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Is my hard drive bad?

Posted on 2012-04-05
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Last Modified: 2016-06-26
I have this computer that a customer brought to me that she complained that the Laptop was running and wanted me to wipe the hard drive clean and re-install the O.S.  So I backed up all her information, wiped the drive clean, and then proceeded to install the OS.  (Windows XP home ed.)  The windows files copied fine but when the laptop attempted to restart it says that "A disk read error accured."  So I ran a test on the hard drive with Western Digital testing software on another computer and it says that the disk is fine.  

       I then wrote all zeros to the disk, formated it, and attempted to install the OS again.  Again I got the same results as the first time.   Now, my question is: Could the hard drive still be bad even though the test results show good?  This disk (Western Digital) is still under warranty,  but I do not want to send it off to the company and claim a bad disk if it is indeed good.
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Question by:beemmer
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15 Comments
 

Expert Comment

by:Hedwig77
ID: 37812879
Is is a SATA hard drive?  Windows XP doesn't support SATA hard drives out of the box.  You'll need to install the drivers for the SATA hard drive during the XP installation.  There is an option at install that says something like "Press F6 to install a third party driver" and that's what you'd need.  

Windows 7 DOES natively support SATA drives and I've had to go that route in the past when I couldn't make XP work.
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Expert Comment

by:fjocke
ID: 37812886
So once you copied all the files, and restart to continue with install you get this message?

The first thing you need to check, is the boot priority order when you've restarted. It should be:

1. HDD (Hard Disk Drive)
2. CD-ROM
3. USB/Other

The other solution would be to test to get to command line interface using the system restore CD/DVD and run.

    Bcdboot [Windows installation drive]:\Windows /s [Startup drive]

If this still does not help, and if you got time, test to install a fast linux dist, if there is an error on the first sections of the drive, this should also fail.

Let me know how it works out!
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Author Comment

by:beemmer
ID: 37813094
This is an IDE Hard drive.  I changed the boot order in bios, but that didn't help.  It has not been very long that I installed this drive new and at that time the installation went perfect.

I do not have a linux disk, Can you tell me where there is a good place to download an ISO copy?

Now I attempted to boot from the windows installation disk and here is the way it acted:
(note: it did this same thing the first time I tried to install the OS this morning)
it went through the splash screen fine.
  I selected F12 and chose to boot from the CD installation disk.  I got the "press any key to boot from CD",
Then I got the normal message "Windows is inspecting your current configuration" -- Then the screen goes blank, I hear the disk stop spinning and everything just stops.  So that means I cannot attempt the command line interface that you suggested

This is a Dell Inspiron 1150 Laptop.  I also have a Dell Latitude D610 that I plugged the hard drive in and got the exact same results.
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Expert Comment

by:willcomp
ID: 37813294
Have you tried another XP CD? Disk error could be on the CD and not the hard disk.
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Expert Comment

by:fjocke
ID: 37813659
For easy installation and test go with ubuntu -> http://ftp.sunet.se/pub/os/Linux/distributions/ubuntu/ubuntu-cd//precise/

and download an iso that matches your arch (probably i386). If this still does not work
as last resort, try to restore bios to factory settings.

Yeah, something is without a doubt wrong with the hdd, and you would be wise to consult your customer about buying a new one. You have given it everything you've got.
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Expert Comment

by:hdmiller
ID: 37813838
Make sure to unplug any usb devices from the computer.  Sometimes it tried to boot to them.

Check the jumpers on the HD too, make sure it's set to CS.  Try a different IDE slot on the motherboard.
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Author Comment

by:beemmer
ID: 37814187
I appreciete all the help you have given me.  

I do not have anything plugged into the laptop except the charger adapter. There is only one hd slot.  

I tried a different installation disk with the same results

hdmiller:  Where would I place the jumper for to make the drive cs?  I have never had to use a jumper before on all the laptop hard drives I have replaced.  I inserted a picture of the hd connectors

fjocke:  "and download an iso that matches your arch (probably i386)".  Can you explain this?
Photograph--7-.jpg
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Author Comment

by:beemmer
ID: 37814232
fjocke:  one more question: I am downloading ubuntu-12.04-beta-desktop-i386.iso.  Is this the correct one?
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Expert Comment

by:hdmiller
ID: 37814280
Laptop...yeah, they won't have the CS jumper.  I was thinking desktop.
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Expert Comment

by:willcomp
ID: 37814351
Test the hard disk with it installed in laptop using WD diagnostics -- run a full test, not short test.. You can download a bootable CD iso from WD web site or use the one on the UBCD which also contains other useful utilities. http://majorgeeks.com/Ultimate_Boot_CD_d4981.html
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Author Comment

by:beemmer
ID: 37814378
Reply to willcomp:
I did this - on two different computers - both showed the drive to be good.

I just found another hard drive laying around here, stuck it in and installation went perfect.

I really think something is wrong with drive even though the tests prove otherwise.
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Accepted Solution

by:
fjocke earned 250 total points
ID: 37814408
ubuntu-12.04-beta-desktop-i386.iso <- Yep thats the right one
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Assisted Solution

by:willcomp
willcomp earned 250 total points
ID: 37814439
It is always better to test a hard disk in the PC where it is installed when possible, not on another PC. Testing on another PC will not identify motherboard controller or interface errors. It does appear that the hard disk is faulty in this case.
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Author Comment

by:beemmer
ID: 37814620
Thanks for that advice.  I will keep that in mind from now on
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Author Closing Comment

by:beemmer
ID: 37839096
Just want to say a big "Thank You" for helping me with this issue.  I have purchased a new hard drive and now am waiting for it to come to get the laptop up and running.
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