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[Solved] Is my hard drive failing?

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February 10, 2013 7:36:48 PM

I solved the problem! Turns out it was caused by corrupted registry, so I followed the following tutorial to fix it: http://www.sevenforums.com/tutorials/139576-startup-rep...

Honestly, I thought I was going to have to reinstall Windows, but I'm so glad I stumbled upon that tutorial. If you're having similar problems, you might want to give that a try before throwing your computer out the window.
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I'm experiencing weird problems with my computer. I am using a Toshiba Satellite A505-S6033 with a "Seagate ST9750420AS 750GB Momentus Mobile Hard Drive" found here: http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/ite...

The laptop was originally equipped with a 500GB hard drive, which worked fine but I upgraded to the 750GB Seagate hard drive for more space and speed (7200RPM vs 5400RPM). Everything seems to work fine, but every so often my Windows will not boot (I noticed this happens after installing a lot of Windows updates). The computer would hang at loading "CLASS.PNP" (or "Starting Windows" without the debug screen). This didn't used to be a big problem, as I could just pop in my Windows 7 DVD and use the "Startup Repair" option.

Well, it happened again. Only this time, startup repair couldn't detect a problem. So I'm not able to boot into Windows at all. Right now I'm running Mini XP using Hiren's Boot CD to run a few diagnostics on the hard drive, but S.M.A.R.T. doesn't report any problems.

Here's the S.M.A.R.T. report retrieved with Victoria:
Spoiler

ST9750420AS 5WS0K30R
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
ID Name Value Worst Tresh Raw Health
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
1 Raw read error rate 110 90 6 25592184 •••••
3 Spin-up time 99 98 85 0 ••••
4 Number of spin-up times 99 99 20 1570 ••••
5 Reallocated sector count 100 100 36 0 •••••
7 Seek error rate 85 60 30 353011505 ••••
9 Power-on time 94 94 0 6109 ••••
10 Spin-up retries 100 100 97 0 •••••
12 Start/stop count 100 100 20 785 •••••
184 End-to-End error 100 100 99 0 •••••
187 Reported UNC error 97 97 0 3 ••••
188 Command timeout 100 97 0 21 •••••
189 High Fly writes 100 100 0 0 •••••
190 Airflow temperature 65 48 45 35°C/95°F ••••
191 G-SENSOR shock counter 100 100 0 113 •••••
192 Power-off retract count 100 100 0 108 •••••
193 Load/unload cycle count 99 99 0 2844 ••••
194 HDA Temperature 35 52 0 35°C/95°F ••••
194 Minimum temperature 90 52 0 18°C/64°F -
195 Hardware ECC recovered 110 99 0 25592184 •••••
197 Current pending sectors 100 100 0 7 •••••
198 Offline scan UNC sectors 100 100 0 7 •••••
199 Ultra DMA CRC errors 200 200 0 0 •••••
240 Head flying hours 100 253 0 101898099103700 •••••
241 unknown attribut 100 253 0 3267028364 •••••
242 unknown attribut 100 253 0 1809359894 •••••
254 G-SENSOR shock counter 100 100 0 0 •••••


I've also noticed that lately my computer has been running really slow, especially when I'm returning from standby mode. It would be impossible to operate it for about the first 10 minutes, sometimes even longer. I looked into HD Tune Pro and I didn't really see any heavy usage of the hard drive (maybe 20MBps top). This made my computer very laggy and unusable at times. I can see the hard drive indicator light always on, as if it's trying to read something, but this would happen even when I'm only browsing the web. Maybe it's just background programs causing the problem, but I don't remember this happening with the old hard drive.

I'm still able to use and read the hard drive normally, it's just that sometimes it's really laggy and sometimes it even prevents Windows from booting (although I'm not completely sure if it's just a bad update I installed or the hard drive itself).

If I do end up getting a new hard drive, would you recommend that I try a Western Digital? I've never had a bad experience with WD before (I have a 3 year old 1TB My Book external hard drive that still works great). This might be my next choice, since there aren't too many 750GB 7200RPM hard drives: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004I9J5OG/ref=ox_sc_a...
a b G Storage
February 11, 2013 12:01:31 AM

The fix suggested here should work, but a better solution is to update the Seagate drivers... the original HD was probably a Toshiba(?) so if you didn't load the Seagate drivers you need to. The computer is probably working on generic Microsoft Windows drivers maybe even for a 5400RPM HD, so I'd recommend updating the WD HD model drivers.

