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Hard drive failing (Resolved).

Liquid spill hard drive

Best Answer phillpower2 , 11 February 2016 - 08:10 AM

Hi njay, Had a look online at the CrystalDisk software and it seems to be well thought of by many people, not sure how good it is with hybrid drives and the same for SMART which was designed f... Go to the full post »


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#1
njay

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Hi guys,

 

Back in January, I managed to knock over a glass of red wine. The contents of which went all over my laptop keyboard.

 

I powered it down (probably too slowly), drained all the liquid out, and tried to unscrew the back, which I was able to do, except for one screw under the CD drive, because it was a different type of screw which I didn't have a screwdriver for. All I could do was try to absorb as much liquid with whatever I could push through the opening.

 

Because I fiddled with the remaining screw too much, I'd stripped the head and ended up having to drill it out the next day (nerve racking process...!). When I finally managed to open it all the way, I gave it a clean with isopropyl alcohol to clean the interior. I let everything dry.

 

 

Now here's the thing. I thought the hard drive was attached to the body somehow, so in order to clean and inspect the bottom of the hard drive, I loosened a few screws. Turns out that those were actually part of the hard drive itself. I never split the thing apart (fortunately, because apparently that's a death sentence), but I did get a hard drive error (not detected) when I started up the computer. Note that that error may well have been produced if I hadn't done this. After all, I'd spilled wine all over it.

 

After cleaning the inside even more thoroughly, I tried to fire up the laptop again, and got another error (hard drive not detected). I tried again, and my computer started normally.

 

Since, I've been getting intermittent hard drive errors (drive not found), but only on start up. Half of the days, it starts up fine. The other half, I have to try twice, and then it starts up fine. It always runs fine once it does start up.

 

 

Until today. I'm still writing this message on my laptop, but I've been getting a lot of errors (one just popped up while writing this message; it's the 2nd one since the last start up, 3 hours ago). I guess that's a sign of imminent failure.

 

 

My question now is, of course: is there anything I can do to save this thing? (don't worry, I have made a back up of everything that's dear to me)

 

If not: would it be wise to order the exact same hard drive, make a perfect copy, and install it in my laptop? This would save me from having to buy Windows and reinstalling a lot of software. Is this a difficult procedure? Do I have enough time, with all of these errors? And is it worth it, or are there any indicators that, for example, my motherboard might be damaged, too?

 

I have attached the error message.

 

Thanks in advance for your help!

-nj

 

 

Attached Thumbnails

  • hdfail.png

Edited by njay, 10 February 2016 - 08:27 AM.

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#2
phillpower2

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There is an outside chance that you are getting the error messages because the HDD is either not assembled as it should be or that it is not securely connected to the connection on the MB, not knowing which particular screws you undid on the HDD makes it a bit more difficult for us to speculate but is there a chance that the screws that you undid were just the ones that hold the HDD to the caddy that slides into the notebook chassis.

 

Creating a back up image is the way to go and asap, see the tutorial here provided courtesy of Essexboy


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#3
njay

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Hi Phil,

 

Thanks for your reply.

 

I am creating the back up image as we speak.

 

Here's some more info to elaborate on my first post. I opened up the laptop case again and took some photos. In the one with the HDD, you can see 6 torx screws. Those are the ones I undid, but I only lifted up the HDD in its entirety, with the rubber caddy around it. Could this be the cause of my issues? I put the screws back in as soon as I realized that I shouldn't have loosened them (a couple of minutes later). The HDD itself looked wine-free back in January, and still looks totally fine and shiny from the outside. It is right next to the CD drive, though, which received the majority of the wine (but plays just fine!).

 

There was some wine on the motherboard where the HDD connects to it, and there was wine under the plastic film. I don't know what purpose this film has (insulation against short circuiting?), but I had to lift it up and clean underneath. It has since gathered some dust, apparently. I don't know if this in itself is problematic. I cleaned this part of the MB with isopropyl alcohol back in January, including the connectors.

 

The HDD itself looks fine from the outside, but rather than the error that I used to get on startup (HDD not found), I now seem to be consistently getting the error "Imminent Hard Drive failure", which sounds pretty scary.

 

 

Would you say that buying the exact same HDD, and installing it in the laptop would be the best way forward? How hard is it to clone the contents from one HDD to another, and what hardware do I need?

