Is my Hard Drive bad? Really stumped on this one.

Discussion in 'PC Hardware' started by Timotto, Dec 16, 2009.

  1. Timotto

    Timotto MDL Novice

    Sep 26, 2009
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    #1 Timotto, Dec 16, 2009
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2009
    Here is my problem, I have 2 Western Digital 1 TB Sata II drives. Call them Drive 1 and 2. I've been running Drive 1 since I put my computer together a year ago. So Drive 1 has the OS installed on it. A few months back I added Drive 2 and all has been running fine. Until a few days ago. I tried to turn on my computer in the morning and it wouldn't even get to the POST which means the BIOS sequence wouldn't even start. There was nothing on the monitor and since it didn't even get to the POST, the mouse and keyboard were not even active. So, I disconnected Drive 2 and my system booted up no problems. So to rule out bad cables, I tried 6 different sata cables and different ports but still no success to boot up my system while Drive 2 is connected. So I did something very risky. I booted up my system with only Drive 1 connected. So now while I have my system completely booted up, I connected Drive 2 (yes a big no no, but I was desperate), I then went into device manager and under Disk Drives I scanned for new hardware. All of a sudden Drive 2 was recognized and windows installed the drivers and all is working. I quickly grabbed my files from Drive 2 and safely put them on Drive 1. I even quickly ran LifeGuard from Western Digital and both Drives had a PASS for the SMART status. So I rebooted and the system would not boot up again because Drive 2 was connected. So again, I disconnected Drive 2 and the system booted up again no problem. I updated all sata and chipset drivers directly from ASUS and still no success. Does this mean that Drive 2 is bad. Now if my Drive 2 is bad, why does it work when I connect it while windows is booted up? Shouldn't a bad drive not work at all? Why would a bad (if it is bad) second Hard Drive that doesn't have the OS on it, cause a system from getting into the BIOS or even getting into the Boot sequence. Now when the system fails to boot, all fans are running and I can hear the Hard Drives spinning, and all lights are on, but the boot sequence just doesn't get going.

    Here is my system:

    Windows 7 Ultimate 64 Bit
    Intel Core 2 Due 3GHz
    4GB RAM
    Asus P5Q MoBo
    2 x Western Digital 1TB Caviar Black 7200rpm SATA II
    GeForce 9400 GT Video Card
    600 Watt Power Supply

    Appreciate any insight regarding this.
     
  2. genuine555

    genuine555 MDL Expert

    Oct 3, 2009
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    #2 genuine555, Dec 16, 2009
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2009
    Your power supply might be failing. Simple as that. Nothing wrong with your hard drive. the two disks together with the geforce and core two duo might just draw too much power from your PSU. Your geforce draws 65 watts, your cpu about 75-80 under load. The older the psu is, the more aging there is on the capacitators, and so the more efficienty loss. What brand is it ?
    Could be that you psu now won't draw more then 400w anymore. If it's a cheaper brand, maybe even less.

    If you have some more peripherals connected, ytour usb ports will draw some power too, same for connected expansion cards, etc...

    I'd say, swap with another psu if you can, and see what happens. I'll bet you will have no more issues.


    Gen555
     
  3. 911medic

    911medic MDL Guru

    Aug 13, 2008
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    Disconnect drive 1 and leave drive 2 connected..try to boot and see if it posts...obviously it wont boot to Windows, but may shed some light on the power issues or bad drive. I dont think bad drive would do this..unless it is shorted or ???
     
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  4. genuine555

    genuine555 MDL Expert

    Oct 3, 2009
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    Mhhno, short is very unlikely. He got it working from inside windows, after boot.
    If he would try that again, the disk would be recognized again, but if he would then keep it running and start surfing, using apps,... after a while he'd probably start getting error messages or crashes, due to psu instability.
     
  5. 2centsworth

    2centsworth MDL Senior Member

    Feb 12, 2008
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    Run full test with WD diags full surface scan on both drives.

    It sounds like drive 2 has a logical issue with the interface or spinup, have you tried it in another motherboard?

    Have you swapped SATA ports the drives are plugged into see if one has an issue?

    Do you have the newest P5Q BIOS?


    No stray ata 150 jumpers left on the drives....
    Good SATA cables.....
    all drives are plugged into the Intel controller, not the SI RAID controller...
    etc, etc......



    What you describe does not sound like a power supply issue, sounds like it's the motherboard or drive/cable/controller issue.
     
