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Video Playback Pausing every so often.... hard drive failure?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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May 10, 2012 6:33:38 PM

not sure what the's best category or sub category for this...
Well, I've constructed a few HTPCs over the past few years, but have never come across this issue before.

Symptom: Every 5-10 minutes, during video playback, the video pauses for 30-90 seconds, but it always continues thereafter.

This system typically plays video through Boxee and WMC.
I have all the newest drivers, video driver for the onboard HD4200 chip, and newest BIOS on the MB.

I've ruled out
A) video file type (It pauses with 5+ different files types through all the players)
B) hard disc source (It has WMC Cable recordings on the C drive, but movies on the physically separate D: and E: drives)
C) video player (it can't be just WMC or just Boxee, since it does it on both equally)
D) any recent installation or changes to the system, including drivers or software

With my limited knowledge of the 'finer' workings of how video gets from disc to my tv/monitor...
1) My theory is that the C: drive is starting to fail?
2) Is there anything else I can check, if it isn't the hard drive? Sata connection? Someone in another thread mentioned IRQ mapping or something like that, but now sure where to begin on that (quick search here didn't do too much for me)
3) If it is the C: drive, are there any suggestions for hard drive testing software?

If I have Boxee, WMC, and other video players all installed on my C: drive, then, no matter what source I play (let's say a movie from the D: drive), it will still play through, use, and buffer info on the C: drive during playback, correct?

One additional bit, is that, for the first time, while rebooting a week ago, I got my first 'Can't locate BOOTMGR' message. This would add to a failing C: drive theory, correct? Highly indicative or just a one time whoopsie?

System running 24/7
Motherboard: Asus M4A785M
Video: onboard ATI HD4200
a b U Graphics card
May 10, 2012 8:59:14 PM

You are correct, it does sound like it could be a HDD starting to fail, or it could also be your RAM.

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May 11, 2012 4:49:06 AM

additional info, i forgot to add, in case it helps anyone helping in analysis:

a) system: win7x64 pro
b) My video playback pausing issue, also happens during 'live tv' through WMC. Does this make sense also? Would live TV fit into this situation of hiccups?
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a b U Graphics card
May 11, 2012 2:23:16 PM

That kind of sounds more like RAM.

Download and run MemTest 86 and see if you are getting any errors
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May 11, 2012 5:52:46 PM

yeah, forgot to add...
I had run MemTest86+ already, and no errors.

Any other ideas out there on how to test a potentially faulty C: drive?
(i've done the basic sector errors check and such through win7)

How do I know if this a drive error or other?
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a b U Graphics card
May 11, 2012 6:05:16 PM

Do you have multiple drives, or is the C: OS and Data?

If they are separate, I would suggest getting like a 60GB SSD for the OS and Media Player, and installing the OS on there. They are relatively cheap nowadays, and will give you a great performance boost.

If you only have a single drive, I would suggest the same thing, you will just have to make sure the SSD is set to first boot priority.
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May 11, 2012 7:16:43 PM

I have multiple drives.
C: OS, data, and WMC recordings
D: and E: have tons of media...tv shows, movies

I'd hate to get a new SSD, which is not much of an expense, but find out I continue with the same issue.

I guess my biggest concern is...

Is this very typical of a failing hard drive? (one that doesn't just totally crap out, and not even boot).
How do I know it's not something else?
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a b U Graphics card
May 11, 2012 7:20:41 PM

It can certainly be starting to fail. Sometimes with HDD's it is really hard to tell.


I don't know if you have any local Electronics stores around. I have a Fry's electronics close by, and they have a decent return policy. You can pick one up and test it, if it works great, if not return it.
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