Unusual Hard drive symptoms....

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Unusual Hard drive symptoms....

Postposted on Thu May 23, 2013 4:13 pm

So on a friends computer who likes to collect tons of internet pictures, and I mean a TON.... one of the hard drive is having problems. SMART says that the drive is fine with no reallocated sectors, read or write errors. The presence of the drive in the computer sometimes causes the computer to fail to post or boot. Absence of the drive allows normal boots. Chkdsk stalls at verifying indexes step at 0% and the drive partially spins down and spins back up about 10 times per minute (This spin down/up thing only happens on chkdsk or when the computer fails to post/boot). Extremely slow I/O operations.... only about 1.6 MB/s file copy rate. Currently copying all the files to a new drive since the back up is a few weeks old... and it's taking forever... 20 hours so far and about 15 more hours to go. The MFT is huge and I think it's pegged at about 10-12% of the drive, and the drive has over 450,000 files and is 90% full :o !

So the drive may be failing, but it's unusual because a slowly failing drive should have bad sectors and other kinds of errors. I also wonder if the power from the PSU isn't enough or something is wrong with the SATA power cord... since the problems started after moving the computer to a new location. After I backup all the files, I'll try some other hard drive diagnostic utilities, after switching the power to a different SATA power plug.
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Re: Unusual Hard drive symptoms....

Postposted on Thu May 23, 2013 4:31 pm

Too much pr0n. :wink:
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Re: Unusual Hard drive symptoms....

Postposted on Thu May 23, 2013 4:40 pm

CB5000 wrote: SMART says that the drive is fine with no reallocated sectors, read or write errors.


I've seen a ton of seagates that pass all SMART tests but are obviously failing (constant clicking, taking minutes at boot to recognize the drive on post, data corruption).
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Re: Unusual Hard drive symptoms....

Postposted on Thu May 23, 2013 4:45 pm

Deanjo wrote:
CB5000 wrote: SMART says that the drive is fine with no reallocated sectors, read or write errors.


I've seen a ton of seagates that pass all SMART tests but are obviously failing (constant clicking, taking minutes at boot to recognize the drive on post, data corruption).
This particular drive is a older western digital drive with @ 320GB. Also probably might be pron... didn't ask, haha :roll:
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Re: Unusual Hard drive symptoms....

Postposted on Thu May 23, 2013 4:50 pm

CB5000 wrote:This particular drive is a older western digital drive with @ 320GB. Also probably might be pron... didn't ask, haha :roll:

That's an old drive. Get everything you can off of it and then open it up to play with the magnets.
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Re: Unusual Hard drive symptoms....

Postposted on Thu May 23, 2013 4:56 pm

First, if it is a Seagate...I trust sandforce SSDs over Seagate drives. (Which it is not a seagate)

But it could also be the sata controler on the board. I have seen them fail out too.

So:
1) Check the cable.
2) Try a different sata port.
3) Try accessing the HDD in a different computer (USB or sata)
4) Try reading a different hard drive on the computer to test the southbridge.
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Re: Unusual Hard drive symptoms....

Postposted on Fri May 24, 2013 11:20 am

Could also be marginal power (loose HDD power connector or failing PSU).
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Re: Unusual Hard drive symptoms....

Postposted on Fri May 24, 2013 1:13 pm

My money is on Ned's first guess at the culprit. Delete tracking cookies & Virus sweep or reformat.
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Re: Unusual Hard drive symptoms....

Postposted on Fri May 24, 2013 1:50 pm

DPete27 wrote:My money is on Ned's first guess at the culprit. Delete tracking cookies & Virus sweep or reformat.

That doesn't explain the spin up/down behavior though. (Not saying a virus scan is a bad idea, I just don't think it is the *only* potential issue.)

And please don't spread the myth that cookies can cause your computer to malfunction. Yes, they are a potential privacy issue, in the sense of ad networks and affiliated sites being able to track your movements around the web. But they don't leak data you haven't already made publicly available in some way, can't contain malicious code, and can't "infect" your system.
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Re: Unusual Hard drive symptoms....

Postposted on Fri May 24, 2013 2:51 pm

450K files isn't really enough to cause problems. Sounds like just another random drive failure IMO.
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Re: Unusual Hard drive symptoms....

Postposted on Fri May 24, 2013 3:14 pm

Wait....is said hdd just being used as a storage drive or does it have the OS on it?? If the former, ignore my earlier comment and what follows, the drive is most likely dying. If the latter, continue on.

just brew it! wrote:
DPete27 wrote:My money is on Ned's first guess at the culprit. Delete tracking cookies & Virus sweep or reformat.

That doesn't explain the spin up/down behavior though. (Not saying a virus scan is a bad idea, I just don't think it is the *only* potential issue.)

And please don't spread the myth that cookies can cause your computer to malfunction. Yes, they are a potential privacy issue, in the sense of ad networks and affiliated sites being able to track your movements around the web. But they don't leak data you haven't already made publicly available in some way, can't contain malicious code, and can't "infect" your system.

First off, I never made that claim. However, "tracking your movements around the web" will have a negative impact on percepted speed of the system while using the web. I feel that pr0n sites are a cesspool for tracking cookies and intrusions. If that's what this person is doing (thousands of web images??) a cookie sweep can't hurt.

