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What really causes a hard drive to not work?


  1. pbf98

    pbf98 Well-Known Member Contributor

    hey all, I was visiting my past girlfriends parents this weekend and they had problems with her old laptop, and they had taken it to geek squad and told them the hard drive had crashed and sold them a new one and put it in. I had a key for Windows 7 I didn't need so I installed it on the new hard drive for them to have that laptop up and running.

    I have a device that you can plug either 2.5 or 3.5 hard drives in and look in them, and I told them about that so they gave me her old hard drive to see if I could get any files from it. I plugged it in yesterday and it there was no problems at all and I had access to all the files and everything.. So what makes this hard drive not work if I were to put it in the laptop?

    I would say another computer but would I even get anywhere with that since it was on a laptop with all its software specific to that mobo?

    When I think of a hard drive crash, I think of a hard drive that loses all info or no longer starts up

    I do not know what was happening for them to take it to geek squad, but do you know what could cause a "crash" like that.
    And am I correct by saying I wouldn't be able to plug the hard drive into another computer since its not the same computer it came from?

    Thank you

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  2. pbf98

    pbf98 Well-Known Member Contributor

    Well during my break i plugged the drive into my pc and, what do you know, the hard drive works fine.

    I encountered one problem though, widows seemed to be running very slowly now could I attribute this to my 5 year old video card? idk what model it is but it was the only video card I have to go into my pc at the time.
    I'm running an intel i7 3.2ghz quad core with 8gb and that 5 year old video card, so is it just that or should I be looking for something?
  3. javasirc

    javasirc Well-Known Member

    If you caused a lot of shock to the hard drive, you may have damaged it. Heres a thread i started in March of a similar problem. It was a result of "physical abuse".

    http://androidforums.com/computers/518144-laptop-not-booting-slow.html

    My hard drive was running extremely slow, and was getting very hot. I was in the process of copying media files onto a USB drive when it finally stopped working completely.

    Im not sure exactly what mechanics were damaged in the drive, but something had to have been rubbing to generate the amount of heat that it did. You should copy all of your important files to a USB or SD before it stops working completely.
  4. pbf98

    pbf98 Well-Known Member Contributor

    Well the hard drive is appearing to be healthy, and it has been backed up to an external. Right now I am trying to get it to run smoothly as it did a few months ago.

    I started it up in safe mode after work and when I did this you could notice a world of differences which is a sign of viruses and malware, so I ran malwarebytes and it removed 60 infected files and folders. I ran ccleaner and fixed 30 registry problems. Then booted it back into normal windows and I noticed a big difference but again it started to slow down, and internet browsing seemed to be not reliant on the speed of the internet took minutes to do a simple google search.

    Are there any other tools that are very good to help me clean this thing out?

    Oh and the choppynes that I was describing earlier, I am fairly sure it is the video card it scored a 1.0 on the index user experience
  5. A.Nonymous

    A.Nonymous Well-Known Member

    The Geek Squad is normally populated by complete morons IME. The hard drive probably hadn't failed, the computer just wouldn't boot. Laptops get bumped around and jarred all the time so it's not unusual for a HDD to get knocked loose and the computer can't read it. You re-seat the HDD and everything works fine. I'll bet either that happened or the boot sector became corrupted so the HDD still works, but just won't boot.

    Running faster in safe mode usually has nothing to do with viruses and everything to do with windows services not running. A brand new computer is going to run faster in safe mode as it's essentially been crippled in functionality. If you've got your data back, I would just re-format the thing. If you're ambitious you can usually dig through the event logs and find a cause though.
    NightAngel79 likes this.
  6. pbf98

    pbf98 Well-Known Member Contributor

    Yea I have never been a fan of the geek squad. I can see for myself the drive didn't fail, and it does boot now, but just is slowed down some times it isn't bad and then after a while it gets to be a pain to try anything on.

    As far as reformatting, they have asked me not to do so and I will respect their wish.
    Would you be able to provide me with the methodology to view the event logs? never looked into something like that
  7. A.Nonymous

    A.Nonymous Well-Known Member

    You can go to the run line and type eventvwr. The system and application logs are probably going to be the most relevant. I'll warn you in advance though that you will find many, many, many errors and warnings that are completely meaningless and have no effect at all on the computer. Others are pertinent. I can't give any advice on how to sort the wheat from the chaff other than experience. After you've spent enough hours reading event logs you learn which events are important and which one's aren't.
  8. Speed Daemon

    Speed Daemon Disabled

    "Crash" is probably the most-used out of context word in computerdom.

