My Hard Drive is About to Crash- What Should I Do?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous' started by Ro_Laren, Oct 5, 2012.

  1. Ro_Laren

    Ro_Laren Commodore Commodore

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    The last couple days, my computer has started to sporadically make weird clicking sounds. I Googled it and supposedly that is a sign that my hard drive is about to crash. Every web-site said there is nothing you can do to prevent the inevitable crash of your hard drive and that you better back up all your material ASAP!

    But, I live in Russia and don’t want to buy any sort of physical hardware to back up my computer… mainly ‘cause a) it would be hard to make sure that I am buying the right thing if I try to buy it at the store since I’m not fluent in Russian and b) if I bought it on-line, I’d be afraid that I wouldn’t receive the package in time or maybe at all. Can anyone recommend some good on-line sites that I can use to back up all my stuff? Or can I ghost my computer via a web-site? Is it stupid to ghost a computer if the hard drive is already starting to fail???

    Anyone think there is a chance that my computer will be able to make it to Christmas time when I’ll be back in the States and can buy a new computer?? I don’t really like the idea of buying a computer here in Russia for the same reasons I already mentioned above. Does anyone have any helpful hints as to how I can nurse my computer until Christmas??? I normally have my computer on for over 6 hours each day. If I cut that back to an hour or two each day or if I don’t turn on my computer every day, will that help??

    By the way, my battery is practically completely dead. If my computer isn’t plugged in, my computer will only last about 20 minutes until it runs out of juice. If I get a new battery, will that help anything??? Right now, I’m only using my computer when it is plugged in and my HP is dual voltage, so I don’t need a converter to use it here in Russia.
     
  2. billcosby

    billcosby Commodore Commodore

    Nope. Get a free Dropbox account now and back up everything you value. You'll have 2 free gigs. Good luck!

    PS. When the hard drive starts to click, that means you don't have much time left. Days, probably, if that.
    I've killed about a dozen hard drives, so I know the sound. :mallory:
     
  3. Robert Maxwell

    Robert Maxwell so far this is a dumb future Premium Member

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    This is correct. Backup to an online service, DVDs, whatever you can. Get your most crucial files on a thumb drive, as far as that goes.

    Also, try this utility to see if it can diagnose what's happening with your drive.

    This site has a list of online backup services. Time is of the essence, to be sure. Pick the one that gives you the most space for the least money (if you just want to back up everything.)

    It could die any second now, or it could die in a year. It's impossible to say. The more you use it, though, the more likely it is you will kill it. I would recommend using it at as little as possible. And when backing things up, back up the things you want to keep the most, first, just in case the drive dies in the middle of it.

    A new battery won't help with the hard drive, no.

    Good luck!
     
  4. Count Zero

    Count Zero Says who? Moderator

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    I know you're reluctant about buying any hardware but a USB stick (or even a mobile harddrive with an USB connection) is in my opinion the best way to back up lots of data quickly. Upload speeds to the net are usually pretty slow, even with high speed connections.
    You can't do much wrong with a USB stick. It's basically a decision of how many Gigabytes you can get for your money.
     
  5. RandyS

    RandyS Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I don't know how reliable an online service would be, sounds like an excuse for some hacker to get access to your computer and GIVE you viruses to me, but an external hard drive really is your best bet. It's what I use, and it's remarkably easy. Plug it in, save your stuff, and you're done. I know you say your living situation makes that hard, but I'd trust that before I'd trust some online service. That just raises all kinds of red flags for me.
     
  6. Count Zero

    Count Zero Says who? Moderator

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    There are plenty of respectable online storage services.
     
  7. Robert Maxwell

    Robert Maxwell so far this is a dumb future Premium Member

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    Yeah, I agree with this. I don't know how cheap USB thumb drives are in Russia, but you can pick up something like a 16GB drive in the US for under $20 in a lot of cases. They are the fastest option, and relatively cheap (especially compared to buying a new drive right away.)