 

The laptop itself is less than a year old, and I can't afford a new one, as I'm currently back in school.

 

 

 

Attached Thumbnails

  • hdd.jpg
  • mb.jpg
  • laptop.jpg

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#4
phillpower2

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Hi njay,

 

Nothing looks untoward there and based on the fact that the optical drive took the brunt of it but still works ok I see no reason why the HDD would fail as a result of the same mishap, not impossible though.

 

Any odd noises from the HDD at all, what are the access to data times like and how much free storage space is on the drive.

 

Wont say anything further until we have your update but for help with using your back up image see here


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#5
njay

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Hey Phil 

 

Thanks again for replying.

 

Sounds: Just a faint irregular crackling sound when I put my ear right on top of where it's located. I remember my old computers making the same type of sound (but 10x louder, haha), so I think those are just the regular reading/writing sounds. No popping, clicking or strange erratic sounds.

 

Speed: I ran a benchmark test (Crystal DiskMark), and compared my results with those posted by owners of the same HDD, and they seem very similar (either slightly above or slightly below, depending on the test; no significant differences).

 

I've been using it without issues: The only warnings or failures are shown at start up. My hobby is photography, and I've had no issues editing large (or multiple) files in Photoshop and other graphics software. I haven't played any games yet this year, so I don't know if I there would be noticeable performance issues under more demanding circumstances.

 

So I'm a little puzzled as to what exactly is causing the SMART system to report "imminent failure". Not saying it's wrong (although I'd love for it to be a false positive!); I'd just like to know what the root of the problem is.


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#6
phillpower2

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Hi njay,

 

Once you have the back up image secure, download and run Seatools for Windows which you can obtain from here


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#7
njay

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I ran the Seatools test:

 

SMART - Fail (unsurprising; we knew this from the start up info)
Short drive Self Test - Fail
Short Generic - Pass
Long Generic - Well, it's long. It might take a while :D I'll report back later
 
None of these test tell me what part of the test the HDD failed, though. 
 
- - -
 
I also installed CrystalDiskInfo, but I can't claim to know how to interpret the values it reports. Maybe you can help (screenshot attached)
 
Either way, everything is 'green' for 'good', so that doesn't tell me what's wrong either.
 
- - -
 
Anyway, Phil, as its demise may still be imminent, buying a replacement is probably the best option. Could you answer these questions for me? Don't worry, I take full responsibility for all of my actions and won't sue you if you turn out to be wrong :D
 
1) Is there a chance that this error could be generated because of a problem with my motherboard? In other words: If I replace my HDD, should my computer be fine? 
2) Since my MB only has one connection for HDDs, I'd need to get some sort of external way to connect the new HDD to my laptop (through USB) in order to create an image of the entire drive, correct?
3) Will I ever find out what the problem is, exactly? Like, in the future after replacing it, if I format it, will I be able to discover the source of the error (and the magnitude of the problem)?
 
 
 
 

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  • cdi.png

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#8
phillpower2

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Never used the program so cannot really comment I`m afraid but always thought it was a benchmark as opposed to a diagnostic tool, diagnostic tools btw are designed to stress test a hard drive which can cause a flaky one to fall over.

 

I asked earlier;

 

how much free storage space is on the drive.

 

 

Can you answer this for us.

 

In answer to your questions, (1) will have a better idea after the extended test. (2) answered in my reply #4 if you read the info at the link ( for help with using your back up image see here ) (3) I may be wrong but is your HDD a hybrid type, if yes, not sure how much impact opening one of these up outside a clean room actually has, if the drive is bad you may never know why + you may not even be able to use 100% of any storage space on it, HDD failure means just that I`m afraid, for example, where you get one bad sector more will follow.


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#9
njay

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Hi Phil,

 

There are two programs they make (possibly more), one I used earlier to check the read/write speeds (indeed a benchmark as you said), and one that monitors the HDD (which is the second screenshot that I posted), so they're two different things.

 

As for your question on storage space: I'm only using about a third of the HDD's storage (320 GB, in theory it's got 1 TB of storage). 

 

As for my other questions:

1) The extended test is still running (forgot to change the power settings so it went to sleep when I was out), so I'll report back on that later. [Edit: it passed the extended test]

2) Yes, that page tells me how to make a back up, and of course you need some external medium for that. What I meant was: Is my best way forward buying a new HDD and connecting it through USB to make a back-up, or should I consider a different external storage device, in your opinion (in terms of ease)

3) Yes, you're correct, it's an SSHD. I have very little experience with HDDs and how they're put together, so I should have probably been more careful with the screws.

