Hard Drives Crashing

I have a pc on the blink.  It's got 2 HDDs; one 40GB, and one 120GB.  The 40GB has 2 partitions, one of which holds the OS (WiN XP).

The pc will not boot... looks like the 40GB drive has died on me.

Here is my question:

What are the possible causes for my HDDs to fail (as this is not the first)?

Bad power supply?  Chipset bad, etc?

I am either going to rebuild this pc (upgrade implied), or spend 1K on a dell b/c my wife is super pissed that her files (MBA School) are gone.

I am aware of RAID (data redundancy) but not on the up and up with it.  

I'd appreciate some thoughts.

Thanks,

-B.
jbcase01Asked:
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maramomCommented:
Hard Drives gone bad
--Bad power supply can fry them
--Vibration can damage them
--heat build up can damage them
--sometimes they just - go

You said the system won't boot---is the 40 gb drive seen in BIOS? If it is the drive itself may not be bad, but either the partitions or boot record damaged.
If it's seen in BIOS, data recovery may work: www.runtime.org
There are other options as well..fixing partitions, boot record. etc.... so please post if it's seen in BIOS.

Setting up a Raid1 array will give you a second drive in case of one failing. If your motherboard supports it, it can be done. If it doesn't, you can get a raid controller card that will do the job.
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PCBONEZCommented:
maramom is right. Don't write-off that drive so fast it may be recoverable.

RAID.
You -STILL- need to do frequent backups even if you have a raid setup.
The raid will protect you from -hardware failure- but that's it.
If Windows itself gets screwed up (say you get a nasty VIRUS),, raid will just ensure you have two copies of it.

PCBONEZ
.


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nobusCommented:
there were a lot of bad drives , what brand is it ? maxtor?
for recovery first rule : stop using the drive.
setup a working PC with XP, install the recovery soft, then connect this drive as slave and try to recover.
if the drive is not seen in the bios, your chances for recovery are low.
However, as said, if you got no errors from the drive, you can usually repair the OS with a repair install :

http://www.michaelstevenstech.com/
 you can use any of these for testing the drive : (don't select write stests) :

http://www.disk-utility.com/hard-disk-low-level-format.html
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