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Hard disk fail or virus?

Posted on 2004-11-23
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Last Modified: 2008-01-09
Hi Experts,

I was using my PC under windowsXP and found it became very slow. After a few minutes, it said something wrong and said if this is the first time, restart the PC.
I restart my PC but cannot finish the booting anymore.
I then use Window98 startup to boot from A and then did scandisk which was finished in no time.
I also checked the share folder from other linking PC and cannot find any share folder anymore.

What I should do now???
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Question by:daveask
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33 Comments
 

Expert Comment

by:surge84
ID: 12661222
Try booting into safe mode by repeatively pressing F8 at the post screen.  If your pc boots in safe mode, we can go from there.  If you happen to run accross that windows error again, try to write down any details you can.
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Author Comment

by:daveask
ID: 12661233
No, I cannot boot!
It was saying something, but now, after switch on the PC, it said
Invalid Boot Diskette
Insert BOOT diskette in A:
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Expert Comment

by:surge84
ID: 12661300
"I restart my PC but cannot finish the booting anymore."  Sorry, I was just going with you were said.  So far, it sounds like your hard drive might be dying.  One of the possible symptoms of that would be the slowdown you were talking about.  You also want to keep your ears open for any unusual sounds coming from your hard drive like "clicking" for example.    
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Expert Comment

by:surge84
ID: 12661332
"Sorry I was just going on what you said."  That's what I meant.  I don't know how that got so messed up.
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Expert Comment

by:surge84
ID: 12661374
If you have access to another computer and feel comfortable setting up this "problem" drive as a slave drive in that machine, I would recommend trying that.  You could attempt to copy any valuable data over from your "problem" drive, to the working drive.  If you start to copy data and get an strange error for instance, that could be a big indicator that your HD is going, depending on the error.  You may not have another pc at your disposal.  This is just a thought if you did.  
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Expert Comment

by:Slaid99
ID: 12661401
Because you say that the message is "Invalid Boot Diskette", make sure you dont have any diskette in the floppy drive. If there is one in there, you may be trying to boot from it.
If you have nothing in the drive, check your BIOS setting and make sure it is looking for your hard drive as the first boot device.
Failing all of that, surge84's response is a good one to go with. You havent mentioned if you hear the drive spin up, or if it clicks. Sounds like either a Floppy in the
floppy drive, invalid BIOS setting, or (more likely from the fact you said the system slowed down before the troubles) a faulty Hard drive. If you let us know
what type of Hard drive you have, we could point you to some utilities to test the drive.
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Author Comment

by:daveask
ID: 12663182
Hi Experts,

Thanks a lot for your helps!
1. No disk in A
2. I have never changed my BIOS
3. I have noticed some noise for about 1 to 2 months but it was very low noise and was not like the sound in the floppy drive. I am not sure if the noise is "click" or not......
4. The hard disk is
IBM Deskstar TM
MODEL: IC35L040AVVA07-0
41.1GB
It is not too old......
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LVL 3

Expert Comment

by:matthew1471
ID: 12663682
Can you maybe tell us what the blue screen says? There are many different reasons for blue screens (the term used to describe that "if this is the first time you've seen this" screen) by copying and pasting the main message into google it will help diagnose the specific area :)

It'll be something like "IRQ_NOT_LESS_OR_EQAL" and have a STOP code "0x...." etc
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Author Comment

by:daveask
ID: 12664066
matthew1471,

No.....I have seen that screen once (forgot what it said exactly) and now I can only see
Invalid Boot Diskette
Insert BOOT diskette in A:
And I tried to do scandisk from A but it finished in no time......it looks I cannot go to C: anymore....
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LVL 7

Expert Comment

by:frajico
ID: 12664320
Insert Windows XP install CD and boot from this CD, it will detect that you have a previos installed version of Windows XP. It will offer you a REPAIR (R) option ... it will reinstall Windows XP withou loosing nothing.

