Big HD Problems

Micro-star international / Ms-6712
October 26, 2009 at 15:23:27
Specs: Microsoft Windows XP Professional, 2.0 GHz / 767 MB
Without even managing to fix my last issues with my graphics card, I encounter a new but maybe related issue with my hard drives. To prevent possible confusion and to make myself easier to understand, I'll try and categorize a few things about my problems to make things easier.

Hard Drives

Primary Master: ExcelStor Technology (82GB)
Primary Slave: WDC WD800BB-00JHC0

Secondary Master: CDDVDW SH-S202

PMaster - 2 Partitions (C: & E:)
PSlave - 1 Partition (D:)

HD History

PMaster was given to me with the computer. As far as I can remember, this drive was working fine when I got it, but considering who I got it from, I'm not quite sure.

After months (maybe a year or so) of regular use, I noticed that the hard drive had began ticking. I thought nothing of it.

Months later, my computer started to have a 'breakdown' and started throwing diskcheck prompts at me, although nothing too dramatic happened and after a while, the chkdsk thing went away, so I figured it must have solved any problems. It was at that period that I noticed the ticking to be a possible threat, as it would tick more frequently during chkdsk.

After time, my copy of windows decided to die and I couldn't even boot into Safe Mode as it would just freeze. Having lost the disc for windows, I sent it to someone who said he could fix it. Now this guy aint nothing new to computing, but as I soon figured out he isn't that good either... After months I got my computer back. My copy of windows was somewhat fixed (but slow as hell) and a new copy of windows had been put onto the computer using a new partition... E: - which totaled to 6GB... Told you he wasn't that clever...

The ticking seemed to dissapear for a while, but then came back again... But only when I was doing alot of stuff with my PC. I had finally got internet by then and decided to Google my ticking HD thing... Discovering that aparently, this is the sign of a dying hard drive.

So I got a new hard drive. Unfortunately the only one available for me at the time was another 80GB one (grr) which I figured would do as long as I got rid of un-needed stuff. I put my new HD in as the PSlave and everything worked great...

... So great that the ticking stopped completely. I installed another copy of XP onto the PSlave (so now I have 3 XP's, 1 half-broken) just so I had something to boot if things got nasty with my PMaster.

I backed up some stuff, but the sudden stop in ticking for my PMaster and the fact that I've had the thing ticking for almost 2 years got me thinking that maybe my PMasters ticking wasn't the same type of ticking that other people have been getting. After all, this isn't the only kind of tick a hard drive can make... As I find out later...

Okay, so now I'm using both drives equally. Everything with my computer works great. The backups I made are useless now since all backed up files are either obsolete or updated since the backup. But after time, I encounter another batch of problems...

New Problems

... My videocard!

Seemingly unrelated?

I even tried a brand new copy of XP to test my card on... Now this is kinda my fault, but I've ended up with 4 XP's on these 3 partitions. Little did I know that on the XP install dialog's, where it originally says "choose install path" IS the place it installs XP to, not the place it puts temp install files. I seemed to remember typing the install path in the BIOS part of the installation... So I put these files in C:/windows/install (attempting to overwrite my old, broken XP).

So after having those problems (which never got fixed, btw) and trying a new, 16MB card w/ drivers that never works either... I start to get deeper problems. This is somewhat a crossfade between GFX problems and HD problems... I start to get these reboots and crashes. Now previously these came from the GFX card... But I got some new errors.

I started to run low on disk-space for my 6GB E: drive (that guys fault, lol) and really couldn't find much that I could safely delete. Maybe that's the explanation to some of the bluescreens I started having on that drive. After all, it did say something about checking disk space on the screen, as well as displaying a system file. All this is on the windows installed on E:

Meanwhile, on my D: drive O/S (PSlave), it seemed that problems with booting were caused by my videocard errors... See, something called "Windows Updates" ensured the auto-install of GFX Drivers and since GFX Drives = crash... Well... This also seemed to occur on my newest XP install in C:/windows/install

All this is going on at the same time... Really stressful.

Until eventually... I can no longer even boot up any OS. I tried safe mode, vga mode... All of my XP's. I figured they wouldn't boot up for different reasons... Most because of my gfx card and one because of the low disk space...

After a while of trying, the bios would no longer even detect my HD's... And then it would detect one (PSlave)... Then none. I thought my PMaster was broken.


