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Is my hard drive hosed?

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The other day my laptop took a knock, not particularly hard, but locked up and I had to force a shutdown. After that it refused to start up, giving an error before windows could start up (immediately after manufacturer splash screen). I used the windows disk to acess recovery console and run chkdsk, it found and repaired errors, but that merely changed the error to "The file is possibly corrupt. The file header checksum does not match the computed checksum".
 

The OS isn't listed in the recovery options (so can't run startup repair options) so tried a reinstall, which failed halfway through with the message "windows cannot access the installation sources". And the startup error is now, understandably I guess, "BOOTMGR is missing". A couple more attempts at instaling Windows leaves it stuck at 0% at the second step (expanding windows files I think).

 

Tried restoring a disc image and at the end of the re-image process get the following: "The system image restore failed. Error details: The post-recovery option to set registry keys for Automated Sytem Recovery (ASR) in the offline opearting system failed"

 

Restarting after that I end up boot manager error (0xc00000e9, unexpected I/O error) suggesting a faulty or improperly connected HD (have already reseated it just to be sure)

Also the drive heads are being quite 'clicky' (although it had never been the quietest)

So, is the HD dead/dying?

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Hello JDPower - If you have access to another PC, you can download Hiren's Boot CD and use the hard drive utilities that it contains to analyze your drive. The link to download Hiren's is here: http://www.hirensbootcd.org/download/ Note: Look for the .zip file near the bottom of the page.

 

After you unzip this file, you have two choices of what to do with the .iso file: either burn it to a CD or DVD, or use Rufus to create a bootable USB flash drive using the .iso. The link to download Rufus is here: http://rufus.akeo.ie/

 

When you boot Hiren's, select the DOS programs from the boot menu, then look for hard drive tools on the next menu. This will lead you to a sub-menu where you can find utilities for Western Digital, Seagate, IBM/Hitachi, Maxtor, Fujitsu, Toshiba, Samsung, and maybe a couple more.

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Thanks for the suggestion. I ran the relevant manufacturer diagnostic tool and it tells me there's no HD found, and says (not overly helpfully) this MAY be caused by a faulty drive. And having played about with the other HD tools on there, they all seem to think there's no HD installed. And DBAN errors out saying "DBAN finished with non-fatal errors. This is usually caused by disks with bad sectors"

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I would have gone about trouble shooting your problem a bit different.

You stated

 

The other day my laptop took a knock, not particularly hard, but locked up and I had to force a shutdown. After that it refused to start up, giving an error before windows could start up (immediately after manufacturer splash screen).

 

If you have access to another computer just plug it in there and see what the POST stated and listen to the drive spin up for any unusual noises, if the POST stated a error you would have known that your HDD is busted. If the POST gave the all clear then I would have gone with the HDD manufactures HDD diagnostic applications and perform the tests.

In the mean time while the tests are running I would have done what hazelnut suggested check the memory module/s.

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I had already removed and reseated the memory modules to rule that out.

The only other machine I have available is the old laptop I'm writing this on, which sadly takes a total dismantle to get at the HD, and don't yet have a SATA-USB cable to hook it up directly (have one on the way though).

I have already got an SSD on order now (a Sammy 850 pro), been toying with the upgrade for a while anyway, but any other advice on maybe proving this drive dead or not appreciated as there are some files I would still like access to that aren't in my most recent backup.

 

Also, will a Win7 disc image from a regular HD restore onto an SSD without issue? At least temporarily so I can copy some files from the disc image THEN clean install Windows on the SSD?

EDIT: Actually after googling and finding THIS, that last question is irrelevant :)

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Hello JDPower - I had another look at Hiren's Boot CD and there's another set of tests available besides the ones in the DOS section. If you boot it up and select Linux Rescue Environment (Parted Magic) from the boot menu, wait for the desktop to appear, then double-click "Disk Health". Select the disk in question, then click the "Attributes" tab. There you will find all the S.M.A.R.T. data displayed. And if you select the "Perform Tests" tab, you will find three more tests available: a short test, a long test (checks disk surface), and a conveyance test (checks for damage due to drops/bumps).

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Hello JDPower - I had another look at Hiren's Boot CD and there's another set of tests available besides the ones in the DOS section. If you boot it up and select Linux Rescue Environment (Parted Magic) from the boot menu, wait for the desktop to appear, then double-click "Disk Health". Select the disk in question, then click the "Attributes" tab. There you will find all the S.M.A.R.T. data displayed. And if you select the "Perform Tests" tab, you will find three more tests available: a short test, a long test (checks disk surface), and a conveyance test (checks for damage due to drops/bumps).

Thanks again. Not sure I didn't try that and it wouldn't load, but could be wrong and will take another look in a bit, currently giving Spinrite a go at reviving it.

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Hello JDPower - Good luck with using Spinrite. I recently read a post on the My Digital Life forum where the author had nothing but praise for Spinrite. Please post back and let us know what the results are.

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Hello JDPower - Good luck with using Spinrite. I recently read a post on the My Digital Life forum where the author had nothing but praise for Spinrite. Please post back and let us know what the results are.

Well the results - the hard drive IS hosed lol. Fitted the new drive in my laptop, put the old one in an old laptop with the intention of letting Spinrite run to completion (only got to 7% after two days running before I removed it), but Spinrite won't even run on it now. It loads, but just throws invalid partition errors when trying to start it, while the drive sits clicking away. Tried a few times and the drive isn't even recognised now.

 

Oh well, thankfully had FAIRLY recent backups. Although I must be the first person in the history of the internet not to be blown away by the performance improvement of an SSD now I've got one lol

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when drives start making the 'click' noise, it's never a pretty thing.  I've never seen one come back from that.

 

as to your new SSD, indeed you must be the only person not to like one. :o

they are just so much faster it's almost impossible to believe until you personally see one in action.

even if you had it setup wrong, well not wrong per say, just not optimally, with it on a slow I/O SATA channel, not ACHI and all that, the speed differences with starting the PC or in opening a Word document should be like chalk and cheese.

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as to your new SSD, indeed you must be the only person not to like one. :o

they are just so much faster it's almost impossible to believe until you personally see one in action.

even if you had it setup wrong, well not wrong per say, just not optimally, with it on a slow I/O SATA channel, not ACHI and all that, the speed differences with starting the PC or in opening a Word document should be like chalk and cheese.

I know lol. And I'm not saying I don't like it, certainly not complaining, just doesn't feel much faster than before, certainly not the night and day difference some people talk about. Maybe just cos it was an already speedy laptop it's less noticeable. And it's setup right, even enabled the Samsung rapid mode, and the benchmarks all show it giving expected speeds. I must just be bloody hard to please :lol:

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I don't know, doesn't sound right.

Even if you had a 7200rpm (or even a 10,000) unit in the laptop, the speed improvement going to SSD should be extremely obvious.

If you hadn't said the benchmarks were giving expected results, I'd have said you had a faulty SSD, but apparently not.

And nobody is that hard to please...

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I don't know, doesn't sound right.

Even if you had a 7200rpm (or even a 10,000) unit in the laptop

Yup, 7200rpm drive was what I had.

 

And nobody is that hard to please...

Apparently I am :P

 

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the speed differences with starting the PC or in opening a Word document should be like chalk and cheese.

 

Just add toast and you've got an interesting meal there, maybe not.   :lol:

 

And I'm not saying I don't like it, certainly not complaining, just doesn't feel much faster than before, certainly not the night and day difference some people talk about.

 

Many things are that way, for instance going from DVD Video to Blu-ray didn't impress me.

 

Maybe if you're using something disk intensive that you know would normally operate very slow will reveal the speed difference.

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