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Weird hard drive problem...

samorost

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System Name I call it "Bitch5.2", but its real name is "Lokotomy420"
Processor AMD Athlon64 3800+, 939 Venice
Motherboard ASUS A5N8X
Cooling Stock AMD cooling HSF
Memory 2x 1024MB Corsair XMS DDR400
Video Card(s) ATI Radeon X1800XL, 256MB with Zalmann CU-77v HSF
Storage 4x SATA @ 7200RPM, Western Digital320, Maxtor300, Samsung250, Seagate200
Display(s) Acer 22" LCD, AL2216W
Case Old Chenbro case, ugly and heavy
Audio Device(s) M-Audio Delta1010LT 24/96
Power Supply Generic, don't remember the wattage but it runs fine
Software Audio software, couple of games, Windows XP SP2...
#1
Hello everyone,

I hope someone can help with advice for this strange problem I'm experiencing right now.

I have a desktop system with 4 hard drives inside (you can never have too much storage). Everything has been working flawlessly for a long time, until recently: one of my hard drives is no longer accessible from Windows. When I open Windows Explorer, it takes up to 2 minutes to load, and the drive shows up with no label on it at all. If I try to open that drive, Explorer hangs and comes back telling me the drive has no format, and asks whether I'd like to format my drive.

Windows' Storage manager (under computer administration) sees the hard drive with no problem, reports its size correctly and tells me the volume is OK and active, but doesn't see its label.

However, PartitionMagic 8.0 can see the drive's label and reports everything else alright. If I try to scan the drive for errors with PM 8.0, it comes out clean.

This being said, of course the drive is seen by the BIOS, I haven't added/removed/modified any of my hardware recently. I really haven't tried CHKDSK or anything like that because I wouldn't know where to approach the problem from, but I suspect the problem isn't physical.

Any ideas?

Peace!
Nico.
 
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#2
All I can think is you might want to try running a live CD of a Linux distro. Easier than re-installing Windows just to check if it's then accesible, or not.
Just download, burn to CD, and run it from the CD. If the HDD is not automatically mounted, and is made accesible, there's probably a deeper problem.
Also, check out Speedfan, it has a S.M.A.R.T. utility, to check out the health of your HDDs. Might be a completely inaccurate program, might be terrible, I don't know, but it's one of the only programs I've seen that shows me the S.M.A.R.T. info for my drives. It provides health and performance bars, which could help quickly identify a dead, or dying drive, I guess.
 
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Processor Intel C2D E8500 @ 4.25GHz (1.36V)
Motherboard Gigabyte GA-X38-DQ6
Cooling (Temporary) Tuniq Tower 120
Memory 2GB Transcend aXeram 1200+
Video Card(s) HIS HD3870 CF Volt modded
Storage 3 Seagate 320Gb Barracuda in an Intel Matrix Raid array
Display(s) Sony GDM-FW900 24" Widescreen CRT (a.k.a "The Shiznotch")
Case Ultra Aluminus Full Tower
Audio Device(s) onboard Intel HD audio
Power Supply PC Power & Cooling Silencer 750
Software XP MCE + Vista (HP) dual-boot
#3
There are lots of things that could have been removed while using PM 8.0. Nice program and very powerful. Didn't delete the MBR, did you. (Not insulting your intelligence, just asking.)

Tried a System Restore?
 
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#4
A system restore wouldn't change anything other than system files. Documents and things remain untouched (or mine remain untouched anyhow). Think this might be more of a dying HDD problem, otherwise the other HDDs might start exhibiting problems too.
 

samorost

New Member
Joined
May 27, 2005
Messages
18 (0.00/day)
Likes
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System Name I call it "Bitch5.2", but its real name is "Lokotomy420"
Processor AMD Athlon64 3800+, 939 Venice
Motherboard ASUS A5N8X
Cooling Stock AMD cooling HSF
Memory 2x 1024MB Corsair XMS DDR400
Video Card(s) ATI Radeon X1800XL, 256MB with Zalmann CU-77v HSF
Storage 4x SATA @ 7200RPM, Western Digital320, Maxtor300, Samsung250, Seagate200
Display(s) Acer 22" LCD, AL2216W
Case Old Chenbro case, ugly and heavy
Audio Device(s) M-Audio Delta1010LT 24/96
Power Supply Generic, don't remember the wattage but it runs fine
Software Audio software, couple of games, Windows XP SP2...
#5
Ripper3,

Thank you for the quick reply. SpeedFan reported the following after an online analysis of S.M.A.R.T. results:

NOTE : your hard disk has 1 pending sectors. Those are sectors that couldn't be properly read and that the hard disk logic is waiting for a write operation to try to remap to a spare sector (if available). According to the Reallocated Sector Count attribute, your hard disk seems to have available spare sectors. A simple disk surface scan won't be enough to force the remap operation. You need a read/write surface scan to remap the sector. The best option should be a tool that knows about what should be read from that sector so that it has some option to apply the best fix to the missing data.

---

It seems to recommend a thorough surface scan. What tools would you recommend to perform such a scan? My years in Tech Support have frustrated my belief in good ol' CHKDSK.

Dr. Spankenstein,

System Restore couldn't affect the HD in this way. I can't even access it from command line. On the other hand, no I didn't do anything "special" such as deleting the MBR :p.

The only thing I remember doing before this happened was replacing the CPU fan (downgrading from a really powerful, really noisy one to stock AMD) - and I checked all temperatures for anything dangerous.

I might have rewired the hard disk to a different SATA port, but in my experience this doesn't make any difference unless there have been multiple Windows installations in different drives.