Admittedly this has little relation to the spin up/down behavior and low transfer speeds described unless there are some unapproved communications happening behind the scenes. Should be able to spot that pretty quick by watching the Windows Recource Monitor for a few minutes. I always try to repair the problem before I go out buying new hardware, so I'd do a reformat before buying a new hdd (sounds like that's what the OP is already doing). Worst case, the existing hdd dies, but you already have a fresh backup from your reformat, so meh.
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Re: Unusual Hard drive symptoms....

Postposted on Fri May 24, 2013 3:25 pm

Yeah the bad drive is just a data drive. The operating system is on a different drive and it works fine. Also this computer never connects to the internet or the network, and all the data was transferred by USB with flash drives or external drives. Yeah a bad power cable connection can cause it... The backup is about 90% done, and 5 hours left to go so I'll tinker with it when its done.

So yeah very unlikely for viruses, Trojans etc to causing the performance impact as the main drive containing the OS works fine, and no performance issues.

Oh the other thing is that whenever there are any I/O operations on the bad drive, CPU is pegged at 100%.
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Re: Unusual Hard drive symptoms....

Postposted on Fri May 24, 2013 3:29 pm

DPete27 wrote:
just brew it! wrote:And please don't spread the myth that cookies can cause your computer to malfunction. Yes, they are a potential privacy issue, in the sense of ad networks and affiliated sites being able to track your movements around the web. But they don't leak data you haven't already made publicly available in some way, can't contain malicious code, and can't "infect" your system.

First off, I never made that claim.

Yeah, I guess you didn't say it point blank. But suggesting that the OP wipe cookies as part of the solution to (apparent) hardware problems with a data drive (OP said "Absence of the drive allows normal boots") implies that you believe cookies are causing the drive to malfunction.

DPete27 wrote:However, "tracking your movements around the web" will have a negative impact on percepted speed of the system while using the web. I feel that pr0n sites are a cesspool for tracking cookies and intrusions. If that's what this person is doing (thousands of web images??) a cookie sweep can't hurt.

You apparently misunderstand how cookies work. A cookie can only be retrieved by the domain that placed it in the first place (either the site you are visiting, or one of their banner ad providers), so for normal web browsing, having lots of cookies on the system from sites you seldom (or never) visit any more doesn't consume anything other than disk space. And since we seem to be talking about a data drive here, the cookies probably aren't even on the drive that is experiencing the problem (they are stored on the system drive by default).

For sites you do visit on a regular basis, any cookies specific to that site (or their ad affiliates) will be downloaded again the next time you visit the site (unless you disable cookies completely). So again, negligible impact on performance from wiping existing cookies.
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Re: Unusual Hard drive symptoms....

Postposted on Fri May 24, 2013 3:38 pm

CB5000 wrote:Oh the other thing is that whenever there are any I/O operations on the bad drive, CPU is pegged at 100%.

Sounds like the drive has dropped to PIO mode. This can happen if the drive is failing, or due to flaky drive cable or controller.

Try going into Device Manager and re-enabling DMA for the disk controller channel the drive is connected to. If the problem goes away but comes back again at some point, then there's definitely something funky with the hardware.
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Re: Unusual Hard drive symptoms....

Postposted on Fri May 24, 2013 5:42 pm

axeman wrote:I wish browser makers would make disabling 3rd party cookies a default already.

I've got mixed feelings on that.

On the one hand, the level of tracking (as evidenced by the rise in targeted advertising these past couple of years) is downright creepy.

On the other hand, the current ad-supported business model for a large chunk of the Web depends on it. Many sites (probably this one included!) wouldn't be economically viable without 3rd party ad networks, and many of those ad networks probably wouldn't be viable if they were denied the ability to set their own cookies.

Wreck the ad networks' business model, and you may also wreck the business model of the sites you like to visit. Quite the conundrum. Nothing's truly free, other than the air that you breathe; at the end of the day, someone has to pay.
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Re: Unusual Hard drive symptoms....

Postposted on Fri May 24, 2013 7:16 pm

So it looked like the drive died at 91% backed up and the drive doesn't show up anymore, I took the drive out and popped it into a different computer. After a few minutes of drivers installing, the drive spun up and down several times and now it works normally. Backing up at about 50-70mb/s now which is more normal for a drive of this age. After the backup imma run some torture tests on the drive to make sure its okay. Seems like something with the mono is bad, but the main drive still seems to work to okay so....

Maybe the south bridge is dying. I also tried a different sata cable and power connector but no dice on the original computer. I'll also test the voltages too and see if its still within specs. Its an antec earth watts which has a good reputation.
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Re: Unusual Hard drive symptoms....

Postposted on Tue May 28, 2013 3:01 pm

Looks like the south bridge is dying or dead. It is way too hot running idle with no drives or usb devices attached etc and nearly burns my fingers. The transistors or diodes near the south bridge is showing some evidence of solder reflow from the heat. ( some flux visible, and slight discoloration on the PCB). It prolly never got hot enough to burn or smell, but hot enough to cause instability. With stuff attached it gets super hot, and would easily burn my fingers. Felt like my radeon 7970 @80c!

Never had a south bridge die on me so that's a first for me lol. Ordered an new mobo, and that should do the trick.

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