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Are these signs of impending hard drive doom?

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January 28, 2013 12:47:31 AM

I have an ancient Dell GX1 running an equally ancient (like 13 year old) Maxtor hard drive with Win98 on it. HD passes Seatools check, but I'm having two problems that concern me.

1)Upon boot, I get a message that no hard drive is found. Then the 98 screen comes up for a couple of seconds, then goes back to the hard drive not found message (along with something about C drive), then 98 boots up for good.

2)When the hard drive is running I hear random clicks. These aren't the normal noises associated with a hard drive doing it's thing, it sounds like the head picking up a bad sector, returning to rest (hence the click) and then reindexing itself. But maybe I'm wrong and that's not what it is?

What do you guys think?
January 28, 2013 1:29:43 AM

13 year old drives with 13 year old technology sounds like they are on their last legs. Suggest you get whatever data you want off those drives soon.
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January 28, 2013 1:30:08 AM

9xer said:
I have an ancient Dell GX1 running an equally ancient (like 13 year old) Maxtor hard drive with Win98 on it. HD passes Seatools check, but I'm having two problems that concern me.

1)Upon boot, I get a message that no hard drive is found. Then the 98 screen comes up for a couple of seconds, then goes back to the hard drive not found message (along with something about C drive), then 98 boots up for good.

2)When the hard drive is running I hear random clicks. These aren't the normal noises associated with a hard drive doing it's thing, it sounds like the head picking up a bad sector, returning to rest (hence the click) and then reindexing itself. But maybe I'm wrong and that's not what it is?

What do you guys think?


That is both a sign of operating system and hard disk drive 'imminent failure'. If you haven't backed up your data/files onto another drive, do so as soon as possible.

How to Tell When Your Hard Drive is Going to Fail http://www.lifehack.org/articles/technology/how-to-tell...
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January 28, 2013 1:41:36 AM

Thanks for the responses, guys. Thankfully there is no data stored on this comp, it's just a "Sunday driver" that I cruise the internet with.

I've got some good hard drives....looks like maybe it's time to put one in and do a clean reinstall.
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January 28, 2013 2:21:02 AM

9xer said:
Thanks for the responses, guys. Thankfully there is no data stored on this comp, it's just a "Sunday driver" that I cruise the internet with.

I've got some good hard drives....looks like maybe it's time to put one in and do a clean reinstall.


Yes, time to re-install. What are the specifications of your system?
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January 28, 2013 2:32:11 AM

It's got a 400 MHz Pentium II with 256 mb of ram, running Win98. The hard drive in question is a 2000 vintage WD, 10 gb. I just put in a 20 gb WD a couple of minutes ago, I'm preparing to reinstall 98.
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a b G Storage
January 28, 2013 2:42:19 AM

Just throwing out there, make sure you use an IDE drive - I bought a SSD to upgrade a laptop recently, and completely didn't think about the fact that the laptop was old enough to not use the SATA interface.
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January 28, 2013 2:45:55 AM

Oh yeah, that's all I've got around here is old IDE drives....my computer parts stash is right out of 2000 lol
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a c 89 G Storage
January 28, 2013 3:17:41 AM

You may wish to consider installing UBUNTU 32-bit instead.
www.ubuntu.com

It would run far, far better than Windows 98 on that old sytem. Your only issue likely would be HD video.
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January 28, 2013 3:21:53 AM

Nope, running a newer o/s defeats the whole purpose of vintage computing.
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January 28, 2013 3:23:41 AM

But I am thinking about selling those machines and upgrading to ones that are still older, yet faster. Like a P3/P4...
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a c 89 G Storage
January 28, 2013 4:32:45 AM

9xer said:
But I am thinking about selling those machines and upgrading to ones that are still older, yet faster. Like a P3/P4...


So the "vintage" part is just the software I guess?

Then why not just get a good PC and simply install in a Virtual environment like VMWARE?

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January 28, 2013 12:17:45 PM

No, it's the whole thing (software + hardware). But I don't have to run something as slow, I can get an older computer with a P4 that would be quite a bit faster, while still keeping that "vintage" feel.

I've got a new Win7 comp that I use for my main one, these are just for fun.
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a c 298 G Storage
January 28, 2013 11:50:17 PM

I suggest you run a SMART diagnostic against your drive. Look for reallocated, pending, or uncorrectable sectors.

BTW, for Internet purposes, I'm still running an AMD socket 7 CPU and 20GB HDD on a 13 year-old Win98SE box. My main annoyances are sites which are bloated with useless Javascript garbage. It seems that some sites want you to download 1MB of JS junk just to say "my hard drive doesn't work". I remember when things were faster on a 286 PC running DOS and connecting to a text-only BBS via a 2400bps dialup modem.
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January 29, 2013 12:08:17 AM

fzabkar said:
I suggest you run a SMART diagnostic against your drive. Look for reallocated, pending, or uncorrectable sectors.

BTW, for Internet purposes, I'm still running an AMD socket 7 CPU and 20GB HDD on a 13 year-old Win98SE box. My main annoyances are sites which are bloated with useless Javascript garbage. It seems that some sites want you to download 1MB of JS junk just to say "my hard drive doesn't work". I remember when things were faster on a 286 PC running DOS and connecting to a text-only BBS via a 2400bps dialup modem.


Ahhh, now that's the kind of machine I"m talking about ;) 

But I just found out something today--I swapped out that hard drive with another and reinstalled 98 on it; same "no operating system" warning comes up twice, which tells me it's a mobo problem.

I think I feel another thread coming on :lol: 
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January 29, 2013 12:08:58 AM

And thanks to everyone for the great answers!
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February 2, 2013 2:56:34 PM

Best answer selected by 9xer.
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