Strange "shut-down" like sound

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Strange "shut-down" like sound

Postposted on Sun Apr 14, 2013 4:57 pm

So, yesterday, like the good samaritan techie that I am, I went to a friend of mine to try and fix her computer, an old Socket A museum piece. I cleaned it, replaced the thermal compound and then used a splitter to connect the extra molex plug that the GPU had. I don't know why it wasn't connected in the first place. Everything worked the same as before.

Today, I went and reinstalled the OS (win xp) and after that, the hard drive started doing randomly this strange sound that it does when it shuts down. It sounds like it spins down and then back up again, out of nowhere. It doesn't matter if it's idling or working.

I didn't have time to double check all the connectors, but since I didn't mess with any of them today I suppose they're fine. The only thing that changed is the fact that I reinstalled the OS.

I can not, for the life of me, figure out why the HDD does that annoying sound. Any help would be greatly appreciated!
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Re: Strange "shut-down" like sound

Postposted on Sun Apr 14, 2013 5:17 pm

There's a setting in the power profiles (in control panel) for spinning down the HDs after a certain amount of time. It's generally considered a good thing, but it may be set to too short of an interval.
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Re: Strange "shut-down" like sound

Postposted on Sun Apr 14, 2013 6:15 pm

Is the hard drive as old as the rest of the system?

Given that XP now has less than a year of security patches left, I'd hope you pressed your friend to upgrade soon.
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Re: Strange "shut-down" like sound

Postposted on Sun Apr 14, 2013 6:33 pm

Yes, it is as old as the rest of the system. I think it's a 60 or 80 gig WD. P-ATA.

I told her that she should upgrade, but in a country where 350 bucks/month is called a decent salary you can not expect people to be able to afford such things just because you told them.
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Re: Strange "shut-down" like sound

Postposted on Sun Apr 14, 2013 8:20 pm

Set the HDD to never spin down in power management. It'll last longer and get rid of the annoying pauses in I/O.
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Re: Strange "shut-down" like sound

Postposted on Mon Apr 15, 2013 11:17 am

Geo2160 wrote:Yes, it is as old as the rest of the system. I think it's a 60 or 80 gig WD. P-ATA.

I told her that she should upgrade, but in a country where 350 bucks/month is called a decent salary you can not expect people to be able to afford such things just because you told them.


QFT. I'm in the "rich" USA but I also bristle at the suggestions of "just buy something new" as immediate solutions. How much is a Win7 or Win8 license? Then you get into, well, that computer is so old, you should probably swap in an SSD... or more RAM... or just get a new mobo and CPU combo, etc.

I second the suggestions on the power management as the first place to check out. And this reminds me that I ought to start downloading XP patches in case MS kills Windows Update for XP like they did to Win2K so you can't update a fresh install anymore.
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Re: Strange "shut-down" like sound

Postposted on Mon Apr 15, 2013 12:30 pm

Scrotos wrote:QFT. I'm in the "rich" USA but I also bristle at the suggestions of "just buy something new" as immediate solutions.

Well, the other option is "switch to Linux," but there might be learning curve and/or software availability issues to consider.

Things get old and eventually unsupported, and "upgrade" is about the most sensible advice for an XP machine at this point. Once Microsoft stops supporting the OS with critical security updates, the world's remaining stock of XP machines will be a goldmine for rootkit and trojan writers. Next stop: identity theft, with a side-order of unrequested bitcoin mining.
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Re: Strange "shut-down" like sound

Postposted on Mon Apr 15, 2013 1:02 pm

Well, for university students like us, the OS is not such a big problem since we get a copy of win7/8 for free. But I don't think it would be such a good idea to install win8 on a 2002 single core machine. Also, upgrading would mean getting a completely new machine, minus the case and probably the PSU.

Thanks everybody for your answers, I'll post some results tomorrow when I go back.
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Re: Strange "shut-down" like sound

Postposted on Mon Apr 15, 2013 1:46 pm

Geo2160 wrote:But I don't think it would be such a good idea to install win8 on a 2002 single core machine.


