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hard drive failure imminent

Mark_88

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I went looking to see if I could find what type of HDD they typically install in these units, but would probably have to go and try to order one to get the name brand...probably not needed...

Here is a link to the service manual for the Acer model you have. There is a section on HDD acting wonky on page 135...essentially virus scan and system restore...and there is also mention of an optional second HDD that you may or may not have already...that may be where your data is actually stored by default...but you'd have to check that...

Acer Service manual...pretty thorough for a tech manual...and seems to be written by people in North America...

http://tim.id.au/laptops/acer/aspire 6530.pdf
 


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Excellent digging! That says HDD is either a Seagate, Toshiba, or Western Digital. That's good news for Jim.

In all the years I've used DFT, I've never found an internally mounted HDD that it could not test, in either laptops or desktops.

Aside: For testing flakey RAM memory chips, is "memtest86" ( http://www.memtest86.com ) already in your tools repertoire?
 

Mark_88

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Thanks...for some reason I didn't see the system specs where it listed the HDD types...but just opened it again and there they were...lol

I have an earlier version of the memtest86 program on CD somewhere...but thanks again for the link...seems like nothing is free any more...:annoyed:

I saw a "tool kit" listed for repair techs a few months ago and was going to try to buy it...turned out to be $150 before taxes for a base kit and over $300 for the advanced kit...for the amount of tech support I do on computers it wasn't feasible, but I'd like to get one just to have...

Being in Canada and not having a CC makes buying stuff like that a bit challenging...and when I started doing repairs I could pretty much find anything free on-line...
 

AllanD

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I had used to use some computers at a place I worked and they gave similar error messages...blah, blah, blah...it was definitely a virus and it was hijacking the computer to their website for virus removal...for a small fee, of course...but they were actually scamming credit cards...

I'd try the virus removal steps above as cvar stated first...

And I've never had a hdd warn me of a crash...they get sluggish and/or simply stop working...
I have.

S.M.A.R.T. is a "real thing" which is why scammers copy it to run their scam.

I've had "SMART" warnings three times and all three have been very real.

The first one was actually disturbing, but it was a fresh, literally hours old
Install on a HDD I had unwrapped from a sealed package.

I've known for a long time that "new" is NOT equal to "Good"
(the UPS man only has to drop it ONCE)

When I called WD for an RMA their person asked "how do you know it's bad
I replied "SMART says so" and I got an RMA without a quibble.

I would recommend downloading and installing:
http://www.piriform.com/speccy/download/standard

When it loads click the item for "Hard drives" and look under "SMART" for "Reallocated Sectors Count"
any number>0 is a bad sign (Any Number >0 and I repurpose that drive to non-critical use)
"Seek Error Rate", "Spin Retry Count", "Recalibration Retries", "Reallocation Event Count",
"Current Pending Sector Count" should all be -0-.

if "Uncorrectable Sector Count" is >0 that drive would go right from my bench to the trash bin.

If all these things are -0- in speccy, download (on another computer to a thumb drive)
and RUN: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=16

If you think your laptop is virus infested I would not do a windows7 update, it's cheaper to buy another laptop.lol. Seriously with out your vista instal w7 will not instal clean to a new drive.(it will only update)
You can boot from a Ubuntu/Linux live disk (not instal)and copy anything you want to a pen drive. And test everything while you are at it. You can also clone your drive and a bunch of other things. But it's a steep learning curve. Good side you are unlikely to ever see a virus or trojan.ever.
"hirens boot disk" also is freely download able. And has a ton of tools on it. From virus scanners to drive tests.to clone software. Even a semi usable bootable winXP.
An OEM (OEM means no free phone support) installer for Windows7HomePremium is only $99 from Newegg,
you can get it as cheap as $80 if you wait for a sale.

You can boot more than one OS with out partitioning. Different windows directory 's on the same position. I prefer separate partitions but it's not required.
I have 3 OS's booting from separate partitions on my desktop.
Dual/multi booting is generally a bad idea, because you still have only one BOOTLDR and if that part corrupts
you lose BOTH operating systems.

And that doesn't matter if the dual-boot is on a single partition on a single drive, seperate partitions on
a single drive or if the dual boot systems are on seperate drives, it's like Raid0 it's not even false
redundancy if you actually understand how it works.

Dual booting on a single drive / single Partition has another issue, doing disc cleanup with EITHER OS can remove
important files from the other OS... Oops!

If you want more than one OS for a single machine put them on seperate drives and shut down
and swap drives (or disconnect cables) to switch from one to the other, that way they are ENTIRELY
"divorced" and cannot in any Cluster-fook each other.

