serious hard drive issues

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K0r/\/f1@k€$
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serious hard drive issues

Postby K0r/\/f1@k€$ » Sun Dec 15, 2002 11:54 am

This is a bit of a saga I'm afraid, but hang in there ;)

I really don't know if this has anything to do with it, but about 4 weeks ago I reformatted and installed Slackware8.1, Windows ME and Windows 2000 in that order (and on separate partitions). All was well, and Morrowind ran perfectly (you can tell this is my main issue here :rolleyes: ;) :D ).

Then about 2 weeks ago, I started getting blue screens like "Windows cannot write to drive C:
data and files may be lost. " (under ME)

and "Fatal Hardware Error" (under 2k)
plus the obligatory meaningless hex.

on rebooting, sometimes the harddrive wouldnt even be detected, or sometimes it was, and couldnt be booted off. Either way, I figure there is something rather serious here, especially after reformatting separate partitions and reinstalling windows. I don't have time now, but after Christmas I am going to go for a full backup and start clean. Are there any other suggestions as to what the problem is?

PS It passed a surface scan fine, and does anyone know a good piece of memory checking free/shareware to eliminate that problem?

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HighLordDave
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Postby HighLordDave » Sun Dec 15, 2002 12:24 pm

Is you HDD making any abnormal noises? If it is, the drive is about to fail.

Who is the drive manufacturer? Did you buy the system from a retailer? Many manufacturers have built-in diagnostics you can run to see if the drive has a physical problem. With most Dell systems for example, you can press CTRL-ALT-D at the BIOS screen and a simple IDE drive diagnostic will run. Or the drive manufacturer may provide you with a disk with advanced diagnostic tools on it (better than Scandisk).

How old is the drive? If it's older than about three years, you will probably need to replace it. The prices on HDDs has been dropping, but so has quality.

Another simple test might be to make sure that your IDE cables are properly seated and that there are no tears or breaks in the cable. Try moving the drive cable from one IDE channel to the other and see if you're getting the same errors.
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Mr Flibble
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Postby Mr Flibble » Sun Dec 15, 2002 12:28 pm

First off, what brand and model of hard disk is it?

This definitely sounds like a hard disk failure (especially the not being detected bit), so check the following reporting systems on your pc:

1. Enable SMART disk monitoring in your BIOS, as that should be able to tell you if it's a hard disk error or not.

2. Check the Windows 2000 system event log (in Administrative Tools in the Control Panel). It will record all blue screen crashes and should have a warning to indicate waht the cause is.

3. Check your RAM slots. Take the memory modules out carefully and make sure there's no dust in the slots. Compressed air is good for this, and should be available from most hardware or photographic supply shops.

4. Change the IDE cable. I've seen lots of total hard disk failures that turned out to be a bent or broken cable and the system simply wasn't able to transfer information to and from the disk because of it.

If the surface scan comes up clean, then it's more likely the onboard controller. If that's the case I recommend backing up as soon as possible, because if that dies there's no cheap way of getting anything back.

Hope this helps.
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Postby Kameleon » Sun Dec 15, 2002 1:40 pm

There's not much I can say to help, except it wasn't my fault this time :rolleyes: :p

On a related note, last week when I was at a LAN party, right after reinstalling all the stuff we were going to be playing, my secondary hard drive (NTFS, like the primary) had a weird failure - while I could run and view all the files, executables refused to run; I got the "System cannot find XXX file" message, even though itwas quite plainly there. Thankfully I was able to back up the drive, reformat it and put back all the stuff that was there before, and it's working fine now, but I'd really like to know why this happened. Some of the guys at the LAN said that NTFS was to blame, but I've never heard anything like this happening before to NTFS disks. Anyone got any suggestions? I'm running Windows 2000, and the drive in question is a 6GB Fujitsu.
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Postby K0r/\/f1@k€$ » Tue Dec 17, 2002 2:19 pm

The hard drive isn't making any abnormal noises, and I'm sure now that it isn't a memory error (or as sure as I am that I trust the softawre I downloaded). The drive is a 20GB Fujitsu, and I have tried it with SMART monitoring on. It has given similar results. I will try the new IDE cable as soon as I go back up to York after Christmas.

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Postby Mr Flibble » Tue Dec 17, 2002 3:07 pm

Originally posted by K0r/\/f1@k€$
The drive is a 20GB Fujitsu


If it's a Fujitsu MPG3204-AT or -AH that you've had for about a year, don't wait at all. Get all the data off it you want to keep and immediately return it for replacement.

There's a known manufacturing defect with the MPG3xxx series caused by a faulty Cirrus Logic controller chip. You may want to check this article:

http://quote.bloomberg.com/fgcgi.cgi?ptitle=Technology%20News&T=markets_box.ht&middle=ad_frame2_all&s=APYGLshJSRnVqaXRz
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Postby K0r/\/f1@k€$ » Tue Dec 17, 2002 3:55 pm

Sadly, the drive is in York, and will be for the next three weeks. Thanks a lot for the heads up though, as the MPG prefix certainly rings a bell as does "about a year."

Who do you think I should get in contact with over this? Directly to Fujitsu? My retailer isn't really an option, seeing as I bought the system at a computer fair.

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Postby Mr Flibble » Tue Dec 17, 2002 6:14 pm

Originally posted by K0r/\/f1@k€$
Who do you think I should get in contact with over this? Directly to Fujitsu? My retailer isn't really an option, seeing as I bought the system at a computer fair.


Try ringing Fujitsu directly, but really any company that deals with Fujitsu drives should be able to help. At the time, those drives had a 2 or 3 year warranty but you might want to check that for your particular drive.
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Postby HighLordDave » Thu Dec 26, 2002 6:31 am

Originally posted by Mr Flibble
At the time, those drives had a 2 or 3 year warranty but you might want to check that for your particular drive.

If the drive is a year old, the warranty is most likely the three year warranty. I think it was just back in September of this year that most of the HDD manufacturers quietly pared their warranties back to one year.
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