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Best software for HDD diagnostics?


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#1
DA IMP

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Hello everyone,

I hope this is the right part of the forums to post about this. Maybe it should be in the software section? I don't think so, but it could be so.

Running under XP, I find its own HDD diagnostics tools seriously lacking. And the latest versions of Norton are even worse. So, as I'm in need to verify an HDD's safety and health in as deep a manner as possible, I ask for your ideas on what would be the best software for the task.

I already used XP's CHKDSK both normally an in its "scheduled booting test" mode, Fix-It Utilities 8.0.2.2 (Trial), and Western Digital's own software (Data LifeGuard diagnostics). I'm not fully convinced, 'cos CHKDSK keeps returning some "error in the file system" but is unable to fix it or even find it when I run it in fixing mode. Fix-It found errors but wasn't clear about them and wouldn't fix them either.
WD's own application did fix (as in, marked as bad) some supposed bad sectors...but I think the problem may still be there, seeing as how the computer would crash, and after that, wouldn't even boot up, 5 out of 6 times. It's working perfectly now after that supposed fix, but...

In short, I wanna be 110% positive the HDD will remain stable. I won't bore you all with the tech logs of all all these things...for now, I'll be happy to just know what piece of software I should get, to feel safe about returning this notebook to full usage. Oh, and I found a mention on HD Tune around here, so I'll be running it shortly...no need to recommend that one then.

Thank you all in advance, best of luck.
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#2
pip22

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Hi DA IMP. There are two kinds of disk error -- errors in the files and file-system which can be put right with correction utilities, and then there's actual physical errors on the disk, and these cannot be put right, they will get progressively worse until the disk fails and has to be scrapped.

These physical errors often lead to persistent software errors, so checking the disk for physical errors first is a good idea. The utilies required for doing this require unprohibited access to the disk, which means running it in a DOS environment from a bootable floppy. Such utilities are supplied free by the disk manufacturer's themselves. You need to get the utility from the maker of your particular disk since they are not interchangeable between brands. Visit their website and click 'Downloads'.

Edited by pip22, 21 December 2007 - 01:56 AM.

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#3
DA IMP

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I'm sorry to say, but your reply pip22, while accurate and informative, does not address my actual question, and only tells me things I already know. I actually work with computers for a living. It just so happens that the tools I have right now don't satisfy my high demand for a totally trustworthy and thorough testing of the HDD.
I already explained that I downloaded and ran the software from Western Digital before creating this topic, too. I actually work with computers for a living, so I know the basics on this. Of course, you had no way of knowing that.
It just so happens that I haven't had the need to make so thoroughly sure of an HDD's safety and stability in a while...so, before this, things like the manufacturer's diagnostics software and even XP's pathetic diagnostics tools would be enough.

Western Digital's Data Lifeguard Diagnostics was the only software that both detected and fixed errors.
But 4k of bad sectors looks a bit small a problem to cause the severe crash and constant failures to boot up, that couldn't be bypassed with any of XP's options for booting.
And CHKDSK still mentions the following problem on read-only mode:

"USN Journal verifying complete.
Fixing errors in the volume's bit map.
Windows found error in the file system. Use /F..."

But in /F mode on booting, it won't find nor fix said errors. No other software will detect such errors. Before the 4k got covered, CHKDSK and Fix-It threw more errors, but wouldn't fix them. In fact, CHKDSK's /F mode crashed at least once upon running the test.

It's a problem that will likely require that I take the notebook to the warranty for a HDD change. In fact, that notebook already had an HDD change, and it's not even half an year old. This adds to my concerns further. But I need it running now, and I cannot afford sending it to tech support for yet another HDD change right now, it would take too much time.
Unfortunately, I had nothing to do with this notebook when it had its first HDD change, so I don't have any info on that circumstance...though I'm trying to get it, it's not easy to pry technical details from people who know only the basics.

I hope this clarifies my situation further, though, quite honestly, I think pip22 missed a couple sentences that I wrote.
Maybe I'm demanding too much, and I should be quite happy with all the software I have running test after test over that HDD...but I wanna make 110% sure, you know?

Thanks for your time.
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#4
Troy

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How many times have you run CHKDSK with the /F switch? Like pip22 said, it could be file errors or physical errors. Sometimes it could take up to 5 times (or more) to clean out the file errors. Try using CHKDSK from the "Recovery Console" of the XP disc, not as a scheduled boot-time operation.

Other than that, the only recommendation I can give is to backup all required data from the drive and perform a full format, preferably using something like DBAN. If you still have issues after this, then I would look at either a faulty HDD or motherboard (ports or cables).

And seeing this is the second hard drive, I would be tempted to point the finger at the motherboard...
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#5
DA IMP

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Several times...seeing as how the /F mode doesn't stop at all to let you read the results, instead just going ahead with XP's startup...I would miss the results a couple times just by taking a glance at the TV...I don't know exactly how many times...but over half a dozen easily.

