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Samsung SpinPoint T166 HD501LJ randomly fails at boot

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Siree Bob

Siree Bob


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Hey, everyone! First post here...

I'm having some problems with my Samsung HD501LJ 500GB hard drive. It seems that when the computer has been powered down for a certain length of time (imagine it being enough to let the drive "cool down") then when I power it back on this drive will begin to click and it will continue to click (and cause timeouts and fail to be recognized) until the computer is powered off, regardless of how long the computer is on.

But if, after having some time to "warm up" as I imagine it, the computer is powered down and powered back up shortly after this (immediately works best), the drive will be detected without a problem.

In other words, by following this pattern, I can ensure that the system will boot and detect the drive without problems:
1. Power on.
2. Wait about 5-10 seconds for the computer to beep and come into a state where it can be shut down.
3. Press the power button and immediately after press it again.

This method has yet to fail and always results in a successful boot, but why is it necessary? There is nothing wrong with the drive according to diagnostic tools or tests, and I did a repair of the MBR using Samsung's Disk Wizard (or whatever it's called) but that didn't work.

You can hear the sound of the clicking here, if that's useful for some reason (for the record, it's quieter than it sounds): http://www.supload.c...t=308833065.wav

This problem occurs with different SATA cables and power cables and it happened with my previous computer (a different power supply and motherboard and SATA controller) as well. The problem also to some extent happens with an external enclosure I've tested it with, but seems to happen less often.

Any ideas? From what I've read about clicking sounds they often indicate a drive is failing, but this ONLY happens at "cold" boot-up (and continues to happen on warm reboots); turning the computer off and back on abruptly will solve the problem. And this clicking does not happen when the drive has booted up successfully or during computer use.

The clicking is, from my memory (which honestly isn't very dependable), the same as the sound I heard when trying to access an Xbox hard drive without first unlocking it, or with the wrong key, or having my Xbox trying unsuccessfully to unlock a hard drive. Oh, but this problem has absolutely nothing to do with Xboxes. Just thought I'd mention that. In other words, drives with ATA passwords that fail to be unlocked seem to make the same noise this one makes on a cold boot. But that's just an observation that may be incorrect or irrelevant.

I'd be grateful for any help I could get with this!

+ One thing I just tried is booting the computer with the drive clicking and undetected (this takes a long time) and then, when Windows is loaded, putting the computer into standby. When I do this, I hear the other drives spin down, but the failing drive continues to click. Just thought I'd mention that... Also, when the drive is working fine and I put the system into standby, I hear it spin down, but it always spins back up without problems when the computer comes out of standby. Anyway, in my book that indicates that it's not a mechanical failure related to the drive spinning up, but I don't completely know what I'm talking about anyway, so... :whistling:

Edited by Siree Bob, 05 March 2007 - 02:28 AM.

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I had a drive like that (not a samsung though). It was a secondary drive. It would sometimes start clicking while I was using Windows, at which point my system would hang until the clicking stopped.

Never did find out what it was, but I didn't take any chances. I backed up what was on it, scrapped it and bought a new one. Never had the problem since.
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Siree Bob

Siree Bob


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Posting this will probably jinx what seemed like a fix, but anyway, I downloaded the latest HD501LJ HUTIL from Samsung and burned it to a CD-RW. I booted with SystemRescue-CD to FreeDos. Then, I put in the CD-RW, copied the files to the drive A (RAM drive) and executed hutil.exe. It actually worked (it hadn't worked before). I changed the Automatic Acoustic Management from "None" to "Middle". I think the options were None, Fast, Middle, and Quiet, but I can't remember exactly. I also ran the tests, including the full read scan, which passed (as expected and as all other tests have). Of course, I did this after getting the drive to be detected by the BIOS and stop clicking with my trick.

I haven't been able to reproduce the problem since I did this, but I'll keep you posted...

... Aw, nuts! The problem's back! I'll try switching it to "Fast".

Nope. Quiet didn't fix it.

Anyway, I tried something: I decided to time how long the computer could be off before the drive would fail next time it was turned on, and, listening carefully, I determined what I sort of suspected all along. I started at 30 seconds, which were enough to make it fail. So were 15. 10 were also generally too many seconds. With variations between 5-10 seconds, it was generally random whether the drive would fail or not, and with 3 seconds or less the drive consistently yielded success.

In other words, it seems that if the drive has been given enough time to spin down, it will fail on the next boot. Unlike most scientific experiments, however, I didn't have the patience to test each trial 10 or more times. But one thing is for sure: the drive has yet to fail when the computer is booted up within 3 seconds of its last power off.

Hmmmmm. Any suggestions on how I can accommodate for that? I'd be interested in suggestions on how I can confirm what the problem is, also.. I just hate to think it was a waste of money, you know? :whistling:

Oh, and the HUTIL tests included a Spin Down/Up test. It always passed those. When it spun back up, it would click a single time, but that's normal. The rest of the tests would pass after this as well.

Edited by Siree Bob, 05 March 2007 - 10:12 PM.

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I am sorry that I am reply on a old post.

I have the same model and it had the same problem since yesterday when it died - now it only clicking, and system it is not seeing it.
Did you solved the problem with yours?
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