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SubjectHard Drive on it's last legs? new Reply to this message
Posted bymikeyt
Posted on06/12/06 08:28 PM



Sometimes when I power on my computer, my HD won't spin up at all and instead I'll get some bootcode error at startup when my computer is detecting drives. There is also a green light that constantly flashes on the underside of the HD when this happens. Usually I'll have to try a number of things to get it working, like power off and then unplug the HD power cable or IDE cable and then turn the power back on, but now it seems random whether or not my HD will work properly or not when I power on. Any idea what the problem might be? I've already backed up all the data on it, just wondering if the HD is fixable.




SubjectRe: Hard Drive on it's last legs? Reply to this message
Posted byUncleVom
Posted on06/12/06 11:19 PM



Backing it up was the right thing to do.
If it is the hard drive they are not economically fixable.
In other words buy another.

But this behaviour sounds familiar to me and I would check the following especially if the motherboard is in the four or five year old range.
I would take a close look at the capacitors.
If any are domed rather than flat or leaking brown crud around the base then my bet would be that the hard drive is OK but the motherboard is junk.

This is sometimes fixable if you have good soldering skills, suitable equipment, a source for correct replacement capacitors and are willing to waste the time and money knowing it might not work.

Let us know what you find.

UncleVom












SubjectUncle Owen, this hard drive unit's got a bad motivator, look! new Reply to this message
Posted bywildcat
Posted on06/12/06 11:34 PM



> Sometimes when I power on my computer, my HD won't spin up at all and instead
> I'll get some bootcode error at startup when my computer is detecting drives.
> There is also a green light that constantly flashes on the underside of the HD
> when this happens. Usually I'll have to try a number of things to get it
> working, like power off and then unplug the HD power cable or IDE cable and then
> turn the power back on, but now it seems random whether or not my HD will work
> properly or not when I power on. Any idea what the problem might be? I've
> already backed up all the data on it, just wondering if the HD is fixable.

Most likely the motor or controller circuitry is shot or close to it. There is a possibility that something's not seating/parking properly on shutdown, which the drive will sense and not allow the platters to spin up since everything's not in the right place and stuff could get damaged. In that case, a good smack might bump things back into alignment (vis a vis iPods), but if this is a desktop hard drive, it's probably better to just write it off, since desktop drives aren't meant to be as active as notebook and smaller drives, and a good smack is as likely to permakill it as fix it.




SubjectRe: Hard Drive on it's last legs? new Reply to this message
Posted bymikeyt
Posted on06/13/06 00:28 AM



Thanks for the info! Are the tops of all the capacitors supposed to be a silvery color? From looking at my motherboard, most of them are except for 2 of them, which are brown on top... I had also suspected that it might be the motherboard's problem rather than the hard drive's... It seemed that sometimes using the jumpers to reset the CMOS would sometimes get my HD to boot properly. If it's the motherboard's problem, it is only affecting 1 of my drives though. I have 3 HDs and 1 CDRW, and the only problem has been with that 1 HD. Maybe if I switched around the IDE ports, problems would show up with the other HDs. Thanks again for the info!


> Backing it up was the right thing to do.
> If it is the hard drive they are not economically fixable.
> In other words buy another.
>
> But this behaviour sounds familiar to me and I would check the following
> especially if the motherboard is in the four or five year old range.
> I would take a close look at the capacitors.
> If any are domed rather than flat or leaking brown crud around the base then my
> bet would be that the hard drive is OK but the motherboard is junk.
>
> This is sometimes fixable if you have good soldering skills, suitable equipment,
> a source for correct replacement capacitors and are willing to waste the time
> and money knowing it might not work.
>
> Let us know what you find.
>
> UncleVom
>





SubjectRe: Hard Drive on it's last legs? new Reply to this message
Posted byUncleVom
Posted on06/13/06 08:25 AM



They should be silver on top, sounds like they are leaking at the X at the top of the can. The silver metal at the top of the capacitor should also be dead flat level.

The problem it causes is a power problem and usually shows up first on boot up and getting the boot drive up and running there is more load trying to get things to spin-up and boot at the same time and 3 hard drives is quite a load.

On the other hand it could be a bad hard drive contributing to the problem, Uncle Wildcat could be right it might be the drive's dilithium crystals.

If you can, try the drive in another similar computer and see if it boots.

Myself I would be thinking about the pluses and minuses of various hardware updates as there are often a bunch of additional requirements that may come with a motherboard replacement. This can be good or bad depending on the budget.

