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Laptop Hard Drives...am I crazy?

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  • Hard Drives
  • Laptops
  • Storage
Last response: in Storage
January 1, 2011 3:17:06 PM

My wife is plagued with laptop problems and I just want to get a sense if I'm doing something wrong, or if this is normal.

18 months ago, my wife dropped her new Gateway laptop from about a foot up onto linoleum. Not a large fall, and the computer continued to work. However, it wouldn't boot up again after the first time she shut it down following the fall. A silver lining, I suppose, is that the hard drive wasn't the problem, so we could recover her data. I never found out why the laptop wouldn't boot again.

I replaced this Gateway with an MSI laptop which, after only a few months of operating, experienced a hard drive failure. There was no warning at all as far as bad sectors or noises, it just stopped on the BIOS screen with a faint clicking sound coming from the hard drive. I was NOT able to recover data this time, and I know that my wife treated the laptop very well.

Fast forward to today, less than a year after the first hard drive, and a second hard drive has failed in the exact same way! I was using it yesterday without trouble, then I turned it off. I moved it to another room and started it up an hour later, and it stopped at the BIOS screen with a faint clicking sound coming from the hard drive. Again, this laptop has been treated well.

Is this normal? Are laptop hard drives particularly fragile? Does anyone have any recommendations?

Thanks.

More about : laptop hard drives crazy

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a b D Laptop
a c 416 G Storage
January 1, 2011 4:34:05 PM

Laptop hard drives are generally pretty rugged, but you do want to avoid banging the laptop around while they're running.

A lot of people let their laptops "hibernate"when they close the lid, and what they don't realize is that in this mode the drive can run when they don't expect it to. Hibernating normally means the system goes into a low-power mode for a period of time (typically 15 or 30 minutes), then it wakes up, dumps RAM memory to disk, and then shuts down. So just because you've closed the lid doesn't necessarily mean the drive isn't running, and if you're banging the laptop around when the system does it's RAM dump to the disk then that could cause problems.

The other thing to watch out for is static electricity, which can zap the electronics of the computer itself, not just the drive.
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January 10, 2011 2:49:26 PM

Thanks! That's some great info. I'm wondering, though...seeing as though we've treated the laptop very gently and it's gone through two hard drives in the span of one year, should I be replacing the hard drive yet again?

In the interest of time, I just purchased an inexpensive laptop hard drive from newegg and was hoping to get a recovery CD from MSI. However, when I contacted them, they offered me an RMA. If there's something more going on here that is CAUSING multiple hard drive failures, perhaps an RMA isn't such a bad idea?
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a b D Laptop
a c 426 G Storage
January 10, 2011 3:28:37 PM

Make sure your laptop has adequate cooling too. The batteries in laptops can put off quite a bit of heat and in the small confined space of a laptop, they can heat up quick. If you use your laptop while on the couch or in bed, try using a dinner tray or something flat to hold the laptop on so air can cirulate under it too. You can also try a laptop cooling pad like this one.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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a b D Laptop
a c 416 G Storage
January 10, 2011 4:12:40 PM

Aside from rough handling and the potential heat issues noted by Hawkeye, it seems pretty unlikely to me that anything in the laptop itself might be causing the hard drive to die. My tendency would be to just replace the drive, not the entire laptop.

On the other hand, you might not get the chance for an RMA again, and if you decline it then you might kick yourself later...
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January 10, 2011 7:05:41 PM

Hm. I guess I could always RMA the thing and cross my fingers for a new one, as unlikely as that may be...
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January 12, 2011 12:19:15 AM

Best answer selected by drokkon.
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July 30, 2012 11:27:22 AM

drokkon said:
My wife is plagued with laptop problems and I just want to get a sense if I'm doing something wrong, or if this is normal.

18 months ago, my wife dropped her new Gateway laptop from about a foot up onto linoleum. Not a large fall, and the computer continued to work. However, it wouldn't boot up again after the first time she shut it down following the fall. A silver lining, I suppose, is that the hard drive wasn't the problem, so we could recover her data. I never found out why the laptop wouldn't boot again.

I replaced this Gateway with an MSI laptop which, after only a few months of operating, experienced a hard drive failure. There was no warning at all as far as bad sectors or noises, it just stopped on the BIOS screen with a faint clicking sound coming from the hard drive. I was NOT able to recover data this time, and I know that my wife treated the laptop very well.

Fast forward to today, less than a year after the first hard drive, and a second hard drive has failed in the exact same way! I was using it yesterday without trouble, then I turned it off. I moved it to another room and started it up an hour later, and it stopped at the BIOS screen with a faint clicking sound coming from the hard drive. Again, this laptop has been treated well.

Is this normal? Are laptop hard drives particularly fragile? Does anyone have any recommendations?

Thanks.

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