difference.
  8. Just edited my last post as you replied I guess, the +12V is acting up. Any ideas about that?
  9. Another thing to check is to run a utility such as DiskCheckup which can report the SMART data that the drive records. If the error counters have gone up after a freezing incident then there may be a media problem with your drive.
  10. magicfreak32 said:
    Just edited my last post as you replied I guess, the +12V is acting up. Any ideas about that?

    The PSU might be failing, but I'd do as sminlal said and check the SMART counts before trying to replace the PSU.
  11. I will try it just in case, but as I said, I replaced my original drive (and now have two, so I'll RAID them when I get this figured out) and the problem exists with both drives, so I don't think that could be it.

    I will run it though and see what happens.
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