 

Another question: Before going ahead and buying a new HDD, is it best to buy the same one (I'm generally satisfied with it)? If I decide on a different one, are there compatibility issues (apart from size and the type of connection)?


Edited by njay, 10 February 2016 - 06:22 PM.

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#10
phillpower2

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✓  Best Answer

Hi njay,

 

Had a look online at the CrystalDisk software and it seems to be well thought of by many people, not sure how good it is with hybrid drives and the same for SMART which was designed for HDDs, in case you are not aware SMART not only keeps a check on the disk area/surface but also the electrical and mechanical performance + the read/write error rates, ** your drive passing the extended test may point towards the disk surface etc as being ok but the drive having either an electrical or mechanical fault.

 

Plenty of free space on the drive so that is effectively ruled out.

 

(1) ** I touched on above.

 

(2) You mention creating a back up image in your reply #3, was this burned to disc/s, an external HDD or a large capacity USB flash drive, this is the media that you use with any new storage device be it a HDD or an SSD, myself personally would opt for an SSD.

 

(3) Nothing to suggest that you actually damaged anything when investigating and as said the issue could even be electrical.

 

We can look at drive replacement options later because as of now there is no proof that the drive itself is bad other than failing the SMART and short drive test, if the drive was a stock mechanical HDD I wouldnt hesitate to replace it but I am not so certain with a hybrid type drive.

 

One additional check that you can do is through Windows;

 

Open the command prompt, type wmic then press Enter, next, type diskdrive get status and again press Enter, if you get an ok, no faults have been found, if you dont get an ok, its normally time to shop around for a new HDD/SSD.


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#11
njay

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Hi Phil,

 

I'd already tried the wmic test before, and it also gave me the error Predicted Failure

 

I made a back up image on an external drive. I actually went ahead and bought a new HDD (the same one) today and cloned the 'failing' drive onto there. To my surprise, the new HDD failed the SMART test as well, after the clone (it passed all of the other test, including the short self test, though). This is really strange to me. Could the SMART test error be content related? Did it copy a bad section which triggers the SMART alert? Note that I haven't installed it in the laptop yet (so it can't be wiring related); it's only been connected through USB.

 

Any clues on what could cause this?


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#12
njay

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So I installed another disk monitoring service (Active SMART), which reported (of course) the same values as CrystalDisk, but unlike CrystalDisk it found the end to end error rate too high. CrystalDisk thinks 97 is still okay (threshold is 97), but Active SMART thinks that having the same value as the threshold (set by Seagate) is bad. I guess that's what's generating the SMART error, then.

 

So I looked up what an end to end error is supposed to be:

End-to-End error S.M.A.R.T. parameter is a part of HP's SMART IV technology and it means that after transferring through the cache RAM data buffer, the parity data between the host and the hard drive did not match.
 

I guess that means that there is a potential problem with the cache. Some random people online have had it 'go away' (I wonder how accurate that is), and others said 'formatting helped' and yet others said that it wouldn't. 

 

I suppose what matters most is how stable all of the values are. They haven't changed since yesterday.


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#13
njay

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Sorry for the triple post, but I've installed the new HDD in the laptop, and it's running fine. It passed the SMART test when it was actually installed. Maybe the SMART test doesn't work for external drives.

 

I'm now going to try to figure out the cause of the SMART error on the old HDD, now that I have a back up on a third medium, and a new HDD installed in my laptop. If I can't find anything noteworthy, I'll mark the tread as solved. If the old HDD fails at some point in the future, I'll report it.


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#14
phillpower2

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Hi njay,

 

Sorry about the late reply  :(

 

Seems like the problem is between the HP BIOS and Windows as in perhaps the HP SMART IV Technology software is intermittently throwing up an error and Windows is picking up on it, couple of questions if I may;

 

What is the model name and number of the HP notebook.

 

What OS are you running.

 

The above is to see if there is a HP firmware update available for the Seagate SSHD.


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#15
njay

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Hi Phil, no worries.

I'm running Windows 10 on the HP Pavilion 15-p142nd.

I'd be surprised at this point if it were a firmware issue, but it's worth a shot
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