hard drive errors when trying to re-install OS

May 29, 2012 at 13:13:43
Specs: Windows 7, 2 gb ram
after receiving hdd errors, i'm trying to reload an OS on a dell vostro 220s desktop. i've tried xp, vista and windows 7 with no luck. thinking it was a hdd error, i replaced the original hdd with one of the same (seagate 80gb) and I also replaced the motherboard. format fails when I try to format a partition. i also got to the point where windows setup installed the os, then the system reboots and I get a read error on the hdd. i have the latest bios installed and the bios sees the hard drive and also the bios tests run ok. weird

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May 29, 2012 at 13:39:32
The 1st thing you should have done was run a HDD diagnostics (Seatools) to check if the drive was bad or not. There's obviously no reason to replace a good drive unless you're upgrading to a better one. And I don't know why you felt the motherboard needed replacing. How did you come to that conclusion?

XP won't install install to a SATA HDD without the SATA drivers being installed or the SATA BIOS setting changed to the IDE compatibility. Vista & Win7 don't need the drivers or "compatibility mode", but the drive should be prepped in advance (partitioned & formatted) using the Seagate DiscWizard software rather than the Windows disc.

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May 29, 2012 at 14:46:03
Try running a memory tester; your RAM might be bad.

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May 29, 2012 at 16:08:13
I agree with both.
Always test before replacing.
Always test memory before testing hard drive because a memory error could cause false readings, segments marked bad that are actually good, and other problems.
Test memory with Memtest.
Test hard drive with your hard drive manufacturer's utility or Seagate Seatools (since it works on nearly all drives).
Windows Install Disks ARE fine for partitioning and formatting your disk before installing for all normal conditions. There are some advantages with using some other software to do the initial partition/format, but for most who use one or two partitions on a drive, there is no significant difference.
This really DOES sound like your memory is bad so do that test first. Let it run through ALL tests. NO errors are acceptable, rerun with one stick at a time to confirm the bad stick and try the good one in both slots (if your motherboard lets you) to confirm the slot is good. Replace as needed, replace dual channel as a pair.

You have to be a little bit crazy to keep you from going insane.

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