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Is this sign of hdd failure?

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June 22, 2012 3:37:11 AM

Sorry if it's in the wrong section but i need your opinion and views.please and thanks
okay recently my laptop is displaying the following signs:
-playing music using windows media player, it stutters every 2s
- i cannot open multiple program without lagging( most i do is open 2 browsers( Palemoon and Internet Explorer)
- in the last 2 week i had 2 BSOD 1st is 5 days ago and the 2nd is last night.
- cpu spikes up from 20% to 90% for 10s then jumps back down even tho i did not open any new programs.

i used auslogic disk doctor to checked it for the 1st bsod and also windows startup repair, i defrag, clean and wipe my hdd. i realise wiping the hdd took 4 hours longer than average disk wiping( twice a month i disk wipe). there is no weird sound coming from my hdd so im guessing it's not physical problem. however i been using my laptop for 2 years with no BSOD until last week where i downloaded gimp 2.0 program. i uninstalled it the same day after finding it wasnt the type of program i wanted to use lol. so any thoughts what is happening to my laptop? if it helps here are the specs:

Asus A52jr, i3-350m, 4gb ram, ati 5470, seagate 5400rpm 500gb.

and once a week i virus scan using security essentials and no virueses found.

thanks a lot for your time :D 

More about : sign hdd failure

a b D Laptop
June 22, 2012 6:53:52 AM


Hello and welcome to Tom's Hardware Forums.

It certainly sounds like a suspect disk. Open a command prompt by pressing the Windows key and R together then typing cmd into th eopen box and hitting Enter.

At hte prompt type chkdsk c: /r (including aall the spaces) and hit Enter. If the test takes a long time over Stage 1 and finds unreadable files, don't even bother to go further. Try to get your files off before it dies completely and replace it.

Most laptop disks are easy to get at and remove but Google for and download the service manual if yo uhave a problem.


June 22, 2012 8:20:33 AM

Saga Lout said:

Hello and welcome to Tom's Hardware Forums.

It certainly sounds like a suspect disk. Open a command prompt by pressing the Windows key and R together then typing cmd into th eopen box and hitting Enter.

At hte prompt type chkdsk c: /r (including aall the spaces) and hit Enter. If the test takes a long time over Stage 1 and finds unreadable files, don't even bother to go further. Try to get your files off before it dies completely and replace it.

Most laptop disks are easy to get at and remove but Google for and download the service manual if yo uhave a problem.


hi i did what you suggested and it says chkdsk cannot run because the volume is in use by another process. it will check it on next time the system restarts. so im guessing this is normal? well will i did diskcheck it twice using auslogic disk doctor but im gonna do it again anyways. the first two diskcheck went well tho.
Related resources
June 22, 2012 8:27:55 AM

oh yea another thing is when is when i just run the auslogic speedboost system scan, there is registry errors, junk files, disk error and fragmented disk, the scan will always be stuck at disk error 2%. and during the scan everything lags and almost freezes( last time i could open multiple programs during the scan and it run smooth)
a b D Laptop
June 22, 2012 9:09:11 AM



A restart will cause that Checkdisk to run outside the GUI - sorry, I should have mentioned that.

If it starts properly after that check, download CCleaner form http://www.piriform.com and run the Cleaner to get rid of all the clutter then scan the Registry and let it delete everything it finds. It only skims over the top removing things you don't need but accept the offer of a Registry backup just in case.


June 22, 2012 9:38:55 AM

Saga Lout said:


A restart will cause that Checkdisk to run outside the GUI - sorry, I should have mentioned that.

