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Potential hard disk failure

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by JonnyMX, May 31, 2011.

  1. JonnyMX

    JonnyMX Petabyte Poster

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    Hi all.

    Was wondering if anyone could give me any tips on this.

    I'm running a Dell at home - only about two years old.
    Just recently, the Dell support centre and Windows have started warning me of an impending hard disk failure and suggesting I back up all my work and replace or repair the drive.

    Now, I'm not a hardware guy, but I can replace components. Then there's all the software and stuff which gives me a headache. Ought to mention the PC is out of warranty, but I do regular backups.

    What would you guys suggest I do?

    Replace the hard drive and re-install software (only issue being most of it is Technet and I'm getting to the end of my subscription).

    Get hold of something like ghost then replace the hard drive and put the backup back on.

    Get hold of Dell and renew that warranty (I did this when my graphics chip fried on my laptop. They charged me £100 for a one year warranty then sent a guy out to fix it - which I thought was pretty good).

    Or just ignore it and hope nothing happens...

    Like I said, I'm not really a hardware guy, so easy is more important to me than cost.

    8)
     
    Certifications: MCT, MCTS, i-Net+, CIW CI, Prince2, MSP, MCSD
  2. ChrisH1979

    ChrisH1979 Byte Poster

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    Get your vital data off it first then try and clone it to another HD.
     
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  3. greenbrucelee
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    greenbrucelee Zettabyte Poster

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    Ghost the disk before it goes bye bye.

    Run chkdsk /r and run the hard drive makers diagnostic utility.
     
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  4. SimonD

    SimonD Terabyte Poster Moderator

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    Acronis ftw, I use it to clone my disks when I need to (fresh install of my laptops is always copied off to file so I don't replicate the install at refresh time).

    Acronis is one of those must have tools IMHO and is something I always have with me (you can create a USB key and carry it around). I must add that I only use Acronis for the USB key functionality, I don't use Acronis 24\7 on my systems.
     
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  5. JonnyMX

    JonnyMX Petabyte Poster

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    Cheers.

    I was looking on Amazon, and Acronis 2011 seems to be getting some poor reviews compared to Ghost.
    Ever had any problems with it?
     
    Certifications: MCT, MCTS, i-Net+, CIW CI, Prince2, MSP, MCSD
  6. SimonD

    SimonD Terabyte Poster Moderator

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    Nope, used it for 2 versions (2010 and 2011) and its worked a treat every time, it's also been considerably faster when compared to Ghost. Just remember that I am only using it to create the image, not using the actual continuous backup feature you get.

    My last place used both product on some Toughbooks, Acronis was about 50% faster on creation and re-imaging.
     
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    WIP: VCP6-CMA, VCAP-DCD and Linux + (and possibly VCIX-NV).
  7. ThomasMc

    ThomasMc Gigabyte Poster

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    If it's cheap your looking for then google clonezilla it's free and Just like ronseal :D
     
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  8. melhiore

    melhiore Bit Poster

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    Before you start investing money and time try to establish if there is anything wrong with HDD. Regular backups defo are OK but do you REALLY have problem with HDD?? Can you hear any unusual noises from HDD?? Is OS spitting any warning while writing to HDD?? Are there any problems with reading data of HDD?? Unexpected OS freezing or reboots??
     
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  9. JonnyMX

    JonnyMX Petabyte Poster

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    Good point mate.
    No, no unusual performance, which is what makes me a bit suspect.
    The problem actually started after I downloaded the new version of the Dell support centre.
    That gave me warnings that I could ignore, but now Windows 7 has started nagging me.

    Ultimately, these things can fail at any time with no warning, so I'm just a bit cautious that this isn't some over-protective warning system that may come to nothing.
     
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  10. dales

    dales Gigabyte Poster

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    you could use clonezilla, its opensource ghost utility and has worked perfectly for me every time.
     
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  11. JonnyMX

    JonnyMX Petabyte Poster

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    Tempted by this. Others are up to £50 - I suppose it depends on how careful you want to be...
     
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  12. zebulebu

    zebulebu Terabyte Poster

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    Another thumbs-up for Clonezilla. Free, just as fast as Acronis or Ghost and does everything you need it to. I've used it for yonks with no problems.
     
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  13. JonnyMX

    JonnyMX Petabyte Poster

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    Cheers and rep to all so far!
     
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  14. SimonD

    SimonD Terabyte Poster Moderator

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    I would also have a look for a decent SMART utility, infact scratch that. Download PartedMagic, boot it up and use the tools in there to monitor the disk, you can even clone the disk from there as well.

    It's up to 5.10 at the moment and can be put onto USB if you use UNetbootin for Windows which will automatically download and create the usb key for you.
     
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  15. kfoulks2011

    kfoulks2011 Bit Poster

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    heres my 2 cents worth for the evening. I am not a big fan of the dell support center. Ive seen the program spit out many errors that are irrelevant to whats actually happening. Its given me an error on a machine once that said i needed more RAM. Checked the RAM and it was maxed out for the machine. The whole reason i was working on the computer was because internet explorer was not working. Did some research and the version of Norton that was installed was not compatible with the internet explorer beta version that was installed on the machine. I fixed the problem and long story short the RAM error that was appearing in dell support center went away.

    I wouldnt ignore the error message and i would for sure back up your data, but i wouldnt panic and go buy a hard drive just yet. hope this helps some =)
     
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  16. JonnyMX

    JonnyMX Petabyte Poster

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    That's what I'm wondering.
    But it's a real nuisance - it halts on boot to warn me that there is a problem, then every few minutes Windows prompts me to back up my data even if I just have...
     
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  17. Shinigami

    Shinigami Megabyte Poster

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    If both Windows and the Dell Support Center are informing you, then the disk is very likely to be reaching end of life. The disk is probably alerting you due to the built-in S.M.A.R.T software which keeps an eye on various disk components, and if any of these components is reporting usage which has gone out of the usual tolerance figures, it would be smart of you to backup your data asap.

    The disk could very well work for another month, even a year, but you may want to ask yourself if you want to keep using a disk which may fail at any time leaving you with an inoperable computer, or at the very least, begins writing garbage on your disk when you're really trying to save a very important file...

    A reinstall has the advantage of letting you start with a clean, optimised machine. One reason I prefer it over Ghost and other programs, since over the years, I find myself adding more and more applications that I may not even come back to, and which simply result in bloat.

    Will you be renewing your TechNet subscription?
     
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  18. kfoulks2011

    kfoulks2011 Bit Poster

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    oops. i skipped right over the part where you said dell support center AND windows was giving you errors saying your hard drive is about to crash. If both are warning you then something is going on with your machine. Either both are confused, or both know whats going on and somethings about to happen. I doubt they would both be confused though. I would do some prevenative maintenance. Possibly back up data and replace main hard drive and slave the current one?
     
    Certifications: A+, Net+, MCP (70-270)
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  19. JonnyMX

    JonnyMX Petabyte Poster

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    Good idea - might try that one!
     
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  20. kevicho

    kevicho Gigabyte Poster

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    Not seen anyone suggest this yet, but you could consider setting up a raid mirror with another identical harddisk.
     
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