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Hard Drive - can not read after freeze ups and trying to reformat


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#1
COOKJAN

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This is my first post on this site. I have some knowledge of computers and programs and have worked on them for some time, but now I am really stuck.

I have a computer that started to freeze continuously after a period of time of running great. There is some history of my attempts to fix the problem which I will try and explain to the best of my ability.

This computer originally was used at my office. My boss always gave me the computers we were replacing and if the computer was really bad I extracted any parts that were any good, secure erased the hard drive if it was bad and got rid of it and kept any good cards etc.

This drive was originally on ME with an upgrade to Windows Xp loaded over it. I secure erased the drive with my Drive Works program to remove any work files and then proceeded to partition and format the drive and toggled the boot to work. I have used this program several times and it works great. I wanted to make the OS XP. My cd was an upgrade so I started with the XP, inserted the ME cd at the proper time and reinserted the XP cd. I reformatted the drive to NTFS using the XP cd and went ahead with the install. All worked fine as usual when I use Drive Works.

I continued loading my programs and upgrading XP---the longest upgrade time there is!!—and continued downloading the other programs I needed on the computer, i.e. Adobe Reader, Sun Java etc. and of course more continuous XP upgrades. I made several restore points along the way. This was done over a period of time.

The computer worked great for sometime. Then the computer decided it was going to freeze up continuously. I may have been on for several hours working fine or 20 minutes or just a short shot. It gradually got worse. During that time I tried to decipher what had gone wrong. I was able to run a scan disk and no errors were found. But, it would not let me restore to any restore point on the computer or run my virus scan which is McAfee Security Suite. I have that program on all three of my computers. I know there are several more out there better, but this is what I have. I ran the virus scans on the other two computers and no viruses. Since they are networked, I thought that a wise thing to do.

Ok, I figured I could have had a software issue first as I had a problem getting my HP 1210 ix program to work correctly and had gone ahead and removed it, re-added it, upgraded it on line etc. Taking that off did not work. So I checked my Administrator Tools and found the date that it appeared the problem may have started. I checked my restore points for that date and had downloaded Sun Java, cd installed Microsoft Office and windows had downloaded the Hp software. I then tried to uninstall all three of those programs. Java gave me a fatal error saying that the program did not install properly.

Since I could not restore, at that point I decided to start all over with the Drive Works. Well-----This time the computer froze while trying to secure erase. This is a time consuming program and it would just not stay on long enough. The drive was still reading DOS at that time so I was able to bring up the program again and went to do a format first to see if I could at least get trough that. It did format, but unable to complete the scan etc. So I tried again… same thing. Then I decided to give the ME cd a try. Apparently some of the things on the drive had been erased enough to start the install process. I went for the format first as I was unsure as to how far the format on Drive Works got. The format went along until the scan and then I got the bad sector found. The last sector on the drive. Never had that on this drive. I believe it is because it never finished formatting from the Drive Works and kept freezing up. I aborted and now I have a non readable disk.

I took a look at the inside of the computer and cleaned up the fans etc. with Blow Off. They were dirty and I wondered if that was part of my freeze up.

Ok next thing I tried was Drive Works again. First on the CD and then on A The program started to load and then froze up.

I also have a Drive Washer CD. That cd program came up, but did not see the drive.

Next step DOS I stuck in the MS-DOS start up disk and it booted to A fine. I changed the directory to C and did a dir. I got the can not read message and aborted. I tried a few times with different commands as I though maybe I could do an fdisk to go forward. Same .. no luck.

Then I went to the BIOS settings. I checked all the settings. Oh. I forgot the ME setup also told me the LBA may be locked. That means I can’t get to the drive. When I aborted the ME setting I could no longer get to the drive at all.

The BIOS settings see the drive It is an IDE drive the LBA is on and BLK Mod on;
Size is 40020 MB; clyn 19158; Head 16; WPcom 0; Sec 225; PIOMOD 4, 32 bit

I get one beep when it starts up.

I am getting conflicting advise from a few people I know. One the drive was bad when I started this and caused the freeze, two it could be the controller, three it could be the motherboard.

Is there anyway to make the drive readable since the computer does recognize it is there?
I do have another old drive, but I am not sure if it fits or not. I will be checking that today. I was thinking that if I have the brackets another possibility would be a piggy back and try and get to the drive that way, but if it is not reading the drive, would it that way?

I have the time to mess with it now as I have a broken leg and I am home from work. As to purchasing a new drive, my husband is currently on Unemployment and with me off of work I do not think so. I would like to try and save this. Sorry this is so long, but I thought you would need to know the whole story.

I do not fear DOS commands, but do not remember a lot of them. I would need specific commands.

Any suggestions out there. I am interested in what you may think the cause of the freeze ups was too. I know it could be several factors. Sorry I can't give you any computer specs as there is no system on it now and I can not read the drive.