If it starts properly after that check, download CCleaner form http://www.piriform.com and run the Cleaner to get rid of all the clutter then scan the Registry and let it delete everything it finds. It only skims over the top removing things you don't need but accept the offer of a Registry backup just in case.



aha its ok, well the diskcheck is done, no bad sectors or anything. now im using ccleaner to wipe my hdd. but the strange thing is i have a friend who also downloads the gimp software and he also experiences the roughly the same symptom except now his hdd is dead o.o . just a info. well thanks a lot for your help. after disk wipe im gonna defrag my hdd and registry also. will keep you updated . :D 
June 22, 2012 11:52:22 AM

i done everything and all seems fine but whenever i run multiple programs it will lag very slow and the disk error checking by auslogic speedboost always stuck at 2%. so maybe that part of my hdd is bad?
a b D Laptop
June 22, 2012 12:25:06 PM

i would power off the laptop and pull the battery and flip the laptop over and reseat both dimms. one of them may have worked lose. also have you run a hard drive vendor tool and smart tools??? seatools will be for seagate drives. there read the smart inf o of the drive and run some tests to see if the drive is bad. I would also run memtest to see if your ram is fine. you could have a bad stick of ram.
June 22, 2012 1:37:22 PM

ok i ran all the test seatools provided except the advanced test since it warned i might lose all data if i continue and here are the results( ram is working fine):
S.M.A.R.T test= passed
short generic=passed
short DST( drive self test)=failed both times.
long generic= still testing.
a c 248 D Laptop
June 23, 2012 12:13:48 AM

Hi :) 

From those results your hard drive is toast...

Get your info off NOW...

Then new hard drive...

All the best Brett :) 
a b D Laptop
June 23, 2012 12:27:17 AM

Seatools is very bad with its short DST's now days(may be due to the drives being in SATA mode.). they seem to fail even on working drives.

That said, i would still back up data just in case.

HDtune has a VERY good drive test you can run. Easy to under stand. RED=BAD Green =Good :) 

You can use the Free Trial or the FREE, they both have a similar test.
http://www.hdtune.com/

Also grab Bluescreen View to give us your BSOD errors.
http://www.nirsoft.net/utils/blue_screen_view.html

EDIT

smorizio,s suggestion for memory is a GREAT one. Loose memory causes many a blue screen error.

EDIT EDIT

Point in case :)  This drive is fine and I have others that fail too.
June 23, 2012 12:35:43 PM

well i sent it to shop guy say that it is indeed dying. so now there is a high chance im switching to WD scorpio blue 1tb drive cause it was the only one avalaible and best value. but is this drive ok?? i cant order hdd onlines as it doesnt ship to my country sadly
June 23, 2012 12:36:57 PM

my laptop is currently at the shop so i cant give any blue screen screenshots sorry but thank you all for all the help so far :D 
a b D Laptop
June 23, 2012 6:48:03 PM

WD Scorpio Blue is Western Digital's main steam notebook drive and should be just fine.

They also have a line of drives labeled as Scorpio Black that are the high end drives(More Cache faster spindle speed, but lower capacity 750 gigs max), but it may or may not be overkill in many cases(how much speed do you want :)  ). The black does come with a longer warranty as well.

I have an old Blue 320 IDE(2.5 inch) still kicking.
June 23, 2012 7:55:43 PM

If a HDD is dying throw it in the freezer to get a little more life out of it to back it up.
a b D Laptop
June 23, 2012 8:09:22 PM

Freezing a HDD gives you very short lived success. it may help get data off the drive(but not much more in most cases).

Either way, the lappy is already in the shop.
June 24, 2012 2:25:05 AM

well i don't mind about speed of hdd, but it would be nice if the WD wont be slower than the seagate in my laptop. and wow freezing a HDD, first i heard of that. well i told the guy at shop im quite sure my HDD is dying but he wanted to run some more diagnostic to make sure then if it is, i will upgrade to the WD Scorpio Blue. i want the laptop to last 5 years then i consider changing it haha.
a b D Laptop
June 24, 2012 6:33:20 AM



Slightly off-topic but it's as well to point out at this stage that the main cause of laptop hard disk failure is the way people pick up the laptop - lid open, thumbs pressing down on the panel around the touchpad and fingers digging into the bottom of the case. Doing that can actually put enough pressure on the disk as to physically stop it and sometimes you can hear the grinding noise of its death throes.

