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Is my HDD dead? Been troubleshooting over many days.

Last response: in Storage
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December 6, 2012 7:08:55 PM

Heya folks, now I was hoping I wouldn't have to post here.. But with how tight money is and whatnot, I'd like to at least be able to narrow down the possible options for what's wrong with my PC before I buy new parts.

Things you should know about my PC ahead of time :
- It's old, about 6 years old
-I just replaced the PSU about 3-4 weeks ago due to my other one finally getting worn down (All the other parts in the rig are from when it was originally bought)
-The manufacturer is a company named ZT, for any of you who have heard of them
-The PC used to have Vista as an OS about a week ago, before I wiped the HDD to upgrade to 7

Now then! About two weeks ago I'd noticed my computer had been freezing really badly. Now I've had computer freezing issues in the past, but nothing like this, before they would last maybe 5 or 6 seconds, these freezes are lasting upwards of a minute. When it freezes I typically lose mouse movement and all sound, but not always just most of the time. Also the HDD makes the typical "Click" sound that an HDD makes when it's dying or dead, at least, assuming the sound I'm looking for is just the sound that the HDD makes when it's functioning but instead it ticks instead of runs smoothly and that noise ALWAYS, ALWAYS 100% of the time indicates that I'm about to get a freeze. One other thing you should know about the freezes is that when they happen, on top of losing sound and mouse movement typically, my HDD light on the front of my case starts to blink in a rhythm, very dimly, and always the same rhythm. So at first I ignored the freezes because they weren't to bad, but they got progressively worse and worse and happened more and more.

As the freezes progressed I started to read into the issue and was sad to read that most likely my HDD was dying, so I started to run diagnostic programs to see if that was indeed the case, now the weird stuff begins. I ran about 4 HDD diagnostic tools, from HD sentinel, to Acronis drive monitor, the WD diagnostic tool, as well as a few others and every single one that could read out the health value of my HDD said it was at 99% and had a lot of alive time left on it. They also all shared the same opinion on the values of it, with 1 pending sector count, and everything else being completely clean. I figured my problem was bad sectors, so I ran dskchk and after about an hour or 2 of reading the entire drive it came back completely clean. I figure.. I'll just reformat, and upgrade to windows 7 and see if that helps, since I was still on Vista. So I do that, and within the first 20 minutes (Before any programs were installed) I get the EXACT same freeze. I'm a bit upset at this point, so I get HD sentinel and start to check for bad sectors on my HDD, and while it's scanning I'm freezing up over and over and over, but every block it freezes on comes back as being clean. Now I run an extended test on the WD diagnostic tool and it locks up on blocks 49,443,071 and 80,408,831 then after it stops freezing (Because what I can tell, when it's scanning free space it doesn't freeze) I stop it and restart it and it freezes on blocks 78,192,893 and 106,156,287 and NOW on the 49 and 80 numbers. HD sentinel however froze 4 times, at 10492, 12591, 19077, and 31478 MB (Since it doesn't scan blocks it scans MB, or at least reads it out like that). So I run chkdsk again and it reads out some bad files and cleans them and whatnot, but only 1 bad sector is moved to the side. At this point I'm scratching my head, completely confused, so I take a friends advice and I use HD shredder off of the UBCD and completely wipe the HDD twice, then reboot, reinstall 7, and sure enough within 5 minutes of booting up I get the same kind of lockup when trying to open up the info on a disk.

A few last things I should note:
-Typically the freezes happen during high usage time on my PC, so typically when gaming it happens
-I've BSOD'd twice, both times after the lockups happened, though not during them, it was a few seconds after, or a minute or two after, and it didn't happen everytime. It was a "Memory dump" BSOD (The one where you get a progress number that dumps memory to your disk or whatever.)
-I ran Memtest for 12 hours last night and my RAM is completely fine



I'm completely stumped, I still figure it's the HDD but I'd like to.. Hopefully, narrow it down, because I don't' really have the money to throw at multiple parts and I need my PC in working condition again ASAP. Any help would be greatly appreciated and if you need anything else to help me out I'll do my best to oblige.
December 6, 2012 7:15:59 PM

What do the event logs say about it?
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December 6, 2012 7:16:53 PM

Sectors may be good, but the hardware itself may be failing. You are running the risk of losing the data from that HDD.
Did you run chkdsk with the parameters /f/r?
Even so, if the HDD is failing, that will not save you much time. Afraid you'll need a new HDD regardless.
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December 6, 2012 7:46:30 PM

Event logs say nothing about it. Freezes, and blue screens, neither have errors happening before them or anything. How would I run chkdsk with said parameters?
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a b G Storage
December 7, 2012 12:48:35 AM

kalan60 said:
Event logs say nothing about it. Freezes, and blue screens, neither have errors happening before them or anything. How would I run chkdsk with said parameters?

Chkdsk x: /f/r, where x is that drive's letter.

It detects bad sectors and moves data off of them, marking them as bad so they're not used.

In case my hypothesis is right, however, it is not going to make a major difference, because a failing HDD reading head, for instance, is purely hardware-related. Given that system's age, the best thing would be to replace the HDD (the one system component that has moving mechanical parts, hence subject to material fatigue). Follow that with a disk cleanup and a defrag and see what happens (cross-fingers).
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