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Is my hard drive dead?

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May 22, 2011 1:03:46 PM

Before I begin posting I just want to let everyone know I did back up everything beforehand so if it's dead it's dead.

All right after a "fun" series of events trying to restore an OS from an imaging program I tried changing the boot order of my disks. During one of the times I did this I noticed the power cable to my Sata 160 gig had problems on the connector tab, the end piece was breaking/not lining up and would make a VERY loud hum if I tried using both disks on my splitter. Fearing the worst I restricted the disks to the one good power connector (I get the feeling I"m using the wrong word) at a time. This worked for awhile until I wanted to restore my XP partition in the middle of the recovery it failed giving me a write error. I booted up Gparted using a LiveCD to clean up the partitions. Out of curiosity I tried to run the file system recovery thing not knowing what it does. After an hour it didn't complete so I went to bed. About 6 hours later it was STILL running and wouldn't let me stop it. Annoyed I powered off the computer and rebooted. This time I booted up Gparted and it only detected my external HD and nothing else. I rebooted waited for the BIOS to finish posting and was greeted with a I/o error given the last thing I saw in Gparted when the device worked was one unbootable partition ( a system recovery partition and the rest as unallocated space I wasn't too concerned but perhaps I should be? I can't set anything back up in gparted as it still will NOT detect the disk. Curiously going into the BIOS lets me see the disk and the information as to it's size, etc. That would make me THINK it's detecting it. But I digress.

I thought the last good power cable went bad but it detected the other larger 500 gig disk after giving me a slew of errors and forcing me to use last known good hardware configuration to boot it up.

Is the other 160 gig disk dead? I'm not sure if I can restore my OEM win xp without it. Thanks for any and all help/advice you can give.

More about : hard drive dead

a c 353 G Storage
May 22, 2011 3:12:27 PM

From disk manuf, Download manuf disk utilities. Try the manuf's erase program.
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May 22, 2011 10:32:06 PM

I'll get right to work on that. Finally just finished resurrecting my OS.

It's a Seagate so hopefully they have something that will bring it around.

Made a bootable utility dos disk.

Here's hoping I didn't fry the original.
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a b G Storage
May 23, 2011 6:02:59 AM

If your bios detects it, it's there. You can boot to DOS on a usbkey and attempt to format it. If you can't format it, it's probably dead.

Your SATA cable could be bad and only work some of the time.

If it's a Seagate 7200.11, see if you can flash it to a new firmware because that firmware is bad.
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May 23, 2011 7:52:51 AM

Before finally considering it dead, if you get the manufacturers tools, try doing an extended test on the disk. If there are dead sectors, then the manufacturers tools will swap them for spare sectors that all disks have, and hey presto, you'll have a recovered disk. (As the error is probably due to a power issue, it is not quite the same as most hard disk failures that are progressive, so in this case repairing the drive could be fine).
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May 23, 2011 7:56:10 AM

stravencroft said:
Is the other 160 gig disk dead? I'm not sure if I can restore my OEM win xp without it. Thanks for any and all help/advice you can give.


Just to clarify - OEM distributions are tied to the motherboard ID, not the hard drive ID, so you should still be OK with installing XP on a new drive.
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a b G Storage
May 23, 2011 5:27:21 PM

I have a different perspective - hard drives are electro-mechanical devices and things go wrong. They are soooo cheap that if they dont recover quickly go and replace them. It frankly isnt worth a lot of trouble to reinstall an older 160G sized drive (I doubt they even make them). I would only attempt to recover the data I really need and then take it apart and dispose of it.

I know not everyone thinks that way - just my 2 cents
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a b G Storage
May 23, 2011 10:55:17 PM

I can afford replacement parts, but I'll still spend all day making sure I'm not throwing out a working part--even if it's obsolete. But that's only because I enjoy messing with it. That's how I find out about stuff.
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May 23, 2011 11:26:54 PM

dalauder said:
I can afford replacement parts, but I'll still spend all day making sure I'm not throwing out a working part--even if it's obsolete. But that's only because I enjoy messing with it. That's how I find out about stuff.


I'm the same way. I tend to sometimes (rarely) not remember the lesson though.
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May 23, 2011 11:28:48 PM

davel_68 said:
Just to clarify - OEM distributions are tied to the motherboard ID, not the hard drive ID, so you should still be OK with installing XP on a new drive.


Thanks I was a little shaky on whether it was mobo +hard drive or just mobo that would invalidate the OS. In any event XP now works on the larger HD. I just want to save the smaller one for storage/ make a "legacy XP disk" out of it
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May 23, 2011 11:29:59 PM

dalauder said:
If your bios detects it, it's there. You can boot to DOS on a usbkey and attempt to format it. If you can't format it, it's probably dead.

Your SATA cable could be bad and only work some of the time.

If it's a Seagate 7200.11, see if you can flash it to a new firmware because that firmware is bad.


Testing sata data though I seem to remember either working fine with the larger disk.

Kind of unsure what you mean by flashing the firmware though.
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a c 353 G Storage
May 24, 2011 12:07:11 AM

"flashing" the firmware on hardware is just like flashing the bios on your MotherBoard.
DVD drives often use flashing the Firmware for the drive to update media codes that dictate how the drive writes to different media. My old lite-on stand-alone DVD recorder (used to record tv shows), I obtained a 3rd party update so that I could add 3 hr record mode, also did a coulpe of other things that modified how it worked.