I hope this little tip stops one person messing up one hard disk in the future.




a b D Laptop
June 24, 2012 5:48:28 PM

Saga Lout said:


Slightly off-topic but it's as well to point out at this stage that the main cause of laptop hard disk failure is the way people pick up the laptop - lid open, thumbs pressing down on the panel around the touchpad and fingers digging into the bottom of the case. Doing that can actually put enough pressure on the disk as to physically stop it and sometimes you can hear the grinding noise of its death throes.

I hope this little tip stops one person messing up one hard disk in the future.



Damn I am glad my old Compaq is built like a tank(and as heavy as one too). I sure can not do that to it.

gendome said:
well i don't mind about speed of hdd, but it would be nice if the WD wont be slower than the seagate in my laptop. and wow freezing a HDD, first i heard of that. well i told the guy at shop im quite sure my HDD is dying but he wanted to run some more diagnostic to make sure then if it is, i will upgrade to the WD Scorpio Blue. i want the laptop to last 5 years then i consider changing it haha.

Do you have the model number of the failing(maybe) seagate?
June 24, 2012 6:08:11 PM

http://www.amazon.com/Seagate-ST9500325AS-Momentus-ATA-... this is the model of the failing hdd in my laptop and well i dont know if im overdoing it, twice a month i open up laptop to clean the fans. then i will wipe/ clean the laptop gently( exterior) i use a wooden stand that i made to elevate the laptop, it does not have a fan and so far i only used 190gb/480 gb available to me.
a b D Laptop
June 24, 2012 6:53:09 PM

The new drive should be faster then the old one and also have slightly better access times(still behind desktop drives, but that is to be expected. Still laptop drives have become so much better in recent years).

If you use such a small portion of the drive and are on windows Vista/7/8. you can actually shrink the drive partition so that ALL data is on the fastest part of the drive. This improves access times and keeps you at in the fastest zone on the drive.

You can always extend the partition if you need the space in the future too.

A well DE-fragmented drive will also keep data in the fastest section of the drive too, this just ensures it has no place to go.

I guess you just have to wait for the diagnosis to be done now.
June 25, 2012 2:17:13 AM

well its gonna take a week according to the guy in shop and for me i always defrag hdd once a week, twice a month wipe it, clear out all temp files but i heard defragging hdd will somehow shorten it lifespan( not a lot just a teeny tiny bit) because it has to spin more or something?
a b D Laptop
June 25, 2012 2:39:16 AM

Defrag does not hurt a hard drive at all. The drive spins the same even at idle.

That said, don't defrag a SSD. that can hurt it.

Defrag every week or 2 may be too much, but it depends on your use.

All that defrag does is pull all the little bits of file together. When the drive writes, sometimes it breaks the file into many parts(either because is is doing other things or does not have a section with room for the full life and countless other reasons).

By wipe it you just mean clear extra files or actually reinstall windows? If reinstall windows, that must be a pain.
June 25, 2012 2:43:29 AM

wipe is clear extra files using ccleaner
a b D Laptop
June 25, 2012 3:25:27 AM

no harm in that.
June 25, 2012 11:43:37 AM

the shop said my hdd confirm dying so now im torn between either the 1tb WD hdd or a kingston 120gb ssd( dont know exact model). what benefits do i actually get from a ssd?I'm concern with the reliability, lifespan, heat and power should be lower than hdd i heard and since i torrent(not large files at once, 30gb at most) and i read that torrenting on ssd will kill it faster?? what i mainly do on my laptop is
-web browsing and simple web games
- light gaming such as l4d2, torchlight and bf2
- watch movies(from external hdd)
-torrent series/movies( as mentioned above, 30gb max at one time, after that i wait it finish then i start new torrent)


because i noticed that i have a low space usage i really want to switch to a ssd for the performance gain. and what are things i SHOULD NOT do with a ssd, i know defragging is a big no no. and can i wipe, repair and repair registry if i use a ssd?

Best solution

a b D Laptop
June 25, 2012 5:43:58 PM
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Each cell in an SSD has a limited number of write cycles.

Now it is important to know that an SSD will automatically perform what is called wear leveling, this allows the drive to use all the memory evenly. This greatly extends the like of the flash memory because it all has to wear down at once.

