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How to find a HDD's Life?

Posted on 2009-03-30
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How to find a HDD is going to die?  What are the symptomps that a HDD is about to go out of its service? Is there any application to find the health of the HDD?
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Question by:Markinven
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by:houssam_ballout
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by:Lee W, MVP
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Interesting discussion in that link.  HDDLIFE is a pay for program.

MOST computers have built-in monitoring features in SMART - Self-Monitoring, Analysis, and Reporting Technology - see:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S.M.A.R.T.

HDTune is a FREE program (with a paid version) that can read the SMART information from the drives.  But strictly speaking, that's a little pointless.  If you enable SMART monitoring in the BIOS, then when the system boots, it checks the drive.  If it finds things aren't working properly, it displays a warning at boot.  From that warning you could have 6 minutes ... or 6 MONTHS before the drive completely fails... but at that point, you want to replace the drive (especially considering how dirt cheap they are now (1 TB is less than $100 if you look).
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by:Markinven
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Thanks for the comments.
The reason that made me to ask this question is,  I have a Seagate 250GB IDE HDD.    I checked the SMART information using  a utlity named HDD SMARTVIEWER present in Hiren Boot CD.  It is showing the capacity of the HDD as just 128GB.     Is it a sign that HDD is about to die and time to backup the data?
Another application in Hirenboot CD (Hard Disk Sentinel) shows that HDD's health as 100%
 I also feel my system works slower than it worked last week. I did surface scans also . Few error's found and fixed.
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by:houssam_ballout
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Some errors could come from the OS that you are using also
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by:Michael-Best
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The best
HDD health with http://www.hdsentinel.com/dl.php (trial version has restricted features, but you dont need them) standard version runs in windows
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by:Michael-Best
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dos verion is free
http://www.hdsentinel.com/dl.php
will test any HDD via ATA or SATA connection or SATA via USB, or you could download FREE DOS version to make bootable floppy & test HDD in DOS or you could go to the HDD makers site for makers FREE DOS version test. (for dos testing the HDD must be the "master HDD for testing)

Here a link to HDD makers Hard Drive Diagnostics Tools and Utilities
http://www.tacktech.com/display.cfm?ttid=287#samsung
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by:nobus
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check if the disk is seen narmally in the bios;  if it shows only 128 GB, it can be due to the bios, or motherboard, that has no LBA 48-bit addressing enabled
more info (scroll down):  http://www.dewassoc.com/kbase/hard_drives/hard_drive_size_barriers.htm
check your motherboard bios updates if it has a fix
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by:Markinven
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I have partioned it as 5 partions. It can be explored and accessed in My computer. It can also be seen  in Bios. and it shows the full capacity.

But my computer hangs often and slow in performance than 3 days before.   My computer hangs when I access my 3rd and 4th partition.  So I doubt abt the life of the HDD.  Any ideas?
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by:dbrunton
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Well back up any important data for a start.

>> But my computer hangs often and slow in performance than 3 days before.   My computer hangs when I access my 3rd and 4th partition.

Could be almost anything.  Power supply failing.  Motherboard failing.  Virus on computer (this one is quite possible; I've had one that does that).

leew has recommended HDTune.  That can give you an indication of what condition your hard drive is in.  Try that.

You can also use the manufacturer's utils to diagnose your hard disk.

Michael-Best has recommended one link above.

I suggest the UBCD http://www.ultimatebootcd.com/

Download links are the icons at the top of the page above Overview.  Browse the page and see what utils are there for you.  Check the memory and hard disk utils especially.

Make the CD and boot from it.  Run the memory tester first - memtest -  and let it do two to three passes through your memory.  Memory could be the problem so get that test done first.

Then test the hard disk with the correct manufacturer's util for your hard disk.  Do the long test.  That will give you an idea of what condition your disk is in.
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by:houssam_ballout
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it could be that you had small page file, do you had enough RAM?
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by:nobus
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did you run the drive diag - suggested above?  it shows your disk status
here it is again :  http://www.tacktech.com/display.cfm?ttid=287#samsung
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by:MrMintanet
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All hard drives will die.  Check your BIOS for SMART test or Self Test options.  This initiates a test ran within the hard disk to check for physical errors.  Typical behavior of a dying drive is commonly suspect to random system lock ups, blue screen of death, intermittently starts up (sometimes Windows will load, sometimes it will not), clicking noise, beeping noise, exceptionally slow at loading small files.

Another very important test to run along with the SMART test would be a MEMTEST.  These are two standard diagnostics that should be done prior to any other diagnostics, IMHO.
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by:nobus
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yes, all drives die; but i have some running that are more than 10 years old, while others die withing the first 2 years...
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by:MrMintanet
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>>...

Is there more?  LOL

I think it's a conspiracy.  Think about it.  I mean, these older drives last an eternity.  Now a days, hard drives break so commonly, RAIDS are more popular than ever, and it's pretty much accepted and tolerated when the drives crap out.

IDE- Proven to last, but also proven to fail.  It is also being phased out, so it seems.
SATA - So hot,  you could boil water (not literally) on it
SCSI - Fast, durable, and a typical SCSI configuration is double if not tripple that of a SATA configuration
SSD - Wait for it.... wait for it.... wait for it.... sigh... when will it REALLY be ready?
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by:Markinven
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Thanks for all suggestions.  I have connected this 250 GB as a slave and another 40 GB as the master. I also noticed(using HD sentinel) that 250 GB HDD's temp is 45' and 40GB's temp is 35'. Both HDD is in same environment but why this temperature variation? Is this an issue?
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by:Markinven
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Thanks for all suggestions.  I have connected this 250 GB as a slave and another 40 GB as the master. I also noticed(using HD sentinel) that 250 GB HDD's temp is 45' and 40GB's temp is 35'. Both HDD is in same environment but why this temperature variation? Is this an issue?
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by:nobus
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it is because the drive is faster; requires faster running, and transistors/chips
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From my personal experience I would like to give a suggestion apart from above suggestions. Defective IDE cable could also be an issue. I had a similar problem and I replaced the IDE cable. It could solve the problem. Just explore HD Sentinel's messages. Is it giving any feedback about interface or communication problems?
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by:MrMintanet
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>>"I did surface scans also ."

