I think I know the answer to this question, but I am trying to avoid that for a bit and wonder if there could be anything else.
First of all, my hardware specs:
Asus P3V4X MB
Maxtor 30GB (PM C: & E:)
Plextor 12x10x32 (SM)
Maxtor 30GB (SS D: & F:)
Matrox G400MAX 32MB dual monitor
Philips PSC706 Soundcard
Clean install Win2k + WinXP Pro Upgrade
The problem is the SS hard drive, which runs very very slowly. I know it is probably going to die on me but no data is corrupted, no bad clusters from scandisk and the drive doesn't make any noise. I am in the process of making backups right now, and it takes literally 4 or 5 hours to copy 2GB to the other drive. When the system boots it takes almost 3 minutes after the WinXP splash screen for the login screen to appear... After that everything is fine unless I do something with a file on that drive. With the drive unplugged the system boots normally.
Assuming it was the drive going bad, I purchased a Maxtor 80GB drive for a little replace and upgrade action. Not being one who likes to wait, I unhooked the existing drive, put the new one as primary master and booted from a new WinXP Pro CD. I partitioned the drive (20GB for OS) and formatted NTFS in XP Setup. OS installed perfectly and ran fine. I installed all my applications and transferred my emails and everything from the old OS installation (manually) and went to bed. This morning, I was greeted by an error stating that Norton Antivirus could not verify its subscription info and that I needed to reinstall it. I uninstalled it, restarted and got a boot disk failure. I hooked up the drive with my old os, making the new drive the slave and booted up. This old drive still works fine so I went into disk administrator and deleted the 20GB partition on the new drive, re-created it and started formatting... After 4 hours it was only on 75% complete and two hours later it finally finished up. Now I get a SMART message on boot saying 'Failure is Imminent' for that drive.
Is it possible that something in my system or something I am doing is frying these drives or did I just get a bunk drive? I find it suspicious that a new drive begins to exhibit the same behavior as the one it is supposed to replace, but if there was a lottery for bad luck, I would have the winning numbers almost every time.
Thanks for taking the time to read all that... Any light someone could shed on the situation would be greatly appreciated.