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Hard drive light "sticks" occasionally

By redbird
Dec 5, 2007
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  1. My hard drive on my laptop has recently started lighting up fairly frequently. The light will come on and not blink at all. Just a steady light. And when it does, my system just comes to a complete standstill. I can't even check the process manager during this time to check if I can see what is causing it. This lasts for usually anywhere from 10-30 seconds. Then everything will go back to normal. But it will usually happen again within 5 minutes.

    I've tried refragging the drive, both normally and in safe mode. That didn't work. I've run multiple antivirus and antispyware programs. Nothing found. I tried increasing my virtual memory to 4GB minimum, 8GB maximum. Still didn't help.

    I am running a Dell Inspiron 9300 with Windows XP Pro, 2GB of memory, and a 256MB NVidia card. I don't seem to have any other problems other than this. I've had the laptop for over 2 years, and this is the first problem I've ever had. The hard drive is not making any noise at all. The light just comes on and locks up the system enough to affect productivity.

    The only software that I recall installing recently was the latest version of DirectX for a video game. I really don't recall if I did it before or after this started happening. I don't think that is it, but it's the only thing I remember installing recently, so thought I would mention it.

    Any ideas? Is the hard drive dying? Or is there something else I can check? Thanks.
  2. Daveskater

    Daveskater Banned Posts: 2,031

    Hello, redbird, and welcome to Techspot :wave:

    Please take a moment to read the following threads to make your experience here as enjoyable as possible :)

    Message for all newcomers

    SNGX1275's Guide to making a good post/thread

    The Techspot FAQ

    If you could take a minute to fill in some of your profile information that would be helpful to all members of the forum :)
    Knowing someone's location in the world can be extremely helpful, even if you just put a country.

    Also remember to post any problems or questions that you have in the appropriate forums

    With regards to your problem, go to My Computer and right click on your hard drive, open the Tools tab and run the Error Checking utility. This will do a scan of your hard drive and let you know if you have any bad sectors :)
  3. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 9,431

    You have to tick a checkbox to make it scan for bad sectors.
  4. Daveskater

    Daveskater Banned Posts: 2,031

    True, I missed that part out because i was a bit tired and couldn't remember if it was the top or bottom check box :blush:
  5. redbird

    redbird TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks. I tried that, but it wouldn't finish. I got the following error:

    Windows was unable to complete the disk check.

    I also tried to do a chkdsk /f on reboot. The output went off the screen before I could read it, so I don't know if there were any errors.

    I did a chkdsk from the command prompt, and I got the following output:

    The type of the file system is NTFS.

    WARNING! F parameter not specified.
    Running CHKDSK in read-only mode.

    CHKDSK is verifying files (stage 1 of 3)...
    File verification completed.
    CHKDSK is verifying indexes (stage 2 of 3)...
    Deleting an index entry from index $O of file 13608.
    Missing object id index entry or duplicate object id detected
    for file record segment 119517.
    Missing object id index entry or duplicate object id detected
    for file record segment 127151.
    Deleting index entry client_state.xml in index $I30 of file 105365.
    Deleting index entry client_state_prev.xml in index $I30 of file 105365.
    Deleting index entry CLIENT~1.XML in index $I30 of file 105365.
    Deleting index entry CLIENT~2.XML in index $I30 of file 105365.
    Index verification completed.
    Detected minor inconsistencies on the drive. This is not a corruption.

    Errors found. CHKDSK cannot continue in read-only mode.



    What does this mean? Any other ideas? Thanks.
  6. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 10,716   +6

    Can you start the computer in SAFE MODE? If not, you probably have a bad hard drive. You go to safe mode by pressing <F8> repeatedly about once per second, just as you press the <ON> switch. You will get a strangly different screen when it finally boots. If it runs in Safe mode, we know it is probably not the hard drive, and we know the problem is elsewhere.

    Alternately, Open the drive window with a philips screwdriver, to see if you can gently but firmly pull the hard drive with caddy out for examination. If you can do this, give us the brand and model of the drive from the label on the front of the drive.
    Or you can just go to the website of the hard drive manufacturer, to download and run their version of the Drive Fitness Test. Every hard drive manufacturer except Toshiba has one.
    Then reinstall the drive, and go to the website via another computer to download the test. Try to run it on your computer.
    The hard drive test will tell you if the drive is healthy... which is the starting point to helping you get this computer running.
    You have a good computer, but laptop hard drives are easily damaged if bumped while they are accessing the hard drive data.
  7. redbird

    redbird TS Rookie Topic Starter

    It starts fine in safe mode. I'll find out the hard drive info and try the hard drive test later when I'm not using my computer. Thanks.
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