Multi-OS installations are a "Geekier than thou" thing, and serve little real purpose otherwise.
Frankly as I've already stated they are more trouble than they are worth.

and there is a degree of "False-geek" in a multiboot, because a REAL "geek" would have
spare HDD's floating around... and thus would not worry about useing seperate drives.

If you've never thrown away a 5gallon pail completely filled with hard drives you are less of a geek than you think you are

Being a pop up would mean virus...but if it was one of those pixelated DOS type windows showing some attention is required it could be an actual system error...I've never seen one but that doesn't mean they don't exist...

However, trying to do something in a corrupted OS can be nearly impossible...that's a good time to try something like partition a drive and install a second OS...if the computer seems to function properly under those conditions then it is probably fine...it's when a simple task like formatting a partition becomes sluggish that would indicate a true HDD malfunction...

How you go about that is really a matter of what resources you have available now...if you have partition tools or can get them it would tell you pretty much if the system will function without hardware swaps...if you don't have the resources and there is nobody near that can provide them I'd have to recommend taking the laptop to someone who can...

There must be someone from TRS close by that that has a partition program...I have one somewhere and would gladly ship it off to you when I find it...but that could take a week or so...
S.M.A.R.T. will generate both a DOS "Black Screen" warning and in Vista/7 can and will
throw "Notification area" or "Action Center" failure messages.

IF the drive is FAILING you want to absolutely minimize run time.
Farting around with partition programs is a good way to run the drive into the ground and lose the data he's trying to protect.

What I would do is hustle my ass to the nearest BestBuy, buy a 320gbSATA Notebook Hard drive.
MAke sure I had a USB SATA drive enclosure and USB cable for it

Go to a Desktop computer with a CD-Burner and download:
http://clonezilla.org/downloads.php

Connect both drives, insert the CD and boot from the CD.

(Call me and I'll talk you through it)

After which you'll have a complete functioning COPY of the installation with ALL data and
not be worrying about an actual physical drive failure.

IF it IS a virus you would be no worse off than you are now.

It it IS an actual impending failure every little bit of monkeying around increases the risk of permanant data loss.
 
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nutpantz

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If you've never thrown away a 5gallon pail completely filled with hard drives you are less of a geek than you think you are
That is too funny.I still have a 750 Mb from the last century running good in computer. (I think it is that old I would have to look)
Honesty I've only had one drive fail on me so far (and it was 3 months old). the smallest leave my house when I give away my oldest computer.(usually 3 or 4 drives in one case by then) I have only thrown out 2 drives and that was because I found them and they were pre ide.

Back up back up back up.
And not to another hard drive.
DVDs are not fast media but I still have CDs that I burned 2x
 

AllanD

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I have a concrete lined "Fireproof" file cabinet full of hard drives
that ALL predate the use of the IDE interface.

Anyone want any MFM or RLL hard drives?

I think I have some Connor and some Miniscribe hard drives still sealed in their
original packaging.... if you've actually got a use for any 120Meg HDD's

But at this point I think they are worth more for their precious metal content than a new SATA drive retails for... the anti-abrasion coating that they used on the platters
was a fairly thick plating layer of Ruthenium (a platinum group metal)

they have since learned to use far thinner layers of the stuff and have learned
how to make the read heads "fly" over the platters without actually touching, greatly reducing the need for an anti-abrasion coating
 

Mark_88

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That makes sense Allan...I've had drives appear healthy and tried to reinstall the OS because it became unstable only to have the fresh install collapse just as it was wrapping things up...swapping in a new drive fixed it...

I would have suggested swapping in another drive if I'd seen the screens...it sounded very much like a virus/malware problem because of the website redirects...exactly what the virus infected computers were doing...even giving HDD errors saying your data is at risk...but it was simply a very persistent bug...

And, yes, backup till you're blue (the colour of a full disk in Windows) is the best rule...something I do now after loosing my complete build photo section because of a newbie tech support person who swore the file I was telling them was giving me errors right after I'd installed their software was not part of their software...things went rapidly in the wrong direction trying to fix a problem...
 

AllanD

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That makes sense Allan...I've had drives appear healthy and tried to reinstall the OS because it became unstable only to have the fresh install collapse just as it was wrapping things up...swapping in a new drive fixed it...

I would have suggested swapping in another drive if I'd seen the screens...it sounded very much like a virus/malware problem because of the website redirects...exactly what the virus infected computers were doing...even giving HDD errors saying your data is at risk...but it was simply a very persistent bug...

