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  1. #1

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    Default Hard drives keep failing?

    I have a computer which keeps toasting hard drives every few months. Have tried Maxtor, WD, Seagate, Samsung, etc. drives but lost count. At first I thought it was a heat issue so I installed 2 more case fans (for a total of 4).

    The last hard drive has lasted 3 months before going belly up and making the "click-click-click" sound.

    Before I replace the hard drive again, what should I look out for? I know certain applications like Ghost and Norton tend to over-stress the HD, but I'm just talking about a fresh XP install with no HD hogging software.

    What could this be?

    P.S. when they die they ALWAYS make a "click-click-click" or grinding sound.
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  2. #2

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    Maybe something is wrong with your power supply?
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  3. #3

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    Was thinking that, but it puts out a solid 12V on the +12V and 5V on the +5V.

    Everything else in the PC works fine. Just toasts hard drives.
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  4. #4

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    Are you overclocking at all ? Also, when you say toast...are you able to low level format the drive...this will write over every single sector on the hard drive...marking those that are actually bad so the os doesnt attempt to use them when reloading.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by shadowofnight View Post
    Are you overclocking at all ? Also, when you say toast...are you able to low level format the drive...this will write over every single sector on the hard drive...marking those that are actually bad so the os doesnt attempt to use them when reloading.
    Nope, it's just a HP Pavilion desktop PC.

    No overclocking.

    I am not even able to low level format the drive (using the drive utility), or write zeros to the drive (zero-fill), quick format, or full format the drive.
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  6. #6

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    Oh yeah, these drives fail so badly they sound like a blender/garbage truck/lawnmower, etc.
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    If you're eating hard drives that quickly, there's the remote possibility the failure is with your hard drive controller. A faulty controller will cause the drives to thrash needlessly, leading to a premature death. Unfortunately, the fix requires replacing the motherboard. If you're very lucky, the problem is only with your hard drive cables and swapping out the SATA or ATAPI cables will fix the problem.

    There is also the possibility that this is a power issue and your power supply is not sending enough juice or constant juice to the drives or the power from the wall socket is "dirty" which is frequently the problem in apartments. However, the motherboard or memory usually fries before the hard drives.

    Lastly, check your drive cage and make sure the cage and drives are clamped down tight to prevent excessive wear from vibrations.

    Good luck. Looking for a root cause in your case can be a PITA.

    Edit:
    1. Replace hard drives. Visually inspect the drive cage.
    2. Buy a PSU tester or go to CompUSA. I think some of the stores will charge you a nominal fee to test it. Call first.
    3. Replace the hard drive cables.
    4. Check ventilation and airflow around your pc.
    Last edited by fatchowmein; 11-17-2007 at 12:32 AM. Reason: Edit because I didn't really tell you anything.

  8. #8

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    I would also suspect the power supply. You really need a PS tester to be sure.

    As a side note, apllications like Ghost and Norton do not stress your drive too much. We have drives at work that read and write constantly, 24-7. Failure rates on these seem no higher than the average workstation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by WilliamM2 View Post
    I would also suspect the power supply. You really need a PS tester to be sure.

    As a side note, apllications like Ghost and Norton do not stress your drive too much. We have drives at work that read and write constantly, 24-7. Failure rates on these seem no higher than the average workstation.
    The only thing is that I've swapped cables between the hard drives and the CD/CDRW drives. So I would assume if the CD drive is fine with that cable, then the hard drive should handle it fine too?

    I'm starting to think it's a drive controller, as I noticed that even when a NEW drive is installed, the first thing it does is go "click"
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  10. #10

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    I have seen controllers take out drives like that...anytime the pci bus goes above 39 or 40 MHz it will start scrambling drives( Either by a failing controller or overclocking as well ) .

    If he doesnt want to replace the motherboard...just disable the controller in the bios and use a pci card controller .

    Its either that or the power supply...cheap pci controller ( Either SATA or PATA ) and a powersupply are both pretty cheap.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by appadv View Post
    The only thing is that I've swapped cables between the hard drives and the CD/CDRW drives. So I would assume if the CD drive is fine with that cable, then the hard drive should handle it fine too?

    I'm starting to think it's a drive controller, as I noticed that even when a NEW drive is installed, the first thing it does is go "click"
    Grab a new controller...cheap :)

  12. #12

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    Well, it's a proprietary HP motherboard, so it's nearly impossible to find a motherboard that fits this case (it's a very awkward design).
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  13. #13

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    I'm just wondering why it works PERFECTLY for an amount of time (around 3 months), then one day the drive is toast?

    Aside from the "click" I hear, everything else seems normal.
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  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by appadv View Post
    Well, it's a proprietary HP motherboard, so it's nearly impossible to find a motherboard that fits this case (it's a very awkward design).

    Yeah, just grab the pci controller ( Leave MB in there) .....since you swapped cables...assuming PATA drives ( Unless you have SATA optical drives ) you are using the correct 80 conductor cables correct ?

  15. #15

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    Yes, they are PATA drives.