In reference to the commnet on Seagate -11 drive - A good number of them had a firmware problem that turned them into a bricks. I've not looked but there may well be a program to update the drive firmware - BUT this ONLY pertained to the seagate -11's.
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May 24, 2011 12:11:32 AM

Well I booted the disk up I noticed the one remaining good adapter wasn't fastened as tight as I thought ... end plastic piece snaps off... BUT instead of I/O error the recovery partition on the 160 gig auto starts for whatever reason. I think that means it's alive. I tried running the DOS disk from seagate but it just gets stuck at Free Dos and doesn't load.

I'm considering trying to run gparted again to detect the disk or getting a new power adapter to the psu and running seagate tools from the bootable disk. I read something about how DOS can't access SATA only IDE perhaps I need to make an adjustment to raid settings in the BIOS? Nothing jumped out to me.
Running Phoenix "award winning" bios cmos setup utility not sure of the version.

At any rate I think I've proven the disk still lives. But can I do anything with it until I get that psu splitter replacement...
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May 24, 2011 12:24:08 AM

Gparted detected all the partitions I don't know where they or the disk were but they seem to be back. Oh well it's alive. Mission sorta accomplished.

Odd that it won't boot to the old Win XP installation on this drive it just tries running the Gateway OEM restore partition. I assume it's damaged in some way since I DID disconnect the other disk with the more recent XP installation before I powered things up so it shouldn't be interfering.

Once I get the power cable maybe I can do something. This is redundant data anyways an exact copy is on the larger disk including the restore partition.

I was wondering how to make it so I can dual boot Win 7 and XP from seperate Disks.

Right now: Disk 2: Win 7/XP/Storage Disk 1: Remnants of XP/Recovery partition

What I want: Disk 1 ("Legacy"): Win XP/Recovery partition Disk 2: Win 7/Storage

I tried this setup before but XP would not load unless it was on the same disk as 7. I was using Easy BCD to create the dual booting setup. Only once they were on the same disk could I get both OS's to work.

The reason I bother posting my query here is because I want to know whether disk boot order is relevant. I would think not with SATA as opposed to the old IDE but that's why I'm asking.

Any and all advice is appreciated.
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May 24, 2011 1:04:29 AM

Now if I could just determine what kind of power splitter I have for the hard drive so I can replace it. Never had to do that before either.

I know it runs right into the psu and of course it's a splitter that's about it no idea about the number of pins or anything. Next time I'll try taking a picture if that helps.
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a b G Storage
May 24, 2011 2:28:06 AM

Disk boot order is necessary to determine which HDD to boot to if you don't want to manually select. You would probably want to put the default operating system on the first boot drive and allow selection of the other drive only by manual selection.

As far as dual booting...I haven't done it in years since XP/XP. I've never dual booted Win 7 outside of Linux CDs & flash sticks. You might want to start a thread with a title directed at dual booting.

The only thing IDE really makes obsolete is Master/Slave, which isn't related to boot order.
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a b G Storage
May 24, 2011 2:29:44 AM

You're saying your HDD uses something other than a 4-pin molex or SATA connector? If so, you'll have some difficulty finding it, especially cheaply.
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May 25, 2011 12:25:11 AM

Well as it turns out out I knew even less than I thought I did before.

After taking a pic and sending it to a friend he said its the sata power coming off the psu and it's not removable or not meant to be :confused: I couldn't get it to budge in any event. Since only one of the power cables is no good he suggested using a 2 in 1 extender on the good one to power both drives. No idea what those are though. I'm assuming this is what I want?

http://www.amazon.com/Split-Power-Cable-Further-StarTec...

http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/163/droidpics097.j...
Pardon the dust. Is that cord in the middle of the psu really not meant to be removed? I couldn't get it to budge.

http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/40/droidpics099.jp... The "brokenish one" Ironically it was working well until after I tried taking off the tape since I wanted to isolate my dual XPs running earlier then it began working not so well also the Sata Data cable went bad shortly after so it's just as well.

http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/710/droidpics098.j... The last "good" connector. I was advised to run some sort of split extender off of this. It looked like the broken adapter would have been the one to run it off of though. Should I just consider a brand new psu?
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May 25, 2011 1:36:52 AM

dalauder said:
You're saying your HDD uses something other than a 4-pin molex or SATA connector? If so, you'll have some difficulty finding it, especially cheaply.


Fairly sure it's a sata connector.
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June 4, 2011 3:30:45 AM

Best answer selected by stravencroft.
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June 4, 2011 7:50:04 PM

stravencroft said:
I thought the last good power cable went bad but it detected the other larger 500 gig disk after giving me a slew of errors and forcing me to use last known good hardware configuration to boot it up.


Dude, if you've only got one good power connector and the others all went bad, I would recommend replacing your power supply. If it's one with pluggable cables (i.e. they unplug from the PSU box), which is what it looks like from your picture, then you can probably get away with just ordering new cables of that type. I'd recommend ordering replacements for the damaged cables, rather than leaving them in there and trying to run splitters off the last good one.

But really, if your power supply cables are that shoddy, I wouldn't trust the rest of the PSU to be manufactured to any better standard. In other words, I wouldn't try to declare one way or the other what shape your hard drives are in, without first getting a known-good PSU in there to rule out any power supply problems. If the drives are getting too much or too little voltage, or the voltage is fluctuating while they're running, that could certainly make them act funny even if they're good drives.

~Felix.
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