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irishcrazy2005
2005-08-03, 01:06 PM
Okay, I am worried that my hard drive might be getting ready to crash or die or something, and I was wondering what you guys think. Here is the background:

For several weeks now I have been having problems burning material onto CD and DVD. For awhile I thought that this might be because the drive had become very fragmentated with large FLAC and VOB files which could not be defragged using Windows Defragmentator. Whenever trying to burn a disc (either with Nero or Roxio) I usually get some sort of "Data cannot be read" error. For awhile, after a series of deleting large files and running the defrag again, I could burn successfully. Now, I cannot burn certain things again. Some things seem to work, but other folders fail every time.

Now, this morning I wake up and expect to find my computer turned on and happily uploading over BT (how I left it last night). Instead I find a black screen that says "Operating System Cannot Be Found." I almost had a heart attack, but thankfully I was able to turn it off and back on and it started up okay. Now I am in a rush to make another backup of my data (specifically I accidentally erased all of my pictures on DVD), and I cannot get them to burn off. Fails every time.

So, in your opinion, is my drive about to die, or is this something else? Thanks.

-Phil

P.S. Most of the time, instead of actually getting an error message in Roxio, the buffer level just immediately drops to about 1% and the estimated time to completion shoots up to some ridiculous number, although it does actually continue to burn. I only got one error from Roxio, and that was for an ISO of a DVD-A disc

Ted
2005-08-03, 03:36 PM
First thing - back up your valuable data.

What OS are you using?

Do you have a floppy disk or CD in the drive? Maybe your computer crashed and tried to reboot but found a disk with no OS on it.

Turn off the computer and open the case and make sure all cards/cords/cables are seated tight. Make sure to check out the RAM sticks too.

Do a RAM test. This one (http://www.memtest86.com/) is a good one.

Let us know how it goes. I doubt it's your HD, but it's always possible. How old is the HD? How much free space is on it?

irishcrazy2005
2005-08-03, 03:41 PM
Luckily I already have backups of most everything. The unfortunate part is that anything I have to back up still is very difficult to burn off (as noted in my above post). Anyhow, there may have been a blank DVD sitting in the drive, although I can't remember for sure now. You are probably right and that was it. I am still very concerned about my lack of ability to burn stuff though. I will run this RAM check. I'm on a laptop, so opening the case is out of the question. I'm running Windows XP Pro. The hard drive (whole computer too) is only one year old. It is an Emachines M6811. I think that I answered all of your questions in this rambling post.

-Phil

Ted
2005-08-03, 04:17 PM
Your burning issues may be related to bad RAM or low HD space. How much HD space is available?

irishcrazy2005
2005-08-03, 05:00 PM
20+ gigs :-(

Ted
2005-08-03, 05:24 PM
Did the RAM test ok? How large are the files that you're trying to burn? What file system is the HD - FAT32 or NTFS?

irishcrazy2005
2005-08-03, 05:28 PM
Haven't done the RAM test. Just back from lunch and am about to try it now. I'm running NTSC. I'm having problems with files of many sizes, but mostly DVDs. This includes one DVD image that's about 4 gigs, the rest are VIDEO_TS folders. I also had problems burning my whole My Pictures folder though. It burned eventually, but took like two hours (usually less than 30 minutes). The buffer was at 1% almost the whole time.

-Phil

P.S. I have a 64-bit AMD processor. Will this RAM test still be okay? It says it's for x86 architecture computers, but I'm not sure what that means.

EDIT: I'll have to do the test when I get home, because I don't have any CDs laying around to make a boot disc

Ted
2005-08-03, 06:01 PM
This memory test (http://www.memtest.org/) (version 1.6)is supposed to work with AMD64s.

The reason I asked about FAT32 or NTFS (that IS what you meant, isn't it?)is because FAT32 can't handle files over 4GB and I was thinking that may be your problem.

After the RAM test and verifying that you're using NTFS, you m,ight want to try uninstalling your burning software and drivers and reinstalling them. Something may be corrupt. Check for updated versions on the manufacturers website after installing.

irishcrazy2005
2005-08-03, 06:11 PM
Yeah, I did mean NTFS, lol, and I know that I am running it for sure because I formatted this drive myself. I will try the RAM test this evening.

It is unlikely that it is the burning software, as I have had discs fail using Roxio, Nero, and EAC.

Thanks for all your help as usual Ted.


-Phil

Ted
2005-08-03, 06:25 PM
Let us know how it goes.

ssamadhi97
2005-08-03, 07:28 PM
I doubt it's your HD, but it's always possible.
What makes you think so? A failing HD is the first thing I would've suspected in this case (well, next to bad ram maybe)

TheMamba
2005-08-03, 07:39 PM
Hard drive, RAM, or heat would have been my guesses.

hiding
2005-08-03, 11:25 PM
I don't think you should run a laptop that long. they will run hot. get a laptop cooler and an external drive.

spiritinaphoto
2005-08-04, 02:00 AM
Yeah, I did mean NTFS, lol, and I know that I am running it for sure because I formatted this drive myself. I will try the RAM test this evening.

