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.


HDD means Hard Disk Drive,  not SSD, SSD means solid state Drive, (as in motor free) SSD uses this technology.
All HDD fail, not one lasts say a decade (be rare if used daily)
HDD have many single points of failure, as does the whole PC.
  • Total death and motor not spinning or you hear the head click over and over,  the click of DEATH.
  • The drive shorts the power bus (red or yellow wires) and this kills the MOBO (motherboard dead, no not damage but will be dead until you remove the HDD) (easy no?) (is the DVD drive shorted? remove it now)
  • The drive has bad sectors , see Smart Parameter (metric) C6 below,  raw =0 good, raw not zero bad.  end of life 1 HDD.  crush it and trash it is what you do now.
  • Head crashes, (dropped) and now is damaged beyond repair.
  • A HDD can be so dead, that even BIOS scans can't find it, (the ID (identification) command to it , returns NOTHING.
  • The files are corrputed only , do the HP  F11 recovery method,  or use the HP media kit (OS install kit)

Symptoms, no boot or gross windows errors even BSOD crashes, or windows flat telling you the HDD has read errors. (well windows did not lie to you)
Or you try to install a fresh OS and the installer (setup.exe? ) told you the HDD is missing or will not load it, due to load  errors. BAM you land here.
OS = Operating system, (be  that FreeDOS, Windows, Linux, or OS/2, or MS DOS or vast others 1981 to now..)
The best 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.
If the PC will not boot?, see if Linux Live will.? and run these tests.(SEE KNOPPIX)

It  is for sure too late to clone your drive now.(be that windows scrambled or HDD bad or virus infected)

If the drive spins, talks and the partitions are ok, but there is some file corruption, then try to backup your private data now
Backing up data first is always a wise choice. if possible. ( even moving the HDD to any GOOD PC and doing the back up there, as a 2nd HDD)
Sorry no HDD lasts for ever, all die, every one made will... (an Entropy thing)
If lucky the HDD runs out  of spare sectors (redundancy repairs are done unseen by you! ) but now  SMART told you it ran  out of sectors, believe it and time for a new drive.
Lesson1: All HDD grow bad sectors and the magic brain inside the HDD, finds them and hides them from you and windows, until the day, the brain sees, No more spare sectors to logically swap in. THE END OF THE ROAD!

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 WINDOZ fails to boot,  and you found your BOOT sticks all work but HDD 0 does not.
Here are  the HDD for dummies, checks.
My Power supplies are ok.
BIOS is ok F9 works to my other 5 bootable devices, CD/DVD/USB/SD-card, and USB STICK but the HDD0 fails to boot.
You have  HDD, and you can hear the motor spin? with ear connected to a screw driver handle and tip of same touching case of any HDD made. hear it spin? If it clicks the HDD IS BAD . No spin? BAD HDD.
Is the HDD plugged in (both SATA connectors)?
We go to BIOS next and and GO here, BIOS HDD tests (think of this test as a TOY, it's kid  simple and none-destructive and if it does fail? then  the HDD IS  DEAD (toasted) end story in 5minutes work.
If the drive fails  BIOS HDD tests , then the HDD is DEAD.
If you get this far,  what next?
Next is always SMART;. Run the SMART APPlication program.. (learn rule one, Windows flat hates bad HDD (or SSD) in fact it can even BSOD for bad HDD), Run SMART app.

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.
If the drive overheats and the system fans are : Dead, or packed in lint or any heat sinks are packed in lint fix that first, and if case fans are dead the HDD sure can overheat. (most do every year not getting lint cleaning session)

A slow OS is usually a virus. (or overloaded with start up files, disable them? yet?) or the S.M.A.R.T page tells you DRIVE is bad or going bad. All drives end up bad. ALL DO.
I am not covering corrupted OS here, only bad HDD and all tests to do.
If all HDD test pass and Windows is acting odd ,then reload Window by using HP F11 key at power on, BINGO, back to day 1, HP Windows, and no infections and zero corruptions, with just 2 finger pressings.


BIOS may show you no drive 0 exists.  If  missing that is a dead drive,  but be warned some dead drives, can show the PCI scanned drive ID as present and still be dead.
If the Drives busy bit is set , (forever) the Drive is dead, most good BIOS see that bit and then will show no  drive present.  (busy fails for many reasons, dead motor or the drive can't seek data.,etc)
If BIOS shows it present, then this test in BIOS is offered.
If the BIOS drive tests fails,  the drive is dead.  (a simple test, this is and does not prove drive is good, only proves dead, if it fails there) I will now present more tests...
If you PC still runs , even poorly,  these applications below can tell you if the HDD is bad.

Your Hard disk drive  maker has test tools get them and use them. 
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)
  1. RUN the BIOS HDD test. (inside the BIOS screens)
  2. Move the HDD to another PC as a second drive, you can then run extensive HDD tests there, endless apps to do that  for over 30 years. (run smart, run, virus scans, look for missing windows or HP restore parititons.
  3. Keep the drive there and run SMART if the PC boots at all run SMART APP. (see if drive is overheated,  my 3 run at 93f (78f from) so is 15f rise, my ssd runs 93f too. so we know this is normal (lots of  DT case fans in mine)
  4. Next is line 05,  note here this HDD is end of life,  ran out of spare Redundant sectors so can never again self heal itself. Line C6 shows, the bad bad news. Raw C6  not 0 is a bad HDD.
  5. Last we run Knoppix 7.6 or above, and run APP there called DISK. We see the same page below but linux used decimal numbers not hex, so I added the number base change data in red.
  6. Last of all , is the  same page in Knoppix.(stick linux boot) we go to the DISK menu again, and click test tabs
  7. There are for sure  other HDD apps, many are sold and many can run 2 or more patterns in the disc and test every sector, and leaving the drive blank. (or not)  (keep in mind backing up first is best , if possible at all)
  8. RTM read the app makers manual first. (a common data pattern is AA/55 hex)  The tests come in 2 flavors,  destructive or non-destructive, use the latter, first.  (top App.'s have many pattern tests)
Most folks with a bad HDD?
  • Notice the HDD is silent, and very dead.
  • Or clicks like mad. (it's bad)
  • Sees SMART App. shows, C6 parameter failing.
  • The OS sees the HDD missing.( if BIOS can't find it  ,it is probably bad.)
  • The cables to it fell off?
  • Or it is overheating horribly.
Keep and open mind, HDD have vast failure modes!


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 HDDmade 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. (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)
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 (rom monitor in 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. 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 to late (if lucky) move HDD to another PC as 2nd drive and backup your data, if you can't it 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!)
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.

Run this LINUX CD/DVC/STICK.
HOW TO TEST THE HDD WITH THE LIVE BOOT LINUX OS is on this page here.

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 , not 0 is toasted, and bad. 118 is horrible bad.
05 and C6 are wrong.!
This drive is allowed to run, will go far far worse... and is HOPELESS to try.



version #6  9-16-2017 (above page does not cover how to restore corrupted windows.)  (moved linux to seperate page and added more tests)