Is this a hard drive going bad?


I have a Panasonic CF-Y2 notebook that has started having problems. It would not boot, even into safe mode, giving the "missing or corrupt hal.dll message"

Running CHKDSK that is on the Bart PE CD, it found and repaired various "bad clusters"

The Windows repair console would not work, so a did a repair windows installation off of the XP CD.
It let me choose to repair which I did, I had to put in the windows key again. After the installation was complete, the PC would would once again boot into Windows XP Pro, and all the programs and files were still there.

However, this am the PC again would not boot, this time claiming an IRQ problem, but the screen flashed too fast to get the details. It would only boot into safe mode after repeated attempts

Later in the day it would boot normally to XP Pro.

My question is, in light of the repair windows installation, is this likely a symptom of the Hard Drive starting to fail? Or should I be looking for other problems.

Thank you for any help
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Rob WilliamsCommented:
Though corrupt hal.dll file can be signs of a failing drive, there can be other reasons, however where you have detected bad clusters it is the sign that the drive is starting to fail. Back up any critical data right away.
To confirm there are problems download the diagnostic software from the drive manufacturer and test the drive......after you have backed up the data, the drive could fail completely and become un-readable at any time.
Can you hook up the drive on other system? if so, try that to copy data off the drive first.
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bagua1Author Commented:
Yes I could, or I could take an image as it is working now. What I am wondering is do these symptoms indicate a Hard Drive problem? Or could it be something else?
Check your hard drive vendor/model, then go their website to download diagnostic utility and test the drive.
If you download the ubcd, it includes the tools of the disk manufacturer's as well as other usefull utilities, like memtest86+ etc.
or use thise for testing :                        Burnin test                              TuffTest lite
bagua1Author Commented:
Thank you for the suggestions. I am currently running tests with the Ultimatebootcd, I also ran the Tufftest
but it would freeze at the screen where it tests disk speed.

The PC continues a pattern of failing to boot in the morning, several tries into safe mode and it will eventually boot, and then run fine.
>>   but it would freeze at the screen where it tests disk speed  <<  possibly bad disk; try the manufacturers disk test from ubcd
bagua1Author Commented:
So far the tests with UBCD have not found any errors.

The problem has revealed a strange dimension. When the user attempts to boot the laptop at home, it will not boot into anything except safe mode. But when he brings it to the office, it can boot, but sometimes takes a couple tries, possibly into safemode. This has been a daily occurrence all week long, can not boot at home, boots in the office. He has tried booting at home with the wireless disabled on his laptop, and with the modem/router unplugged, same thing, boots in the office but not at home. Is there a possible explanation for this? Could there be something on the network in the office that Windows is using to repair itself during the boot process?

The even log shows some errors.

in System Events, the most common are: System error   catagory 102, & service control manager
less common are: sr, w22n5i, DHCP, IPNathlp & W32time

in Application events: Application error  cat100

Also, when the laptop fail to boot, there is a blue screen flashed that says something about an IRQ conflict, but it is too fast to get the details.

Thoroughly check the system for malware, which can cause different behaviour within different user profiles.
set it to NOT restart on errors - 2 ways :
-in windows device manager>advanced tab click restart settings > uncheck the restart on errors
- boot to safe mode (hit F8 key) select NOT to restart on errors - this can give more info.
the fact it does boot at the office, can point at the boot priority setttings, check if the HDD is set as ONLY boot device
bagua1Author Commented:
I did discover the problem. The laptop would boot at the office but not at home, no difference with the home wireless router turned off. I then had the user disable the wireless card on the laptop, it then booted into XP with no problem. It seems there was some other wireless signal in the building that was causing the laptop to crash while booting!

The problem was resolved by updating the Intel Pro Wireless driver, it then could boot at both locations.

Very strange. Thank you for the comments, good learning experience and I now use the UBCD
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