Also try a good online antivirus and anti spyware like Spy Boty Seacrh & Destroy

Salu2
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LVL 3

Expert Comment

by:matthew1471
ID: 12666410
Oh I see, Sorry... You know when your motherboard lists devices... Does it still show the hard-drive in there?
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LVL 7

Expert Comment

by:frajico
ID: 12666463
It should ....

Salu2
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LVL 3

Expert Comment

by:matthew1471
ID: 12666804
yup and if it don't then we kind of know what's happened, although even then it doesnt proove the drive is working, The best thing to see is if the Windows XP Setup recognises it
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Expert Comment

by:Slaid99
ID: 12667285
Sounds like a hard drive failure to me. Just curious... if your BIOS allows for an IDE search, does it find the drive? Also, do you have a second machine somewhere you can try the drive on to see if it is functional? In my experience, Hard drives usually fail within the first 6 months or after a couple years. But there is no set timeline for a failed harddrive. Luckily, if the drive is newer, you can just phone the companies tech support (if the drive is actually faulty) and they will send you a new one. (If you have a credit card, they will send it to you and then after you receive the new one, you can send the old one back, which gives you an opportunity to attempt to revive the drive to get any data you need off of it.

All the above is under the assumption that the drive has failed.
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Author Comment

by:daveask
ID: 12668339
Report
---------

It was very strange, I was able to log into WindowsXP again a few hours ago!

I then find some virus by Norton and fixed 5 of 6. The one cannot be remove is the Downloader.Trojan virus. I then forllowed the instructions restarting the PC.....I fail again and got the information
Invalid Boot Diskette
Insert BOOT diskette in A:

I did tried to open the BIOS and found
Primary IDE Master Not Installed
and there was no C in the Diskette Confiquration.
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LVL 3

Expert Comment

by:matthew1471
ID: 12668522
I think this is going to have to be a new HDD :$
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Author Comment

by:daveask
ID: 12668916
In this case, can I still use it as a slave and add another hard disk as the master, so that I can copy the files or do something.....?
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Expert Comment

by:Slaid99
ID: 12668950
Hmm... Hard to say if it will be new HD... depends on what the viruses were. Some attack the bios. Curious too that Primary IDE Master not installed. You may want to start from the beginning. Look at the Hard drive, make sure the jumper settings are correct and that it is in the correct line on the cable (I would assume that you put the Boot drive -this hard drive- as Primary IDE and had the jumpers set to Master). I dont always trust jumper settings of CS (cable select) as it doesnt always work properly. If jumpers are correct and the cable is in the correct position, then download this ( http://www.hitachigst.com/hdd/support/download.htm#DFT ) and allow it to make a bootable floppy. The software will test the drive to ensure it is okay. If it passes, then you may be dealing with a virus.

Your system does need to see the drive in the BIOS to boot. And you might want to change the primary boot device in Bios to Floppy when you test the drive.

Good luck! :)
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Author Comment

by:daveask
ID: 12675404
Report2:

Now, every time switch on the PC, I reached the Sate Mode window. After that, whatever I select, I reached this window again! It looks I reached C: now?
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Author Comment

by:daveask
ID: 12675943
Soory, I meant the Safe Mode window.
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LVL 7

Expert Comment

by:frajico
ID: 12676163
Get a new HD, install Windows XP in that new Hard Drive, try to access the old one and copy the file you can (protected with a good ans actualized antivirus), and then, format the old one ..

