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How can I tell if my hard drive is damaged...


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#1
Golden Butterflies

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The USB receiver thing for my wireless mouse refuses to work on the left side of my computer, especially when I have the USB dialup modem in one of the two ports on that side. The mouse acts erratically, moves sluggishly, and sometimes doesn't move at all - as if it had dying batteries. However, in either of the right-side USB ports, it works just fine. Even if I plug something else such as a flash drive into the second port. This is a problem that until now never caused any issues, as this is still a very young computer and last winter the internal modem still worked. So, as an aside, if anyone has an explanation or cure for this behaviour, I'd love to hear it. But it's not the technical reason I'm here.

I'm here because this awkward situation caused the receiver-stick for my wireless mouse to get caught in my jacket sleeve. I didn't realize the problem until I went to move my arm to the keyboard... The front portion (harddrive, touchpad, fingerprint reader area) of my computer lifted at least six inches off the table then slammed back down before I could realize what was happening. I just barely managed to steady it before it toppled over. The harddrive light went amber, which is supposed to mean a shock was detected and the disk was stopped to save it. The only problem is that it was playing music from my hard drive at the time and that music neither stopped nor stalled.

According to System Information, my hard drive SMART status is "good," but I'm not sure if I can trust that. After all, my system constantly claims the half-dead, two-broken-cells battery I'm using is in good health while it's charging then decides once it hangs up that it's bad. So I'm particularly worried that this accident may have my poor hard drive heading for the land of doom and gloom. I can't afford repairs out of warranty, nor can I afford a new computer; but if absolutely necessary, I could attempt to gather the money for an external drive and find a way to work with it from there. I'd just need to know before-hand if there is a need for an expensive external drive - in other words, if my current drive is now damaged.

After the drop, it took an eternity for System Restore to load - longer than usual. (I was creating a restore point before I installed something, as I like to make sure I can undo an install if the program doesn't work right etc.) While it was creating the new restore point, the music that was playing stalled horribly. A drum beat repeated four times, but when I clicked back to the portion before it messed up and played it again, it didn't have any problems. The status lights seem to be brighter, though I'll admit I may be imagining that (perhaps the lighting conditions aren't the same; I haven't made much point of looking at the lights since the battery indicator decided several months ago to blink all the time due to my bad battery). But it did seem as if my hard drive light was blinking a lot more frequently than normal for about fifteen minutes after the incident. Even when not playing music or loading anything...

So I'm a little worried, even though it now seems to be working as it was before the drop.

How would I go about making sure the ProtectSmart stuff (that was supposed to stop the drive and is responsible for the amber light that came on when it was dropped) actually did its job? Is there any way to make sure my computer isn't damaged - even beyond the hard drive? I don't want to open it up or get into anything technical, though, as that is far beyond my level of knowledge and my comfort level...

If it matters, according to the properties for my hard drive it is: FUJITSU MHZ2160BH G2 ATA Device.
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#2
rshaffer61

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Hello Golden Butterflies.... Welcome to GeeksToGo, :) :) :)

I'm sorry to hear about your issue. We will try to help you resolve this as soon as possible.
Please understand we are all volunteers and we are not here all the time. Sometimes it may be a extended amount of time to get back to you. If it has been more then 3 days please shoot me a PM and I will try to get back to you quickly then.

Let's dive right in here with lots of diagnostics.
Run hard drive diagnostics: http://www.tacktech....ay.cfm?ttid=287
Make sure, you select tool, which is appropriate for the brand of your hard drive.
Depending on the program, it'll create bootable floppy, or bootable CD.
If downloaded file is of .iso type, use ImgBurn: http://www.imgburn.com/ to burn .iso file to a CD (select "Write image file to disc" option), and make the CD bootable.

NOTE. If your hard drive is made by Toshiba, unfortunately, you're out of luck, because Toshiba doesn't provide any diagnostic tool.

Thanks to Broni for the instructions
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#3
123Runner

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I am trying to decipher your post.
It looks like you have a few issues before and now after you dropped it.

I assume it is a laptop?
Is it out of warranty?

Were you asking if you could run the computer with the OS on an external drive? If so, it wont work that way.
I also assume that the left side USB ports were an issue BEFORE it got dropped.