    Computer is from 2000-2001ish.
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  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by shadowofnight View Post
    Yeah, just grab the pci controller ( Leave MB in there) .....since you swapped cables...assuming PATA drives ( Unless you have SATA optical drives ) you are using the correct 80 conductor cables correct ?
    I have the 80 conductor cables, not the thicker 40 conductor cables.
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  17. #17

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    Some oem type mb's didnt warn you when using a 40 conductor cable...just about all enthusiast boards had a bios based boot warning you that the cable was incorrect. Actually let me look....I used to get a free controller with drives all the time...I probably have a LOT of them new in the static bags here somewhere...I will look....if I find any I will send you one.

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by shadowofnight View Post
    Some oem type mb's didnt warn you when using a 40 conductor cable...just about all enthusiast boards had a bios based boot warning you that the cable was incorrect. Actually let me look....I used to get a free controller with drives all the time...I probably have a LOT of them new in the static bags here somewhere...I will look....if I find any I will send you one.
    Thanks, but I am going to CompUSA/Micro Center/Best Buy today.
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  19. #19

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    Another idea is temperature. Those OEM cases aren't always known to have the best ventilation. I'd run a monitoring program (like Speedfan) and see what type of temps you are seeing in the case. High temps will definitely shorten the life of a Hardrive.

    Seeing that many drives go bad is most assuredly unusual. I've been building my own computers for more than 7 years and I've never seen a drive go bad. I've got drives that were put in service more than 5 years ago and are still working in PCs that I've built for others.
    Last edited by billbillw; 11-17-2007 at 09:00 AM.

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    Just throw the damn computer away. Problem solved.
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  21. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by billbillw View Post
    Another idea is temperature. Those OEM cases aren't always known to have the best ventilation. I'd run a monitoring program (like Speedfan) and see what type of temps you are seeing in the case. High temps will definitely shorten the life of a Hardrive.

    Seeing that many drives go bad is most assuredly unusual. I've been building my own computers for more than 7 years and I've never seen a drive go bad. I've got drives that were put in service more than 5 years ago and are still working in PCs that I've built for others.
    Well, I've added two more case fans to this HP PC.

    As per the BIOS, the CPU temperature is 29C/84F, and the case temperature is 26C/79F.
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    If it's from 2000, it may be cheaper to just by a new PC. You can get a good refubed dell for about $600. If the machine is 6 or 7 years old, for the amount you spend on new drives and replacing stuff, you can get something faster (with a warrenty) for about the same. Right now I see a Dell Dimension E520 with a duo core 1860, 250GB hard drive, gig of ram, DVD RW, 256mb ATI x1300 for $529. (it's a scratch and dent).
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    do yuo have your computer siting close to a big electric source or magnetic field. i would lean towards a power supply. i dont see why a controller would cause the drive to fail. it has to be a electri issue. buy a new computer if its that old

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    Haha, my Pentium II and Pentium Pro systems from 1996 and 1998 are still working fine to this day.

    It's THIS computer that keeps killing hard drives.

    Yes, I am going to get the system you mentioned, the E520 or E530. However, even though I am going to buy a new computer, I still want to fix this one.
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    The first things I think of is Power, either the line, or the PSU, and if those are good, the next thing I'd look at is the hard drive controller.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hypertone View Post
    The first things I think of is Power, either the line, or the PSU, and if those are good, the next thing I'd look at is the hard drive controller.
    The PSU seems to be good, as I'm not frying any other drives in the PC, even when swapping power connectors.

    I'm REALLY thinking it's the hard drive controller.

    Going to get the Dell E530 right now (they now sell in stores). Will be back soon.
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    Could be the hard drive controller, but I would swap out the PS first. But they are both what $40 for a good one, so I guess it doesn't matter to much either way just hate to buy one to find it was the other one.

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  28. #28

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    Just got the Dell.

    Wow it's great! My first impression of Vista on my old laptop was that it was very slow, but that laptop only had 1 gig of RAM. With 2GB of RAM on this Dell E530, Vista runs great!

    As per my hard drive issue, I guess I'll have to get a PCI hard drive controller.
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    I had an HP Pavilion for around the same time. The mother board in it was an asus, With a P3 850MHZ. It came with a 30 Gb HDD, a 4x cd writer and a 138 Megs of ram. It ran for a year, and started thrashing hard drives, after that I was luck to see 6 months on a drive. It's an HP, great printers, ****ty computers. Trash it. I can build you a decent rig for 6-700 or just an internet machine for around 500 or less.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dudeinaroom View Post
    I had an HP Pavilion for around the same time. The mother board in it was an asus, With a P3 850MHZ. It came with a 30 Gb HDD, a 4x cd writer and a 138 Megs of ram. It ran for a year, and started thrashing hard drives, after that I was luck to see 6 months on a drive. It's an HP, great printers, ****ty computers. Trash it. I can build you a decent rig for 6-700 or just an internet machine for around 500 or less.
    That's just like the system I have. Yes, it also started thrashing hard drives too after a few years and I got between 3-6 months on a hard drive.

    Also agree with you on the PC's, HP makes great printers though. Have a HP LaserJet 2300dn and a LaserJet 2430dtn, and both have been VERY reliable.
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