I'm running it from the console right now, thanks for the suggestion. It's taking a lot longer than usual, so I'm guessing it'll bring different results. I applied the /R parameter so it would try to fix anything it finds...

I made an image of the entire disc first thing, once I found I could actually start XP, despite the several crashes. Would that DBAN software preserve the bad sector markings already placed by WD's utility? That would be most important.

Once I talk with the person that witnessed the failure of the previous HDD, and I'm not in such an urgent need for the notebook anymore, I'll bring it to the warranty once again so they explain to me why the notebook keeps getting HDD errors like this. They have to be overlooking something...or maybe Acer bought a batch of faulty HDDs...or maybe it's just bad luck, I don't know.

Actually...this is no second hard drive. What gave you that idea? Maybe I said something wrong...
This is a notebook, it has just this one drive. Single partition even. I'm talking to you from my main desktop PC. The notebook is not mine even, it's a client's.

But yes...I'll get to the bottom of this. I just figure, if I can run a ton of top-quality software for scans, that's the only way to be 100% safe that this HDD is not gonna break in two in 48 hours (it's been behaving perfectly since it got to start up again, even before the bad sectors got marked). Especially if Acer keeps handing me faulty hardware...
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#6
Troy

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Actually...this is no second hard drive. What gave you that idea? Maybe I said something wrong...

I was meaning the first (original) hard drive that failed and was replaced.

The notebook is not mine even, it's a client's.

This comment tells me that you are trying to get us to do your work - which is against the Terms of Use. A moderator will review this thread.
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#7
don77

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This comment tells me that you are trying to get us to do your work - which is against the Terms of Use. A moderator will review this thread.


Honestly hardware issue for the most part go right over my head but it appears to me that DA IMP has exhausted all the possible solutions he knows of and came her initially looking for a software program that could help confirm that the HDD is in fact stable due to conflicting reports and testing and some stating its good while others contradicting that.

It is a touchy subject but I don't think DA IMP is asking us to do his work for him.
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#8
Troy

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Okay thanks Don77, we shall then proceed :)

DA IMP, run the CHKDSK with the /R switch from the recovery console a few times and let us know if this makes any difference.

As far as I know, DBAN will completely wipe the drive. I was suggesting this because then if the errors occur quickly after an OS install, then I would point at hardware issues.
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#9
123Runner

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DBAN (Dariks boot and nuke) will COMPLETELY wipe the drive. It is a security wipe that does 1's and 0's.

This is what I found on a site.......

Note

Symantec recommends that you run CHKDSK a second time if any errors or bad sectors are found on the disk. Continue running CHKDSK until all errors and bad sectors have been fixed.


Per info that I am aware of, numerous chkdsk with /f/r will need to be used to remove errors. Some are not recoverable.

Have you done any web searchs on the HD to see if anything is said about a bad batch/ issues?
Give us the HD make/ model and we can also run a search.
Everest (in my signature) will give that info.

If running the WD diagnostics shows no errors, then WD "generally" says that the drive is good. That is not to say that it is good or bad (just what they will say).

All HD manufacturers will stand by their diagnostic programs to determine good/bad.
This info is gathered by reading these posts. by what other posters have experienced, and my own experience.

I can understand your frustration in trying to make sure it will not crash again.
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#10
DA IMP

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Yeah, don77 nailed it. I tried the methods and software I know of, but I wanted to err on the side of safety. I don't have a full finished career on this, but I've been dealing with computers, from my own to entire networks, for over 16 years now. I have a lot of experience under my belt. My clients know what I can do and they know what "degrees" I do have. Plus, I'm pretty cheap, since I cannot in good conscience charge as much as someone who did finish their studies.

I came looking for suggestions, since I haven't had to be this thorough about a hard drive in a long while, and frankly, I prefer asking around here for software opinions, since this forum has proven to be quite useful and amicable before...rather than doing a blind search online.
Also, my colleagues in my city didn't have any useful suggestions. Most people either stop worrying, or replace the HDD after rescuing the files.

I'll run CHKDSK /R from the console again, just in case. By now though, I'm 95% convinced the HDD won't be any trouble for a while. Long enough to get it replaced, and/or the case behind the multiple HDD issues solved, in any case.

Oh, and I'll check about the HDD...good idea, it escaped me completely. It's a WD800BEVS-22RST0. Western Digital, SATA, 80GBs. Anything you people can find will be greatly appreciated if you wanna try it.

Thank you everyone!
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#11
123Runner

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Da Imp,

Well this was fun.
Searching for WD800BEVS-22RST0 brought up quite a few links referencing the drive being a refurb.

http://www.pinnaclem...c...-22rst0
http://www.ezsystems...WD800BEVS22RST0
http://www.searchlig...archResults.cfm

Searching on WD800BEVS-22RST0 at Westen Digital brought up the specs on the drive as a WD800BEVS. No reference to refurb.

A google search for WD800BEVS, gives numerous references to the drive (Scorpio), But no indication of a refurb.

Its beginning to look like the drive is refurbed. This would indicate a reason for what you believe to be a premature failure.
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