The long boot times may also be affected by the Hibernation... if you let it go into Hibernation daily, the Hiberfil.sys file which saves files and programs as they were when the system went on sleep mode, this file tends to get corrupted from repeated standby and sleep mode memory saves. So cleaning the Hiberfil.sys by shutting the computer down every 7-10 days or 2 weeks at most, should take care of the boot problems. Doing so can prevent long boot times or no boot at all. This preventive measure seems to me particularly important on portable computers that need the Power Options enabled to save on battery power, and specially if you let it go on Sleep Mode daily. For the present no logon situation, from the Hiren's Boot CD, delete C:\Hiberfil.sys.

About the hard drive make, Western Digital seems better to me... Seagate enjoys better rep but for some reason, I've seen several Seagates fail and no WDs.. I own one 40GB WD that's been clicking loud at every startup (I accidentaly dropped it on a hard floor about 6.5 years ago), and it's by now 12 years old. It's true I havent used it much in the last couple of years but it's way passed it's expected lifetime and still clicking.. Another 120GB WD im running now, that has 19538 logged hours, it's detected by Hard Disk Sentinel as; Performance 100%, Health 100% and status is Perfect.. this is from a 2002 technology WD hard drive.
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February 11, 2013 12:08:19 AM

Chicano said:
The fix suggested here should work, but a better solution is to update the Seagate drivers... the original HD was probably a Toshiba(?) so if you didn't load the Seagate drivers you need to. The computer is probably working on generic Microsoft Windows drivers maybe even for a 5400RPM HD, so I'd recommend updating the WD HD model drivers.

The long boot times may also be affected by the Hibernation... if you let it go into Hibernation daily, the Hiberfil.sys file which saves files and programs as they were when the system went on sleep mode, this file tends to get corrupted from repeated standby and sleep mode memory saves. So cleaning the Hiberfil.sys by shutting the computer down every 7-10 days or 2 weeks at most, should take care of the boot problems. Doing so can prevent long boot times or no boot at all. This preventive measure seems to me particularly important on portable computers that need the Power Options enabled to save on battery power, and specially if you let it go on Sleep Mode daily. For the present no logon situation, from the Hiren's Boot CD, delete C:\Hiberfil.sys.

About the hard drive make, Western Digital seems better to me... Seagate enjoys better rep but for some reason, I've seen several Seagates fail and no WDs.. I own one 40GB WD that's been clicking loud at every startup (I accidentaly dropped it on a hard floor about 6.5 years ago), and it's by now 12 years old. It's true I havent used it much in the last couple of years but it's way passed it's expected lifetime and still clicking.. Another 120GB WD im running now, that has 19538 logged hours, it's detected by Hard Disk Sentinel as; Performance 100%, Health 100% and status is Perfect.. this is from a 2002 technology WD hard drive.


I have already tried the startup repair from Windows 7 installation DVD, but it either won't detect any errors or it will but doesn't fix it. Also, I don't use hibernation, I use standby. I will try a few of the things you mentioned, but I think I've tried them all already awhile ago to be honest.
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a b G Storage
February 11, 2013 1:53:31 AM

dennis96411 said:
I have already tried the startup repair from Windows 7 installation DVD, but it either won't detect any errors or it will but doesn't fix it. Also, I don't use hibernation, I use standby. I will try a few of the things you mentioned, but I think I've tried them all already awhile ago to be honest.


The startup repair is different from what I've recommended. It will also not repair hibernation/stand by issues.. both Standby or Sleep Mode can corrupt the hiberfil.sys system file... but if you don't use the Hibernation it's less likely hiberfil is the cause.. but the startup symptoms are similar to a corrupt Hiberfil. You can delete the file from the Hirens Boot Cd to be sure.

And the Seagate H D drivers... have you updated them?

20 GB on a 750 GB hard drive is not even remotely a cause for hard drive failure... it's only 3% of the total disk surface so it's impossible to be the cause... so I doubt the Hard Drive is failing, the S.M.A.R.T. Reports nothing out of the ordinary so the cause has to be something else. I'd suggest you install Hard Disk
Sentinel.. if it says Performance and Health at 100% or the closest possible, which it probably will, you can be sure the problem is not the Hard Drive condition.