  6. 911medic

    911medic MDL Guru

    Aug 13, 2008
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    Thats kinda what I was getting at..:eek::D
     
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  7. Carel

    Carel MDL Member

    Oct 11, 2009
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    Yes, I totally agree. This ain't a PSU problem. a Hard drive uses about +- 10watts... A CPU's powr usage will vary from 50~100W. That 10W being pulled from the PSU simply cannot be the reason for a PSU to become unstable, even if it was the PSU, the system would've crashed when you booted to Windows, because the GFX card would've used more extra power (more than 10W) & the CPU would also use more power (again,m ore than 10W). This is a whicked problem. I agree, it must be some weirdo problem, such as a controller or... If I were you, I'd clear the CMOS & reconfigure all settings again. I'll even try connecting the drive to a different SATA port, but I can tell your drive isn't bad at all, nor the PSU. If you really have doubts about the PSU, the run a stress test on the system, or a benchmarking application. If the PSU is bad, this would fail, if it isn't, well, then it wouldn't crash or reboot. Check the SATA cable, swap it out with another one, clear the CMOS (it once worked for a CD-ROM on my older PC)...
     
  8. Timotto

    Timotto MDL Novice

    Sep 26, 2009
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    #8 Timotto, Dec 17, 2009
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2009
    (OP)
    Ok well I have cleared the cmos and it didn't do any good. So I'm leaning towards a bad drive. Even though the thing works when I connect it while windows is on. So if I summaize:

    - I disconnected both drives turn on the computer and it posts.
    - I connect both drives and it doesn't post.
    - I connect the good drive (has the OS installed on it) and it boots up fine.
    - I disconnect the cable from the good drive, and connect it to the bad drive (has no OS on it) leave it connected to the same sata port and that being the only drive connected and it doesn't post.

    So as weird as it sounds, it's gotta be the drive. Would this be logical to conclude at this point?

    The only thing I didn't try is reformat the drive. Only because I don't think it'll do any good. Any other suggestions, I appreciate all the input.
     
  9. burfadel

    burfadel MDL EXE>MSP/CAB

    Aug 19, 2009
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    First on a side note about power supplies:

    A power supply is usually less than 80 percent efficient, if it is above 80 it can get the '80 plus' certification.

    That means a 600W power supply, even at the pretty good 80 percent efficiency can only supply 480W.

    A cheap power supply is not worth the risk, many of the 600W ones may not work as well as better quality 450W ones!

    In terms of your HDD's, it does sound like a strange problem. Hotplugging the drive isn't a bad thing, eSata is designed for that afterall :) still better to restart though!

    In terms of your HDD, it does sound like it is faulty. However, getting warranty on it could be a problem since its not faulty in the classic sense. The non-posting sounds strange though, in that sense it sounds like its got to do with the circuitary on the drive. Drive's do have flashable ROMS on them, just like DVD drives, for firmware just like computers have them for BIOS's, but I doubt its that which is faulty.

    The only thing you can do is connect it in Windows like you did before, and run diskpart (type it in the search area or go run, then diskpart).

    Type
    list disk
    select disk x
    (where x is the disk you want to change. MAKE SURE ITS THE RIGHT ONE :)
    clean
    create partition primary
    format


    That completely clears the partition information from the drive, creates a new partition and formats it (I can't remember if you have to create a volume in the new partition, but you can add that by create volume :))

    You will lose any data you have on the drive, so make sure its all backed up. Reboot and see if it works!
     
  10. Hoppyah

    Hoppyah MDL Senior Member

    Aug 12, 2009
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    What is the 80 PLUS specification?

    The 80 PLUS performance specification requires multi-output power supplies in computers and servers to be 80% or greater energy efficient at 20%, 50% and 100% of rated load with a true power factor of 0.9 or greater. This makes an 80 PLUS certified power supply substantially more efficient than typical power supplies and creates a unique market differentiation opportunity for power supply and computer manufacturers.
     
  11. genuine555

    genuine555 MDL Expert

    Oct 3, 2009
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    #14 genuine555, Dec 18, 2009
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2009
    I would agree with you on that. A decent 600w psu will draw about that amount, maybe 550.

    Here again you think a cheap 600w psu will output the same as a decent 600w psu. It will not happen I tell you. You say it should. Yes, it should, but it doesn't.
    You say "or the manufacturer is telling a lie". Is that so uncomprehensable ?
    Do you watch commercials ??? Are they all true ? No they are not. They are in fact full of lies. What you read on products you buy in every store is partially a lie.
    So yes, when you buy a cheap "600"w psu, the manufacturer is in fact telling a lie, because it will never output that 600w.
    I had a 600w psu years ago, and my pc (bulked with connected devices inside and out) would crash, get errors, sometimes wouldn't boot.
    I replaced it with an antec 450 high efficienty psu, and guess what ? My pc ran flawlessly.
    So the statement that a 600w cheap psu in fact outputs FAR less then an expensive 600w psu is as true as it gets.
    You could test that yourself. Buy a cheap, and an expensive, say 400w psu, and test them both on a modern rig.

