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Hard Drive Failure?

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August 15, 2011 9:46:18 PM

I've noticed lately that my computer has been EXTREMELY slow out of no where. And Every couple of minutes it will freeze for about 3 to 4 minutes. Every time it's about to freeze I hear my hard drive disk speed up.

Could this be hard drive failure? Or a whole other problem?

PC specs:

GTS 250
AMD Athlon II x4 630
4 gb DDR 2 memory
Hitachi 320gb HDD

More about : hard drive failure

a c 288 G Storage
August 16, 2011 2:31:48 PM

Depending on your power management settings, a hard drive will spin down after a certain amount of idle time. When your OS wakes it up again, it may take a few seconds (not minutes) for it to spin up to speed.

You could use one of the following SMART utilities to examine the Load/Unload Cycle Count.

HD Sentinel (DOS / Windows / Linux):
http://www.hdsentinel.com/

HDDScan for Windows:
http://hddscan.com/
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a b G Storage
August 16, 2011 6:09:53 PM

Do you hear clicking sounds when th drive spins up? It sounds like your drive definitely could be failing. Before doing anything including the above programs, you should immediately image the disk or copy off all important data. If your drive is on its way out, trying to test it will one of the above programs could push it over the edge. Never try troubleshooting a suspected failing drive until you've copied off the data.
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a c 288 G Storage
August 16, 2011 8:21:37 PM

HDDScan and HD Sentinel are perfectly safe on a marginal drive, as long as you don't run a surface scan. Retrieving the SMART report requires that the drive reads its SMART sectors. AIUI, that amounts to only two sectors (data plus thresholds). I don't believe those sectors will be the straw that breaks the camel's back.
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August 17, 2011 1:28:53 PM

caboose32 said:
I've noticed lately that my computer has been EXTREMELY slow out of no where. And Every couple of minutes it will freeze for about 3 to 4 minutes. Every time it's about to freeze I hear my hard drive disk speed up.

Could this be hard drive failure? Or a whole other problem?

PC specs:

GTS 250
AMD Athlon II x4 630
4 gb DDR 2 memory
Hitachi 320gb HDD



The answers prior to this bring up valid points. To this I would add 2 more possibilities both of which have happened to me and were successfully dealt with.

1. Your drive may be overheating perhaps —not all that uncommon at this time of the year.

2. Severe fragmentation which can cause your drive to work a lot harder (which incidentally also will help it overheat it)


Before dismissing fragmentation as a possibility, let me briefly tell you something that happened to me.

About 2 years ago my drive failed unexpectedly. I couldn't figure out what happened as it was always reported as being in good shape by my freebie defragmentor. Long story short, after much battling and clever work-a rounds I was able to regain control at which point I ran the top rated defrag for 2011 and I was shocked to find my drive was in fact extremely fragmented!

I learned a lot from this painful experience:

1. Not all defragmentors are the same and although it's cool to save money with a free defragmentor, a $20-$40 savings is nothing when you are put in a position of possibly losing a lot of your work.

2. Under some situations (possibly extreme ones) it's possible for fragmentation to crash a drive.

To be fair my system gets pretty heavy use but better to be safe than sorry I feel.

Check out this link to an unbiased report on the TOP RATED DEFRAGS FOR 2011. it may help keep you safe and out of trouble down the road:


Hope this helps,

Cheers!
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a c 288 G Storage
August 17, 2011 9:32:10 PM

ron57, is it possible that your drive had marginal sectors which were rewritten during the defragmentation process? If so, then the drive would have transparently replaced them with spares. You would have seen an increase in SMART's Reallocated Sector Count attribute.
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August 18, 2011 4:44:10 AM

When it speeds up it does make like a beeping or clicking noise just once.

Ill try the defrag program and the SMART utilities and let you guys know how it is after that.

Oh yea and btw, when I booted up my computer today it started to do the freezing and speedup thing at the windows load screen, so it took like 10 minutes to get into it.
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August 18, 2011 6:24:53 PM

Alright guys, Ive been really busy with school lately so I wont be able to really work on my HD right now. But I do have an update that can help you guys determine more what it is.

I started up my computer today and on the screen before the windows logo, it said that there was a disk reading error or something like that, so I restarted my computer. My hard drive then began to make multiple loud clicking noises and my computer totally froze up. This is the first time it has happened and it seems to be doing it more and more. I'm also getting blue screens from time to time.

I will have to wait till Friday to try any of the things you guys told me to do because I dont have class that day.
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