    Your scaremongering is not necessary.
     
  8. RandyS

    RandyS Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Where do you get that I'm "scaremongering"? I have serious reservations about that, and like the rest of you, posted my opinion about it.
     
  9. Robert Maxwell

    Robert Maxwell so far this is a dumb future Premium Member

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    It's scaremongering because you just dismissed the entire online backup industry out of hand as fraudulent and untrustworthy, and you clearly don't know what you're talking about. Like Count Zero said, there are numerous reputable online backup services.
     
  10. Ro_Laren

    Ro_Laren Commodore Commodore

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    Today I ran a disk defrag, virus scan, spyware scan, and an error checking scan on the hard drive. All came back without any probs. If my hard drive was really about to crash, wouldn't the disk defrag and / or error checking scan say there was a prob. Of course, in all honestly I don't understand everything that the screen says when it is running an error checking scan, but it didn't seem like there was a problem.

    BTW, I haven't heard the weird clicking sound today, but I didn't have my computer on very long. And the clicking sound just comes every once and a while. 99% of the time, everything sounds normal. I'll probably go to the store tomorrow and try to buy some extra flash drives just in case!!
     
  11. Robert Maxwell

    Robert Maxwell so far this is a dumb future Premium Member

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    Disk defrags are not for finding errors, they are only for improving disk performance. A surface-level scan may also not find any problems. That's why you need a SMART utility like the one I linked in my first post--it can read the drive's own internal diagnostics and determine if anything is wrong.
     
  12. Scout101

    Scout101 Admiral Admiral

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    No, that won't help. Stop using your computer unless your next action is to back it up. Get a USB stick and start with most important files, move them fast. It could click and grind for a year, or could fail next time you try and boot up.

    Feel free to screw around with scans as much as you like, but if you haven't backed everything up first, don't complain when you lose your data. You have the info you need, take care of it. Worst case, it doesn't fail soon, and you've lost nothing. More likely, you're going to be running a spyware scan for no reason and lose all your data because you were spinning the drive for no good reason...
     
  13. Ro_Laren

    Ro_Laren Commodore Commodore

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    Sorry, I was blind as a bat and totally missed that part of your post!!!

    I downloaded the PassMark DiskCheckup and then ran the program by selecting the only Smart-enabled device shown, “Disk 0 ST9320423.” It took over an hour, but I don’t understand the results. Can anyone decipher them (sorry, they are long)?? I don't know if the results are good or bad or irrelevant. BTW, I have an HP dv4 laptop and bought it in 2008 or 2009. Here are the "test" results:

    SysInfo DLL Version: SysInfo v1.0 Build: 1028
    Time of export: 23:17:49 05-Oct-2012

    Device information:
    Device ID: 0
    Interface: SATA
    Device Capacity: 305242 MB
    Serial Number: 5VH12LAQ
    Model Number: ST9320423AS
    Firmware Revision: 0003HPM1
    Partitions:
    C: 288806 MB
    D: 16236 MB

    ATA information:

    Disk geometry:
    Cylinders: 38913
    Tracks/Cylinder: 255
    Sectors/Track: 63
    Bytes/Sector: 512
    Total disk sectors: 625142448
    Logical sector size: 512
    Physical sector size: 512
    Media rotation rate: 7200 RPM
    Buffer size: 16384 KB
    ECC size: 4 Bytes

    Standards compliance:
    ATA8-ACS Supported: Yes
    ATA/ATAPI-7 Supported: Yes
    ATA/ATAPI-6 Supported: Yes
    ATA/ATAPI-5 Supported: Yes
    ATA/ATAPI-4 Supported: Yes
    Serial/Parallel: Serial
    SATA 3.0 Compilance: No
    SATA 2.6 Compilance: Yes
    SATA 2.5 Compilance: No
    SATA II: Ext Compilance: No
    SATA 1.0a Compilance: No
    ATA8-AST Compilance: No
    World Wide ID: 5000C5001E27AD9E

