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Problem with hard drive?

Discussion in 'Tech Support' started by Renoir, 14 Mar 2007.

  1. Renoir

    Renoir What's a Dremel?

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    For background info pc has an athlon xp 2600 running on an Asus AV7880 with 1 512MB stick of Ram and a 74GB Raptor as system drive and Maxtor as secondary drive. The pc had been running perfectly in this configuration for 2 years.

    One day out of the blue I got the following message when trying to boot from xp pro. "the following file is missing or corrupt:WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\CONFIG\SYSTEM".
    I tried "chkdsk /r" from the recovery console but after about 50% got the message "The volume appears to contain one or more unrecoverable problems". I then tried fixmbr and got the message "This computer appears to have a non-standard or invalid master boot record". Fearing a hardware issue I ran the WD diagnostic tool to check my raptor for errors but it didn't find any. Then I ran memtest which found my 1 stick of ram had multiple errors during test 5. Based on the memtest result I bought a new stick of ram but when I put it in I got the message NTLDR is missing instead of the previous error. So I ran memtest again but on the new stick of ram and it had no errors.

    At this point I was pretty fed up so I decided to format the c: drive and reinstall windows. Bizarrely the xp cd was now seeing my c: drive as having only 8MB of free space out of 20GB (was at least 10GB free previously). It was also now showing up as a FAT drive instead of NTFS. This made no sense to me but I decided I'd reformat the c: Drive as NTFS but windows said it couldn't do it and that the drive may be damaged. I then used the WD diagnostic CD to do a low level format to the whole drive to essentially start from scratch. I then started the xp install routine again but once again windows said it couldn't format the drive. So I ran the hard drive utility test again and it found no errors for the second time.

    I'm now at a complete loss as to what to do. Any help would be much appreciated!!!
     
  2. krimson

    krimson What's a Dremel?

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    basically, it sounds like a bum hard drive. if you can format it, and then not install windows, even after a low level format, then you may be boned.
    try to format it as a blank partition and then boot from the windows cd and see if you can do a format to NTFS (dont use the quick option)

    otherwise, you may need to check your warranty and see if you can still RMA it
     
  3. Renoir

    Renoir What's a Dremel?

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    Hey Krimson
    I can't seem to format the drive at all with the windows cd. The only thing I was able to do was write zeros across the whole drive with the WD utility.

    Don't know what you mean by a "blank partition".

    I agree it seems as though the HD is buggered but then why did it pass the WD drive test? Perhaps the utility just didn't do it's job properly in which case I'm gonna do a test with Hitachi's tool. It does seem a coincidence that the ram I had before failed the memtest although I've read that generic ram can fail that test in athlon systems so maybe it's a false positive?
     
  4. krimson

    krimson What's a Dremel?

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    well, for example, if you use a program like partition magic, you can simply delete the partition, and have it just be unused/empty space (like you just bought the drive).. its like you format it, but dont pick a filesystem (i.e. NTFS, FAT32, ext3, etc...)

    something like a live linux disk (knoppix, ubuntu live, etc) should have partition managers on them where you can do a blank partition.

    if your ram is failing memtest, and your drive is pooping out, then maybe the problem is elsewhere.. if you have a spare pc (or a friend), maybe try the drive in another computer.. your motherboard might be going bad.
     
  5. Renoir

    Renoir What's a Dremel?

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    Understand "blank partition" now. I ran Hitachi's hard drive utility on the raptor and that too found no errors. As a stopgap measure to tidy me over till I figure out the problem I then tried to install windows on my secondary maxtor drive. I first tried to partition it with Gparted but it came up as failed. I then tried chkdsk using the windows cd on the maxtor drive but it stalled at 25% and gave me the same "volume appears to have one or more unrecoverable errors" as I got on the raptor. I then tried installing XP on maxtor but it didn't work.

    It seems unlikely now that it's the hard drives although why does windows seem to get errors when dealing with the drives but both the WD and Hitachi utilities do not? Does windows access the drive differently to the diagnostic utilities?

    Krimson I have the feeling your idea of a faulty mobo is what's going on and will do just as you suggest and test the drives on a friend's machine.
     

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