To make matters more interesting each cell does not just hold 1 bit of data(unless you get the REAL expensive ones). As such, when you write a small file a full cell has to be refreshed(even if the file does not fill the cell it self). Think of if a file just kept overwriting one section of the memory, it would run out of write cycles faster then spreading that wear over the full drive.

This is part of the reason why an SSD that is not taken care of can have lower performance. When a SSD writes it has to find FREE(empty) flash. This can be an issue if you have all the flash cells half filled(or closer to full). In that case the drive has to either combine half empty cells to make full ones and give you free ones or rewrite cells with your new data plus the old data.

Under Windows XP this was quite the issue, but with drives getting better and taking care of them selves in the background and with TRIM support in windows 7, SSD's do not have that much performance loss overtime.

Since a SSD works better with some free space, you will notice most sandforce(and others as well, but not all) drives are 120 and not 128 or 240 and not 256gigabytes. This extra space is a part of the smaller drive, but is just kept so the drive has some space space to manage free blocks. This also allows the controller to remap any failed cells over to this over provisioned area.

Some drives like OCZ's Synapse cache drive have 2x the flash memory(128gigs for a 64 gig drive) so they have enough space to never run out of free cells and even if 100% of the accessible space fails, the drives has enough extra to not fail. But those are for a different purpose.

The biggest thing with SSD's is to not write excessive date to the drive(but who does full drive benchmarks every day). Many users will disable the pagefile for windows and search indexing as well as many other activities that write to the drive often to reduce writes as well. The reason being that many systems have enough memory and search is very fast on a SSD anyway.

I just slapped an old Kingston V100 64 gig on windows 8 and did nothing fancy to it. lets see how long it lasts :) 

Want more info?
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/270102-32-useful-arti...
June 26, 2012 2:26:43 AM

nukemaster said:
Each cell in an SSD has a limited number of write cycles.

Now it is important to know that an SSD will automatically perform what is called wear leveling, this allows the drive to use all the memory evenly. This greatly extends the like of the flash memory because it all has to wear down at once.

To make matters more interesting each cell does not just hold 1 bit of data(unless you get the REAL expensive ones). As such, when you write a small file a full cell has to be refreshed(even if the file does not fill the cell it self). Think of if a file just kept overwriting one section of the memory, it would run out of write cycles faster then spreading that wear over the full drive.

This is part of the reason why an SSD that is not taken care of can have lower performance. When a SSD writes it has to find FREE(empty) flash. This can be an issue if you have all the flash cells half filled(or closer to full). In that case the drive has to either combine half empty cells to make full ones and give you free ones or rewrite cells with your new data plus the old data.

Under Windows XP this was quite the issue, but with drives getting better and taking care of them selves in the background and with TRIM support in windows 7, SSD's do not have that much performance loss overtime.


Since a SSD works better with some free space, you will notice most sandforce(and others as well, but not all) drives are 120 and not 128 or 240 and not 256gigabytes. This extra space is a part of the smaller drive, but is just kept so the drive has some space space to manage free blocks. This also allows the controller to remap any failed cells over to this over provisioned area.

Some drives like OCZ's Synapse cache drive have 2x the flash memory(128gigs for a 64 gig drive) so they have enough space to never run out of free cells and even if 100% of the accessible space fails, the drives has enough extra to not fail. But those are for a different purpose.

The biggest thing with SSD's is to not write excessive date to the drive(but who does full drive benchmarks every day). Many users will disable the pagefile for windows and search indexing as well as many other activities that write to the drive often to reduce writes as well. The reason being that many systems have enough memory and search is very fast on a SSD anyway.

I just slapped an old Kingston V100 64 gig on windows 8 and did nothing fancy to it. lets see how long it lasts :) 

Want more info?
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/270102-32-useful-arti...


so if i heard you correctly, there is actually more space on the 120gb ssd, except it cant be used by us but it serve as a space for it to remap the failed cells of the 120gb that can be used by me? kinda like giving it a space to stretch a bit. i also know if you use ssd, it best to enable TRIM, disable hibernation by deleting the file and disable the paging file feature
a b D Laptop
June 26, 2012 3:12:28 AM

Yeah that would cover it. that extra space also helps the drive not run out of free cells as well.

