Wierd comp. stalling problems

My computer has been very slow over the past few days. The HDD will make a worrying click – the type of click you get just before your computer completely shuts down – even in the middle of a program and it will take a minute or so for the stall to un-freeze and the program to resume. In the meantime, the HDD read/access light on my comp’s front panel is on throughout. This has happened even in the middle of online games, much to my frustration because other players will drop you.

I did a scan of my HDDs and found 0 bad sectors in my 20GB Quantum Fireball system HDD and 64KB of bad sectors in my 80GB Maxtor data HDD. The 20GB QF drive is partitioned into a 5GB system drive (where the O/S & key program files are) and 15GB of compressed HDD space. Both physical drives use NTFS.

Booting Win XP on the 20GB HDD: The bootup time also takes much longer…the comp takes a few minutes on a black screen, a few more on ‘Loading Windows…’ and a few more on the actual transition time it takes after entering the admin password till you being able to run apps.

I tried installing Win XP on my 80gb HDD and use that as my system drive but unfortunately, I seem to have caught MSBlast on my new O/S…yeah, I should have installed my antivirus first but it was lunch and I was eager to get back online and check the news. This confirms an earlier post of mine that Sygate Personal Firewall with a ‘virgin’ unpatched Win XP somehow lets in the MSBlast worm (or a variant of it - I have not found the msblast.exe file in the stated system32 folder yet…although I well recognise the reboot error message). Fortunately, the O/S on my old 20GB HDD has a virus scanner, which I will be using to run a full system scan tonight.

In the meantime I’ve backed up my critical data onto CDs. Do you think this sounds like my HDD is going to die (the old 20GB one or both?), or it is some other part of my system that is dying (e.g. processor or RAM?)

That’s the HD click of death. Some will do it only when you have the system overclocked, but it’s a bad sign in any case. You can figure out which it is just by unplugging one of them.

I was planning on doing just that, after I finished de-worming my 80GB Maxtor tonight. I will probably have to test both, i.e. one works and one does not - to make a definitive judgement - because on one hand you have a smaller, older HDD that is the system drive being slow on boot-up, and another larger, newer one that has bad sectors.

How quickly can I expect the problem to progress from here on? Will the thing just die on me all of a sudden or will the clicks become more frequent until it consumes all of its on-time?

Sidenote: Could this be responsible for the CD write problems I’ve been having recently? When I was burning my critical files onto some CDs, more than once a milder version of this problem would happen - the HDD light goes on but no data out (the buffers empty for a while and the CD slows down).

Originally posted by Tyro
[B]How quickly can I expect the problem to progress from here on? Will the thing just die on me all of a sudden or will the clicks become more frequent until it consumes all of its on-time?

Sidenote: Could this be responsible for the CD write problems I’ve been having recently? When I was burning my critical files onto some CDs, more than once a milder version of this problem would happen - the HDD light goes on but no data out (the buffers empty for a while and the CD slows down). [/B]

I vote for the one with bad sectors, and yes this is your burning problem too. When the drive seizes up, your entire IDE controller is locked.
It would be prudent to assume that it’s demise is immanent, but it “could” last for a while. The real risk is for corrupted data, so assuming it is well backed up, it might be doing you a favor by dying sooner.

Thanks for the replies, rdgrimes. Sorry, but one last question: which company should I buy my new drive from?

There is Seagate, Maxtor, IBM/Hitachi, Western Digital at Ebuyer for >120GB HDs.

I’m a WD fan myself, 8MB cache.

Cheers mate :smiley:

Alright. It is confirmed that the Maxtor 80GB 7200rpm HD is the broken one. I tried each HD separately and it was the one giving problems. It also renamed its own volume label by itself :eek: from my rather functional “80 GB HD” to “Local Disk”.