It is unlikely that it is the burning software, as I have had discs fail using Roxio, Nero, and EAC.

Thanks for all your help as usual Ted.


-Phil
Your symptoms sound a lot like how my computer was behaving before the hard drive died. Has your computer been slowing down as well? Are you starting to hear a strange sound coming from your computer? Maybe these symptoms haven't shown up yet--I know the burning problem came first and the other symptoms took a while to show up in my case.

I'm going to recommend running the hard drive checking utilities that go with your hard drive. If you get a SMART status error, contact the manufacturer immediately, because that's sufficient ground for an RMA in most cases. When we tried to run the hard drive checking utility on my dying hard drive, it wouldn't even run because SMART status on my drive failed (the most severe kind of SMART error). We told Gateway about it, and they shipped me a replacement immediately (well, if you can consider a refurbished Hitachi a true replacement for a Western Digital).

irishcrazy2005
2005-08-04, 02:37 AM
Okay, the RAM test seemed to check out just fine. I can also burn things again (at least the two things I tried to burn). I really think that this is a defragmentation issue. I will post back here if any problems reoccur.

Sarah, what kind of utilities would this be? I don't see any sort of OEM hard drive utilities.

-Phil

Ted
2005-08-04, 07:31 AM
What makes you think so? A failing HD is the first thing I would've suspected in this case (well, next to bad ram maybe)Sorry about that comment. I was doing three things when I came across the thread and wasn't giving it the attention I should have.

Irish - go to your Start Menu and open the Control Panel. Click on System then the Hardware tab, then hit the Device Manager button. Open the Disk Drives section and let us know what brand HD you have. If it's not readily apparent, copy the numbers/;etters and post them here. If it's obvious what brand you have, go to their website and do as mfsljunkie suggested and download their HD diagnostics.

irishcrazy2005
2005-08-04, 12:17 PM
Okay, the hard drive is a Hitachi Travelstar 80GN. I've grabbed their diagnostic and will run it when I'm home from work tonight and can actually create a bootable CD.

-Phil

spiritinaphoto
2005-08-04, 12:18 PM
Irish - go to your Start Menu and open the Control Panel. Click on System then the Hardware tab, then hit the Device Manager button. Open the Disk Drives section and let us know what brand HD you have. If it's not readily apparent, copy the numbers/;etters and post them here. If it's obvious what brand you have, go to their website and do as mfsljunkie suggested and download their HD diagnostics.
If it's the original hard drive that came with the computer (which it sounds like it is) a call to tech support would probably tell him where to find the hard drive diagnostic utility on the discs that came with his computer. If it's anything like the diagnostic utility on the discs that came with my computer (which it might very well be, since Gateway and Emachines are now part of the same company), he'll have to boot up with one of the CDs, press something to get it to the command line, and then enter in a command to bring up the utility. This utility wasn't mentioned in the manual that came with my computer, so I'm thinking it's definitely not in his manual since I know their manuals these days are much smaller than the one that came with mine (I looked up his computer model, and my father's new Gateway is identical to his in every respect except for having 20 more gigs of hard drive).

saltman
2005-08-04, 12:30 PM
start - my computer - right click on drive - properties - tools - run error checking.
will be scheduled to run on reboot. restart computer.... it'll go through chkdsk and locate bad blocks, etc. It's a hard drive problem not the ram. Hard drive is going bad. It could last forever or go bad next week.

irishcrazy2005
2005-08-05, 07:32 PM
This is a test message. Please ignore.

feralicious
2005-08-05, 11:06 PM
This is a test message. Please ignore.Sorry, I'm just a rebel. I can't help myself. :cool:

irishcrazy2005
2005-08-07, 06:13 PM
Ok, I ran the diagnostic tests from my hard drive manufacturer and it gave me a message saying that one or more sectors are corrupted. The two options for repair were to erase the whole disc or to erase the damaged sector. Here is the additional information I wrote down:

Failure Code: 0x70 - Defective Device
Technical Result Code (TRC) 701020B2

So what should I do here? If I just reformat the whole drive, will that repair it? What about if I just have it repair the sector? I have all my data backed up, but I guess that it might erase important program info or something, right? Thanks for the help everyone.

-Phil

feralicious
2005-08-07, 07:00 PM
How long has it been since you've done a full reformat? If you have everything backed up I would go for it. I usually do it on my pc about once or twice a year, it gets rid of all the gunk from old programs.

And if you have a big enough HDD, I would partition it so you have about 15gb for your C drive where you'll put your operating system and programs, then use the rest for your files. Then you don't have to worry about backing stuff up if you need to reformat since you only have to do that partition.

TheMamba
2005-08-07, 09:42 PM
So what should I do here? If I just reformat the whole drive, will that repair it? What about if I just have it repair the sector? I have all my data backed up, but I guess that it might erase important program info or something, right? Thanks for the help everyone.

