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My hard drive failed, I re-formatted, now everything is fine???

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April 16, 2012 4:19:16 AM

I have no freaking clue what is going on, here.
Okay, you guys helped me build my first PC nearly 2 years ago. It went off without a hitch, smooth as silk. I thank you all for that.

Now, for no particular reason AT ALL, when I fired up my PC this morning, I got a bunch of freakish errors. File corruption errors. Mozilla Firefox wouldn't load, it was corrupted. Avast! wouldn't load, it was corrupted. Windows was freaking out on me, and rebooted and ran chkdsk (without me telling it to). There were so many bad sectors, I thought I was having a nightmare! How could I go from a perfectly-running PC for all this time, then for no reason at all, I have a hard disk failure????? This was completely unexpected. I have no explanation, whatsoever. So... I ordered a new hard drive from New Egg, using a different computer, which should be here in a few days. I did some research while there... I still have no idea what happened. I figured, what the heck? I have to wait a few days... I may as well try to re-format the HD and re-install Windows, see what happens.

Well... I deleted both partitions, and the format button greyed out. Don't ask me, I have no idea how these things work these days. Back in the days of DOS, I was pretty savvy with formatting and such. Now, with these new types of hard drives, it seems formatting happens almost instantly, somehow. Hmph... well anyway, first attempt failed. On reboot, the system hanged at my motherboard screen (the big picture with all the buttons, F12 for boot menu, etc.).

On my second attempt, I formatted both partitions (it re-created them), then deleted both. Now Windows has installed several hours ago, I ran a complete chkdsk and surface scan, and there's absolute no problems? How is this possible? What the heck is going on here? Can someone tell me 1) What the **** happened to my hard drive in the first place, and 2) How can it be just fine, now????? Has this ever happened to any of you before????? I lost everything... just everything. I don't care, I just wanted my computer to work again. And for now, it's like you wouldn't even know there was a problem in the first place. I'm so confused by this, I don't even know what to think! I have installed Windows again, downloaded all the Windows updates, re-installed Steam and Avast!, got my drivers fully up-to-date, and still everything is working like I just bought it. I don't understand this at all...

Don't get me wrong, I'm paranoid as can be. I don't trust this thing at all anymore. It could go to 100% fine to 100% trashed by tomorrow, for all I know... :cry: 
April 16, 2012 4:29:57 AM

MY GUESS IS THAT YOU HAD A NASTY VIRUS.
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April 16, 2012 4:38:57 AM

And Avast! anti-virus didn't detect it? It's always served me so well over the years.
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a c 342 G Storage
April 16, 2012 4:52:30 PM

Yeah, I'd suspect virus also, but I am NOT sure about that.

Another possibility is a temporary poor connection in the cables between HDD and mobo port which managed to fix themselves by minor movement. In that case, the problem could return. For those kinds of issues, what I do is disconnect all power cords, open the case, and carefully unplug and then re-connect BOTH ends of the data cable from HDD to mobo. Do this several times, and the action will "scrub" any oxide coating off the metal surfaces in the connectors. Do the same for the power connection into the HDD. All this should be easy to do - if a connector seems to take a lot of pushing, STOP and look carefully to be sure it's lined up right, etc. Now check carefully that you did not disconnect or loosen something else while doing this, then close up and re-power. Since your system is working perfectly now, you probably will see no difference - this whole process would just be a preventive measure against a near-future repeat of your trouble.

On the other hand, you may have had a rash of real Bad Sectors. Your post does not mention one clue I was looking for. When you Deleted all Partitions, then re-Created them and Formatted them and re-Installed, my guess is that the Format operations were done as Full Formats. A Full Format normally takes several hours per Partition before the Install of Windows can begin, whereas a Quick Format only takes maybe 15 minutes (or less). Anyway, the difference between these two is that a Full Format does the Quick thing first, then exhaustively tests every Sector of the Partition and marks off any Bad Sectors in a Windows table so they will never be used. When this is done, Windows will have a perfectly good HDD to work with, except that it has some sectors marked off never to use. So it will appear that the re-Formatted (Full Format) HDD has no trouble. The clue is that, when a Full Format is completed, it will show you how many Bad Sectors it has marked off. If this is many more than you had before, you know that some were found and set aside this way. And that could be what happened to you.
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a b G Storage
April 16, 2012 6:11:40 PM

I could be a failing harddrive. You might have had an unreadable sector that was part of a critical system file (hence the corrupted file error) and by reformatting and reinstalling, the file is no longer written to the bad sector. This is a very temporary fix if this is the case. Once you start having problems reading a drive, it's only a matter of time until the entire drive is unreadable. I would get the diagnostic utility from the hard drive manufacturer and run that, chkdsk is not the most reliable in detecting physical disk problems.
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April 16, 2012 9:26:19 PM

I don't know what to say, here. The first thing I did was take this thing to the kitchen table, where I assembled it in the first place. I put on my anti-static wrist wrap, opened her up, and there was just a very minimal amount of dust inside. I used a Tempest EVO case with dust filters. All the dust collected in the filters, which I cleaned to the best of my ability. I cleaned it up pretty good, and then I inspected all the wires inside. I didn't see a single problem anywhere, honestly. Everything still looks brand new.

Okay, so then I put in the Windows 7 OEM and fired it up. I selected Custom Install, and deleted the partitions there. There was no formatting, it would seem. Windows went ahead and installed. Didn't make any sense to me. So I re-installed after all of this was done. As I said, after the install, the system hanged up at the Gigabyte motherboard screen (X58A-UD3R). I powered off, and then back on, and it went to Windows. I booted from the DVD drive and installed Windows again, this time I told it to format both partitions, but then I also deleted them again. Once again, there was no delay at all. Windows began installing immediately. After it was finished, I set the system up for a full disk scan and rebooted. I went and took a shower and ate, and it was still running. No errors or anything were found at all. I still have all 500 gigabytes. Doesn't make sense. I still ordered a new hard drive when this happened, just in case. But how do I check to see if there are bad sectors, or that sort of thing? Can I do that with Windows 7, or must I download some sort of app? I'm sorry, I'm not keen on things like that. This was the first computer I've ever built myself. I'm still in the life-long learning process. :-/
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