And what is with this?

half-dead, two-broken-cells battery


Lets get the drive checked first and then see if we can get the rest of the issues straightened out.

123runner
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#4
Golden Butterflies

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Don't have time to get to the diagnostics tonight, but will as soon as possible. Very busy with stuff that keeps me away from the computer right now.

To answer 123Runner's questions:

The issue I had before is the strangeness of my wireless mouse's receiver simply refusing to work on the left side if the USB port next to it is also occupied. I actually think one of the USB slots on that side may be going out. It was because of having to put the receiver on the right side that it got caught on my sleeve and the computer was accidentally slammed onto the table. Hence mentioning that issue, because well... now it seems rather important to fix it to avoid the same accident happening twice.

Yes, it's a laptop. And, yes, it's out of warranty by about three months.

The USB ports have been a problem for quite some time, actually. Long before my laptop was dropped. I used to assume it was a mouse incompatibility, but even without the software for the special button functions (allowing Windows to pick the mouse's basic functionalities up and use it that way) it acts erratically on the left side whenever there's more than one USB item plugged in on that side. On the right side, it functions normally no matter what.

I was, indeed, asking if it was possible to run my computer with the OS on an external drive; but at the very least, I want to find out if there are any problems with the drive so that I can transfer important data to an external if there are.

As for the battery:

Approximately one week after the computer turned a year old and the warranty died, the battery started producing an error. It no longer charges to 100% and the battery light blinks to indicate that the battery is no longer in optimum condition and needs replacement. The maximum charge it can get is now from 89 to 91 percent, and it simply drops dead around 20 or 14 percent instead of when it's completely empty. I've tried calibration, but it didn't fix anything. According to something I found on the manufacturer's website (HP), the health status given for my battery means that one or more cells have died. I operate my computer plugged in a vast majority of the time and use it on a desk rather than for travel etc. Essentially, I use it as a portable desktop replacement and the battery is used so that I won't lose anything if the power goes out.

I mentioned the number two because a friend suggested that each time the maximum goes down a bit, that's another dead cell. I do, however, know there's at least one dead or malfunctioning cell and I simply can't afford to replace the battery yet. I use it mainly as an uninterrupted power supply, so that doesn't bother me much. My only problem is that the battery health meter claims it's in perfect condition if it's below the new 'maximum' charge and only claims it's bad when it reaches that level. Since that doesn't let me know the battery is bad until after it has encountered an error, it leaves me worried that the health-check for my hard drive will also tell me it's in perfect condition until it reaches a bad spot or something like that. That was my main reason for bringing up the battery health: to point out that I know for a fact that one of the built-in health monitors isn't quite accurate.
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#5
Golden Butterflies

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Actually, also, I'm at a complete loss (I'm rather computer-illiterate when it comes to more than just normal use) as to which diagnostic tool is right for my hard drive. It lists one for EIDE and one for SCSI and then the one that mentions ATA is only for changing some setting and not actually a diagnostic tool at all.

I read through Google just now that EIDE is "almost" the same as ATA. But since it didn't say it is the -exact- same thing, I'm not certain. Is that the one I should use?
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#6
123Runner

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The tools can sometimes be confusing.

You want FJDT Fujitsu ATA Diagnostic Tool) v6.90
I do not know if this will pick up your drive because it is not listed in the readme file when you unzip the utility.
You also must boot from a boot disk (floppy) and run under DOS.
I do not know if you can run by going to the command prompt in Windows.
The main thing stated in readme file is that it can't be run from windows.

If that does not work, try the seagate drive diagnostics. They have been known to pick up other drives.
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#7
Golden Butterflies

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Would a bootable CD work? I don't have a floppy drive...

If that's possible, how would I go about using it and/or getting into DOS?

I hate to sound like an idiot or something, but I'm completely clueless when it comes to this kind of thing and don't want to mess something up.
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#8
123Runner

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Golden Butterflies

Lets go 1 step furthur and try it this way.

I tested the diagnostics on my computer by running (double click) on the executable (while in windows).
The program opened in a command prompt, gave the license agreement and searched for hard drives.
Since I did not have a Fujitsu drive I could go no further.

Unzip the Fujitsu ATA Diagnostic Tool) v6.90 and then run the FJDT.exe and lets see if will identify the drive and run the tests.

123runner
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