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Failing HDD & Backups

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September 17, 2011 1:04:25 AM

Hi.
Windows 7 is telling me that my storage HDD (~3.5 years old; the only part of the PC that isn't new) is starting to fail. I have copied essentially all important files to other HDDs already. Since then, even my BIOS/UEFI tells me on boot-up that my HDD fails the SMART test and needs to be replaced.
I have also already run Windows chkdsk on the partitions of this drive, but I cannot make heads or tails of the results.
I'm quite sure the HDD is out of warranty at this point.

So, my questions:
  • Is the HDD beyond hope? Is it only a matter of time? Is it possible for my PC to suffer damage when it finally fails completely?
  • When copying files from said HDD to another PC in our local PC network between my Win 7 PC and another one, the copying process stalled completely. When I tried to cancel it, nothing whatsoever happened. I couldn't get rid of that process without eliminating the explorer process in the Task Manager. And even when I did that, when I turned my PC off, Windows stayed indefinitely in the logging off mode without switching the PC off, so I shut it down with the power button. This whole procedure only happened when I tried to copy files via the network. These problems never occured (on the same HDD!) when I was still running Windows XP. So did my HDD failing cause these copying problems? Or did they come from something else, and my repeatedly having to kill these copying processes killed my HDD? This is a chicken and egg question, basically.
  • What now? I'm thinking of replacing the 500 GB HDD with two 1 TB ones and running a permanent backup on one, but I've never used backups before. What will I have to do to set this process up and have it be low maintenance?

    My PC: Google Docs; second tab: "Final Components". Specifically, the HDD in question is a Seagate Barracuda 500 GB (ST3500630AS). I received help building this PC from this forum, too.
    In case you need any logs etc., please tell me and I will provide them. However, I won't run another 10+h chkdsk...
  • More about : failing hdd backups

    a b $ Windows 7
    a c 116 G Storage
    September 17, 2011 1:13:31 AM

    If SMART tell you that the disk needs to be replaced, do it. You can verify SMART by running HDTune on the disk.

    Sooner or later all disks will fail.

    The 1 TB drives are a good idea. And please do perform regular frequent backups. Losing data is too high a price to pay.
    September 17, 2011 3:37:19 AM

    Thanks for the reply!
    But there's no inherent problem in keeping the HDD in my PC until it finally goes bust, right? As long as I don't keep important data on it, of course...

    And how would I go about performing such backups? I want automatic backups without need for further human input...
    And how do I keep these backups from slowing down my computer?
    Related resources
    a b $ Windows 7
    a c 116 G Storage
    September 17, 2011 12:14:13 PM

    MondSemmel said:
    Thanks for the reply!
    But there's no inherent problem in keeping the HDD in my PC until it finally goes bust, right? As long as I don't keep important data on it, of course...

    And how would I go about performing such backups? I want automatic backups without need for further human input...
    And how do I keep these backups from slowing down my computer?

    Personally, I would not trust any HDD that is failing. It does not belong in your computer.

    Win 7 has an automatic backup setting. Go to Control Panel ---> Backup & Restore. Set your backup schedule and it will backup per your directives automatically.

    In the event that your computer is OFF during the scheduled time, it will give you a reminder for manual backup. Win 7.

    Another good, free backup program is "EASEUS TODO BACKUP" - download it and set your backup schedule.

    To prevent computer slowdowns during backup, schedule these backups to start when you are asleep. That is what I do, and my desktop computer is in my bedroom.
    September 17, 2011 2:31:31 PM

    So, uh...you're going to love this.
    I started my computer this afternoon and was surprised that at boot-up, my BIOS was no longer complaining about the HDD SMART error.
    So I used SeaTools in Windows and did the SMART test again, and while it told me before that the HDD has failed the SMART test, it now tells me that the HDD has passed.

    I don't really get what happened, and I'll still try to get the HDD replaced, but I'd also really like an explanation for that.
    a b $ Windows 7
    a c 116 G Storage
    September 17, 2011 2:34:31 PM

    MondSemmel said:
    So, uh...you're going to love this.
    I started my computer this afternoon and was surprised that at boot-up, my BIOS was no longer complaining about the HDD SMART error.
    So I used SeaTools in Windows and did the SMART test again, and while it told me before that the HDD has failed the SMART test, it now tells me that the HDD has passed.

    I don't really get what happened, and I'll still try to get the HDD replaced, but I'd also really like an explanation for that.

    Install and run "HDTune" like I suggested earlier. This will provide more insight into the condition of the drive. A few bad sectors is not a problem.
    September 24, 2011 8:12:55 AM

    I'm sorry it took so long. When the perpetual SMART warnings in my BIOS/UEFI disappeared, and I had already copied all important data to another drive, the problem lost most of its urgency to me. Still, I've finally gotten around to do it, so here are the HDTune results:

    HDTune (Error Test):
    1 error at 219604 MB (LBA 449749325) (whatever that means)

    SMART:
    Here.

    I guess my BIOS/UEFI doesn't complain anymore because no current values are bad, but it did complain when one of the values totally dropped below the threshold some time ago?
    a b $ Windows 7
    a c 116 G Storage
    September 24, 2011 11:35:51 AM

    MondSemmel said:
    I'm sorry it took so long. When the perpetual SMART warnings in my BIOS/UEFI disappeared, and I had already copied all important data to another drive, the problem lost most of its urgency to me. Still, I've finally gotten around to do it, so here are the HDTune results:

    HDTune (Error Test):
    1 error at 219604 MB (LBA 449749325) (whatever that means)

    SMART:
    Here.

    I guess my BIOS/UEFI doesn't complain anymore because no current values are bad, but it did complain when one of the values totally dropped below the threshold some time ago?

    Use it as a secondary drive and backup frequently (daily).
    !