Cannot write to disk C

Golderfrenzy
Golderfrenzy used Ask the Experts™
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After a failure of the original hard disk on my computer, the technicians replaced it with a new one.
But now every time that I´m installing a new program or ripping a CD suddenly I got a blue screen that said:
"Cannot write to disk C:, some of your files may be lost, press any key to continue"
Then I press a key and everything continues as if nothing have ever happened. The installed programs runs OK and the CD rippings are OK too. Everything else in in perfect order and for daily use the machine is OK.
This happens whenever I´m moving a lot of data to or from the C disk.
The machine is an HP Pavillion 7941 with Windows ME, 512 MB Ram.
The disk is perfectly scanned and defraged.
Neither control panel or Norton Utilities shows anything wrong with the C disk.
I have Norton Antivirus, Zone Alarm and AdSubstract running in the background, I desabled Norton Utilities from running on the background because of some incompatibilities, but I was running this configuration except Norton Utilities on the previous hard drive without any problems, I added Norton Utilities trying to fix this bug but it didn´t work.
The technician don,t have a clue about this
Thank for your suggestions.
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Commented:
This is a BAD thing!  Your hard drive is failing.

If you have any valuable data on it, BACK IT UP NOW!  Don't delay, do it NOW!

My guess is that these "technicians" replaced your drive with a "junker" to save some cash for themselves and ripped you off!
Does the system clock maintaine the time correctly? A failing motherboard battery also may be a reason for this behaviour.  Backup all your valuable data and then go for a thorough scandisk. And can you check your Ram modules with another computer? And check if you have more than one Ram module whether they both are of same frequency. Do this before going for any major changes.

Commented:
It seems you have a bad sector on your HD. Hopefully not on the FAT. There are a few ways that you might be able to fix this problem without formatting. I know that you tried this, but to be through you should close Norton Antivirus, Zone Alarm AdSubstract and every other Application/Process that is not critical.

1) Defrag that bad boy again & run scandisk.
START-Programs-Accessories-SystemTools-Defragment (Scandisk)

NOTE: If this hangs your machine, the sector is not repairable with the MSFT defrag utility... Dont loose all hope yet.

2) Norton System Works "Speed Disc" is another version of defrag utility, many people believe it to be far superior to the MSFT version. Open SystemWorks and run Speed Disc. (You said "Neither control panel or Norton Utilities shows anything wrong with the C disk." I’m not sure if that means that you tried the SystemWorks defrag or not)

This is where we really get into it.

If none of the above suggestions help you then try the ones below.

1) Check to see if your drive is running in FAT32 or FAT 16. Most likely its FAT32, if its not convert it. You can find this by right clicking on you C: and selecting properties.
 
2) boot into safe mode and see if you have the same problem (F8 when booting)

3) Boot into your BIOS. (This is different on most machines, but its usually Esc or Del when booting)
NOTE: If you are not familar with working with the BIOS, just be careful, you can F up your PC.
 
When you are in your BIOS, write down the manufacturer. i.e. PhoenixBIOS, BIOSet etc. and the version and I will give you instructions on how to refresh your hard drive settings. (It’s not too hard to do, but you don’t want to learn by experimenting in the BIOS.)

-Ruckus
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Commented:
AGAIN, DON'T TRY ANY OF THESE THINGS BEFORE MAKING A BACKUP!

If this drive is really failing (which is not only possible but likely) any operations you perform on it run the risk of complete data corruption.

Please MAKE A BACKUP NOW!  Any "expert" here who recommends you do something else first is an idiot!

Commented:
You said that already

-Ruckus "the expert"

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Commented:
To  harikris53, Ruckus and jhance:
The motherboard mantain the correct time.
The RAM modules are OK too.
I did back-up every day.
I ran the Norton Utilities speed disk too and report nothing wrong with the C drive.
This system files are FAT32
As I said before, everything works fine except when moving a lot of data to or from disk C.
The computer is almost new (one year in november) and keeped in perfectly run condition with only original programs used.
I never download music o .exe files and I´m very paranoid with the security, for example never use IE (only Opera) and have the Zone Alarm firewall
The other posibility is a "junker" drive as jhance said but I´ll try anything first, if nothing works I´ll replace the drive myself.

Commented:
Regardless of what Norton says, you have a defective drive.  Replace it now before it's too late!
Two things come to my mind on this subject.
1.)  Sounds as if the hard drive is going out.
2.)  Possible for this to be heat related. After saving a lot of data to this drive it would build up heat and if you don't have good case cooling the heat build up and affect the hard drive. Running a disk diag. program would not normally find this. It would come back with no errors.

My true suggestions would be to upgrade the case fan or fans and replace the hard drive.

Hope this helps.

Commented:
Boot from a floopy that has scandisk

a:\> scandisk /all /autofix /nosummary /surface

start this and go to bed, this can take hours but should be ready in the morning
This /surface will mark all bad clusters and move all the data it can to good ones
If you have no bad clusters you at least get to sleep through it

DOS is still usable at times

Commented:
Please DO NOT RUN SCANDISK on this drive at this time!!!!

I simply cannot stress this strongly enough.  With a failing hard drive ANY write operation runs the risk of corrupting the data. The SCANDISK utility is just about the WORST thing you could run here.

Make a BACKUP NOW!  FAT corruptions (which is what SCANDISK fixes) DO NOT CAUSE WRITE ERRORS!  The inability to write is an indication of a problem which lies MUCH DEEPER than the filesystem.

It MAY be a LOW LEVEL FORMAT issue and an Low Level Format utility MAY help but in almost all cases, WRITE FAILURES to a hard disk are caused by a HARD ERROR.  This is a DANGER sign of impending failure!

BACKUP NOW or prepare to lose your data!

Commented:
Download and run a hard drive utility called IBM Drive Fitness Test. Download the program, run the install and it will make a bootable floppy disk. Boot your machine from this floppy and do a simple and extensive test. This utility has not failed me yet. Download here:

http://www.storage.ibm.com/hdd/support/download.htm

After you run this, then you will know for sure the condition of your drive.

Commented:

============================
No comment has been added lately, so it's time to clean up this TA.
I will leave a recommendation in the Cleanup topic area that this question is:
Accept jhance 's comment as answer
Please leave any comments here within the next seven days.
 
PLEASE DO NOT ACCEPT THIS COMMENT AS AN ANSWER!
 
akboss
EE Cleanup Volunteer
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