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Hard Drive failure - how did this happen?

Posted on 2004-09-28
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Last Modified: 2010-04-26
Okay, this is one of the strangest things I've seen, and was wondering if anyone knows how this might have happened.

I have a client that is a small business with one Windows 2000 Server (with mirrored IDE hard drives) and seven workstations.  When they left Friday evening, everything was fine.  When one of the partners came in Saturday, his computer wasn't working and neither was the server and some of the other workstations.  When I got there, I discovered that in all cases it was due to a hard drive failure.  This includes BOTH of the drives in the server.

I'm not talking about lost data here.  These drives all were completely dead to the point where the system would not even detect them, and most would "click" very loudly when the systems were turned on.

Every computer is on at least a surge suppressor, and most have UPSs (including, of course, the server), but the only thing I can think of to explain this is some sort of power event.

There were workers on their floor working on a new suite across the hall, so it's definitely possible that something might have happened to the electricty on this floor.  But, what would cause all of the hard drives to crash (and why just the hard drives and not, say, the power supplies and system boards?)

Any explaination to what might have happened would be appreciated.

Thanks,
GHK
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Question by:phan71
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15 Comments
 
LVL 57

Assisted Solution

by:Pete Long
Pete Long earned 300 total points
ID: 12171451
I think youve allready answered the Q - in this case Id say Power surge/spike - UPS or not a big bolt can beat the "Clamping TIme" thats set on these devices so they cut the power too late, they are a sensible precaution but not a "Protect All" plus a but power surge on a client PC can get at the network ov3er Cat5 - these are not usually protected by surge suppressors :(
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by:jbedwar1
ID: 12171489
are the computers left on all the time??? Check the system logs on some of the computers that are still working to see if anything strange occured during the night.  Have you tried hooking any of the drives up as a slave to another computer just to see if they are accessible in any way?
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Callandor earned 75 total points
ID: 12171532
I agree - a power spike can knock out some components and not others, though I would be wary of the systems and watch for future failures.  It is always a good idea to take preventive measures if you know people are going to be doing construction work nearby, because they use power tools that really generate spikes and electrical noise.
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LVL 1

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by:phan71
ID: 12171938
jbedwar1:

Unfortunately, the only systems that were affected were the ones that were left on over night.  The other systems wouldn't have logged anything.

I haven't gotten a chance to hook bad drives up for testing, but like I said, they're not even seen by the BIOS.
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by:jbedwar1
ID: 12172045
if they were the only ones on...then there is no doubt that there was a major power surge.  
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by:rustyrpage
ID: 12173360
Have you checked with anyone else in the building to see if anyone else is having similar computer problems?  
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Author Comment

by:phan71
ID: 12173541
I did have them call some people and check.  No one else had any problems.  But, the floor that they are on is newly renovated, and they are the only tennants currently on that floor.  Since this is an older building, I'm pretty sure that the electrical wiring on this floor is new, and not part of the rest of the building's (older) electrical wiring.
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Expert Comment

by:jbedwar1
ID: 12173581
any clocks in the building that lost their power and had to be reset?  Any other way of teling if he power surged or such??  Still sounds like you already knew the answer to your question so i'm not sure what kind of closure ur looking for.  
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by:rustyrpage
ID: 12173631
Yeah, sounds like a bummer....did you have good backups?
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by:phan71
ID: 12173792
The server did.  Luckily, they're pretty good about storing stuff on the server and not locally.
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by:rustyrpage
ID: 12173802
So now it's just the fun task of rebuilding all the computers...at least all you need is new drives
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LVL 93

Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 12177238
I think the logic boards took a spike; so if you want to try to recover them, you can buy the same HDD and replace the logic board.
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LVL 14

Expert Comment

by:JohnnyCanuck
ID: 12178889
Just curious.  Were these Fujitsu drives?
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Author Comment

by:phan71
ID: 12184081
Actually, they were all Western Digital
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by:Pete Long
ID: 12184407
ThanQ
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