    Feature support:
    SMART supported: Yes
    SMART enabled: Yes
    SMART self-test supported: Yes
    SMART error log supported: Yes
    LBA supported: Yes
    IORDY supported: Yes
    CFast supported: No
    DMA supported: Yes
    Maximum Multiword DMA mode supported: 2
    Multiword DMA selected: None
    Maximum UltraDMA mode supported: 5
    UltraDMA selected: 5
    Maximum PIO mode supported: 4
    SATA Compliance: Yes
    NCQ priority information supported: No
    Unload while NCQ commands are outstanding supported: Yes
    Phy Event Counters supported: Yes
    Receipt of power management requests supported: No
    NCQ feature set supported: Yes
    SATA Gen2 Signaling Speed (3.0Gb/s) supported: Yes
    SATA Gen1 Signaling Speed (1.5Gb/s) supported: Yes
    Software Settings Preservation: Supported, Enabled
    In-order data delivery: Not supported
    Initiating power management: Supported, Enabled
    DMA Setup auto-activation: Supported, Disabled
    Non-zero buffer offsets: Not supported
    Trusted Computing supported: No
    Host Protected Area (HPA) supported: No
    Read look-ahead supported: Yes
    Read look-ahead enabled: Yes
    Write cache supported: Yes
    Write cache enabled: Yes
    Power management supported: Yes
    Security mode supported: Yes
    Security mode enabled: No
    Device Configuration Overlay (DCO) supported: Yes
    48bit Addressing supported: Yes
    Auto Acoustic Managment (AAM) supported: No
    Power-up in Standby (PUIS) supported: No
    Advanced Power Management (APM) supported: Yes
    Advanced Power Management (APM) enabled: Yes
    Current APM level: Minimum power consumption without Standby
    CompactFlash Association (CFA) supported: No
    General Purpose Logging (GPL) supported: Yes
    Streaming supported: No
    Media card pass through supported: No
    Extended power conditions supported: No
    Extended status reporting supported: No
    Write-read-verify supported: No
    Free-fall control supported: No
    TRIM command supported: No
    SCT command transport supported: Yes
    NV Cache enabled: No
    NV Cache Power Management supported: No

    SMART ATTRIBUTES:
    ID Description Status Value Worst Threshold Raw Value TEC
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    1 Raw Read Error Rate OK 117 99 6 133556297 N.A.
    3 Spin Up Time OK 98 98 0 0 N.A.
    4 Start/Stop Count OK 98 98 0 2236 N.A.
    5 Reallocated Sector Count OK 100 100 36 0 N.A.
    7 Seek Error Rate OK 71 60 30 60356237036 N.A.
    9 Power On Time OK 92 92 0 7132 N.A.
    10 Spin Retry Count OK 100 100 97 0 N.A.
    12 Power Cycle Count OK 99 37 20 1929 N.A.
    183 SATA Downshift Error Count OK 100 253 0 0 N.A.
    184 End-to-End error OK 100 100 97 0 N.A.
    187 Reported Uncorrectable Errors OK 100 100 0 0 N.A.
    188 Command Timeout OK 100 99 0 8 N.A.
    189 High Fly Writes OK 100 100 0 0 N.A.
    190 Temperature Difference from 100 OK 57 44 45 9329377323 N.A.
    191 G-sense Error Rate OK 100 100 0 0 N.A.
    192 Power off Retract Count OK 100 100 0 0 N.A.
    193 Load Cycle Count OK 22 22 0 156294 N.A.
    194 Temperature OK 43 56 0 43 C N.A.
    195 Hardware ECC Recovered OK 51 51 0 133556297 N.A.
    196 Reallocation Event Count OK 100 100 36 0 N.A.
    197 Current Pending Sector Count OK 100 100 0 0 N.A.
    198 Uncorrectable Sector Count OK 100 100 0 0 N.A.
    199 UltraDMA CRC Error Count OK 200 200 0 1 N.A.
    254 Free Fall Protection OK 100 100 0 0 N.A.