UncleVom


> Thanks for the info! Are the tops of all the capacitors supposed to be a
> silvery color? From looking at my motherboard, most of them are except for 2 of
> them, which are brown on top... I had also suspected that it might be the
> motherboard's problem rather than the hard drive's... It seemed that sometimes
> using the jumpers to reset the CMOS would sometimes get my HD to boot properly.
> If it's the motherboard's problem, it is only affecting 1 of my drives though.
> I have 3 HDs and 1 CDRW, and the only problem has been with that 1 HD. Maybe if
> I switched around the IDE ports, problems would show up with the other HDs.
> Thanks again for the info!
>
>
> > Backing it up was the right thing to do.
> > If it is the hard drive they are not economically fixable.
> > In other words buy another.
> >
> > But this behaviour sounds familiar to me and I would check the following
> > especially if the motherboard is in the four or five year old range.
> > I would take a close look at the capacitors.
> > If any are domed rather than flat or leaking brown crud around the base then
> my
> > bet would be that the hard drive is OK but the motherboard is junk.
> >
> > This is sometimes fixable if you have good soldering skills, suitable
> equipment,
> > a source for correct replacement capacitors and are willing to waste the time
> > and money knowing it might not work.
> >
> > Let us know what you find.
> >
> > UncleVom
> >
>



SubjectRe: Hard Drive on it's last legs? new Reply to this message
Posted bymikeyt
Posted on06/14/06 06:10 PM



Well I took the suspected hard drive out and put it in an external drive enclosure and when I turned the power on, the same thing happened. It wouldn't spin up and that green light continually flashed. So it seems I have a motherboard with bad capacitors which haven't manifested themselves yet, AND a faulty hard drive. :( This hard drive is really weird though... If I can get it to start up properly, then everything will work completely fine. Until I have to turn off the power and try to get it to start again. This time I tried messing with the slave/master jumper and I got it to work again. I put the jumper to an incorrect setting, and the HD magically spun up the next time I powered it on! The HD wasn't recognized though, but then I turned it off, put the jumper back to where it was originally and then it worked! Of course the jumper might not have had anything to do with it, it could have just started properly at random.

> They should be silver on top, sounds like they are leaking at the X at the top
> of the can. The silver metal at the top of the capacitor should also be dead
> flat level.
>
> The problem it causes is a power problem and usually shows up first on boot up
> and getting the boot drive up and running there is more load trying to get
> things to spin-up and boot at the same time and 3 hard drives is quite a load.
>
> On the other hand it could be a bad hard drive contributing to the problem,
> Uncle Wildcat could be right it might be the drive's dilithium crystals.
>
> If you can, try the drive in another similar computer and see if it boots.
>
> Myself I would be thinking about the pluses and minuses of various hardware
> updates as there are often a bunch of additional requirements that may come with
> a motherboard replacement. This can be good or bad depending on the budget.
>
> UncleVom
>
>
> > Thanks for the info! Are the tops of all the capacitors supposed to be a
> > silvery color? From looking at my motherboard, most of them are except for 2
> of
> > them, which are brown on top... I had also suspected that it might be the
> > motherboard's problem rather than the hard drive's... It seemed that
> sometimes
> > using the jumpers to reset the CMOS would sometimes get my HD to boot
> properly.
> > If it's the motherboard's problem, it is only affecting 1 of my drives though.
>
> > I have 3 HDs and 1 CDRW, and the only problem has been with that 1 HD. Maybe
> if
> > I switched around the IDE ports, problems would show up with the other HDs.
> > Thanks again for the info!
> >
> >
> > > Backing it up was the right thing to do.
> > > If it is the hard drive they are not economically fixable.
> > > In other words buy another.
> > >
> > > But this behaviour sounds familiar to me and I would check the following
> > > especially if the motherboard is in the four or five year old range.
> > > I would take a close look at the capacitors.
> > > If any are domed rather than flat or leaking brown crud around the base then
> > my
> > > bet would be that the hard drive is OK but the motherboard is junk.
> > >
> > > This is sometimes fixable if you have good soldering skills, suitable
> > equipment,
> > > a source for correct replacement capacitors and are willing to waste the
> time
> > > and money knowing it might not work.
> > >
> > > Let us know what you find.
> > >
> > > UncleVom
> > >
> >
>





SubjectRe: Hard Drive on it's last legs? new Reply to this message
Posted byUncleVom
Posted on06/15/06 09:29 AM



Thanks for reporting back.

Well that does suck but at least it appears you have a handle on the situation and you have the benefit of some warning.

There is some fun to be had though, hardrives have cool magnets and big shiny washers in them :-)

Good luck getting it all sorted out and when it's all better and needs a workout remember our Seti Team.
http://setiathome.berkeley.edu/create_account_form.php?teamid=31323
Had to get that in there ;-)



SubjectLOL Great SETI@home plug!!!! (NT) new Reply to this message
Posted bybluejaywpg
Posted on06/19/06 01:49 AM



> Thanks for reporting back.
>
> Well that does suck but at least it appears you have a handle on the situation
> and you have the benefit of some warning.
>
> There is some fun to be had though, hardrives have cool magnets and big shiny
> washers in them :-)
>
> Good luck getting it all sorted out and when it's all better and needs a
> workout remember our Seti Team.
> http://setiathome.berkeley.edu/create_account_form.php?teamid=31323
> Had to get that in there ;-)
>


Jay
Hardware/Support Moderator





SubjectRe: Hard Drive on it's last legs? new Reply to this message
Posted bysmf
Posted on09/18/06 08:40 PM



I had a hard drive like that at work once, I had to smack the drive to get it to spin up ( either with the power on or off, it worked either way ). It was a Dell tower and it was a brilliant design as I could get the drive out, spun up and back in within seconds. I left the screws out because the drive bay held it in place quite well and they just slowed me down.

I got the drive replaced quite quickly, so I don't know how long it would have lasted at that point.

smf





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