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Old 11-26-2013, 10:04 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Question Confirm failing HDD?

Hello all,

I'm working on a neighbor's laptop. I believe the problem is a failing HDD, but I just want to see what others think before I recommend they go out and replace it (and immediately backup their data).

The symptoms:

  • HDD makes clicking noise while in use
  • System runs very slow - I tried to open a saved Word doc and after 30 mins it was still loading; I tried a second time later in the day and it didn't seem to open at all
  • System was very slow to boot (7+ mins) and is slow to shut down - I disabled all of the startup services and the boot time has gotten much better (1-2 mins)
  • CPU and memory don't seem to be running near 100% but HDD usage seem to spike when opening/closing applications


It should be noted that this person has 2 antivirus suites (Mcafee and Norton) installed. I have yet to uninstall one, but I don't suspect that is the issue in this case due to the fact that the memory and CPU usage isn't anywhere near 100%. I tried running /chkdsk /r overnight but don't see a huge difference in performance. However, when I checked the System event logs in the mroning there was a Warning item stating that the drive was in danger of failing. I'm not sure if that was a result of the /chkdsk but that's the only time I've seen it so far.



I just wanted to see if there's anything obvious I'm missing or if there's any tests I could run to be 100% certain before I tell them their 1 year old HDD is dieing and needs to be replaced. I appreciate everyone's feedback! Thanks!
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Old 11-26-2013, 11:05 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Confirm failing HDD?

Do a S.M.A.R.T check on it to verify, but I agree with you about it failing. One year old or not, a drive can fail in one week... I've had drive fail in weeks, then when you don't expect it, I have one that's still going after 8 years. Go figure.

You should be able to RMA the drive, so at least the drive can be replaced.
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Old 11-26-2013, 11:22 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Confirm failing HDD?

Thanks Nukem.

I wasn't able to find a SMART check anywhere in the BIOS options, where I've found it on other computers in the past. Is there someone else I would look?

RMA? I'm sorry, I'm not sure I'm familiar with the term.
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Old 11-26-2013, 11:36 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Confirm failing HDD?

Return Merchandise Authorization - You can check to make sure that the drive is still under warranty, then do a return/swap for a new drive. You'll have to pull the drive and go to the manufacturers website and go from there...

as for SMART... usually you can check it through the properties of the drive itself, but if not, then try Passmark Diskcheckup (I have used it in the past)

PassMark DiskCheckup - SMART hard drive monitoring utility
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Old 11-27-2013, 12:23 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Confirm failing HDD?

I had a similar experience recently and when you mentioned that the computer had 2 anti-virus softwares running I thought I should tell it. I went from 1.5 MBs per second to 38 to 112 kbs ps downloads. Start up and shutdowns were very slow. I found out that my antivirus (Comodo) was fighting with Spyware Blaster. I used Revo Uninstaller to uninstall both programs and my performance returned immediately. I suspect that having 2 antiviruses on the computer may be a big contributor. Two antivirus programs will fight each other each finding the other to be a virus. The fight consumes a lot of resources and may stop the computer from working at all. My suggestion is to start it in safe mode and uninstall one or the other, reboot and see what happens.
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Old 11-27-2013, 07:21 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Confirm failing HDD?

Having more than one antivirus will cause them to conflict and it does wreak havoc on the operating system. You have to remove one of those antivirus programs first

The hard drive manufacture has a utility to check the health status of their drives too, Data Lifeguard for WD drives and Seatools for Seagate drives

If the drive is failing, the drives manufacture (WD or Seagate...ect.) will not RMA an OEM drive. You'll have to go through the manufacture of laptop in order to get a replacement hard drive under warranty. Unless you purchased an extended warranty, then you'll only have about one year on the drive as per most laptop warranties
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Old 11-29-2013, 05:21 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Confirm failing HDD?

I tried running Passmark but it froze at 10%. The HDD is a SATA toshiba mk6465gsx. The laptop is a Dell M5010. I still can't find any where to run a SMART test on the HDD.
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Old 11-29-2013, 05:30 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Confirm failing HDD?

I just ran a utility called CrystalDiskInfo 6.0.1

It says the Health Status of the drive is "Bad" and the attribute that failed was the Reallocated Sectors Count. To my understanding, this means that it is replacing bad sectors with good sectors from a reserve pool. Is there any fix that can be applied to this issue or will the HDD just continue to degrade?
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Old 11-29-2013, 08:27 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by GLaDOS View Post
I just ran a utility called CrystalDiskInfo 6.0.1

It says the Health Status of the drive is "Bad" and the attribute that failed was the Reallocated Sectors Count. To my understanding, this means that it is replacing bad sectors with good sectors from a reserve pool. Is there any fix that can be applied to this issue or will the HDD just continue to degrade?
Bad sectors = physical damage. So no, there's no way to fix those sectors and the drive can and most likely will slowly degrade and more will be marked as bad. Id just replace the drive while you can still read data off of it.

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Old 11-29-2013, 11:41 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Confirm failing HDD?

Ok thanks, I just wanted to be sure I was giving the right advice to my neighbor before I told them to go out and get a the HDD replaced.

Thanks everyone for your help! It is greatly appreciated!
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