    The canonical meaning of a disk head crash is based on the fact that during normal operation the read/write heads literally fly over the surface of the disk, using aerodynamic forces to maintain separation. An honest to goodness head crash is any condition when the head(s) touch the surface(s) of the platter(s). Depending on the severity of the crash, the consequences can range from nothing noticeable to a busted read/write head, which may or may not render the system inoperable when there are multiple heads and platters.

    These days, "crash" pretty much means any computer malfunction, regardless of the source.

    Newer laptop HDs actually have drop sensors that detect if the drive is in a free fall, and promptly retracts the head assemblies to a safe and locked position. So it's unlikely that the laptop really had a head crash. Disks can fail for other reasons, but it doesn't look like it was the case this time.

    One thing you can do is go to the disk manufacturer's website, download their official disk checking tool, and run a complete (lengthy) test on the entire "crashed" HD. If it says the disk is fine, take the printout from the test (or a screen shot of the results etc. to the store, ask to speak with the manager, present your data and ask for a full refund for all service charges, plus a discount on the price of the new HD. That's the least they can do to make things right.

    If you're lucky, the manager might comp the entire fee, meaning you get the new HD for free as compensation for your trouble. Or you might get a gift card or an in-store credit or something good like that.

    If the manager doesn't budge, take it to corporate, notify your local BBB, post on those online store rating lists and take your business elsewhere. If corporate doesn't give you any love, follow up when you buy something major at a different chain store by sending a copy of the receipt along with a copy of your original message to remind them that they're losing business.

    If still no joy, just give up and move on. Best Buy is pretty much the last big box electronics chain around, so unless you are close to a Fry's or a Micro-Center, it's not in your best interest to keep on boycotting Best Buy forever. It's your call.
  9. Chocula

    Chocula Member

    I've heard bad things about Geeksquad. A class mate told me he wanted them to change his HDD from a 7200 to a 5400 rpm and the rep said it was impossible and computers don't allow for HDD downgrades.

    I had a good laugh.

    Googling and forums can solve many pc problems. Takes a little time, but you will learn a lot along the way. You could also go to Barnes&Noble a grab an A+ book. Knowing PC repair will save you a lot of money.
  10. Speed Daemon

    Speed Daemon Disabled

    Maybe the tech meant it couldn't be done as a drive swap on a warrantied PC?

    Things like Geek Squad which try to monetize a stereotype will inevitably end up with the varying levels of knowledge and experience of their people. All I can say is that some geeks are more geequal than others...
  11. lunatic59

    lunatic59 Moderati ergo sum Moderator

    FYI, this is what happens when a hard disk physically crashes

    [​IMG]
  12. Speed Daemon

    Speed Daemon Disabled

    Pssst...er...that's the drive's landing zone. It's different for a reason. What you're probably seeing is a low friction coating to protect the R/W head during take-off and landing. Sorry, please don't kill me, Mr. Lunatic!
  13. pbf98

    pbf98 Well-Known Member Contributor

    well I have the HDD up and running, but it is at times very slow, any suggestions to get it back to its old self?

    I have run malware bytes and CCleaner and both did have affect on it, but it still has its moments where everything will stop responding.
    Any other suggestions?
  14. 350X

    350X Well-Known Member

    If its goofy, do a back up copy and get a new one to clone it on asap. partition magic is great for that.

    Ive had one out of a PC that got hit by lightening that refused to work, but in and external USB box with the jumpers on cable select, it was useable.
  15. pbf98

    pbf98 Well-Known Member Contributor

    to use that software that you mentioned, would I have the old hard drive as my one I am booting from and then a blank new one in an external docking station? Would that work? I found the software but they give no description of how to use it.
  16. 350X

    350X Well-Known Member

    What version???

    I have PQ Magic 8

    you just click the volume aka partition and click copy, it will then auto resize n format the new drive to match what you had so its an exact copy and it walks you through it. Using an external drive should work, I usually install it in the PC while doing it though.

