Is my harddisk
drive (HDD) brick
Dead or Sick or?
If any of this is confusing? then find a tech, and ask him/her to fix it, they know all these ropes!
See my Linux HDD testing.
All HDD fail, not one lasts say a decade (be rare if used daily) Know too that SSD has a different SMART page, with new data fields, (I will not cover SSD ever here...)
HDD have many single points of failure, as does the whole PC.
Runs slow, windows told you it is bad, or won't boot, or boots only half the time, or you run Smart tests every month and it fails, or Windows BSOD;'s on you.
If we think the HDD seems alive we then test it. (it's not hard do this at all)
One way to test any drive is moving it to the non failing system. (means not be booted to it, to the bad drive? under test) We use and external eSata case (with power pack) to do this magic.
Most folks at this moment thing BACK DATA, omg I forgot to last year. LOL.?
It is for sure too late to clone your drive now.(be that windows scrambled or HDD bad or virus infected)
It many not be to late to back up , then try to backup your private data now
See all HDD tests below: (and losts of causes)
A hard disk works like this, an electric motor, a media platter, a set of heads, and a head servo actuator and a SATA comm chip. (any of these can fail).
You are here because MS WINDOWs fails to boot, and you found your BOOT USB sticks all work, but HDD 0 does not.
See photo of BIOS HDD test
If you get this far, what next?
Next is always SMART tests;.
Run the SMART APPlication program.. (learn rule one, Windows can BSOD from corrupted HDD fails and with Windows 10 its worse turn off fast boot.)
If windows is dead Jump to here.( run linux tests, run smart and the full linux DISK tests)
If the drive kinda works great, but windows complains, and S.M.A.R.T Tells you it's out of SPARE sectors, then it's time for a new SSD or HDD. Believe it. the HDD is DEAD.
After then New HDD is installed, reload the OS.
If windows is corrupted (I will not cover that here). there are cures via A/V scanners, and the SFC /scannow command, and full fresh installs.(F11 recovery HP methods)
With a good HDD,windows can do many bad acts, endless, infinite.
back to HDD checks:
Seagate has answers here.
Always fun this first, if system boots.Crystal Disk Info.
Do know that a full blown HDD test programs may take all day to finish. (some have short test, medium and long tests) Don't expect the 1TB drive to test fast and easy. It is huge.
Know too that some do destructive tests, and ends with a blank, HDD ! (read the instructions on your HDD Test APP )
The HDD can be tested all these ways, let me recap all ways: (when I mention STICK below that means "USB flash memory stick, a.k.a. Thumbdrive, flash key, etc)
Keep and open mind, HDD have vast failure modes!
Disk tests come in toy grade, medium grade , power grade and pro grade (the latter erases the whole disk checking it all)
Chkdsk under W10 is far more powerful that all that came for, if it sees sectors errors, then it knows for sure the drive is failing.
ALL modern HDD have spare sectors and all HDD later in its life run out of them and is now a Bad HDD.
Lets beat the the chkdsk Microsoft utility to death first, by that I mean "all ways to run it".
If the PC is not BSOD'ing like mad (crashing) (or W10 now , in real time , has popup's that say, HDD is not too well, If yes, then it told you then truth ! Believe it is a BAD HDD)?
First is Windows check disk under GUI mode, so click, THIS PC (or my computer or computer ICON) , we call it local file explorer because that is what it is. (it's not IE-11)
Iin Explorer (local) I right click the C: drive, (boot drive) and pick properties.
I then click the TOOLS TAB.
Last, I pick the button, CHECK, it then says "you don't need to check this drive its ok " that is because, W10 watches the S.M.A.R.T drive status all the time now. (so can you now...)
The next way is Pseudo DOS, called command prompt , in the run box type cmd.exe, the right click it and run it as admin. then type chkdsk C: /f /r /x
Next is (for when windows crashes over and over) we go to Recovery mode. (if older PC use F8 key to get there)
The HP PCs' modern 2006+ all have this F11 boot key. We go to here. then pick advanced options and pick command prompt.
The again you can type chkdsk C: /f /r /x
Now the last way to get CMD.exe running for you, is to boot to any Windows install CD disk (or HP install disk) and run command prompt that way. (CD means DVD or even a USB install flash stick, installer)
No matter what if chkdsk , fails it's bad, but if it passes all tests then only running pro grade diagnostics on any HDD works the best, in all cases ! See Chrystal disk and Linux tests below.
HDD school: (As simple as I can make it...)!
The HDD its called a rotating memory on disk with flying heads, it has platters and R/W heads and a SMART BRAIN, on mount Everest the heads can not fly with no air, so CRASH. (same on the moon too.)
If you bump any HDD hard enough running the heads can crash. (with power off, bumps are mostly harmless below 2 foot drop) running is a whole other matter. (a 3 foot drop is 100G's so.... out of spec that is)
The drives smart brain inside knows all HDD made grow bad sectors its whole normal life span, so the designer puts in spare clusters (usually in the form of spare cylinders you can not reach deep inside)
A drive can run for 10 years, and not run out of spares cylinders. (for sure kept cool and not bumped/dropped , ever)
As bad sectors grow, the HDD brain immediately and logically swaps in new sectors for the old bad and is cured now. The OS sees no errors now. (in and instant) But you will see Parameter 05(hex) increase from 0.
SSD's do similar self healing and also spread the wear. (SSD are more rubust and have longer life spans, seems to me)
When the spares run out , you hit the brick wall of death soon. See Parameter ID 5 this is the max spares allowed, as does parameter C6 =0 is good not zero is bad.
In this drive is 140. (x4096 = 573,440 bytes. or 1/2 megabyte.) Think 1/2 a floppy for spare space.
