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Old 03-25-2009, 07:40 AM   #1 (permalink)
 
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Default Bad hdd? Corrupt OS?

So I've picked up my aunt's computer this week, the system won't boot up anymore, she says she was getting messages from microsoft about not using genuine software. She insists it is a genuine copy but whatever...I'm not sure that's actually the issue.

Symptoms, starting two weeks ago through their progression:
- sever bog down, delay in even scrolling the mouse
- continuous sound problems with external mic having to be reset
- spontaneous validation fail from microsoft after running and using xp pro for 1 year no problem, is XP pro SP3 fully updated daily
- 10 min boot up times at Microsoft logo screen
- BSOD cycle after 10 minute boot up.

The system is a dual core with a 7300gt and 2GB of RAM, nothing special but she only uses word, internet, taxes and skype.

Anyways, I was out of town so when I got home I told them I'd take a look at it and here is what I've tried:
- connected the HDD (500gb seagate) to my comp and backed up all the data without issue
- tried repairing the XP pro install with my CD, no luck, keep getting errors on different files asking if i want to skip them or retry install.
- tried to reformat the comp and it won't reformat (through xp boot up CD) past 1%.

Is this a bad HDD you think? I'm going to reconnect it externally to mine and see if i can reformat it that way...

Any more suggestions?

[edit]K, just hooked it up externally to my system, again I could see all the files etc... but when I went to reformat after 30 minutes of zero progress it suddenly zipped through the green progress bar to about 3/4 and then kicked out saying windows cannot reformat this partition....now it wont detect the HDD at all, either partition. Looking more and more like a bad HDD....now I'm wondering if its possible that they did have a legit copy of XP, can a faulty HDD lead to a legit OS spontaneously failing windows validation?
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Old 03-25-2009, 10:24 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bad hdd? Corrupt OS?

I think your hard drive is dead or dying.
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Old 03-25-2009, 11:01 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bad hdd? Corrupt OS?

Quote:
- tried to reformat the comp and it won't reformat (through xp boot up CD) past 1%.
Yeah, that's the dead giveaway. Bad HDD.
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Old 03-25-2009, 11:24 AM   #4 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Bad hdd? Corrupt OS?

Yeah, once it wouldn't format that pretty much sealed the deal.

Now can a dying HDD cause Windows to fail validation? My aunt is a bit peeved as she thinks she got scammed on the OS and wants to stick it to the shop she bought it from. She's a bit screwed IMO as she doesn't have the original CDs they gave her so no hard evidence but maybe if she calls up and threatens they'll give her a new one....they don't need to know she lost the disc.

But would be a bit embarrassing if it was a legit copy and they just called her crazy :P
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Old 03-25-2009, 11:29 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bad hdd? Corrupt OS?

I can see that being a possibility. Since they DID give her the CD's and i'm sure they were legit CD's unless they were burnt CD's that had "Windows XP" written on them in marker.

You don't have much of a case since you don't have the original CD's - which would prove or disprove that they were pirated or real.

Chalk it up as a lesson learned in why you want to keep all your documentation and CD's for your computers.
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Old 03-25-2009, 11:31 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bad hdd? Corrupt OS?

a failing HDD can cause any kind of wild error. If windows was trying to validate on her computer (which it does by looking at many different variables) and a few of them were wrong due to HDD errors, it's more than possible to fail validation.

I think windows looks at memory, HDD size, files that it puts on the computer, and a few other things dealing with the hardware configuration.

Back on millennium edition, just upgrading the ram could cause your pc to fail validation. I had to call M$ and be like "Yeah, I just upgraded this thing and it's not taking my key code anymore" and Mr. Patel on the other end was happy to give me another key code.
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Old 03-25-2009, 11:40 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bad hdd? Corrupt OS?

Put the hard drive in another computer and run Seatools to scan for bad sectors or errors.
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Old 03-25-2009, 12:05 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bad hdd? Corrupt OS?

I dunno guys, he was able to back up the files when he transplanted the hard drive. That tells me that the HD is good.

That was a smart move backing up the files. Here is what I would do. I would transplant the drive in a known good system and boot the Ultimate boot cd and run some hard drive diagnostics. If you pass then I would start to look at the motherboard. You may have a failing HD controller, or NB.

What is the motherboard's chipset by the way?
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Old 03-25-2009, 12:12 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bad hdd? Corrupt OS?

Idk, I've never heard of a "failing" controller. Either it's alive or dead in my experience. The only thing that I have seen like that was a loose cable, so the vibration from fans and things often interrupted a SCSI controller, and it looked like bad equipment but it was actually just one wire was pulled a little loose.

Maybe check and make sure that everything is reseated properly? Some devices are REALLY finicky about being seated really well.
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Old 03-25-2009, 12:24 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bad hdd? Corrupt OS?

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Originally Posted by SparkMonkeyHellion View Post
Idk, I've never heard of a "failing" controller. Either it's alive or dead in my experience. The only thing that I have seen like that was a loose cable, so the vibration from fans and things often interrupted a SCSI controller, and it looked like bad equipment but it was actually just one wire was pulled a little loose.

Maybe check and make sure that everything is reseated properly? Some devices are REALLY finicky about being seated really well.
I can think of at least 5 times in my experience that the motherboard was otherwise good but the IDE controller failed. And yeah it can be finicky at first.

Loose IDE cables are possible, but he is probably using sata, which locks in. And besides he has removed the drive at least once so if it was loose its been reseated. And he ins't a n00b, I doubt he would make such a mistake.
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