    EDIT : efficienty for a psu actually means how much drawn power ultimately gets outputted in wattage. With cheap psu's that means that more drawn power gets converted into HEAT instead of outputted in wattage.
    Expensive ones have higher efficienty, thuss from the drawn power, less will be converted into heat and more into actual wattage.
    They will both draw roughly the same ammount of power, but the cheap one will convert more power into heat.
     
  12. Timotto

    Timotto MDL Novice

    Sep 26, 2009
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    OK everyone, problem solved. Aparently when I updated my BIOS via Asus updater through the internet it didn't work. UGHHHH!!!
    You see, I assumed it actually worked because it did everything as if it was updated. CMOS was cleared had to go back in redo the settings. So I assumed BIOS was updated. Can't believe I didn't bother to confirm the BIOS version after updating.
    But on my last boot up I caught a quick glimpse of the BIOS version and noticed it was not the current version. Couldn't believe it. So I did an update via boot disk. Rebooted and checked the version and all was good. Then hooked up the second drive rebooted (crossed fingers) and BAM!!! it's all good.

    Thanks for all the input people.
     
  13. Carel

    Carel MDL Member

    Oct 11, 2009
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    Ok, keep in mind that if a PC is unstable with a cheaper PSU, then you cannot asume it outputs less power. In other words, I agree with the fact that 600W cheapo is not the same as 600W expensive, but definitly not due to wattage output. Keep in mind that all computer power supplies are switching power supplies, they use PWM controllers. Keep in mind that the PWM Signal drive for a cheapo, is lower than that of an expensive one. They operate at high frequencies, a few million Hertz! The thing is: A cheapo will not output clean power. the power will contain ripple & noise, THAT's why the cheapo cause instability. Obviously if you pull more power, the noise & ripple will rise so much, that the CPU's PWM phases cannot filter the noise & it will cause a lockup, there is more thabn enough power, but it's not clean. It's not because a cheapo 600W only outputs up to 550W, or because it outputs less than the advertised wattage... It's because the cheapo will cause ripple in the power lines supplied to the Mobo / CPU. Yes - I have tested this quite a million times before, cheapo's does output their advertised wattage (they can even pass the 600W limit, but noise & filtering is weak), eg 600W. So, what I'm trying to say: If a PSU causes instability, it does not always mean the unit supplies too less power, it's because of the noise, ripple & filtering that's weak on them. That's why an expensive 600W will be of higher quality than a cheapo 600W. If you don't believe me, it'll take you less than 10-minutes to test it. Take a cheapo, hook it up to a Load-Tester & stress the PSU. Now, hook it up to a digital Oscilator & analyze the frequency, you'll find the answer, the load tester can pull the advertised wattage, but the ripple in the DC output will be higher. As for the more expensive unit, it'll provide the same amount of wattage, but if you analyze the graph the Oscilator drwas, then you'll see a less-curved line, it should be almost straight. I'm not trying to fight... I work with electronics my whole life, repairing PSUs & analyzing them. Take any PSU on hardwaresecrets.com & you'll see that cheapos do output the advertised wattage, the only have a more curved wave line on the oscilator. This is what causes the instability / crashes. Good motherboards, like the ones Asus provides, can handle these cheapo PSUs better, their CPU-PWM stage has excelent filtering - this is why Asus board overclock better - the signal is cleaner...
     
  14. Carel

    Carel MDL Member

    Oct 11, 2009
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    Whicked, I'm really glad you didn't brick your board... Asus's Windows update utility have been failing on almost every 2nd board that exists. Next time, update from DOS, I have lost 3x Asus boards in the past due to the Windows Method {Asus only}. ;-)
     
  15. genuine555

    genuine555 MDL Expert

    Oct 3, 2009
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    Fight ?
    Thought we were merely discussing power outputs of psu's...
    Chill...

    Anyway, if your job is what you say, then I'll believe you on what you just said. I'm into networking, not electronics, so you would have the advantage regarding this topic. And besides, It's not the first time I've heard of Expensive psu's delivering cleaner less distorted power.
    But I still believe, besides the distortion issue, that a lot of cheapos also won't output the stated wattage.
     
  16. genuine555

    genuine555 MDL Expert

    Oct 3, 2009
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    That's an important thing to know, never use the windows flash tool.
    You should've realised that after your first brick :) instead of repeating it again 2 times...that's three times learning fee.

    EDIT : I hope you won't do that again in the future....