what makes chkdsk and/or HDD diagnostics slow to a crawl and/or keep starting over?

Posted on 2006-11-17
Last Modified: 2012-05-05
On a dell PC with a WD HD, chkdsk /r takes about 30 mins to get to 70% then sudenly goes back to 50%

Likewise the buillt-in dell diagnostic util for the same IDE hd gets to the IDE disk "read test", which gets to about 30%, then drops back to 0% and starts over -- WITHOUT having moved onto the next test.

Last time I encountered this behavior, people said it was probably a bad HD.

I'm just checking in to see if most responders agree.
Question by:dgrrr
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LVL 32

Accepted Solution

willcomp earned 75 total points
ID: 17969913
Generally means a failing/failed hard disk.  Try WD diagnostics as well which should provide pass/fail results along with an error code if it fails.

Select Data Lifeguard DOS version.

Expert Comment

ID: 17969939
Does the dell diagnostc tool run outside of windows?  If it doesnt then try a HD diagnostic tool that does to avoid windows virii/spyware problems.

Assisted Solution

Smacky311 earned 25 total points
ID: 17969955
Also look at the event viewer and make sure you don't see multiple disk errors in the system log (start - run - type eventvwr and hit ok.)  This indicates a failing hard drive.

Assisted Solution

achchee earned 25 total points
ID: 17970030
People may say that it is a bad hard drive, and sometimes that is true, but a LOT of times I run chkdsk and get the same results that you are getting.  If the drive is a larger drive it takes even longer, but for the most part I don't have any trouble out of a pc after I have used chkdsk.  I support computers in a hospital that a lot of users use.  You are not alone on this one.
LVL 10

Expert Comment

ID: 17970627
Might want to back up your inportant data real fast. But I would run the WD software also.
I have to check Dell and HP/Compaq hard drives before we rma them and sometimes even the diagnostics say good when the drive is grinding away.
BACK IT UP. Also might want to run some Hard drive benchmarks just to see if it kills the drive after the data is backed up.
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LVL 91

Assisted Solution

nobus earned 25 total points
ID: 17970761
in my case, it was a corrupted XP system that caused it. a clean install cured it of course.
you can try also :
-run sfc /cannow from the run box
-a repair install :      
LVL 31

Expert Comment

ID: 17970819
If the built-in HD test doesn't run cleanly, you are probably looking at a "back-up-immediatly" situation with a failing hard drive. The problem may be physically bad sectors or some kind of logical corruption. I think I'd back up now, like, and then zero fill the drive, test it with whatever tool the manufacturer offers and then replace or reuse, depending on results. A fresh install of your O/S is of course indicated.
LVL 26

Expert Comment

ID: 17970855
Yes, it usually it means the hard drive is going bad.

However, if you doing the chkdsk from within windows and have anything else running that writes to the disk that can cause chkdsk to restart. I have had Anti-Virus programs do this 'I think' due to rewriting their log file record of the files that had been opened (in this case by chkdsk). Once that write happened I would have a "Disk Has Changed" error flash for a second and then  chkdsk would restart. (A web browser running will do the same thing due to 'Temporary Internet Files' and/or cookies being written to the disk.)
- Backup your files.
- Then set chkdsk to run on the next boot. (This way it loads and runs before anything else runs and it has exclusive control of the disk.)
- Then reboot and see if it finishes.

LVL 32

Expert Comment

ID: 17971571
Unless Dell has changed methods, HDD diagnostics run during boot before loading windows and are similar to manufacturer diagnostics.

chkdsk can be run from within XP or from install CD.  It would help to know which method was used.

It's about time for some feedback from dgrrr.

Author Comment

ID: 17975822
Wow, you guys are fast!  So many responses - dunno how to split pts.

Everything's backed up, and chkdsk was run from the XP boot disk, not windows. Likewise the Dell diagnostic util runs from a pre-windows state.

So yes, I see from your responses, that this behavior indicates that the HD is bad.

Since posting I have more info - which is disconcerting, this may be a special case. I'm not sure if it's appropriate to post this info here - since my question was really about a general symptom, not this one case. I'll start another thread about this particular computer

thx guys!

Author Comment

ID: 17975833
split points based on first answer (yes it's probably a HD), and then gave some pts to the other possible causes.

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