Hard Disk was defective but now is fine ... ??

Any ideas, thoughts - not necessary related to Hard Disk Sentinel.

Hard Disk was defective but now is fine ... ??

Postby spookyneo » 2013.02.05. 03:23

Hi all,

I am calling your help, mighty people who can understand advanced issues of hard drives. :) It is not an issue related to HDS, thus the reason why it is in General Dicussion.

A week ago, my Windows 7 would not start properly anymore. It was working fine the day before, then on the next morning, Windows wouldn't boot properly. At first, it loaded to the login screen and then got a blue screen. On second boot, it stucked on loading drivers ("Loading Windows" boot logo). On third boot, I got a Disk Boot Failure error from BIOS. On fourth boot, I was able to log into Windows, then everything freezes and I could hear my main hard drive spin down and spin up. No good...

I then loaded Parted Magic Boot CD, launched GSmartControl (which is a SMART monitoring software). GSmartControl was not able to complete either a Short or Extended Test. I was, however, able to read partitions into GParted. I took the time then to copy all my data to another hard drive, since I was able to read data properly. My data was safe, I was a much happier person !

I then loaded Data Lifeguard Diagnostic for DOS from Western Digital. I was not able to complete either Short or Extended either. Both tests would result in "Missing Tests Tracks" error. I googled that and found some people who had the same issue with the tool in DOS, but no workaround. I was able to test my other hard drives properly, but not this one.

The next day, I fired up Parted Magic again to prepare another hard drive to install Windows and decided to test my defective hard drive again...all SMART tests passed properly. I installed Windows on another hard drive, to diagnose my defective hard drive in Windows with much more tools. I installed HDS and HDS says that the disk is 100% healthy. Both Short and Extended Tests finish without any error and the surface scan shows every sector are healthy as well. Seek and speed tests are fine and what they should be. I am not running anything on this drive, yet. I don't trust it. Western Digital's Data Lifeguard Diagnostic for Windows shows the drive healthy as well.

Should I trust this drive ? Here's the SMART :

1,Raw Read Error Rate,51,200,200,OK,1,0,Enabled
3,Spin Up Time,21,144,135,OK,3766,0,Enabled
4,Start/Stop Count,0,100,100,OK (Always passing),99,0,Enabled
5,Reallocated Sectors Count,140,200,200,OK,0,0,Enabled
7,Seek Error Rate,0,100,253,OK (Always passing),0,0,Enabled
9,Power On Time Count,0,100,100,OK (Always passing),423,0,Enabled
10,Spin Retry Count,0,100,253,OK (Always passing),0,0,Enabled
11,Drive Calibration Retry Count,0,100,253,OK (Always passing),0,0,Enabled
12,Drive Power Cycle Count,0,100,100,OK (Always passing),96,0,Enabled
192,Power off Retract Cycle Count,0,200,200,OK (Always passing),43,0,Enabled
193,Load/Unload Cycle Count,0,200,200,OK (Always passing),55,0,Enabled
194,Disk Temperature,0,114,109,OK (Always passing),29,0,Enabled
196,Reallocation Event Count,0,200,200,OK (Always passing),0,0,Enabled
197,Current Pending Sector Count,0,200,200,OK (Always passing),0,0,Enabled
198,Off-Line Uncorrectable Sector Count,0,200,200,OK (Always passing),0,0,Enabled
199,Ultra ATA CRC Error Count,0,200,200,OK (Always passing),1,0,Enabled
200,Write Error Rate,0,200,200,OK (Always passing),0,0,Enabled

I notice that the Raw Read Error Rate and Ultra ATA CRC Error Count are both valued to 1. I never changed the SATA cable since few months and it was working fine before. It is the same cable as before and seems to be fine. Could it be related to the PSU ? It is about 7-8 years old, but have good values in BIOS (+-10%). It is a (very good) Seasonic :)

Thanks for any help,

Neo.
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Re: Hard Disk was defective but now is fine ... ??

Postby hdsentinel » 2013.02.06. 11:21

According the experiences and the information, I'm almost sure the issue is NOT related to the hard disk itself.

I'd suspect the problem may be related to the power supply or power connection: you wrote you hear that the drive spin up / spin down.
All problems (failed boot attempts, Windows hangs, test failures) you mentioned would indicate that the drive periodically disappears from the system.

Yes, also there may be an issue related to SATA data cable. The 1 Ultra ATA CRC error count detected is not a big problem and would not confirm the above mentioned problems - but can be a sign that the data cable is not correct, that does not provide good connection.
There are 1000's of such troubles every day: SATA cables shipped with some motherboards do not work correctly. For some weeks / months they seem fine until such problems starts.

Personally I'd examine and possibly replace the SATA data cable.

Also I'd check the connection of the SATA power cable coming from the power supply, maybe use an other power connector coming from the power supply.
It is better to avoid 4 pin -> SATA power cable adapters, Y power splitters and so - as they all can cause connection problems. Usually these are not noticed for some weeks / months - but then start causing troubles.

