Is my drive failing?


I first planned on posting a long thread, thoroughly describing the problems I've been encountering lately with my laptop, but for the sake of readability I'll try and keep this as short as possible.

I bought my laptop, an ASUS F5SL back in June 2008 and it came with a 160GB Hitachi hard drive. I later found that this laptop had its minor flaws, but none of them affected its smooth operation. Two months ago, however, the hard drive started to fail: uTorrent complained about CRC errors and I was often forced to reboot because everything just stopped working when the drive hit the bad sectors.

I replaced the drive with a Seagate Momentus (ST9320423AS 320GB, 7200rpm, 16MB, SATA 2) and everything seemed to be just fine. 18 days later, the drive started making this weird whistle-like sound, only to fail completely the very next day.

The guys at the computer shop immediately replaced my drive with a Western Digital Scorpio Black (WD3200BEKT 320GB, 7200rpm, 16MB, SATA 2) and I've installed it myself later that day.

Right now I am experiencing the following problems:

- a lot of BSOD's on Windows 7, so I eventually downgraded to Vista which kind of helped
- the hard drive becomes very busy several times a day and most applications just stop working - I have to wait 2-3 minutes of it to snap out of it (it occurred while I was typing this post)
- frequent boot error messages (such as 'no boot media found, reboot, bla bla bla'; this one has various forms)
- it sometimes boots fine, it gets to the Windows log-on screen and then it seems to completely shut down, leaving me no choice but to reboot (can't move mouse or type)
- I've ran checks with the tool provided by WD, but it didn't detect any problems or bad sectors

So my question is, what could be causing these problems? Is my laptop killing my drives or am I really that bad at picking a working one? Should you need any other specs or information, I will gladly provide them.

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  1. If your system is eating HDDs, it is either a heat issue, bad power, bad data interface, or you are beating on your system with a hammer time to time (just kidding on the last one, but rough handling can lead to HDD failures).

    First, how are your system temps? If you don't know, you can download either speccy or hwmonitor (google them and get the free editions) to make sure you don't have a heat problem. Pay close attention to your HDD temps.

    Regarding the data/power connections, that one requires some diagnostics. You should contact Asus to see if they can help you. I took a quick look at the downloads available for your system, but didn't see any downloadable diagnostics applications (Dell provides for many of their products, for example).

    Good luck!
  2. CPU temp varies around 50-60C (it never ran any cooler than this). HDD temp was 46C after running for 12 hours. I don't suspect overheating is the problem.

    However, here's what I've noticed: whenever I run utilities such as Speccy and HD Tune, freezes are being constantly generated and I'm often forced to reboot (HDD temp was 37C).

    I also did a memtest - 2 passes, no errors.
  3. The HDD temp of 37C isn't too hot (about the same as your body temp of 98.6F). The "freezing" though implies a problem with (likely) the SATA connector and/or SATA interface.

    I am now more convinced that you should contact Asus for tech support. Good luck!
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