    SMART HISTORY:
    Error retrieving history

    Error retrieving history

    Error retrieving history

    Error retrieving history

    Error retrieving history

    Error retrieving history

    Error retrieving history

    Error retrieving history

    Error retrieving history

    Error retrieving history

    Error retrieving history

    Error retrieving history

    Error retrieving history

    Error retrieving history

    Error retrieving history

    Error retrieving history

    Error retrieving history

    Error retrieving history

    Error retrieving history

    Error retrieving history

    Error retrieving history

    Error retrieving history

    Error retrieving history

    Error retrieving history
     
  14. Robert Maxwell

    Robert Maxwell so far this is a dumb future Premium Member

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    All the failure thresholds read "OK" so as far as the onboard diagnostics go, everything is fine. But all that means is, whatever is causing the clicking noise isn't something the SMART system can detect. Such clicking is abnormal, and as Scout101 said, your first priority should be to back everything up that's of value to you from this drive, before it simply fails.

    I was hoping the SMART utility could point to a specific problem, but whatever is going on isn't something it can detect.
     
  15. Ro_Laren

    Ro_Laren Commodore Commodore

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    ^ Thanks for your help Ghostavo Fring and everyone else that contributed to this post!
     
  16. Scout101

    Scout101 Admiral Admiral

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    Sometimes if the drive is about to die (or won't boot and DID die), you can get a few extra minutes of life out if it by putting it in a freezer bag and freezing it for a while (like overnight). May let it boot back up and get you 10-15 minutes to save critical things. Not a guarantee, but something to look at if it shits the bed before you save everything.

    Speaking of which, shut it off now, stop reading these posts :) Go get the flash drive and save stuff. After that, play online all you like until you replace the drive or it fails.
     
  17. RandyS

    RandyS Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Well, you're wrong. it was not my intent to scare anybody. And I didn't call anybody fraudulent either, I simply said I have reservations about online backup services. It's a gamble that I personally prefer not to take. But, if anybody else wants to try, that's their business.

    And I do know what I'm talking about. Stop putting words in my mouth.
     
  18. Scout101

    Scout101 Admiral Admiral

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    But you can kinda see his point, since your reservations seem to be based on heebie jeebies and not actual reality of the situation. If you're using some random site you found, yeah, gamble. If you're using one of the many reputable places around, it's not really a gamble.

    Even in your latest post, when you say " It's a gamble that I personally prefer not to take. But, if anybody else wants to try, that's their business." how do you NOT see that as unfounded fearmongering? Equivalent of acknowledging that your facts are wrong, but refusing to change your opinion anyway. Use a reputable place, it's not really a gamble like you're trying to imply.

    Like trying to convince my parents that using their credit card online is safe, at most places. Just can't convince them. Yet they don't seem to have any problems with calling me and having me take that (low to non-existant) risk. As long as you don't go somewhere shady, you're fine.
     
  19. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I prefer to let OS X's Time Machine handle my backups. (With the release of Mountain Lion, I can use as many hard drives as I want, and OS X will rotate among them every time it does a backup.)

    I do use DropBox, but only for syncing my 1Password data file among my devices.
     
  20. Australis

    Australis Writer Admiral

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    Sorry, not meaning to sound odd, but is eBay not your friend in Russia? As in, order a HDD from, oo, the UK or France (so transport distance is minimal) and whack some insurance on it to cover it if it arrives broken?

    Back at the start of the year my HDD started making weird noises and actually crashed. I was able to do some voodoo and recover it, and moved all my crucial files onto a backup drive. A week later, it died for good. Still have stuff to get off it, mostly music, but it can wait. First time I actually had the sense to heed the warning.