Despite lets say a M4 drive having all of its flash accessible, some reviews show it reacting better when partially full(the drive is fairy good at self cleaning). But at the end of the day, with Trim(Windows 7 should auto enable TRIM) and any system having some idle time. SSD performance is very stable for most users.

Another option if you DID need more space would be a hybrid drive like the ones Seagate offers. It will get similar speed to SSD's for the most used stuff(up to 8gigaytes, 4 when they first came out) while having more space.

http://www.seagate.com/internal-hard-drives/laptop-hard...

So many options :) 
June 26, 2012 3:56:49 AM

nukemaster said:
Yeah that would cover it. that extra space also helps the drive not run out of free cells as well.

Despite lets say a M4 drive having all of its flash accessible, some reviews show it reacting better when partially full(the drive is fairy good at self cleaning). But at the end of the day, with Trim(Windows 7 should auto enable TRIM) and any system having some idle time. SSD performance is very stable for most users.

Another option if you DID need more space would be a hybrid drive like the ones Seagate offers. It will get similar speed to SSD's for the most used stuff(up to 8gigaytes, 4 when they first came out) while having more space.

http://www.seagate.com/internal-hard-drives/laptop-hard...

So many options :) 


yea but sadly the choices are EXTREMELY limited in my place T_T . ordering online is out of question already so have to rely on what i can find here. well i think im going to go for ssd, and use torrent on family laptop then store everything on external hdd. thanks for all your help so far. :D 
June 26, 2012 3:57:28 AM

Best answer selected by gendome.
a b D Laptop
June 26, 2012 5:14:58 AM

Externals for storage are a great idea(due to the lack of extra space in laptops for more drives).

Hope you enjoy the new speed :) 

If you are having a shop put that in, request they ensure it has the latest firmware installed as well. This will ensure good performance and stability.
June 26, 2012 5:44:49 AM

nukemaster said:
Externals for storage are a great idea(due to the lack of extra space in laptops for more drives).

Hope you enjoy the new speed :) 

If you are having a shop put that in, request they ensure it has the latest firmware installed as well. This will ensure good performance and stability.


yeap will do and i think if i do need to torrent on my laptop, i can buy a 64gb sd card, put it in the laptop's card reader and set the torrent destination folder to there :D 
a b D Laptop
June 26, 2012 7:14:18 PM

gendome said:
yeap will do and i think if i do need to torrent on my laptop, i can buy a 64gb sd card, put it in the laptop's card reader and set the torrent destination folder to there :D 

SD cards will also wear out after some time, but still cheaper then a new ssd :) 
June 29, 2012 11:00:16 AM

ok erm i know this thread is kinda dead but i just wanna ask, between corsair, kingston and crucial? whose ssd if best? i have the option to choose crucial now haha
a b D Laptop
June 30, 2012 1:44:28 AM

Flash drives are only as good as the hardware inside.

You have 3 main types of memory(NAND)

Asyn - Value
Sync - Common
Toggle - Generally called best

You can normally tell by the price, but when in doubt, hit up reviews.

Most current Corsair and Kingston drives on the market are running a SandForce controller. This controller has gained lots of popularity due to its ability to compress data in real time resulting is VERY fast transfers(and longer drive life since less data is written). The down side is that non compressible(most digital music and videos as well as any compressed files like ZIP/RAR ect) data will write slower. Some will argue that more of the data we use is compressible.

This is worth a read.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/ssd-60gb-benchmark-...

Now the crucial drive uses a Marvel controller so is a different drive all together. The performance can be called slower then SandForce on compressible data but faster on non compressible. The big thing for the M4 drives is more constant performance and very low access times. With no over provisioning(none that I know of) I do not know how the M4's will handle if cells start to fail down the line.

Reviews will always give you a better idea then I can because I have only tried out 2 SSD's Kingston V100 64gig(Windows 8) and a 128gig M4(Just games that I want to load faster.).
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