Salu2
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LVL 3

Expert Comment

by:matthew1471
ID: 12676465
Ok allow me to sum up :)

The drive *sometimes* works, the Bios *sometimes* can see the drive.. so it basically is failing sometimes and not others.. this basically means you seriously need to reclaim as much as you can from that drive before "it's a gonner"

You can still reclaim your files by hooking up the new drive, and fitting it, installing Windows to the new drive (Switch off the computer)... then with the case off plug in the old one either using the IDE Cable that the CD Rom currently uses, or see if you can use another plug of the hard drive cable... then boot Windows and grab the files off it, I don't think you can *suddenly* just get infected because you have a drive with a virus in there, but you'll wanna be careful of what you copy across and not open up any executable files that you dont know are what

People have all sorts of weired methods to keepa  HDD alive that is failing (Freezing the drive for a while, putting it in an airing cuboard) none of these I have tried but your best bet is to research it on google and see what they recommend :)

Hopefully now we've answered the question as to if it's hard drive failure or virus on the basis that the drive is tempromental and that the BIOS sometimes fails to recognise it (This could not be the work of a virus, as I was told a long time ago "A Virus can never damage hardware") sure it can kill your data and kill off Windows, but it can never to irreperable damage to the drive.

Sorry to break the bad news
Matt
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Author Comment

by:daveask
ID: 12680734
Report
--------

Added another hard disk as master, "problem disk" as slave.
Found something wrong in FAT or the "problem disk" by scandisk.
Downloaded DFT as Slaid99 suggested.
Erased the "problem disk" by running DFT.
---------------------------------------------------------

I don't know if the "problem disk" was formated (low) or not during erasing.
I cannot see the "problem disk" under MyComputer.

 
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Expert Comment

by:matthew1471
ID: 12681893
Go into Disk Management in "Computer Management" you should be able to assign a letter to the "Problem Disk"
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Author Comment

by:daveask
ID: 12682118
matthew1471,

Do you mean right click MyComputer.....I did that many times but cannot find the disk. If cannot see the disk how to assign a letter to it?
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Expert Comment

by:Slaid99
ID: 12682389
Windows XP has a disk management tool that allows you to either change the letter of the drive.

If you go into the Device Manager (right click on My Computer, then left click Properties. that will bring up the window that you can find it in) Make sure you can see the drive as being connected. You probably can, and if you do, then the disk management tool should allow you to either assign a drive number or "import foreign disk" (that is a Win2k thing, I believe it is the same for WinXP). It may be solely because you did a full format and did not partition it.
You do not want to low level format the drive, and if you did, it would have taken a looong time (at least I have never seen one done quickly :) ). I use a rule personally that states to me, if I have to low level format, I return the drive first for warranty. To me, that is a thing of the past (emphasis on the "to me" part... others may not agree).

The Disk Management tool is an Administrative Tool, so you may have to enable that by right clicking on the task bar and going into Properties, where you will find a check mark in there somewhere (I am not a WinXP guru... I dont like the OS... ;0) ) to allow you to see the Administrative Tools in your Start Menu programs. Good tool to know about... look it over.

I hope that helps.
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Expert Comment

by:Slaid99
ID: 12682404
Just a question... when you ran DFT.. did it test and verify that the drive is functioning okay? If it mentioned any errors at all, my first impulse is to warranty the drive immediately. I dont allow any drives in any of my systems that i am not as close to 100% sure of as possible, because... basically life is too short.
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LVL 3

Expert Comment

by:matthew1471
ID: 12682663
heh just type "diskmgmt.msc" into Start->Run and hit enter :)

That'll show you all the logical drives :)
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LVL 3

Expert Comment

by:matthew1471
ID: 12682670
to assign a drive letter to something, right click a drive in the list and hit "Change Drive Letter and Paths"
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Expert Comment

by:matthew1471
ID: 13107619
Sorry mail server problems I didn't get the original message

Can I please have some points from this question? myself, surge84 and Slaid99 I think are all deserving :P

Matt
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Accepted Solution

by:
modulo earned 0 total points
ID: 13130504
PAQed with no points refunded (of 200)

modulo
Community Support Moderator
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Expert Comment

by:matthew1471
ID: 13130683
or not
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Expert Comment

by:matthew1471
ID: 13131038
Ok no worries :) Just thought it was unanomously decided the drives failing and we all helped to diagnose this an suggest solutions for reclaiming data..

Still it's not the end of the world and there's pllenty more points to be had
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