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understanding disk errors

Posted on 2004-04-27
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Last Modified: 2010-04-26
Hi,
Some client brought me computer (p4, win xp) with the following problem:
The electricity in his house turned off suddenly,
the next time he turned on his computer, just before
the win xp logon screen the machine restarted.
SInce then every time he tried to load the win xp,
before getting the log on screen the computer restarts
over and over again.

I ran powerMax utility (maxtor hard drive diagnostic utility) which gave
some fatal error. Power max was unable to fix the problem
and it reffered me to maxtor web site,
On maxtor web site it was written than such errors code can not
be fixed and the hard drive must be replaced...
I tried to run the win xp recovery console chkdsk command,
and guess what?... it fixed the problem and now the computer works.

How could that be?? how can it be that maxtor diagnostic discs
can not fix problem which win xp recovery console did?
What can explain all this situation?
What actually is happening to a disc after electric shock?

Thank.
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Question by:yoniGoldberg
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7 Comments
 
LVL 69

Expert Comment

by:Callandor
ID: 10929730
WinXP did not really fix the problem.  What probably happened when the power went out was the disk head crashed into the platter, and now you have a physical defect on the disk.  No software can fix that.  You will have to replace the disk.
0
 
LVL 10

Expert Comment

by:Snowguy
ID: 10929786
Have you run the powermax utility again to verify that it is still problem free?
If powermax shows it ok I would not worry about it.
0
 
LVL 9

Accepted Solution

by:
ChrisSchumann earned 35 total points
ID: 10931543
What I think happened is that you have two problems. The power outage damaged the drive and corrupted files. The corrupted files made it impossible to boot Windows XP.

The diagnostic software sees a problem on the drive that cannot be fixed. But maybe it's a section of disk that doesn't have to be used, or maybe it will get worse with time. There are any number of things that can go wrong inside a hard disk: the heads could have been knocked out of alignment, the head could have crashed onto the platter, the head or drive electronics could have been blown or weakened, and on and on.

The recovery console repaired the corrupted files, so now you can boot.

If Powermax shows the drive as OK, I would make a backup and continue to use the drive. If it shows the drive as not OK, I would make a backup, restore to a brand new drive, test it, and properly dispose of the bad drive (then feel lucky I got to get anything from it).
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Author Comment

by:yoniGoldberg
ID: 10931851
thanks,
i will run powermax again.
does anybody know why can not i see tha "Split Points" link??
0
 
LVL 31

Expert Comment

by:rid
ID: 10932628
I don't think the drive was damaged, physically. Most drives have protection against power loss (heads move diretcly to protected area of disks when power turns off and before platters spin down...). What you experienced was a logical crash, and MaxBlast cannot detect those unless it knows the contents and structure of all XP system files (which it probably doesn't).  The XP recovery replaced the damaged files and if you're up and running don't worry too much.
/RID
0
 

Expert Comment

by:cameron_schuler
ID: 10933255
I don't think you are offering enough points to be able to split them.
0
 

Author Comment

by:yoniGoldberg
ID: 10933331
thanks a lot.
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