Tip:  If your HD appears to be failing and you are suspicious of it's condition, the last thing you should do is an intensive procedure such as a surface scan.  Well, that is if there's data on it that you can live without.  Failing hard drives typically hate being spun up for things like this.

The reason for the heat increase:  The drive is 250GB. Larger capacity, but same size as the 40GB.  Did you run an actual SMART test?
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by:Markinven
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Yes. I think gsnshankar is correct. I got following msgs in HD sentinel's overview.

For 250 GB HDD
"Problems occurred between the communication of the disk and the host. In case of a sudden crash or reboot it is recommended to try a different, short data cable (avoid round cables, use 80 wire standard cables instead).
No actions needed."

For 40 GB HDD
"The hard disk status is PERFECT. Problematic or weak sectors were not found and there are no spin up or data transfer errors.
No actions needed."


I will post feedback after trying, replacing IDE cable and will check whether PC hangs when accessing 3 rd and 4th partition.




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by:MrMintanet
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IDE cable is a good tip, but if your partition is corrupt, this error message would be the same.  I do hope this solves the problem, however, I think you need to repair the partitions.
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by:Markinven
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Oh! Then I will try repairing the partitons and so please guide me how to repair the partitons?  Do I need to backup the data before?  I have HirenBoot CD . But don't have a knowledge to repair the partiton using it or by any means.   So far,  I used to format the disk if I come across such situations.
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by:MrMintanet
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Sir, before you do anything on a hard drive that is suspected to be failing, you should back up prior.  You need to run a SMART test or Self Test on the drive.  This will tell us if the drive is worth saving or not.

Your question is asking what the symptoms are for a dying hard disk.  Close this thread, and let's get a new one started that will discuss partition MBR repair.
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by:Markinven
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>> Check your BIOS for SMART test or Self Test options.  This initiates a test ran within the hard disk to check for physical errors.  Typical behavior of a dying drive is commonly suspect to random system lock ups, blue screen of death, intermittently starts up (sometimes Windows will load, sometimes it will not), clicking noise, beeping noise, exceptionally slow at loading small files.

I  dont have any above symptoms.  The problem is when accessing my 3 rd and 4 th partition system hangs(sometimes accessible slower and sometimes hang completely). and so I doubt what might be the problem.

 SMART info from HD tune and HD Sentinel says Health is 100%.    But Hiren Boot's HDD Smartviewer says drive is just 128 GB capacity.  Anyway I have a backup of data from those two partitions. Just for a knowledgebase I asked whether it is necessary to backup the data while partition repair else it is not mandatory.

I will try replace another IDE cable meanwhile and then close this thread.
 Thanks for your time.
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by:Michael-Best
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As i said
The best
HDD health with http://www.hdsentinel.com/dl.php
will give you due warnings about HDD health / backup, etc.  
 
you said

"HD Sentinel says Health is 100%"
100% is 100%
if you buy full version it will show HDD life expectancy too.
Data is precious, HDD life expectancy too.
HDD failure is the greatest cause of data loss.
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by:Michael-Best
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Your question:

"How to find a HDD is going to die?  What are the symptomps that a HDD is about to go out of its service? Is there any application to find the health of the HDD?"

It has ben answered.

Your problem is elsewhere.
Where?
Please ask a new question & I will be happy to solve it.
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by:MrMintanet
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Michael, I'm sure with the manner and tone you use in your answers, most would be happy for you not to solve their questions.  If someone is troubleshooting an issue, you expect them to ask a new question per component you work on?  If the problem is *solved*, I then suggest asking any other follow up questions in a new post.  The user is waiting to see if an IDE cable helps.  Why would you light him on fire like that?
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by:Markinven
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IDE cable is the defect. After replacing the IDE cable the disk is okay now. I can access 3rd and and 4th partiton with ease.   Thanks for everyone helped me in this issue.
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by:Michael-Best
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MrMintanet said:
"I'm sure with the manner and tone you use in your answers, most would be happy for you not to solve their questions"
I'm very sorry you take offense to my writing style.
In my country customers appreciate IT technical infomation to be straight to the point, as short as possible & informative, as IT downtime is costly .
Criticizing anothers comments is not constructive to the customer.
I am very sorry for presuming this E.E. forum is considerate of all cultures & ethnic backgrounds, it's not that I don't want to be polite.
I often post suggestions or links without any explanation or greetings.
Did you read the members agreement: http://www.experts-exchange.com/memberAgreement.jsp ?
I see I got 2 assisted solution credits here from the customer , this does not indicate any offense to my writing style from the customer.
If you wish to scorn me please do it in private" you can get my contact info. by going to my profile.
 
Have a nice Day
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by:David_Ward
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I had a S.M.A.R.T. enabled HD, several years ago, which told me it was going to "Fail: in approx 14 hours"

naturally, I backed up -everything- immedaitely.

I then ran-it-into-the-ground to see how accurate the failure time was .... pretty good as it turns out, within about 7 mins as I recall.
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by:MrMintanet
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What did you do to run it into the ground?  Xfer huge files?  Surface scan?
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