I reset my BIOS, unplugged my CD Drive, changed BIOS settings etc.

Now, remember my GFX troubles? There was a sound that seemed to occur whenever my PC crashed from the drivers... A sound that I thought was coming from my motherboard since my GFX cards are surely incapable of making this sound. It sounds like something loosing power, a slight click (not a sharp one, though) and a winding-down sound. Maybe the sound of my HD disks stopping briefly?

This seemed to happen after a while of my PC being on, preventing the BIOS from detecting the HD's. This is the thing that makes me think that maybe the HD and GFX problems are in some weird way related...

(I'm as bored of typing as you are of reading, sorry)

Eventually, I got one drive working... After lot's of testing, I came to the conclusion that my newer drive was the problem... Which really confused me. My BIOS seemed to be fine without it. And no more of that noise...

But I was determined to get to the bottom of it... I plugged the D: drive (PSlave) back in as well as reordering all drives numerous times. Eventually, they both seemed to work, so I put them back in their usual positions.

When D: is the PMaster, a NTLDR message appears (I assume it's the file that tells the BIOS of the installed OS's) stopping me from booting any of my XP's... So using just that drive was out of the question.

I tried all OS's and they wouldn't load. I came to the conclusion that disabling the D: drive (PSlave) in the BIOS would work, it did. Which made me believe more that it is the problem drive.

I've currently only been able to get 2 OS's working. Both of which are those C: drive installs. E: crashes during loading and D: cannot be loaded as it is not officially installed...

Current State

C:\Windows - works, but is still broken.

C:\Windows\Install - works great.

D:\Windows - unbootable.

E:\Windows - stalls after booting (before the blue logon screen)

When I first got these working, I had to go thru a heck of alot of chkdsks... With my old drive ticking again, but still less frequently. Also, less problems appear in chkdsk.

So I'm using the 2nd one listed. Things seem to be better, have just finished backing up critical things from C: onto D: since I am unsure of which has the problems... The one that I can't install in the BIOS or the one that needs chkdsk.. Maybe both.

According to a drive-checking program, both disks are "OK"... I started a scan with it. So far I'm up to my old drive, PSlave (C: and E:). And things seem okay. So far only 0.2% of it has errors...

I deleted a heck of allota files from all partitions. Kinda solved the disk space issue on E: (500MB left, not great, but..). I figured that since I HD's biggest task was storing files, if I deleted some, there's less room for error. Less bad files, etc.

Oh, yeah... One extra thing that may be of importance... While the space issue with E: still existed, I compressed a fair load of files on it... Well, disk cleaner did it... This same thing happened before chkdsk's started occurring last time... Although I can't really say it's the direct cause, I've never thought compression is a good idea. Maybe this is a contribution to the errors?

D: drive is fully browse-able from windows without having installed it in the BIOS. Although I hear that sound quite a few times and it seems to slow down my PC when using both drives. I also encountered a load of un-deletable files due to either errors or permission denial (grr).

Since I'm using my new C:/Windows/Install OS, not much is installed or fiddled. Nor have I got internet access.

Lastly, GFX problems seem to have stopped (even with drivers installed) since I got my XP loading again although I'm really unsure.

Major Questions

Which drive is most likely broken? PMaster, PSlave or both?

Can compression lead to these issues?

What is the cause?

Which HD is safest?

Could the GFX card problems be a result of HD failures?

Sorry to make you read all that (unless you skipped it), but I consider most of it relevant. I am working on gettin a new PC, but buying new HD's seems unnecessary since if I'm getting a new PC, it's probably gunna use SATA HD's (they are the latest, aren't they?).

See More: Big HD Problems

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October 26, 2009 at 17:19:37
I'd check the SMART status with either OEM software or universal software.

Playing to the angels
Les Paul (1915-2009)

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October 27, 2009 at 08:07:30
As far as I know, SMART is on in the BIOS. Although it seems to turn off every time I reset the BIOS.

After many chkdsks, it's up and running. I can use the PSlave for booting and all OS's seem to load properly... Which really confuses me. Things are much faster, although not as fast as before these problems started, which is a bit annoying.

There was also one thing that I forgot before that seemed to help towards the problems, even though I never thought it would matter.. Defragmenting! All drives were VERY fragmented, especially E: - probably from the compression (seems like compressing/decompressing causes loads of fragments) and I remember this happening last time, too... I remember after months of me using disk cleanup, I realised that compression was causing some problems, so I went by decompressing and defragmenting everything I could find for ages to help get my PC back into a better state.

