HP touchsmart IQ820 problems

Hello (HP) experts.

A friend just gave me a hp IQ820 because he can not live with it. It freezes, won't restart and won't work for him.
And yes, he just gave it to me, nice huh !
Full specs link to HP :

I'm done updating W7 64b, all HP update progs and i tested all hardware things incl mainboard with the pc docter integrated test software, no errors anywhere.

My main problem at the moment is that when watching TV the pc freezes, sound goes stuttering and hard reboot, reboot reboot is needed as it won't restart correct. ( windows keeps loading on screen but no end result )

I found out that after removing the power for half an hour and doing first a diagnostics check it reboots correctly.

Sometimes the F9 diagnostics tell me hard drive failure is imminent.
One problem i keep reading on the net is that of overheating and hard disk failure.

What to do ???

Change the HD  ? F9 diagnostics told me once the HD is going to crash but even extended SMART test with pc docor goes fine.
Change the RAM ? No problem detected by pc-doctor but maybe....
Change the video card ?  Maybe the TV card ?

The strange thing is that the pc did run correctly for 2 days and 5 min ago suddenly froze again.

As I'm not sure how to continue maybe an expert on this forum has had some similar strange things..

(sorry if this Q is a bit vague, i have no experience with these kind of pc's and it's a very nice machine but i don't understand much of it yet.)
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Overheating would have probably made the computer in a few cases restart or more likely shutdown. Nevertheless it will still be a good idea to make sure dust is out of the fans and keep an eye on them to make sure they are turning on every often.
Hard drive errors or memory errors are more likely. If you don't detect these errors in the fast scans, you should detect them in the longer version of the scans with multiple iterations.
I was looking up for a list of hard drive tests you can get depending on the manufacturer of your hard drive (these are usually very good):

Fujitsu http://www.fcpa.fujitsu.com/download/hard-drives/#diagnostic 
IBM and Hitachi http://www.hgst.com/hdd/support/download.htm#DFT 
Maxtor/Quantum http://www.maxtor.com/en/support/products/index.htm 
Samsung http://www.samsungelectronics.com/hdd/support/utilities/utilities_index.html 
Seagate http://www.seagate.com/support/seatools/index.html 
Western Digital http://support.wdc.com/download/index.asp?cxml=n&swid=1
Spinrite is not brand specific. It is very good.... http://grc.com/spinrite.htm ($89). It is an all time favorite and I cannot even start to tell you how many drives it has saved for me and my customers. Some of them with S.M.A.R.T. errors (Self-Monitoring, Analysis, and Reporting Technology) came back to life long enough for me to recover the data.

You can also try to use HDD Regenerator from http://store2.esellerate.net/store/ProductInfo.aspx?StoreIDC=STR793615240&SkuIDC=SKU9923428806&pc=  ($39)
It is the new kid in the block. I have personally verified how good it works (it is now part of my personal everyday toolkit along with SpinRite) and have recommended it several times, it has already recovered several drives that even SpinRite was ignoring.
  • Ability to detect physical bad sectors on a hard disk drive surface.
  • Ability to repair physical bad sectors (magnetic errors) on a hard disk surface.
  • The product ignores file system, scans disk at physical level. It can be used with FAT, NTFS or any other file system, and also with unformatted or unpartitioned disks.
  • Starting process directly under Windows XP / Vista.
  • Bootable regenerating flash can be created from the program and used to automatically start regenerating process.
  • Bootable regenerating CD allows starting regenerating process under DOS automatically.
    "...Almost 60% of all hard drives damaged with bad sectors have an incorrectly magnetized disk surface. they have developed an algorithm which is used to repair damaged disk surfaces. This technology is hardware independent, it supports many types of hard drives and repairs damage that even low-level disk formatting cannot repair. As a result, previously unreadable information will be restored. Because of the way the repair is made, the existing information on the disk drive will not be affected!

    Since the program does not change the logical structure of a hard drive, the file system may still show some sectors marked earlier as "bad", and other disk utilities such as Scandisk will detect logical bad sectors even though the disk has been successfully regenerated and is no longer damaged by physical bad sectors. If you want to remove these marks, repartition the hard disk drive...."

    It uses a very similar algorithm method as SpinRite where it reads a 0 or a 1, writes and replaces it with the opposite on the drive, then deletes it a writes back again the original 0 or 1 thus making sure the drive is readable and writable ($39).
    Here is a more extensive list of the top 7 Free Hard Drive Testing tools you might find useful:
    You could also download from http://www.knoppix.net/ the boot cd and run the hard drive tests provided with knoppix there.
As for the other components you mention such as the TV card, the best way to test is to remove it for a while and see if the problem dissapears.

I hope this can help.

Bits ...

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>>   the F9 diagnostics tell me hard drive failure is imminent  <<   that is probably exactly what is happening.
Good suggestion above, here's what i can add :
i use the ubcd - which has all diags for ram and disk (and more) : http://www.ultimatebootcd.com/      
note that the problem can come from the disk controller on the mobo too  - you can use a smart reader to look into the smart info (spinrite has one !)

>>  I found out that after removing the power for half an hour and doing first a diagnostics check it reboots correctly    <<   this points to a capacitor problem on mobo or PS

for the overheating, you can install speedfan to monitor the temps, and look if it'ss  the disk or CPU that overheats : http://www.almico.com/speedfan.php      

if it's the disk; replace it
if it's the cpu, you can try replacing the cpu heatpaste
RonaldZaalAuthor Commented:
I finally got spinrite and started the system with a boot cd.
Spinrite stops after 29% and the hard disk make s the known "clack" or "tick" sound.
I really don't understand as windows normally boots well.....  Maybe this is just HP magic which i don't understand.....
I will change the HD and hope that this will help.
Many thanks for great help and pointers. Pls allow me to split points.
RonaldZaalAuthor Commented:
thanks again for explaining so clearly
>>    the known "clack" or "tick" sound.   < <   that is typical for a disk that can't read the sectoring info, so the heads move, and finally bump into the head stop; then it tries again...
so yes, it is aa disk that must be replaced !
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