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Extreme hard drive slow down

Posted on 2009-12-31
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Last Modified: 2012-05-08
I have a 1 TB Hitachi Deskstar SATA hard drive, which I bought a few months ago and am using as a secondary drive (OS is on another disk). Today, Windows popped up the message "Windows detected a hard disk problem." I can still access the disk and browse through the files. However, when attempting to move files off to another drive, the transfer rate is extremely slow. The copying process starts at a reasonable speed, and a few files get transferred quickly, and then the transfer slows down to around 300 kB/s. As far as I can tell, the drive is not making any unusual noises.

What kind of failure does this indicate? Is there anything that can be done?
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Question by:noachor
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by:akahan
ID: 26155819
Which Windows operating system?  XP? Vista?  7?  98? :-)
How is the 2nd hard drive connected?  Is it in a USB enclosure, or is it internal, or ???
How is the 2nd drive formatted?  NTFS?  FAT32?  or ???
Does the disk perform correctly when in another machine?
If you check the IDE channel in Device Manager, under Advanced Settings, has it gone into PIO mode?

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by:Shift-3
ID: 26155906
Try running Hitachi's Drive Fitness Test.

A version of it is included on the Ultimate Boot CD.
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by:noachor
ID: 26155950
My OS is Windows 7. The drive is connected internally, and formatted NTFS. I booted into Ubuntu 9.10 on the same machine, and experienced the same slow transfer rates. While in Ubuntu, I tried using ddrescue to create a disk image on another drive, and again the transfer rate is extremely slow.I then physically transfered the disk to another Windows 7 machine, connected internally, and again found the same issue.

As far as PIO mode, when I check either of the ATA channels in device manager, there are no devices listed in the advanced settings tab.
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LVL 26

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by:akahan
ID: 26155994
If the transfer rate is extremely slow in another machine, the problem is almost certainly the disk itself.  You might want to try running HDDScan on it ( http://hddscan.com/ )  It's free, and will tell you a lot.  In particular, I'd be looking to see if the disk is running excessively hot.

It's good that you were able to create a disk image on another drive...I'd hold onto that image, as this drive may be failing.

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by:noachor
ID: 26156010
Allright, I'll try the scanning tools. I wasn't actually able to create an image -- at the transfer rate it would have taken months.
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by:David
ID: 26156229
Most likely you lost a sector. The disk is remapping from spares as quickly as it can. Backup and replace the disk
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by:David
ID: 26156231
(I wouldn't bother doing the fitness test .. more important to spend the time now doing a full backup).
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by:noachor
ID: 26156760
I did run the fitness test -- returned disposition code 0x70. I am trying to backup, but the incredibly slow transfer is making it difficult.
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David earned 2000 total points
ID: 26156862
so the fitness test confirmed the obvious ... next time remember there is a time to run diags and a time to run backups.   whenever a disk is in stress, spend the precious remaining time that the disk may have backing up.  there will be plenty of time to run diags when and if a backup completes.

your syslog should be recording specifics of IO errors, are you getting unrecovered or recovered errors, are blocks on a regular interval?  after a full backup you can run some self tests and destructive writes to see if the disk can be trusted or junked (unless there is warranty remaining) ... but the walkaway is to prioritize full backup over diags when a disk is in stress.
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by:nobus
ID: 26157409
i have something more for you :   run HDD regenerator on your drive :  http://www.dposoft.net/
it has repaired already 3 non working disks for me.
you can run the free trial, and check if it repairs the first sector; if it does, it probably will help.
of course, hardware failure like surface scratches cannot be repaired (but it repairs more than 60% of reported bad drives)
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by:PCBONEZ
ID: 26157788
The drive is developing bad or corrupted sectors.
HDD regenerator might work as a quick fix but it might be a temporary quick fix depending on what the drive's problem is.
.
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by:akahan
ID: 26158542
I agree with dlethe that backing up irreplaceable data is more important than figuring out what's wrong with the drive.  In your shoes, i would probably triage - rather than trying to image the entire disk, I'd do the most important and irreplaceable data first: pictures, documents, etc.  You can always reload Windows from scratch onto a new drive from the installation CD, but your data may be forever lost if you don't rescue it before the drive dies.
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by:David
ID: 26158813
If the data is worth over $1000, then the more conservative thing to do, and safest thing to do is turn it off, and send it to a data recovery firm. They've got clean rooms and will remove the platter and recover before any more damage can be done.

In your situation, you probably have a small piece of oxide that broke off and is flying around inside the sealed compartment, smashing against the platter making things worse every second.  Any chunk that gets cracked or flies off makes it worse, and prevents recovery of that small piece.

So tick tick tick ... every second the drive is up could be the last one. Just remember that.
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by:PCBONEZ
ID: 26158959
I agree, if that data on the drive is that important send it to a data recovery firm before the drive gets any worse.
.
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by:Mike_Carroll
ID: 26159441
If the drive has failed the DFT, replace it stat! Copy your files and bear the pain of the copy but replace the drive. I've seen this too many times.
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by:nobus
ID: 26160800
and i have 3 drives repaired like that, and none came back yet (for more than a year now)
it all depends on what he wants...
some feedback helps !
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by:noachor
ID: 26162751
At this point I am perfectly happy to let the drive die -- I am must trying to rescue as much as possible. There is ~700gb of data on it; I made a priority list and am just letting it work until it finally fails. I tried HDD Regenerator briefly; no problems were found within the first few 1% of sectors. Like all other disk operations (file transfer, bit for bit image creation, chkdsk), the process was extremely slow (< 500 kB/s) with occasional speedups -- certain regions appear to work at normal speeds.
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by:nobus
ID: 26164787
>>   the process was extremely slow  <<  that is caused by the disk problems. windows normally changes the mode from DMA to PIO when it has problems
more info : http://winhlp.com/node/10

how long did the 1% take ?
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by:PCBONEZ
ID: 26165319
That is true but -SUPER- slow is usually bad sectors and the disc reading the same spot over and over trying to get a good read.
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