What's not clear are the temperatures: Airflow temp is higher than the hard drive internal temp? and the minimum temp is higher than the normal value? Those reading are wrong... so they don't help determine if the HD is overheating, so, better use some other application to get more accurate temperature readings.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------
ID Name Value Worst Tresh Raw Health
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
190 Airflow temperature 65 48 45 35°C/95°F ••••
194 HDA Temperature 35 52 0 35°C/95°F ••••
194 Minimum temperature 90 52 0 18°C/64°F -
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February 14, 2013 9:02:39 PM

Chicano said:
The startup repair is different from what I've recommended. It will also not repair hibernation/stand by issues.. both Standby or Sleep Mode can corrupt the hiberfil.sys system file... but if you don't use the Hibernation it's less likely hiberfil is the cause.. but the startup symptoms are similar to a corrupt Hiberfil. You can delete the file from the Hirens Boot Cd to be sure.

And the Seagate H D drivers... have you updated them?

20 GB on a 750 GB hard drive is not even remotely a cause for hard drive failure... it's only 3% of the total disk surface so it's impossible to be the cause... so I doubt the Hard Drive is failing, the S.M.A.R.T. Reports nothing out of the ordinary so the cause has to be something else. I'd suggest you install Hard Disk
Sentinel.. if it says Performance and Health at 100% or the closest possible, which it probably will, you can be sure the problem is not the Hard Drive condition.

What's not clear are the temperatures: Airflow temp is higher than the hard drive internal temp? and the minimum temp is higher than the normal value? Those reading are wrong... so they don't help determine if the HD is overheating, so, better use some other application to get more accurate temperature readings.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------
ID Name Value Worst Tresh Raw Health
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
190 Airflow temperature 65 48 45 35°C/95°F ••••
194 HDA Temperature 35 52 0 35°C/95°F ••••
194 Minimum temperature 90 52 0 18°C/64°F -

I've tried everything... Ran chkdsk 4 times now, tried startup repair but it's not finding any issues, tried system file protection scan and found nothing. I know for sure now it's not a hard disk error, but a file error. The last thing I remember doing was installing Windows updates and updating a driver manually... but I don't think that could prevent me from even starting safe mode. I tried various solutions from the Internet, such as changing the hard disk controller mode, disabling all other devices, etc. I really do not want to reinstall Windows until I have exhausted all other repair options.
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a b G Storage
February 14, 2013 9:54:10 PM

A few options to try are:

SFC /SCANNOW in the Command Prompt or the Run command... and have the Windows 7 DVD ready to insert it in the optical drive. This may reinstall the CLASS.PNP driver fresh from the DVD.

System Restore.. if you haven't tried this, and if it's not been to long since the problem started.

BIOS; Reset the BIOS to default/optimal settings first, and if necessary removing the battery for 10 minutes. In case the BIOS has corrupt settings.

The Power Adapter. Try testing it with a multimetter on the 20 volt setting.
Videos on: How to test Laptop Power Adapter

Laptop Multimeter Tests - Checking Voltage and Short Circuits


The Battery; Check the Battery Measurements with a multimeter. Disreguard this if irrelevant.
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February 16, 2013 11:13:17 PM

I solved the problem! Turns out it was caused by corrupted registry, so I followed the following tutorial to fix it: http://www.sevenforums.com/tutorials/139576-startup-rep...

Honestly, I thought I was going to have to reinstall Windows, but I'm so glad I stumbled upon that tutorial. If you're having similar problems, you might want to give that a try before throwing your computer out the window.
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a b G Storage
February 16, 2013 11:51:34 PM

dennis96411 said:
I solved the problem! Turns out it was caused by corrupted registry, so I followed the following tutorial to fix it: http://www.sevenforums.com/tutorials/139576-startup-rep...

Honestly, I thought I was going to have to reinstall Windows, but I'm so glad I stumbled upon that tutorial. If you're having similar problems, you might want to give that a try before throwing your computer out the window.

Good find Dennis.. thanks for sharing it. I've already suggested it to Alex119 to restore his Windows 7's registry.
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