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What is the source of hard drive imminent failure warning?

Posted on 2008-10-08
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Last Modified: 2010-10-05
Family member brought me their Compaq Presario SR513ONX to fix.  It is running Vista (fully updated) and has a Samsung SP2504C master hard drive.  It has started giving the warning "Hard disk failure is imminent.  Please back up your hard disk and have it replaced." at boot up.  Have to press F2 to continue.  Machine/system boots up ok (after F2), and seems to run ok.  I ran chkdsk; it indicated no problems (but dissappeared from the screen before I could read everything).  I ran the HP diagnotic which was preloaded on the machine; it says everything passed.  I ran ZoneAlarm's virus scan, Windows Defender, SpyBot, all no problems.  

Family member chatted with HP support.  She was told, "this is a known issue with the Seagate SATA Hard Disk Drive Utility".  She was instructed to download a patch.  She attempted to install the patch but it wouldn't install.  Support said, ok, you have a virus.  Restore the machine (back to how it was when it came out of the box with their built in restore feature), then apply the patch.  -------  The machine doesn't have a Seagate drive.  Is it really running a Seagate utility?  I think the fact that it is a Samsung drive is why the Seagate patch wouldn't install.

I did try to obtain the disk diagnostic utility from Samsung's web site for this model of hard drive.  It says, it is a DOS utility, so it must be download to a bootable 1.44 mb disk.  I don't know how to make a bootable floppy disk and even if I had one, there is no floppy drive on the machine.

Everything seems to run fine, so why it is giving me the imminent failure warning, and what do I do about it?
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Question by:CodeWordProj
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MikeKane earned 250 total points
ID: 22668916
This is generated by SMART.    Usually, manufacturers (like HP which I dealt with on this issue) will ask you to run their own disk checks.  HP, for example, will not replace a drive because of the SMART message, it will only replace a drive when its own diagnostics report an error.  

#1,  this is not going to be a virus.  
#2, HP's web site says that if their diagnostic doesn't detect an error, the drive is fine to use:
http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/fastFaqLiteDocument?lc=en&cc=us&product=18703&dlc=en&docname=c00480479

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by:Lee W, MVP
Lee W, MVP earned 250 total points
ID: 22669339
HP Support is incompetent (In my opinion, one of the many reasons I dislike HPs).  I'd start by downloading HDTune (should be a free version) that should be able to tell you what's going on.  S.M.A.R.T. is likely what is reporting to the BIOS a problem with the drive - at least one operating parameter is not within appropriate ranges and so it considers the disk in danger of failing.  It doesn't mean it will fail in the next 5 minutes, but sooner rather than later.

You can download the Ultimate Boot CD and use of the diagnostic tools on that (I believe it includes the Samsung Diagnostic program - but again, I'd start with HDTune).

references:
http://www.hdtune.com/
http://www.ultimatebootcd.com/
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Expert Comment

by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 22669360
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Author Comment

by:CodeWordProj
ID: 22670482
Thanks for the input.  I've downloaded the UBCD and am running Samsungs diagnostic.
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