Possible HDD issue

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raith_rovers_fan
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Possible HDD issue

Postby raith_rovers_fan » 18 Jun 2012, 13:16

Having what i suspect to be a hard drive issue with my lappy,

I get BSoD at very specific times, for example i was watching alien and i got a BSoD, so restarted and scrolled back to just before where i had seen to and I got BSoD again at exactly the same point in the movie, down to the second. I tried to watch this several times but always got BSoD at that specific point. The same thing happened with an episode of Game of Thrones a few months back. I couldn't copy the file on to a usb drive as it caused BSoD also.

I have had several other files with similar problems, I suspected i had bad sectors on my hard drive so i ran a windows error check on the hard drive at start up. This found a number of errors and (done whatever it does with them) but failed to actually fix the problem, i then ran an error check in wondows itself and it caused BSoD.

My laptop is still under warranty but i would rather not send it back if i can get around it. (rock taught me that lesson) just wondering if anyone had any ideas as to cause and a possible fix?

specs:

ASUS - N55SF
i7 2630QM 2.0Ghz - (2.9 turbo)
8gb DDR3 RAM 1333
750GB HDD 5400rpm
2GB GT555 gpu

edit: probably should have posted this in 'laptops' section. apologies i'm sure ras or john will sort ot out for me :slap:
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Johnmcl7
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Re: Possible HDD issue

Postby Johnmcl7 » 19 Jun 2012, 00:56

The difficulty with diagnosing hard drive failures is that the symptoms tend to be quite random and difficult to pin to the hard drive until it's too late. Most commonly I find hard drive failures start off with random errors in programs that seem to get resolved with a reinstall and then another program goes wrong eventually followed by Windows dying once one of its system files is corrupted which leads to a blue screen.

Was it the chdsk tool you were using? It's my first choice for diagnosing hard drive faults as you can see step by step what it's doing, it's not unusual for machines to have a few faults but if it's repeatedly finding errors after running with the /f /r flags then it's usually a sign the hard drive is on the way out.

What does the BSOD actually say? The fact that it's specific files that cause it to crash does seem to point to the hard drive although I tend to find failing drives within windows don't blue screen and restart, if they BSOD it's usually terminal as part of the system files have been corrupted.

The other option entirely would be to buy a replacement hard drive, preferably a USB one that you can use as a caddy. That way you can rebuild the machine with the new drive and see if it behaves and pop the current one externally where it's easier to check through as it's just a data drive, the OS won't be running on it. If you find out it is the drive then you can send the laptop in for repair and keep the USB drive as a backup, if it still blue screens with the new drive you know it's probably something else.

The other obvious one I'd check is the ram with something like memtest86 as there's a bootable version you can run outside Windows.

Sometimes Windows does go wrong and corrupt itself or portions of the drive which can either be resolved with a chkdsk or a rebuild of the machine but from what you've said it sounds more like a hardware fault than a software one unfortunately.

John
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raith_rovers_fan
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Re: Possible HDD issue

Postby raith_rovers_fan » 19 Jun 2012, 05:22

Thanks John, I already have a caddy for 2.5 inch sata drives however I don't have a drive big enough to make a complete image of my current hard drive. I might order a 1TB and do a fresh install of windows, and copy the data across from my original hard drive.

The funny thing is that it never has a BSoD without me being able to trace it back to one specific file. I have never bothered to look at the specific BSoD message so might instigate one this evening and try and snap a pic of it.

I think I did use the chdsk tool when i ran but i cant remember.
I will give memtest86 a try just to rule out the RAM.
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Re: Possible HDD issue

Postby PhilHibbs » 21 Jun 2012, 22:34

Memtest is a good plan, I would also check the HDD controller by repeatedly copying a large file and comparing it with fc /b. It goes something like this:

Code: Select all

c:\>md test
c:\>cd test
c:\test>copy c:\wherever\large_video_file.avi file1
c:\test>copy file1 file2
        1 file(s) copied.
c:\test>fc /b file1 file2
Comparing files file1 and file2
FC: no differences encountered
c:\test>copy file2 file3
        1 file(s) copied.
c:\test>fc /b file2 file3
Comparing files file2 and file3
0000FE3C: 72 73

(this last line is what an error will look like)

Try that a few times. That method showed up a HDD controller cache memory error on my Rock laptop many many years ago. If you have two drives, copy the file back and forth between them comparing each time.
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Re: Possible HDD issue

Postby raith_rovers_fan » 26 Oct 2012, 10:24

I am finally getting round to trying to fix this, my laptop still running ok but specific actions are causing it to BSoD such as running utorrent, syncing my ipod, or using certain video files. Windows still seems unaffected.

Anyway I am gonna buy a 1Tb HDD, wondering if you think it is worth paying three times more for a 7200rpm over a 5400rpm?

The plan is to restore my factory state of windows from my back up disks then try running programs and see what happens, if all good I will salvage the data from my original HDD and then format it and see if it will work as storage in my caddy. If I still have problems I can wipe my new HDD and back up my data from the original drive and send it off under warrenty.
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Re: Possible HDD issue

Postby Johnmcl7 » 28 Oct 2012, 01:24

I wouldn't bother paying a lot more for a 7200rpm drive particularly it's just for a backup as I don't think you'll notice that much of a difference.

Getting everything backed up and imaged really frees you up to properly test out the machine and see what's wrong. I'd have thought if it was the hard drive it would have got worse by now but when they fail it's frequently not in a predictable manner. Did you ever manage to capture the blue screen or check if you've got a minidump?

My phone came in handy when trying to troubleshoot a machine that wasn't booting, it was set to automatically restart on a bluescreen and because it wasn't booting into Windows I couldn't change that. So the phone came in really handy, I recorded the startup sequence in 1080p, put the file through the editor and extracted the blue screen frame which was a high enough resolution to read the error. It was referring to ACPI power issues so fiddled around with the redundant power supplies and found out it was one of them at fault.

John
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