And, yes, backup till you're blue (the colour of a full disk in Windows) is the best rule...something I do now after loosing my complete build photo section because of a newbie tech support person who swore the file I was telling them was giving me errors right after I'd installed their software was not part of their software...things went rapidly in the wrong direction trying to fix a problem...
Have you ever heard the phrase medical professionals use when discussing diagnosis: - When you hear hoof-beats, think "horses" not "Zebras". -

When a person has a sniffle and a sore throat, you assume a common cold,
Not Ebola or Pneumonic Plague. (Or some other "Unicorn" sub-species)

Hard drive failure is FAR and Away the likliest cause of all kinds of computer issues. the interesting thing is that errors can occour ANYWHERE on a hard drive platter and since data gets shuffled around and fragmented on the drive you never know when some bit of critical data or program or the operating system is going to be "written" to a part of the drive than subsequently cannot be read.

if you ALWAYS assume that the hard drive is the culprit you will be
wrong <5% of the time, and frankly most of the rest are the result
of STUPID PEOPLE whi *think*they know about computers starts
changing/deleting things they "dont need"until they hit something
they really DO need...

Many people less experienced will, in a knee jerk reaction, assume
they have a virus, and honestly? In the past 100 computers I've
worked on TWO were actually infected. BOTH were from the
same customer.

I have another on the way (the guy called yesterday) that has
the "Windows security" trojan (His daughter clicked on a popup)


On my C2Q Win7pro computer my OS is on a 120gb Partition on
a fast 500gb HDD, my E-mail program and 17 years of archived e-mail
is on a 3gb partition, the remainder of the drive is used for "temporary"
video files (Basically DVR storage).
I clone the entire drive every three weeks or so to another 500gb HDD

My Mail is backed up to a 2gb USB stick that is mounted to an internal
USB jack and there's a duplicate backup on an SD card.

I learned the hard way to not only protect my Data but to protect my OS installation and if there's a better way to do that than cloning the entire
system drive I haven't found it.



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Mark_88

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It's been a bad couple of days for my computer and I.

Some times it runs slow, or a program stops responding. When I do a google search, the first Link I click on never takes me to the right site. Its always a redirect.
Hard drive failure is FAR and Away the likliest cause of all kinds of computer issues.
AD
When I first read this thread...the highlighted area is what stood out...

This, in my experience, is not a HDD failure...it is a virus or malware...up to and including the sluggish performance...something has infected the computer...if it was true HDD failure the links would load...or maybe they wouldn't...but redirects...they say "virus or malware"...but without knowing where the redirects where is one of those "unknowns" that without being there can be misleading...

Sluggish performance and random popups that appear to be genuine system errors I've seen enough of...and they were always caused by the virus chewing away at the OS...or creating their own warnings that mislead...

Disk 4 errors on a system that has, at most, 2 disks is erroneous...and sounds more like some flakey viral warning...not an actual system error...if Jim is running RAID on a two disk system then disk 4 is not valid...unless there is something I missed in RAID configurations or Windows Vista has some wonky reporting program errors...

Now I'm curious to know what the actual problem is and I hope Jim updates this thread...

I've beaten my head against the wall sometimes trying to figure something out and have been wrong as often as I've been right...so although I like to think that my troubleshooting skills are valid...it's always a learning experience...
 

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Last time I had a problem occur like this, about 5 months ago I figured I had a virus on my laptop causing it. My computer was fine, left it for 30 min sitting on, came back to it and the hardrive would for no reaon max itself out on read/write and freeze everything for exactly 30 seconds before I could do anything and this occured every 10-30 min. And when I went to go start up my computer, it would take easily 10 min to start up vs the 1.5-2 min (that includes the typing of my password and all the other programs that start in the background) From there I tried many different virus removal programs and none could find anything. I figured it had to be a harddrive failure. Since my computer was in warrenty I could get it fixed. Called up my computer manufacture and told them about it and they said to do a system restore, since my computer has a recovery button on it that puts it all right back to factory specs with all the programs, etc.... Well after backing everything up, I pushed the button and an hour or so later the computer was back to the way I had got it on day one :annoyed: but since then all has been good. Turns out it was a software failure going on and my computer had done a fresh instal of win7 to itself (gotta love Lenovo for putting that fature on my computer). My only thing that took the longest was getting programs that I had downloaded back on it and other misc. things.

Anyway that you can get us a video or pictures of all of this, it may help us all out with the exact problem.
 

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