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Hard drive locks while writing

Posted on 1999-08-01
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Last Modified: 2012-06-21
I have a Maxtor 8.2Gb hard drive, partitioned into two, named D: and E: (Drive C: is a 1.2Gb Seagate). All three are IDE, not SCSI.
None of the partitions causes any day to day problems, and I am frequently playing games stored on D and E. It's only when I come to install a new game to D or E from CD-Rom (Creative Labs 24X) that the aggravation starts. (C isn't used for games, since I keep all my system files on there).
During installation to either partition the system locks up - the CD drive light goes out and the hard disk light stays on. The only way I can get out of this is to press the reset switch.
Sometimes I can get the game to install by turning off all system tray programs (virus checkers, etc), and running scandisk and disk defragmenter, but recently even this hasn't worked. I've checked for viruses using the latest version of Dr Solomons, but found only a couple of W32/SKA infected files, which I've deleted and replaced with clean versions.
Note that the crash also occurs if I simply try to copy a large file (200Mb and higher) across to the drive. It seems to work OK with smaller files.
The hard disk device drivers listed in the device manager screen are: 'Primary IDE controller (dual fifo), secondary IDE controller (dual fifo) and VIA Bus Master PCI IDE controller.
No conflicts are reported.
I'm worried that I need to splash out on a new hard disk (this one is only about 18 months old), yet the fact that it's working OK normally makes me wonder if this is a hardware glitch that can be repaired.
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Question by:EricCartman
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14 Comments
 

Author Comment

by:EricCartman
ID: 1160279
Edited text of question.
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Expert Comment

by:gangajn
ID: 1160280
There are two things to try:
1) Set the 8.2 G hard drive as master on the second IDE channel ( if it is not there already )
2) Download and install from VIA

http://209.95.111.27/drivers/index.htm

a) the IRQ Routing driver
b) the PCI Bridge patch
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Expert Comment

by:netmage
ID: 1160281
Have your ran scandisk to check all blocks of the HD for errors.

If there is a hd drive problem:
Backup the drive and reformat the disk from DOS. You won't be spat out of the OS if the HD has terminal problems. It just locks up.
You will also be rule out problems from other win9# sources.
Boot from a virus checked floppy.

If the disk won't format with out errors, and even if it stays at one % mark on the format for some time it could be time to change the drive.

>this one is only about 18 months old

The light at the end of the tunnel is that Warranty on hd's nowdays is atleast 3 years.
If you have the reciepts just go back to your retailer and get the drive tested and replaced.

Netmage
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Expert Comment

by:MATTCEI
ID: 1160282
While you're there,get the VIA UDMA hard disk controller driver also.Looks like you're using the standard Windows one.

How are your IDE devices configured regarding controller channels? Who's on which channel,who's master,slave,etc?
It sounds like you may have an incorrect jumper setting,probably on the CD.
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Author Comment

by:EricCartman
ID: 1160283
This is probably going to sound like I'm totally ignorant of my own system, but I frankly have no idea why I have a VIA bus master controller in there - I'm sure it wasn't there this time last year!

I will try using the drivers suggested and see what happens...

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Author Comment

by:EricCartman
ID: 1160284
I've done a bit of digging around and discovered my confusion was caused by my motherboard (Soyo) documentaion referring to 'ETEQ' as opposed to 'VIA'.

Anyway, I downloaded the files and ran the setup programs. I can't see any obvious change. Is there something else I should be doing? I can't see the UDMA drivers referred to on the VIA page - what about the 'four in one' drivers. Is it worth trying these?

Anyway, tried installing the game again and the problem is still there.

I've run scandisk (thorough) and no errors are reported on the drive.
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Expert Comment

by:MATTCEI
ID: 1160285
We should clear up any confusion about chipsets before going further - that way we'll know what HD controller driver you should be using.What model Soyo MB is it? Or can you read the data off the top of the chipset on the MB?

Did you verify your drive jumpers yet?
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Author Comment

by:EricCartman
ID: 1160286
Sorry about the confusion - it's been a while since I poked around with my system, and I'd forgotten a few elements.

It's a SY 5EHM motherboard, running an AMD K62 400 processor. Everything's been smooth as silk so far.

The ETEQ drivers came with the board and I installed them according to the instructions. I'm also almost certain that I had no trouble with the hard drive initially.
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Expert Comment

by:gangajn
ID: 1160287
The UDMA drivers are the Bus Master Drivers on the site, and I do not recommend using these as the Win 98 drivers give better performance, once you are not into multi-tasking ( running many programs at once ).
I have benchmarked ( Sandra 99 ) using both drivers, and the default win 98 has a significantly better performance ).
Check in the Bios for the setup screen for the drives and make certain that Auto is selected for all drives, also the mode should be auto.
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Expert Comment

by:MATTCEI
ID: 1160288
Are you saying you WERE running the VIA hd controller driver,but have now loaded the ETEQ driver,and the problem persists?
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Author Comment

by:EricCartman
ID: 1160289
It appears that the drivers on the install CD, while labelled ETEQ in the menu, were in fact the VIA drivers that are on my system.

Anyways, I checked the BIOS and noticed that the hard drive detection was on 'manual' for some reason, so I changed it to auto. I then rebooted and tried installing a game - it worked, no problem!

I'll try a couple of other titles, just as a test, and report back...
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Author Comment

by:EricCartman
ID: 1160290
It seems that all is well. I've copied a few huge (300Mb+) around between CD and the drives, and no lock ups at all.

This follows my taking gangajn's advice and setting my hard drives to auto detect in the BIOS.

So perhaps he would like to upgrade his comment to an answer and I'll give him a few points for his trouble.

While you're at it, could someone explain just why there is a 'manual' setting for hard drives in the BIOS in the first place?
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Accepted Solution

by:
gangajn earned 400 total points
ID: 1160291
he UDMA drivers are the Bus Master Drivers on the site, and I do not recommend using these as
      the Win 98 drivers give better performance, once you are not into multi-tasking ( running many
      programs at once ).
      I have benchmarked ( Sandra 99 ) using both drivers, and the default win 98 has a significantly
      better performance ).
      Check in the Bios for the setup screen for the drives and make certain that Auto is selected for all
      drives, also the mode should be auto.




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LVL 7

Expert Comment

by:MATTCEI
ID: 1160292
'Manual' or 'User Defined' allow you to enter the drive's parameters yourself,for instances where the auto-detection utility returns wrong or no values.You must have had the wrong parameters in there if changing to Auto fixed the problem.Better yet would be to run the one-time detection utility in BIOS,which saves the detected values instead of re-detecting each time you boot.

As for the HD Controller Driver confusion: you probably have one of those '1 size fits all' manufacturer CDs that contains drivers for all thier products;you have to be careful to select the driver for your board.
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