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I think my HDD is dead but I'm not sure

  • Hard Drives
  • Storage
Last response: in Storage
November 27, 2000 8:14:16 PM

Last night, after installing MS Visual Studio Service Pack 4, I restarted my system (as required). During Windows startup, the drive gave out a soft beep, attempted some reading, then spun down, then spun back up, beeped, and so on in an endless cycle. I started the computer in Safe Mode, same problem. Then I just started with a command prompt. The same problem would happen IF I tried to read from the Windows\System directory. The rest of the drive seemed fine, as I backed up most of it to my secondary HDD at this point. I figured something had become corrupted in the FAT or something, so I reformatted the drive - only it wouldn't reformat. The same problem occurred at around 12% of the format (it's an older IBM 1.6 GB drive). Same problem with ScanDisk (although Scandisk managed to say "run a surface scan" but it never gets far enough to do that). It seems that nothing is able to "repair" the drive, and at the same time nothing seems too wrong with it (since it was only a small portion that didn't work). Is something messed up on the inside of the drive? Could the Service Pack have somehow caused this problem? I would really like to salvage the drive but I'm not sure if I can. Your thoughts and advice are appreciated.

More about : hdd dead

a b G Storage
November 28, 2000 3:57:48 PM

I think you have some bad clusters. Sometimes neither scandisk nor format can't mark bad clusters successfully. In thar case try to use Partition Magic 6, and try to erase and to create the partition once more. It will mark the bad clusters. But the best (and maybe the only) solution is - to replace the HDD. Most HDDs have 3 years warranty.
a b G Storage
November 28, 2000 5:03:03 PM

It's possbile the service pack caused problems but I kind of doubt it. I agree with the bad cluster idea, if you can't get it to work with partition magic or a similar program there really isn;t anything to do. But with HDD prices so low today you could get a much bigger disk from not too many $'s
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November 29, 2000 1:54:02 AM

Have you treid to fdisk from a boot disk yet? Boot to a boot disk, delete all partions and the create a new primary dos partition. If successful then repower and perform your format. If it still fails to format find the nearest trash can ( unless you are short on paperweights).

A little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing!
November 29, 2000 8:44:17 AM

Thanks so far for everyone's input... I have yet to try out Partition Magic but will do so shortly. In the meantime, I managed to repartition the disk so that the first 11% (remember it takes a dive at 12%) is operational. Of course, that means that 89% of the drive is still in the toilet. Using that first 11%, however, I was able to get Windows reinstalled on the machine. Then, I partitioned the dead section so that I could have the Windows versions of format and scandisk take a crack at it. It passed format without errors. It passed a standard scandisk test without errors. When I tried a thorough scandisk, however, deja vu all over again. There's just that one damn spot that just refuses to get read. I don't understand it, this drive has never given me problems before and now it gives me something that no one seems to have dealt with before. One odd thing I noticed - after the standard scandisk, it reported that 4096 bytes were in 1 folder. The drive, however, is completely empty. Could this be some kind of virus? I have also tried fdisk /mbr, it doesn't seem to help.
a b G Storage
November 29, 2000 4:38:42 PM

This won't help you. I had exactly this kind of problem in the past and managed to solve it only with Partition Magic 6.0.
November 29, 2000 7:09:13 PM

just in case check your power connection to the drive, change it with another conector. My old scsi drive used to spin up and down from time to time and it was the connector.
November 30, 2000 1:22:47 AM

The 4096 is completely normal, don't sweat it. You have one last option here. what you need to do is play around with creating extended dos drives. When you find out which extended dos drive gives you the problems don't format it. This will effectively eliminate the bad sector. However it will leave you with at least two drives ( three actually but one will be invisable). This all depends on the fact that the bad sector is limited to one spot on the hard drive. If you find that you have more than one of these drives that refuses to format, your probably better off just throwing it away do to the fact that it is failing.

A little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing!
November 30, 2000 12:40:31 PM

You're going to have to give up on the drive in all likelyhood. The beep (with spin down/up), which I've experienced, is usually a severe disk failure, so even if you're lucky enough to repartition, and reformat, doubtfull though, it will keep getting worse.
a b G Storage
December 5, 2000 11:34:34 PM

Hi there

Best thing to do is get a drive diagnostic program , from the drives manufacturer , if it fails that you will have no probs getting the hdd replaced if its under warranty .

if no diagnostic program is vailable from the manufacturer try ontrack data advisor ,

if it passes a diagnostic , fdisk , delete all partitions ,create new ones should sort it out , having bad clusters is not always proof that hdd is faulty , the manufacturer would have an acceptable level, above which they would replace the drive.

Hope that helps