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Harware Failure?

Posted on 2006-05-05
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Last Modified: 2010-04-26
I have a Toshiba Laptop that has recently begun acting really slow with minimal CPU usage. I though that it may have been a virus or spy ware problem, but after thorough scans nothing was found. The hard drive light stays on a lot and I have received the blue screen a couple of times. I decided to run scan disk but on step four of the process it only gets so far and then locks up. I can get back into Windows after it takes a VERY LONG TIME to load and usually takes longer to run programs. All of this leads be to believe that the hard drive is bad. Do you all agree? If so, what can I do to fix it without loosing the information stored on it? Thanks!
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Question by:jbyrd1981
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Callandor earned 1520 total points
ID: 16616818
I agree that it is probably your hard drive going bad.  Remove it from the laptop and use this adapter http://www.compuplus.com/insidepage.php3?id=1000197 to hook it up as a slave in a desktop.  Make sure the desktop you use has WinXP or Win2K if the drive is formatted as NTFS.
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by:PUNKY
ID: 16617004
Or you can get the adapter and hook up to other desktop system as Callandor recommended, then do ghost the drive to new one! Put new one back to laptop, you wont loose anything.
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Expert Comment

by:AcousticNut
ID: 16617053
From the description, it really sounds like you got it right and the Hard Drive is going bad.   Using either device manager or your invoice, find out the manufacturer of the drive and download diagnostic tools from their website.   This is a much better option than using MS ScanDisk and they will sometimes be able to "repair" the drive by blocking out bad sectors of the drive.  If the manufacturer's scan doesn't reveal anything, then it might be as simple a solution as running a "Windows Repair" to resolve the issues that you're having.

As far as data is concerned, I've used Callandor's method mentioned above when a desktop PC is available, and that method works well.   You could also try connecting to another PC through a local network and backing your data up that way, however if the hard drive is bad some data may not be recoverable.

Good luck.
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by:Mohammed Hamada
Mohammed Hamada earned 80 total points
ID: 16618637
I recommend that you use knoppix.. Some features about it..

1. runs from a Bootable CD and u need not to install it to HDD at all.
2. will be entirely loaded on RAM from it's CD.
3. booting takes only 3 minutes.
4. gives gives full GUI mode.
5. dynamically detects & installs all Drivers at runtime automatically. (Graphics, Sound, IDE, SATA etc.).
6. gives Read-Write access to HDD without installing on it.
7. supports FAT12, FAT16, FAT 32, NTFS, EXT2, EXT3 etc. File Systems.
8. gives your previous system untouched back after shutdown.(Does not write anything to HDD).
9. resets all configuration on each boot. (Does not get corrupted.)
10 can be freely downloaded from:-
ftp://sunsite.informatik.rwth-aachen.de/pub/Linux/knoppix/knoppix-cd/KNOPPIX_V4.0.2CD-2005-09-23-EN.iso

Hope this helps.
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by:jbyrd1981
ID: 16619796
Moh,

I tried the Knopixx idea and let me just say, Ingenious!!!! I would have never have thought to take that route even though I played with Knopixx in my college stuidies. The Linux OS is operating flawlessly on my laptop and I am actually typing this message from it. So would you all agree that since this works no problem that my hard drive is bad? Did it just happen or could a virus have caused a hard drive corruption? Well, I am not too familiar with Linux but I was wondering if there any way to check my hard drive now using something like scandisk? I am going to try Callandors idea but I have to get the part first. Great suggestions!!!
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by:Mohammed Hamada
ID: 16619919
Hello jbyrd1981

Basically The OS now which you have typed your message from, have nothing to do with the HDD.... However when you boot up to linux by knoppix it only works using the CD-ROM and the RAM, That's why they call it Live linux, But If you can reach to your HDD through this then yes I agree with you, Try to do a virus scan, also try to diagnose your HDD for any bad sectors which might be corrupting windows or/and prevent it from starting up.

If you have two partitions, try to copy any data from Windows partition to the other one, and do a repair or fresh installation.

Good Luck
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by:jbyrd1981
ID: 16620121
Is there any way to scan the hard drive through the Linuix OS?
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by:PUNKY
ID: 16620134
You can use diagnostic software to check your hard drive. Check your hard drive vendor, and go its website to download diagnostic software.
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by:veedar
ID: 16621603
The smartmontools I believe are on the knoppix cd so assuming your disk is hda as root run...

smartctl -a /dev/hda

If not you can run "fdisk -l" to list your disks
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by:Nemesis09
Nemesis09 earned 400 total points
ID: 16628196
I'd strongly reccomend Seatools from www.seagate.com. It will usually work well even if your not running a seagate drive and the whole thing boots and runs from a cd or floppy so it will work unhindered as Knoppix does.
Run all of the scans, and you should be assured of the problem.
If it finds "Bad Sectors" on your HDD, avoid using the drive as much as possible back up your data ASAP to have the best chance of saving your data.
I'd reccomend going with Callandors method to save your data, I've litterally used this method, combined with Seatools many more times than I can remember and it usually provides the best results.

I hope this helps.
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Author Comment

by:jbyrd1981
ID: 16635812
Nemisis, Thanks for the seatools link. I ran it and came up with several bad sectors on the hard drive. Going back to my original question, would this confirm the need for a new hard drive?? I got the adaptor in the mail today and I am going to see if I can salvage some of my information on it. I just need to know if I should try to salvage the harddrive. Either way I have a new one on order.
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by:Callandor
ID: 16636048
Once a hard drive exhibits errors that don't go away, I don't trust it anymore.  My time is worth more than the cost of a new hard drive.
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by:Nemesis09
ID: 16636396
If the HDD has Bad Sectors it is definatley dieing and definatley should be replaced. You COULD block off the bad sectors and try to continue using the drive but whatever caused these bad sectors will probably cause more. The drive may work perfectly for years to come once the bad sectors are blocked, or it may screw up the moment you try to use it. Its a huge gamble, especially if the data you want to store on it is valuable.

Is it really worth the extra space if it means that at any moment you could use EVERYTHING?

Its up to you, glad I could be of assistance.
Good Luck
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by:Nemesis09
ID: 16636407
*lose everything :)
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by:jbyrd1981
ID: 16636635
Thanks for everyones help!!!
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