-Phil

Thing is, Phil, you could fix the sector or reformat the drive and there's really no telling just how long it will be OK.

Similar things were happening to me a few weeks ago - weird errors on start up, etc. Finally, one day when I went to boot up it said I had bad errors. Went on to fix them and it fixed them for a couple of days max.

After that I got the same shit again, fixed DIFFERENT sectors this time, got XP up and running. From there I went to newegg.com, ordered a new hard drive, and got everything I needed off of that drive and onto my second drive. I actually had to burn 2 data DVD's because I didn't have enough room on the second drive. Each burn took me two hours! :rolleyes:

So...is it worth trying to fix or reformat? Sure...just don't fool yourself into thinking that it's the end all to your problems. Shit, for $150 you can get yourself a brand spanking new 300 GB Western Digital drive and be done with the headaches.

paddington
2005-08-07, 10:13 PM
Failure Code: 0x70 - Defective Device

red flag, man!

Drive is toast. Soon, it'll be burnt toast. You've done the right things - now obey the diag msg and get a new drive. Better to get your data off over a net connection to another machine if you can, or see if it'll read enough to burn it.

Best to plan a drive swap than have it catch you off-guard!


You COULD try recovering some bad sectors by doing this:

START -> RUN
CMD <enter>
CHKDSK /F /V /R

exactly like that, with spaces.

It'll tell you it can't fully access due to being mounted and ask if you want to schedule upon reboot. Say Y (es) and then type EXIT at the prompt to close.

Reboot and let it do its thing. Watch to see how much repair it does and whether it succeeds. It won't keep your drive from dying, but it may fix the sectors enough fpr you to recover data you are having trouble reading.

I found some cheap replacements for you here:

http://search.ebay.com/Hitachi-Travelstar-80GN

Good luck. Go buy a hard drive!

spiritinaphoto
2005-08-07, 10:43 PM
I found some cheap replacements for you here:

http://search.ebay.com/Hitachi-Travelstar-80GN

Good luck. Go buy a hard drive!
Oh goodness no. Don't tell him to replace it with a Hitachi of all things. Western Digital or Seagate is the way to go. I've been lusting after the 100 GB 5400 RPM Seagate Momentus for my laptop.

paddington
2005-08-07, 10:47 PM
well, yes, you could use anything you want. Just be sure it somewhat matches the specs of you existing. More RPMs on the platters = more heat, and having more heat than the laptop is designed for can ruin it.

But yes, hitachi blows goats when it comes to HDs. Now if you want to talk rear-projection HDTV sets... they're fantastic!

irishcrazy2005
2005-08-07, 11:48 PM
Ok, thanks for the responses guys. I have several answers to things you have said. First of all, I keep fairly regular DVD backups of my documents and pictures. I have all of my mp3s on my Rio Karma. So, I am pretty good as far as that stuff goes moving to a new HDD. Secondly, the computer is only one year old and I have a three year Best Buy warranty on it, so the hard drive could be RMA'd. The problem is that I would hate to have to send my damn computer off for three weeks. It sucks not having it. Finally, I already tried running Scandisk (before I even saw these posts) and it will not even run. Windows reboots and it runs a few things, but once it actually gets to the part where it scans the drive, it just gets stuck at 0%. I turned it on right before I left somewhere, and came back 4 hours later to still find it at 0%.

Anyhow, I'll probably do a reformat in a few days and see how things go. Thanks for all the help, and any more suggestions are welcome.

-Phil

paddington
2005-08-07, 11:58 PM
when you say 'scandisk' you mean you ran 'chkdsk', right? You need that for NTFS to fix anything. Scandisk won't help much.

irishcrazy2005
2005-08-08, 12:29 AM
when you say 'scandisk' you mean you ran 'chkdsk', right? You need that for NTFS to fix anything. Scandisk won't help much.

Yes, I actually meant chkdsk. The first three stages run okay (I forget the first one, Verify Indexes, and Check Security Descriptors), but then when it gets to "Verify File Data" it gets stuck at 0%. I don't know why it won't run.

-Phil

TheMamba
2005-08-08, 06:11 AM
I don't know why it won't run.

Because your drive is toast.

Bite the bullet and get the RMA. 3 weeks without a computer is nothing - you'll be amazed at the "other" things you do around the house. :D

saltman
2005-08-09, 05:10 PM
x2 you can reformat. and yes it will work for awhile. but it's toast. plain and simple. I just had the same problems except it was a drive in a 4 disc array. considered suicide as an option in troubleshooting. but went with the replace all drives option. I formatted the other four and they worked fine for about 2 months. then started to have issues. slowly narrowed it down to one and then took it outside and set it on fire.... boy did it feel good. If it's a new drive send it back. if it's an old drive, format it and ONLY use it for stuff you won't miss when it goes bad.