    But its near flawless, Ive been able to copy and upgrade my system to bigger drives as needed.

    its really simple to use.
  17. Speed Daemon

    Speed Daemon Disabled

    FYI Partition Magic 8 is very old. Symantec bought the company to kill off competition, so Partition Magic and Drive Image are dead. The PowerQuest (PQ) product that's used for moving partitions is Drive Image, BTW.

    The FOSS community has stepped up and developed Parted Magic, which is intended to pick up where PowerQuest left off. With Parted Magic you'll have support for stuff like SATA, AHCI, bigger LBA address space and the new larger sectors that are needed for multi-terabyte drives. The old PQ products can't handle this stuff.
  18. 350X

    350X Well-Known Member

    PQ magic 8 came out in 2002, that not very old, its the last version that can format drives right for all version of windows, old and new. The program works flawless.

    have a copy of it around will save your butt in a jam as it still has a DOS version in it. Being able to throw in an old windows boot disc to get a prompt, go into DOS and fix problem outside an OS is invaluable.
  19. Speed Daemon

    Speed Daemon Disabled

    350X, ten years is a very long time in computer time. See Moore's Law for more about that.

    I've said before that the latest (and the last, way back then) PQ products are unable to work with modern PC hardware. I know this is true because I've tried. In addition, because of their advanced age, no PowerQuest products are able to deal with newer OS features like Dynamic Disk, GPT partition tables, NTFS version 3.1 (XP) and newer, exFAT and probably a couple more that don't come to mind right now. This is a fact; your claim is wrong.

    Only you can say why you believe that having "a DOS version" is a benefit at all, much less a benefit over having the latest Linux kernel and drivers, or why "fix problem outside an OS is invaluable" but IME the latest partitioning and formatting software that supports the latest hardware and software stands head and shoulders above something that's a decade old.

    One more thing: try finding a floppy drive on a new PC.
  20. 350X

    350X Well-Known Member

    10 years is nothing cept to those obcessed with the latest n greatest never taking time to learn anything, just shelling out cash every 90 days when something new comes out.

    CD boot disc
  21. Speed Daemon

    Speed Daemon Disabled

    To answer your question, you'll want to use the newer, higher capacity and usually faster replacement drive to boot from.

    You can use a newer product like Parted Magic (which has native USB and SATA support) to clone the old drive to the new one while it's in the USB docking station. Then, after that you can swap the new drive in for the old one. Then you can keep the old one as a spare, or use it in the USB dock for backups.
  22. Slug

    Slug Check six! Moderator

    Ten years is an eon in computing terms. Ten years ago I was using a single-core 300MHz Pentium II-class processor with 512MB RAM. I wouldn't get much done with that nowadays - software has advanced to take advantage of multiple CPU cores, new technologies such as PCI-E, SATA etc, and the reduced cost of DRAM. A lesson I learned a long time ago was that you can't stand still or you get left behind.

    Btw, Partition Magic 8 was a fine application in its day (I was a loyal user myself) but it doesn't handle NTFS metadata streams correctly, which can result in corruption. The Linux-based GPartEd tool is far safer, and has the advantage of working safely with all known partition formats.
    Speed Daemon likes this.
  23. mikedt

    mikedt 你好 Guide

    Now this is a real hard drive crash. IBM Deskstar (Deathstar)
    Head Crash!
    Note how the heads have completely scraped all the magnetic coating from the platters, and the blue goo oozing out.
    Speed Daemon likes this.
  24. Davdi

    Davdi Well-Known Member Contributor

    If, on Boot up you see the S.M.A.R.T reporting flashing in red, let it boot, back up everything important and clone the drive. the buy a new on ASAP.
    Other things that indicat a disk is failing include: CHKDSK finding Bad sectors (FSCK in Linux) and
    General read/write failure on C: This is *SERIOUS* the disk is very nearly dead. If the thing succeeds in booting, back up as much as you can IMMEDIATELY DO NOT turn the machine off as it may not start again until you have a new HDD fitted.

    ANother Iimportant point: if you have a hidden recovery partition instead of Windows install disk, us the supplied utility to make a set of restore CD/DVDs while the HDD is good. Otherwise you may find yourself without any windows installation media. This presents you with an opportunity to kiss Redmond Bye-Bye and enter the world of Linux. Trust me, the grass really is greener away from MS.
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