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Thread: System dying???

  1. #1
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    System dying???

    System in question is a HP a810n (A64 3300+/1gb PC3200/160GB hdd/Ti4400/Windows- Ubuntu Linux).

    First problem I noticed was the fact that any of my usb devices were not being read, particularly one of my 3 external hard drives (120gb PATA drive) and any of my usb 2 thumb drives (my usb 1.1 can be seen fine). They all were attached straight to the system (not on of course - for the externals). Then I got a USB hub which worked for a bit and I noticed my 120GB external would not keep files written and eventually dropped from the system (in both os). I cannot backup my system to my primary means of backup...

    Second problem is my hard drive... to sum it up, it sounds like it is dying.

    Third problem is my DVD burner will not burn. Well I am not 100% sure of that actually, but Linux tells me it cannot burn files bigger than 4gigs. Which is what I backed up my documents to; zipped archives to fit onto a dvd. In windows, I get no error, just a semi burned disc with no info on it.

    I just need to back my system up so I can do a low level format of the system and truely see where the problem lies. Though I think it may be the motherboard and one of my externals to be a cause of this.

  2. #2
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    Re: System dying???

    I'd start by determining the make and model of the HD in the machine. Then get the drive manufacturer's diagnostics for it and run the full set of tests. If the drive is ok then there is a very good chance that a fresh O/S installation will cure the problems.

  3. #3
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    Re: System dying???

    My first thought would be to disconnect all your external drives and see if anything is solved...which im thinking no. Your best bet is to do a full reformat and install a fresh copy of windows. The problems you are having sound like they can be from either driver errors, or hardware. But always check software before hardware (for obvious reasons).

  4. #4
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    Re: System dying???

    Check the HD first. If it is that noisy then the health of the drive is very much in question and there's no point in trying to install windows again until its health has been established.

  5. #5
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    Re: System dying???

    /\ Yea, forgot you said your internal is making noises, listen to BMW and check that first w/o a doubt.

  6. #6
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    Re: System dying???

    Thanks everyone for the replies so far.

    The external drive that is problematic is a Western Digital, the internal drive I think is a Samsung drive.

    My biggest problem is backing up my system, god forbid the system drive fails and I lose everything... sigh

    Ok I have some work to do...

  7. #7
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    Re: System dying???

    Ok an update.

    A few odd things. Seagate's diagnostics told me the main drive was good, but my ntfs partition was bad. So I backed up the system (my USB did worked, I used a different port) and proceed to do a low level format of the system drive. I went to reinstall Windows (XP then 98) and it told me the drive had over 50 bad clusters (?!?!) I didn't finsih the installs, but I installed Linux to see if the same thing would happen... Nothing, no errors or anything, just a clean install of Ubuntu right now.

    What was funny, is that after windows told me the drive was bad, I tried Seagate's diagnostics and it would not run at all (bootable cd) from a ram disk.

    Ok, so why is Linux working and not NTFS/Windows? And wouldn't Linux give me the same errors?

    I will probably run this drive till i get a replacement or until it dies, whichever comes first, because I need Windows installed.

  8. #8
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    Re: System dying???

    Allways use the diagnostic program written for the drive. Not from a different company/source. External drives should be hooked up to a port on the motherboard for testing purposes.

  9. #9
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    Re: System dying???

    My guess would be Linux may just not catch everything windows catches. Windows can be extremely picky with some things.

    If you have bad clusters...they arent going to get better, you best best is to just drop 60 bucks on another internal drive...

  10. #10
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    Re: System dying???

    Bad clusters can be hard (media damage) or logical (O/S or power glitch induced), so the drive may not be bad. The best way to find out for sure is, again, use the manufacturer's diagnostics. This time to wipe/erase/zero/LL format the drive. If a subsequent retest doesn't report bad sectors then the drive is ok. Excessive noise is a different matter of course.

  11. #11
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    Re: System dying???

    Sigh, it seems windows may be a culprit?

    I redid the hard drive analysis for the main system drive. Everything passed and no bad clusters. WTF happened?!?! I am relieved that I don't need a new system drive (I haven't tested the external drive yet) but why were there bad clusters for windows (and even before, NTFS was shown to be bad)?

    I am puzzled...

  12. #12
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    Re: System dying???

    Quote Originally Posted by centered effect View Post
    Sigh, it seems windows may be a culprit?
    I redid the hard drive analysis for the main system drive. Everything passed and no bad clusters. WTF happened?!?!

    I am relieved that I don't need a new system drive (I haven't tested the external drive yet) but why were there bad clusters for windows (and even before, NTFS was shown to be bad)?

    I am puzzled...[/quote]
    Yes, it may have been. Overclocking and/or overly optomistic memory timing settings could also be to blame because memory errors effect DMA reads and writes to the drive, which can corrupt the drive. And don't forget power glitches, as that too can easily cause this. Run the FULL set of diagnostics one more time. If they pass then I think the drive is ok and it should get another fresh install of windoze. Then proceed to test the external drive as I previously described.

  13. #13
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    Re: System dying???

    Thanks BMW. I will try it out.

    There is no overclocking or memory timings here. Everything is system defaulted.

  14. #14
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    Re: System dying???

    I hope it all works out for you. If you have questionable power where you live then getting a UPS is also a good idea.

  15. #15
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    Re: System dying???

    Quote Originally Posted by Pilfer69 View Post
    My guess would be Linux may just not catch everything windows catches. Windows can be extremely picky with some things.
    No, more likely the exact opposite. Windows will soldier on regardless of errors whereas linux will panic much earlier and is far less tolerent of errors.

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