"Stuck" Audio, Bad Clusters, BSOD Interruption and More...

This issue could relate to more than storage/hard drives, but the hdd definitely figures in, so I'll try this category first.

I have an Asus z70Va laptop with a PATA hard drive, running Windows XP SP3.

About ten days ago ago I had multiple Firefox tabs open, and also was playing streaming online audio at top volume (which isn't all that loud with the laptop speakers).

Don't know if I'm explaining this well, but I heard a few seconds of distortion in the audio, almost as if it was "stuck" (endless loop?) on a note for a bit. Only lasted a few seconds, but it was strange and discordant. Then it happened again less than a minute later. So I turned off the music.

Checked event viewer and saw the following error coinciding with each occurrence of the brief distortion:

"Event 9: The device, \Device\Ide\IdePort0, did not respond within the timeout period."

I did a full chkdsk on the drive (6 months old, BTW), and it checked out OK, including zero bad clusters.

I also went to the Intel site to see if there were any updates for my chipset drivers, and their auto-check utility said the drivers were up-to-date.

Then last night the same problem occurred. But I wasn't near the pc, and before I could get over there to turn off the music, the "stuck-notes" distortion became continual and a BSOD popped up. Windows was doing a memory dump, but I figured the loud, jarring audio racket couldn't be doing anything but harm, so I held down the power button until the pc powered off.

Brought it back up in safe mode. There was now a series of about 15 bad-block error messages in event viewer. Those were preceded by two incidents of that same Event 9 error message as listed above, as well as a single "warning" message after the third bad-block error message that said:

"ID26: The driver has detected that device \Device\Ide\IdePort0 has old or out-of-date firmware. Reduced performace may result."

I ran a chkdsk, and this time (not surprisingly). the results said "Windows replaced bad clusters in file 393 of name \WINDOWS\MEMORY.DMP." Windows said the two bad clusters, totalling 8KB were in the file memory.dmp.

These are my specific questions, although any other input is welcome!:

1. *Should* I have forced the pc off during the memory dump during the BSOD? Is this power interruption during the write what may have damaged the drive and *caused* the bad clusters -- especially since the file listed as corrupt was memory.dmp? Remember, the "stuck" and loud audio was so jarring it sounded like the computer was ready to explode, so it hardly seemed prudent to leave it on.

2. I suppose this is unlikely, but could the reported "bad clusters" actually be data corruption rather than physical damage? If so, how can I confirm?

3. What could be causing the audio "sticking," and how might the two ide-related messsages relate to that? Googling doesn't seem to turn up issues where audio "sticking" distortion causes or results from hard drive failure. Regardless, I wonder if having multiple tabs open and/or the volume turned up could have contributed?

I'm already in the process of replacing the drive again to be on the safe side. I'm especially concerned since I experienced something that's similar in many ways with my previous drive as well - also at about age six months. That time the audio got "discordantly" stuck while playing a 1-minute wav file that I had Outlook set up to play when I receive email from a particular sender. No BSOD that time, though I did have to force off the pc, which was frozen while the audio was stuck and discordant. Result (cause?) then was also two bad clusters.

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  1. It does sound like your drive is on the way out.

    Try a comprehensive SMART diagnostic. Look for reallocated, pending, or uncorrectable sectors.

    HD Sentinel (DOS / Windows / Linux):

    HDDScan for Windows:

    See this article for SMART info:
  2. Thanks.

    With multiple hard drive issue in the past year (mostly on this same pc) I've been watching SMART closely. Even after the incident I described above, which supposedly caused (or resulted from) 2 bad sectors, I ran HDTune and it showed the drive as healthy on all three measures you mentioned:

    Reallocated sectors count:: Current Smart Value = 200 Data = 0
    Current pending sector: Current Smart Value = 200, Data = 0
    Offline Uncorrectable: Current Smart Value = 100, Data = 0

    Speedfan, which shows the same SMART data, summarizes the drive fitness at 97% and performance at 94%.

    Still a lot of mystery here.
  3. The actual count of bad sectors in stored in the RAW value of the attribute. You have reported the NORMALISED values.
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