A Blast From The Past, in the olden days we'd unpacked our "Winchester drive" mid to late 70s and grab the bad sector map sheet, from the box it came.( the young kids go.. gee it's bad new?,,, sigh...)
Then we CONFIGURED (a ROM monitor in the HDD controller MFM) what sectors were bad. Then formatted it and then installed some OS.
Later HDD drives now had brains inside (uP), and cured there own bad sectors for the life of the drive, unseen by anyone, ! (that is you not using SMART app, to see them !)
end crash course HDD.
Factoid: Our first IBM PC HDD cost us $5000 , few buyers could afford one then. (that be 50,000 bucks in inflated dollars now)
We sold S100 bus CPM Z80, , tests systems to Intel and all other top SEMI chip makers..with said drive in place and booted.
Some had this.(or the HP 85 ,circa 1979) HP had PC's before IBM, but cost more. but I digressed.
WINDOWS IS DEAD ! or F11 dead or F9 key shows no drive there? (those are HP power on hot keys)
If not backed up it's maybe too late (if lucky) move HDD to another PC as 2nd drive and backup your data, if you can't, your data is a goner.
BTW: by the way Windows 7/8/10 all tell you in clear warnings, live words from the OS screens (popups) when the bad HDD runs into bad sectors, (warning it will get worse fast!) or it BSOD's
Installing any OS to a bad HDD is just pure endless pain, wasted of time, and grief, don't do that and be more happy... (IMO) The cure (prevention) is next.
If windows 10 goes dead, turn off (and F8 on) fast boot. Now it might boot, and you can do tests.
I run this LINUX CD/DVC/STICK. and run DISK TEST and SMART tests that why.
HOW TO TEST THE HDD WITH THE LIVE BOOT LINUX OS is here.
CrystgaldiskINFO ( free program that runs in windows) If you Windows is not dead now, this is the fastest way to get SMART data.
The below is running on a sick PC, the windows is acting up, slow or whatever, but this Crystal Disk Info , program shows, the HDD is TOAST C6(hex) , not 0 is toasted, and bad. 118 is horrible bad.
05 and C6 are wrong.!
This drive is allowed to run, longer, will go far far worse. and DIE DEAD.. and is HOPELESS to try.
As you can see windows below runs (you be lucky) and smart prog. runs, in all cases if windows is dead, you can't get here with WINDOZ DEAD.
So run LINUX LIVE BOOT instead. (boot it, pick "TRY" me , on its desktop click the top left KEY Icon , and search DISK and bingo see ICON of DISK and wrench and this same test is there)
To be sure nothing beats this method below or Linux same, to find errors. (all real servers watch this constantly via its RAID controller (smart)) This Page below, must show 05 not run out and C6 at zero, or the drive is bad.
Note too ,it is not overheating.
The same page above, can also be seen in Linux Ubuntu 17 live demo DVD/USB stick, running this.
We run Linux live for 2 reasons,
1: Your windows is dead and BSODs and reason2 , and most disktest utilities, in the system are toy grade (not w10 , it is SMART aware at all times)
I own a HP server that checks this data every hour, from a RAID controller and if it sees 05 or C6 go bad, it sets and fails the HDD status lamps (LED), I'M BAD... I will soon go HARD FAIL.
Replace me now or doom is soon.
Facts on HDD:
Most good hard drives, have a head landing zone, (why damage a data track?) and have park lock, (why wreck a head while the drive is on the UPS truck ?LOL) (all this is covered in the drive spec, see mine here)
Heat kills most HDD, owners pay no attention at all to heat, and not check the temperatures (C2 above) and heat kills all things , electronics , and more. Try to have working fans in the PC case and win.
The heads in the HDD fly, just like a glider air plane does. So the head never touches, the data tracks directly or both will be damaged, so avoid hitting the drive or dropping it.(directly or in directly)
The head fail to fly over 10,000 feet, (inside and regular air plane with pressurized cabin is ok) but climbing mount everest or here, is a fail.
The drive, as installed for normal operation, shall operate error free while subjected to intermittent shock not exceeding 15 Gs at a maximum duration .
That means dropping a laptop from a height of x to a concrete floor. (stopping time is key in the MATH) Concrete does not squish or flex. So is a nasty thing. (that is why Mil Spec tests use a slab of steel 2" think over huge concrete slab.)
Newtons laws work here, not mass but velocity (height governs speed) and surface is key, (on concrete or a pillow of down feathers are polar differences) Knowing concrete answer, tell the human the worst case, and what might follow.
The drive not powered on it 75G's far larger due to that deal above about flying heads. (and the gap there)
The best packed box (shipping) is about 60"drop max. (about what USPS does many times to any box shipped (we have proof)
The math is is not hard, even kids today in grammar school are taught, simple Alegbra. so the G = below is obvious to most kids today and old teens on up in age (due to USA new Math rules)
So as you see, the 'g' value is the classic stated in words, 32 feet per second per second law. It's a constant until fluid dynamics of air kicks in (terminal velocity on earth)
Leaving only one VARIABLE ("a") in Math result "G=" and that is stopping time (rate of). ( This value of deceleration is super hard to calculate, But can be a very small number , on concrete, and huge G forces as a result.
"a" can be as small as 1/8" inch or 3 mm.... and with that you can kiss off that HDD even at a low dropping height, even 3 feet high.
Guess what concrete is very close to zero. so close that 15 G's is child's play to reach on concrete drops, (metal to Crete) BAM. Wrecked .
Keep mind the drive is solid machined metal, so it can't bend and reduce the force! , at all, only the PC CASE lowers (or HDD external case) the G-forces as the case crushes, or flexes inward. (or drives with shock mounts)
as seen here.
version #7 9-16-2017 (above page does not cover how to restore corrupted windows.) (moved linux to seperate page and added more tests)