A friend asked me for help replacing a failed hard disk in his laptop. It was a 15" HP laptop where HP cut corners by not having a removable flap, i.e. I had the laptop in bits to get to the hard disk underneath after removing countless screws and the obligatory snaps around the keyboard, touch panel, etc.
Anyway, I installed his new hard disk, a Seagate FireCuda 2TB 7mm SSHD. I suggested getting this as he had over 700GB on the original hard disk.
After reinstalling Windows 10, I connected up the old hard disk with a USB hard disk dock. Windows could not access the old HDD, i.e. it kept giving device I/O errors and even when it did manage to mount a drive letter, it would dismount it a few minutes later. So I booted into Linux Mint that I have installed on a USB stick. As with past experience, Linux fares a lot better with failing hard disks. I started the copy process of the user profile folders to try recovering what I could.
When I checked a few hours later, I noticed the copy process had stalled. I tried checking what it copied and the file explorer kept hanging when I tried browsing the new hard disk, yet had no problem browsing the failing hard disk. I then tried booting into Windows 10 and it took at least 10 minutes to reach the desktop with a telltale clicking sound of a hard disk failure. I gave up waiting trying to shut down Windows, so I force powered off the laptop.
I went through the tedious of dismantling the laptop to remove the hard disk, popped this 2TB FireCuda into my USB dock and connected it to my desktop.
Once it mounted, I ran Crystal Disk Info and surprisingly did not show any issue. So I ran CrystalDiskMark. When I started the benchmark, its window stopped responding and this is how the disk activity appeared in Task Manager. The ‘H’ drive is this FireCuda SSHD:
It was writing about 1MB/s intermittently with a steady click-click-click sound from the hard disk. If I tried accessing the hard disk in Windows file explorer, it would hang. After about an hour, CrystalDiskMark finally completed the benchmark. I suspect the write figures are due to the cache on the drive, considering how tiny the 4K write figures are.
Finally, I checked CrystalDiskInfo once more. I really wish hard disk manufacturers would be honest with SMART reporting as this hard disk clearly is not healthy despite the SMART figures showing otherwise.
Anyway, it’s now being shipped back. I’ve seen many hard disk failures in the past, but this is the first I’ve seen that severely affects write performance. I also tried wiping off the partition table (with Diskpart), reattaching it and creating a new partition just to rule out a file system issue, but it stayed a dead crawl.