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Dying hard drive

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February 4, 2004 4:42:41 PM

My western digital 120gb IDE 7200rpm hard drive (1yr old) has started to slow down recently. I thought that it was just getting very fragmented as i use the drive for kazaa / bit torrent downloads.

After running several defrag programs with no success i realised that things were about to go pear shaped! I went to bed after ordering two new drives (1xwest dig 250gb sata, 1x seagate 120gb sata to match the other 120gb seagate i have - i felt it was time to create a raid0 array for my video editing!). When i woke up the computer, which stays on night and day, had frozen :-o. After a restart which took 15 minutes to load xp i resigned my self to the fact that my disk was not happy - was it jealous of the two new drives i had just ordered?

I have now taken all 100gb of data from it - which took over 24hrs on a clean install of xp running from one of my new drives!

My question therefore is what the hell is wrong with my drive and what can i do about it? I have tried to run scan disc and then western digitals diagnostics but that just produces an error message 0004 or 0222.

Is the drive dead?

Can i resurect it somehow - a complete format in dos? Or a government wipe?

Shall i just send it back to WD under warrenty?

How can i prevent similar probs with my new drives?

Thanks for your help,

Jon

Someone please unwire me...the gadgets are taking over!

More about : dying hard drive

February 4, 2004 6:47:59 PM

I believe every manufacturer of HD drives has some kind of drive fitness test program. Get hold of that and run it on your drive. If it gives you any errors and the drive is still covered by warranty, send it back!

<i><b>Engineering is the fine art of making what you want from things you can get</b></i>
February 4, 2004 6:49:14 PM

Interesting problem, never heard of such a slow-running drive. I am inclined to agree that the drive is probably dead/dying, since WD's diag software is erroring out. But just to be sure, take a look at the following.

* Run a virus scan on your system, as well as AdAware (be sure to get the latest reference file).

* Are you using an 80-conductor ribbon, is ATA/100 enabled in your BIOS, and is your IDE chain in WinXP's device manager set on UDMA-5? I know that's a dumb question, but I've made some pretty dumb mistakes in my day! It's always better to double check.

* You could try a different cable and see if that makes it better.

* Also, does it only happen after it's been running for a long time? Heat can be an issue for HDDs. I have a case intake fan right in front of my hard drive that helps keep it cool.

* Does the drive make funny noises, like clicking or repeatedly spinning up? If so, it's probably broken.

* Are you overclocking your system? If so, do you have adequate cooling, especially on the northbridge? Try clocking back your system to nominal specs and see if that fixes the problem.

* Do you have a lot of PCI devices (sound card, NIC, USB, etc.)? Some chipsets don't handle heavy bus loads very well. For example, I had a USB network card on a VIA chipset, and I would get buffer dropouts in my PCI audio during heavy network traffic. Try removing as many PCI devices as possible, and see if that has an effect on your HDD performance.

If you've thought about all these, then I would probably just RMA the drive. WD has an excellent return system through their website. You just enter the serial number and it gives you an RMA#, if the drive is newer than 3 years old. They don't even ask you what's wrong with it. Optionally, you can specify a quick replacement where they send you a new drive before you mail back the broken drive. That requires a credit card to ensure that you don't high-tail it with their replacement drive.

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