I'm almost sure this happened in the current case, especially if the tests in Hard Disk Sentinel showed that the drive is 100% perfect and Disk -> Surface test confirmed that the complete hard disk surface is accessible and fully usable.
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Re: Hard Disk was defective but now is fine ... ??

Postby spookyneo » 2013.02.06. 15:49

hdsentinel wrote:I'd suspect the problem may be related to the power supply or power connection: you wrote you hear that the drive spin up / spin down.
All problems (failed boot attempts, Windows hangs, test failures) you mentioned would indicate that the drive periodically disappears from the system.

Also I'd check the connection of the SATA power cable coming from the power supply, maybe use an other power connector coming from the power supply.
It is better to avoid 4 pin -> SATA power cable adapters, Y power splitters and so - as they all can cause connection problems. Usually these are not noticed for some weeks / months - but then start causing troubles.


Thank you for your reply. I am not using 4 pin -> SATA power cable adapters at all in my system. I have enough SATA power cable to supply every SATA device. Between my original post and this one, I thought a bit more about a power issue and it does makes sense. I do have another symptom randomly happening : My DVD burner sometimes will not work after a boot. I must reboot my computer. If I press the open button to open the tray, it might not work and no LED will flash. This seems to be a power issue, because my new burner which is 5 days old, had this issue once yet.

I've checked my power values using softwares in Windows and everything seems fine, although I have not checked them while an issue is happening; this will probably more relevant. A power supply issue can be scary, because this may damage my parts... :?

hdsentinel wrote:Yes, also there may be an issue related to SATA data cable. The 1 Ultra ATA CRC error count detected is not a big problem and would not confirm the above mentioned problems - but can be a sign that the data cable is not correct, that does not provide good connection.
There are 1000's of such troubles every day: SATA cables shipped with some motherboards do not work correctly. For some weeks / months they seem fine until such problems starts.

Personally I'd examine and possibly replace the SATA data cable.


Thanks, I'll do that. I think I do have another SATA data cable nearby. Even though it might not be the data cable and be the power supply, I won't take any chances.

Thank you hdsentinel. As always, your experience and knowledge helps us out :)
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Re: Hard Disk was defective but now is fine ... ??

Postby spookyneo » 2013.02.11. 04:49

Hello again people,

I would like to ask your opinion on, what I believe is another sign that my PSU is failing. However, I would like to get your input on this.

My computer, and all devices connected to it, are connected to an APC powerbar (not UPS!). Yesterday, I unplugged a device from my powerbar and my computer rebooted on its own. Nothing else rebooted (router, modem, printer, etc), only my computer. The computer did not even POST. I heard the fans restarting, which lead me to believe that it had reboot, but my screen was black and the BIOS did not even show. I then manually rebooted it and it rebooted fine then. Before you ask, the power plug from my computer was not besides the plug of the device I unplugged.

I did some researches and found some things called brownouts, which are basically intentional or unintentional drops in voltage. I'm no expert in electricity, but could it be that when I unplugged my device, there was a voltage drop in my powerbar and that drop rebooted my computer ? This is the first time that my computer does this and not the first time that I unplug stuff from the powerbar. The readings I have found about brownouts tells that this could be a sign of a PSU failure.

Anyone knows more in this than I do ? My PSU is about 7-8 years old, a very good Seasonic 500w (80Plus certified).

Thank you !

Neo.
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Re: Hard Disk was defective but now is fine ... ??

Postby hdsentinel » 2013.02.11. 09:24

Yes, I can confirm that connection / disconnection on a device may cause such fluctuation in the power line.

Your PSU may be too sensitive for this event and I suspect one (or more) output lines may drop. This caused that system seemed to hang, just like if an improper reset would happened.
Yes, this can be sign of the PSU problem: the capacitor(s) in the PSU (which are holding electronic charge, exactly to compensate these fluctuations and provide stable output levels even on higher loads, for example when one or more devices requiring more power) may fail.
Usually this may happen after 5-7 years even in such good PSUs (depending on actual usage, power requirements of the PC and so).

If you are interested in technical background, you may check
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capacitor_plague

Quote from this page:

"Computer symptoms:
Intermittent failure to turn on, requiring user to press reset or try turning the computer on repeatedly
Instabilities (hangs, occurrences of the "Blue Screen of Death", kernel panics, etc.), especially when symptoms get progressively more frequent over time
Memory errors, especially ones that get more frequent with time
Spontaneous restarts or resets
In on-board or add-on video cards, unstable image in some video modes
Failure to complete the Power-On Self Test ("POST"), or spontaneous rebooting before it is completed
Failure to even start the POST; fans spin but the system appears dead"


Did not mention hard disk problems directly, but would confirm that problem also ....
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