Thanks for any help.... Hard Drive - can not read after freeze ups and trying to reformat

Jan
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#2
makai

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Wow! What a write up!

It's very difficult to determine what's causing you so much problems, but if I read this right, you are working with a drive from the ME generation? If the drive has been around since ME, then it could be the age of the drive that caused your freeze in the first place.

I don't know how Drive works operates, but from what I read, its for erasing hard drives securely. Perhaps it did mess up the drive permanently, but we can at least hope it didn't. What you might try doing is pulling the harddrive from the machine to determine the manufacture. After doing that, go to the manufacture's website and download their hard disk utilities. Most manufactures have formatting and test utilities that can be run from a floppy or CD. It may get you going again. At this point in time, that's the only thing I can think of. If you need help finding the utilities, pull the hard drive out, and let me know who manufactures it.

Edited by makai, 16 January 2009 - 12:09 AM.

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#3
peter99

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try this tip

Use a win98\ME startup Floppy disk and try the debug command.

ERASE ALL HDD INFORMATION

This debug routine is used to erase all partition information on the hard disk drive and is only recommend for experienced users or users who are unable to delete the partition information through fdisk.

Instructions at

http://www.computerhope.com/rdebug.htm

click on the link on the right ERASE ALL HDD INFORMATION or scroll down the page
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#4
COOKJAN

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Thanks for your reply. I will pull the drive and let you know who made it. Also will try the ME start up first while it is still in. I have to clear my space off here before I can get back on the monster! I am working off my laptop right now and need to reset up. This will take a while with my broken leg. I will get back to you both.
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#5
123Runner

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There is a link in my signature for the drive manufacturers. As suggested, try that.
Also try Dban (deriks boot and nuke). Writes 1 and 0 to drive.
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#6
COOKJAN

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Well I am working on the monster now. Funny the first ME floppy I found would not work, but I found another. This one will not let me debug, but is letting me fdisk. So I hope that works and will get back to you. Have not done a fdisk for a while, but I have instructions. As I remember this will take a while. So far the integrity of the drive has passed. YEA!
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#7
COOKJAN

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ok I worked on the fdisk and it did work. I then tried the format.... No luck at all. Don't worrk I used the correct drive letter. Anyway I decided to try my drive works and wala! It came up fine, but would not format either...froze up. I put it in again. Came up fine again and then decided to do an erase and so far it is going fine. Go figure. Now lets hope it continues to work and I can partition with the Drive Works and format then. I will let you know tomorrow unless it freezes again! This is a time consuming task, but time is what I have now with my broken leg and all. Keeps me from getting bored to death!

The ME start up worked on the fdisk. The xp start up does not. If I get this Drive Works to go all the way through I will let you know the manufacturer of the drive. I hope it does. It will be hard for me to take it out in my condition, but I think I can.

Thanks Jan
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#8
COOKJAN

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Hi I forgot to tell you the BIOS date on the monster is Nov. 29, 2002. I was not sure how old this one was anymore as I fix all of the computers at the office too. Can't remember all of them anymore. I think I am going brain dead anyway! Maybe it was the accident! I did have a brain bruse!

Speaking of brain dead...I can't remember how to print the specs on the computer at this moment. I want to print out those on my computers so I have them next time I have a problem. I have done that at the office, but we have upgraded since then. I need to do that. Could you instruct me.....

Hey the monster is still up and erasing! Amazing! Format...we will see!
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#9
COOKJAN

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I just checked out the sites posted by 123Runner. Great information thanks.
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#10
COOKJAN

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I was not able to work on the drive for a few days, but when I did, I was able to format the drive with Windows ME. My Drive Works would freeze. I think this goes back to the freeze up when I did the secure erase. Windows showed no errors on the format, but would freeze at different time frames when trying to load ME. My husband moved the computer to where I could work on it...(me with my broken ribs and leg could not do that). I was going to try and piggy back another drive and try and see if it still froze up on that drive, but I could not find my jumpers. I put in the other drive. WOW! what a supprise this drive is a fossile! It had Windows 3.1.1 on it! But it does work. So now I have sent my hubby out for a new drive. I may try and work on the drive again--I hate it when I can't get things to work! It is a seagate 40 Gbytes. I will check their site out for the utilites they may have and sometime later get back to it if I ever get the time again. I am giving up for now, because I would like a working computer for now. The fossile....garbage! It is way to old to trust. Thanks for all your help and I will let you know if I ever fix the monster drive!
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#11
COOKJAN

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Bummer. Hubby just called. My computer guy does not have drive in stock. He gets things in quick, but with both of us not working at the moment we decided I will try the Utilities on the drive prior to ordering. Anyone have a good site to check prices? Probably need a new one from what I am getting. Oh well, back at it. Downloading the utilities now.
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#12
123Runner

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It sounds like a bad drive.
I like Tiger Direct and they have good prices.
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#13
COOKJAN

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I have ordered from Tiger Direct in the past. I will check it out. Thanks
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