Win8 is smaller in footprint than 7 and certainly Vista. Despite this still not sure I'd call it a good idea over XP for a machine of that age. Especially given that Vista, 7, and 8 do not understand/recognize the ISA bus. A machine of that vintage might even still have an ISA peripheral.
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Re: Strange "shut-down" like sound

Postposted on Mon Apr 15, 2013 1:55 pm

Oh, it's not THAT old, it's socket A. BTW, will windows 8 run fine on a 1280x1024 monitor?
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Re: Strange "shut-down" like sound

Postposted on Mon Apr 15, 2013 2:02 pm

My Socket A motherboard had an ISA slot and topped out at 1GB of RAM (I think, I had 512MB in it). No way I'd want Win7/8 on that!
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Re: Strange "shut-down" like sound

Postposted on Mon Apr 15, 2013 3:20 pm

I would worry more about general driver support. Some peripherals of that age lost driver support after XP, and some others had early-run Vista drivers that were never updated for Win7 (and may or may not work with hacked reference drivers from the chipset vendor).
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Re: Strange "shut-down" like sound

Postposted on Mon Apr 15, 2013 4:05 pm

Yeah, it would handle 1280x1024.

The age of the processor already forces it to use 32bit Win8, that said the 32bit edition can use XP, Vista, and 7 drivers.
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Re: Strange "shut-down" like sound

Postposted on Tue Apr 16, 2013 4:14 pm

Well guys, my efforts were for nothing, mostly. She got a second-hand HP SFF machine with a P4 HT (Compaq 7700 SFF in case you're wondering). God, those things are a delight to service: hinges on the PSU and ODD cages and everything is nicely put together with only screws. I wonder if I could my hands on one of those and turn it into a HTPC.

Thanks anyways!
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Re: Strange "shut-down" like sound

Postposted on Tue Apr 16, 2013 4:39 pm

Well, I'm not sure a P4 is much of an improvement, but a SFF might be better fit for her. (Though depending on what gen of P4 it is, I'd make darn sure it's getting plenty of airflow).
It may at least support enough memory to run Win7/8, possibly even 64bit.
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Re: Strange "shut-down" like sound

Postposted on Tue Apr 16, 2013 6:06 pm

Geo2160 wrote:I told her that she should upgrade, but in a country where 350 bucks/month is called a decent salary you can not expect people to be able to afford such things just because you told them.


Sorry, I didn't mean to sound like I was talking down to you or anything, but Microsoft is the one not discriminating about when security patches are cut off, not me.
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Re: Strange "shut-down" like sound

Postposted on Wed Apr 17, 2013 2:22 am

absurdity wrote:Sorry, I didn't mean to sound like I was talking down to you or anything, but Microsoft is the one not discriminating about when security patches are cut off, not me.


Oh, don't worry mate. I was just explaining our situation, since upgrading the OS would have meant upgrading the whole machine.
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Re: Strange "shut-down" like sound

Postposted on Wed Apr 17, 2013 5:42 am

Is the old machine available to throw linux on? Would be good practice for you and give them a second computer to keep or give away.
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Re: Strange "shut-down" like sound

Postposted on Wed Apr 17, 2013 10:05 am

That drive is old enough that the spindle may have ball bearings instead of fluid dynamic. Hard drives with ball bearings can make strange noises when the bearings eventually start to wear out. My old file server (which I retired a few years ago, and was even older than the desktop you're dealing with) had a pile of ancient 80 GB PATA drives in it. Most of them made intermittent whining noises even when not being accessed. Other than the noise I didn't have any trouble with 'em though. (And after I moved the server to the crawlspace the noise became a non-issue.)
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Re: Strange "shut-down" like sound

Postposted on Thu Apr 18, 2013 9:33 am

@Usacomp2k3: Unfortunately it's dead. It doesn't even POST every time.
@just brew it: I don't think that was the case. The drive was completely fine until I reinstalled the OS.
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Re: Strange "shut-down" like sound

Postposted on Thu Apr 18, 2013 3:37 pm

Geo2160 wrote:@just brew it: I don't think that was the case. The drive was completely fine until I reinstalled the OS.


So you're saying you broke it! ;D
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Re: Strange "shut-down" like sound

Postposted on Thu Apr 18, 2013 5:05 pm

Geo2160 wrote:@Usacomp2k3: Unfortunately it's dead. It doesn't even POST every time.
@just brew it: I don't think that was the case. The drive was completely fine until I reinstalled the OS.


