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Hard Drives Keep Failing

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January 27, 2010 10:37:28 PM

I've been having a hard time with the computer I put together about 3.5 years ago now. I'm not in a situation where I can get a new one right now, so I'd really like to try and get this fixed somehow without having to take it to a repair shop. (The estimates I got locally were anywhere from 200-300 just to look at it.)


The specs on my computer are:
Intel E6600, asus p5wdh-deluxe, ocz gamexstream 700w, soundblaster x-fi extrememusic, radeon hd 4850, gskill 2gb F2-6400CL5D-2GBNQ, wd raptor 150, windows xp sp3, antec p180b


My computer worked great for the first two years without a problem, but over the last two years I keep losing hard drives. I've been using the same secondary HD for the entire time without a problem, but my main HD (running the OS) keeps dying. Basically after a little while (anywhere from 1 week to 3 months) my computer slows down and I start seeing delayed write failure errors start popping up in my taskbar, and then a few days later my HD crashes. I have probably gone through 6-8 HD's over the last 2 years, and it has gotten to the point now where I just can't deal with it anymore and am using a really old computer just to get online.

I've tried WD, Seagate, and Maxtor drives, and it is consistently happening to me. I really don't have any idea what the problem is, and why it is only affecting my primary HD. I have sent the HD's back because they were under warranty and received new (or refurbished) ones and it still happens.


If anybody has any suggestions on what might be wrong, or how to diagnose what my problem might be I would REALLY appreciate it.


Thanks for your time,

Andrew

More about : hard drives failing

a b B Homebuilt system
January 27, 2010 11:13:54 PM

The term "crashes" is used so loosely, but I'm guessing that means you either can't POST or can't load Windows, or both. You haven't mentioned any power issues, so I'll assume that the computer turns on, searches for a hard drive, then fails at that point.

Hard Drive failures have two common elements: heat or virus. Since you haven't described what you do with your computer, it is hard to say, but I am leaning toward heat.

I have a few questions:

1. Do you use IDE, SATA, or both?

2. Has the Master HDD always been installed in the same spot in your case?

3. Have you checked the connecting cables (power & data) for any damage?

4. Have you inspected the motherboard for damage?
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January 27, 2010 11:34:37 PM

The computer always powers on fine, and I can always get into the BIOS. Most of the time after the computer crashes it will get to the screen abouts windows loading, but then it never finishes. Sometimes even before that it says that it fails to read a bootable device and to insert a disk and press . (Something like that at least.)

I always use antivirus software, and I had one of the HD's die on me within a week when the only thing I had done with it was a game, and I wasn't using it to go online.

To answer the other questions:

1: SATA

2: No, I have had it in a few different positions. The Antec P180 case also has a fan immediately in front of the drives, so I don't think the primary should be overheating. I only use 2 drives, so I always leave space in between the primary and secondary HD as well (4 slots).

3. Yes, and I've tried using different cables for both power and data. After the second or third HD failure I unconnected and reconnected every single thing that I did when I put my computer together except for the CPU and heatsink.

4. I have looked it over and tried gently dusting it with the little air cans made for computers. I can't see anything visually wrong.
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a b B Homebuilt system
January 27, 2010 11:58:28 PM

If your hard drives keep on failing then I would suspect that they are getting to hot. Check that there is air flow over them. The air normally enters the case at the bottom of the front panel and this can get clogged with dust also check that the air intake vents at the bottom of the front panel is not blocked by a carpet etc.
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January 28, 2010 11:20:08 AM

I keep the filters clean and it feels like it has plenty of airflow moving over the drives. There is a fan immediately in front of the drives, another fan immediately behind them, and then in the back of the case is the PSU and there is another fan there.

The secondary drive I use for storage is approximately 2 inches away from the primary drive, and it never has problems. I don't know why the main drive would be getting so much hotter than the secondary.
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