Funny thing is, it all seems to work. I can even play music in media player great, however if I try and do something else at the same time then things will start to get slow on both media player and whatever I happen to be doing.... Maybe I should defrag again? I'm confused. No ticking, no weird sounds. It surely can't just go away like flu can it? What do I do now?

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October 30, 2009 at 19:53:11
Okay, the D: drive finally packed up. turns out my old drive is still kickin despite the tickin... lol. although I will miss some of the stuff that was on it, there was nothing of importance on that drive (i planned on using it purely for music/video etc.) and all of my work is safe... although now I have no backup drive and -80GB plus I'm stuck with the one that likes to tick.

wish I could record the ticking somehow and post it here... because I get the feeling that this ticking is something different to what others have posted about. the hard drive that just broke ticked, but in a completely different way... and that actually DID break. whereas my seemingly trustworthy one ticks and has survived for ages... oh and it's 2nd-hand (yeah, I know..).

unfortunately, my gfx card is still broken... or rather, my card slot?

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Related Solutions

October 30, 2009 at 21:34:37
Personally with as many errors as you describe I wouldn't know where to start. I do know having 2 OSs on one partition is not good. I would backup, externally to another computer, a series of dvds or other media only the data you can't live without and wipe all drives clean, reformat and partition, and reinstall. You say you lost you OS disk? Do you still have your activation key? If you know someone that has the same operating system you may be able to use their disk and your key. After you get ONE working OS then start looking at vid card problems. Right now I would be looking at getting needed data out of that computer and secure in some sort of backup device. I may be wrong but it doesn't sound like you are capable of just buying parts at the drop of a hat ( please don't take that the wrong way) either due to funding or access makes no difference. If one or more drives are failing you may not be able to get that data all back if it or they do fail altogether. After that begin your search for new parts or a new build if needed.


I want to go like my grandfather did. Peacefully in his sleep. Not screaming at the top of my lungs like the passengers in his car.


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November 4, 2009 at 14:34:06
Cheers. I have a small drive (about 10GB) that just lies around. I can use that to back up my most important data...

I got rid of all my extra OS's and installed just 1 on C: - Which still has another partition. I don't mind loosing the media on my computer as I have most of the CD/DVD's anyway... But at the same time, I don't wanna purposely erase it all with a format since I spent hours naming each file that I forgot to name before putting them on my computer (a bit OCD, yes. lol)... I'm trying to get myself a large external HD anyway.

At the moment PMaster is my Hard Drive and SMaster is my DVD drive. A few weird things I have been getting is undeletable files and folders... Apparently I don't have permissions? That's definitely the most stupid error message that must exist for deleting a file from my own damn hard drive...

Someone suggested scanning with AVG (dunno how that helps) so I did although since the only viruses I get I usually get rid of myself in about 3 minutes so I hardly see the point in AV's anymore... Anyway, it was all clean apart from a few definite false-positives.

My only issue with backing up is that I still wanna make new files, edit them and use my 80Gig hard drive to do so until I get a new computer and bigger drive. I've deleted loads of unnecessary files so it's in pretty good shape (no ticking, btw). Defragmented (it was very fragmented... as expected). So with my only documents being ones I change virtually every other day, I don't see the point in backing up... Although I also don't wanna risk things getting nasty. So what do I do? Back up the files and do no more edits until I get a new drive? Can't do that... Once I think of something, it HAS be typed up.

As for the videocard... Well, for some reason I'm using that "less-good" card WITH drivers and things are working fine... But I'm pretty sure that if I plug in the other one (for the 50th time at least) and install drivers, things may go nasty again. I'm certain it's not a problem with the card... It's virtually brand new and looks the same now as when I got it. If anything, it's my motherboard incapable of handling true GFX card power. I attempted to look for motherboard/processor drivers but either mine are as up to date as a 10 year old computer can get or these things are rare and hard to find. Not even the company website seems to have them.

I've had only 1 crash since the HD problems... And I think it's unrelated... I started a program that always seems to appear when I install windows (an MSI update program) which I tried to run in an attempt to update drivers, but as soon as I double clicked one of the files, my PC just restarted suddenly. Kinda confused me.

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