That's just coincidence. It was most likely already mechanically failing. Just the longer work cycle of the install and subsequent program installs and updates just managed to expose something already broken.
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Re: Strange "shut-down" like sound

Postposted on Thu Apr 18, 2013 5:39 pm

Ryu Connor wrote:
Geo2160 wrote:@Usacomp2k3: Unfortunately it's dead. It doesn't even POST every time.
@just brew it: I don't think that was the case. The drive was completely fine until I reinstalled the OS.


That's just coincidence. It was most likely already mechanically failing. Just the longer work cycle of the install and subsequent program installs and updates just managed to expose something already broken.


If i am not mistaken, the hdd died, everything else still works. So, if they find a spare drive, slap puppy linux on it, and viola! you still have a computer instead of a worthless heap of silicon. I am quite sure someone in this world would be grateful to have a computer than none at all. You give a kid a computer to play and experiment and you unleash a drive to learn and imagination on that kid. All with a heap of silicon.
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Re: Strange "shut-down" like sound

Postposted on Thu Apr 18, 2013 5:56 pm

I'm not sure why people keep suggesting that Linux is a good solution for a box that old. Perhaps some specialized distro that is stripped down or cli only, but modern editions of Ubuntu and Mint for example are not lightweight.

I have an old Core 2 Duo laptop I use to present LPI-1 running Mint 14. Both cores idle at 20% usage and system usage plus caching easily fills up all 4GB of RAM in that laptop (very little swap use, there is more than enough RAM to leave the swap barely used for general productivity tasks). The laptop also runs considerably hotter than if Win7 or 8 were on it (probably an extension of that constant 20% usage on both cores).

XP arguably remains the lightest still supported option for the box. 7 or 8 versus something like Ubuntu or Mint is debatable a toss up.
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Re: Strange "shut-down" like sound

Postposted on Thu Apr 18, 2013 6:22 pm

Ryu Connor wrote:I'm not sure why people keep suggesting that Linux is a good solution for a box that old. Perhaps some specialized distro that is stripped down or cli only, but modern editions of Ubuntu and Mint for example are not lightweight.

I have an old Core 2 Duo laptop I use to present LPI-1 running Mint 14. Both cores idle at 20% usage and system usage plus caching easily fills up all 4GB of RAM in that laptop (very little swap use, there is more than enough RAM to leave the swap barely used for general productivity tasks). The laptop also runs considerably hotter than if Win7 or 8 were on it (probably an extension of that constant 20% usage on both cores).

XP arguably remains the lightest still supported option for the box. 7 or 8 versus something like Ubuntu or Mint is debatable a toss up.


in fact, puppy linux can be run from a usb flash drive so you don't need to find a spare hdd. It is a great distro for its purpose, and it will run on system memory! So, to me it sounds like if everything else works, i think this silicon still has some life on it.

BTW, i am not disagreeing with you, but stipulating further my post.
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Re: Strange "shut-down" like sound

Postposted on Thu Apr 18, 2013 8:35 pm

slowriot wrote:My Socket A motherboard had an ISA slot and topped out at 1GB of RAM (I think, I had 512MB in it). No way I'd want Win7/8 on that!

A socket A cpu is a lot faster than a crappy Atom single-core...and Windows 7 ran just fine on mine.
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Re: Strange "shut-down" like sound

Postposted on Fri Apr 19, 2013 11:41 am

Ryu Connor wrote:I'm not sure why people keep suggesting that Linux is a good solution for a box that old. Perhaps some specialized distro that is stripped down or cli only, but modern editions of Ubuntu and Mint for example are not lightweight.

Yeah, but with Linux you at least have options for stripped-down installs or specialty uses such as a dedicated XBMC bootup. With Windows its more of an all-or-nothing install, and antivirus overhead is pretty much required as well.
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Re: Strange "shut-down" like sound

Postposted on Fri Apr 19, 2013 12:18 pm

Eh, we could debate that some. There are stripped down version of 7 such as Starter and Home Basic. There are more minimalist and performance oriented AVs as well. Win8 ships with a fast and tiny AV built in and still has a smaller memory footprint than 7.

There's also the discussion about how useful/functional a stripped down Linux install will be. Editions like Mint and Ubuntu are popular for a reason.

Lots of pedantic back and forth could be had here.
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