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HardDisk failure

    When programs behave incontrollable, display frozen, harddisk kept spinning, even Ctrl+Alt+Del wouldn't help, then I turned off the power. But disaster followed, Windows couldn't restart, it just rebooted again and again.
     I tried Anti-virus boot disk program, XP installation Recover Option, etc., nothing could help, even the OEM's reinstallation disk just erased everything but didn't start reinstallation. The harddisk kept running and occasionly emitted some strange noise.
     Finally by chance I tried a floppy boot disk software called MadBoot, it contained a Low Level Format program but was sluggishly slow. It ran for a whole day only to format a little bit of the whole Volume (57G). It took me another week to try all sort of things before I can reinstall Windows. Although now I am done, besides losing everything my running speed is only half of the original. I have used XP's Disk Utility to check and fix but it does little help and I have contacted the Manufacturer Agent but the respond was very inefficient that I have to bring the PC to them for analysis and it takes a week or so at least.
     Can you recommend some good softwares for me to check and fix this problem? It is quite strange that I did not get any error code if it was a Hardware failure.
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johnnyclkwong
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johnnyclkwong
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1 Solution
 
r-kCommented:
Sure seems like the hard disk is failing. But it could be other factors as well, such as loose IDE cable, bad disk controller, motherboard problem, etc. If possible, rule out the easy part first (cables), try a different controller, and move the disk to another system to see if it runs any faster there. Good luck.
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johnnyclkwongAuthor Commented:
I am using a Toshiba Satellite 5200 Notebook, the hard disk is fixed, I can't move it.
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r-kCommented:
Sorry, I forgot that part. Do try reseating the hard drive. Even though it's fixed, it should be possible to remove it by removing one or two screws. But, if you don't feel qualified please show it to someone who is.
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johnnyclkwongAuthor Commented:
But it is no way, the hard drive is sealed and the Lable write " If this seal is broken, you will not entitle further services from Toshiba ". Should I take this risk?
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TOC-FriedCommented:
No, give the laptop to toshiba and let them fix it, judging purely by the way you post to us, I would suggest highly giving it to Toshiba to fix.

Other software you may try is Partition magic, but this seems like a hardware fault, breaking warranty and screwing your laptop over is not worth it compared to waiting the week.
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johnnyclkwongAuthor Commented:
Hi TOC-Fried, this is a good idea, but as you can see I still can use this PC to communicate with you, it is better to put aside for a while for I already have a lot of emails accumulated in my mail boxes, if it stills wait another week it could be a heavy burden. Further more the inspection and repair fee is expansive compare with the service provided. I fear that after such repair another mal function will soon follow, otherwise how can these IT business firms make money.
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nobusCommented:
you can test it with burnintest, slect only the disc to test :

http://www.passmark.com/download/index.htm
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johnnyclkwongAuthor Commented:
Hi Everyone,
     First to nobus, the Burnintest is great, it shows PASSING after 15 min of test, so I needn't to worry it anymore even it is slowdown and sometimes emits strange noise.
     Then to gecko au2003, I am afraid to tell you that not every manufacturer has Testing Utilities to download, Toshiba is one of these, what you can find out from their sites are the Utility Programs to run the PC but not for diagnostic purposes.
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r-kCommented:
And, while you're doing all this, please keep your data backed up (to CD or elsewhere) because it could stop working altogether at some point.

Advice given by others is sound. Check if it's still in warranty. Alternately, see if a local repair shop will fix it cheaper than Toshiba.
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johnnyclkwongAuthor Commented:
Hi Everyone,
     I just used Everest to check my PC, the following information obtained:
STORAGE :   TOSHIBA MK6022GAX
SMART     : ID 05 Reallocated Sector Count
STATUS Pre-Failure: Imminent loss of data is being predicted
     Also I have searched all the Toshiba Sites but no Utility as mention by you was discovered.
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nobusCommented:
you are right, i did not find one either; you could try another brand test, maybe it'll work also, like maxtor's.
In either case you need to have a backup !
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johnnyclkwongAuthor Commented:
No, I won't stake my luck in this way. May be better tell me a good LOW LEVEL FORMATTING tool, so when it break down next time again, I can get it thoroughly cleaned.
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nobusCommented:
All those are low level formatting tools, but you can use this  one for all : DBan

http://dban.sourceforge.net/
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nobusCommented:
>>   No, I won't stake my luck in this way.    << you don't stake anything with trying those , it will recognise the drives, or it won't; that's all.
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johnnyclkwongAuthor Commented:
Hi nobus,
     You are right. I found out from Hitachi site that their Utilities arn't specifically orientated and can be adapted for most other brands' PC, I've downloaded some and checked my Hard Disk. Indeed, it shows there is a problem. I'll bring it to Toshiba for repair when I got the time but presently it can still work so I let it be. Thanks a lot for help.
     By the way, the diagnosis say that the SMART status failed, what on earth the "SMART" means? Is it a hardware or something else? Any remedy? I have used the Notebook for one year, is it the average life of a Notebook's hard disk?
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gecko_au2003Commented:
What is S.M.A.R.T. technology for hard drives?
S.M.A.R.T. (Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology) is implemented into all of the modern hard disks. A special program inside the disk constantly keeps tracking the condition of a range of the vital parameters: driver, disk heads, surface state, electronics, etc. At the present time, S.M.A.R.T. technology is able to predict up to 70% of all hard disk problems! However, to use this information, you firstly have to retrieve it from the disk and analyze it. This is one of the Active SMART program's tasks.

Im not sure on the average life span of a hard drive, I guess that depends on a lot of factors ie how much you use it, what you use it for , etc.

Also just wanted to say I think I deserved some points because the PAQ had those URL's with regards to the hard drive utilities :P

But oh well, not the end of the world, just glad I could help out lol :)

anyways I hope that helps you out :)
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nobusCommented:
Ok, and thanks for the info, gecko !
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gecko_au2003Commented:
no worries nobus :) Hopefully see you around on the site sometime :)
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johnnyclkwongAuthor Commented:
Hi gecko au2003,
     If you don't mind, I still have some points left in my account, I could transfer it all to you, just tell me how to do so.
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