Is my hard disk broken?

By imstilllearning
Feb 28, 2008
  1. Well, it's been a while since I needed to ask for help (thanks to this site)

    But I am at my wits end with this thing.

    The PC is my brothers,(Windows XP, AMD 1.8 ghz, 512mb ram and 80gb HDD)

    It has always given me issues since bringing it back from the dead (free gift to us because of said death) such issues as, the onboard sound wouldn't work, installed drivers and it worked,I restart the PC and on occaision the drivers vanish and no sound again (seems random).

    Purchased a PCI soundblaster and installed drivers, same story again randomly during startups the drivers vanish and the sound only works sometimes I assume because of plug and play drivers.

    He bought a copy of battlefield 2 and when I tried to install the game, the patching (final update) fails every time (this patch is included on the disk), so I downloaded the same game patch from the EA games website and the same thing happens, patching failed.

    I took the game to my PC and it has installed no problem no questions asked and all patching was 100% successful so it was his PC that had the problem with patching.

    A month later I tried to install my copy of BF2142 on his buggy PC and it worked, and it patched even, and was playable.

    Had to reformat due to a virus and when I reinstalled BF2142 I notice the EA site has a full patch package of all the previous patches slipstreamed into one .exe.

    With this new game patch exe (from thier site) the patching now fails on BF2142. (haven't tried installing other games besides STEAM operated games that do seem to work)

    Now recently I went to his PC to install the "CPL mouse fix" a program that removes the registry entries for windows mouse acceleration, it asked to restart the PC and I did, upon restart I was greeted with the message that windows won't start blah blah please insert CD and press "r" for repair at setup.

    Problem was he lost my XP cd I used for his PC (a real copy) and cannot find it anywhere.

    I downloaded a windows XP iso (I want to be 100% truthful with you) and burnt it to a disk, the copy of windows works but will not go to the setup screen, it stops every time to give the error message "STOP *** (0x000000ED 0x8237b03blah blah blah) the error message was telling me that the OS system is working properly (obviously not) and will not go to setup, it automatically shuts down the proccess.

    So I burnt a cd specificly for accessing the recovery console and that worked, I went through the usual chkdsk /p and /r, tried fixboot, and tried many times to do a system restore with the RP## folders, that almost worked I no longer get the error message and the windows XP load screen pops up, then goes to a black screen and nothing is working.

    At this point I wanted to give up and reformat the drive using my windows iso and our original CDkey, I open the recovery console, and did the command format c: /q /FS:NTFS, that was followed by AUTOFMT.EXE cannot be located or executed or something like that, please enter the path of the filename.... so I enter c: , and it says all data will be lost want to continue y/n and I say yes of course, then it says drive cannot be formatted >.> GAH!!!!

    This is where I'm stuck friends, is there a way to force it to format my HDD? (only one HD in PC) like have you seen this before?

    I have suspected this HDD to be faulty for months now what do you think? I don't want to send him out for parts he doesn't need cause money is tight this time of year.

    Please help me xD XD xD
  2. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,524

    Thank-you for being truthful, if it's any consolation Linux is free!

    Sorry I cannot help further
  3. Matthew

    Matthew TechSpot Staff Posts: 5,261   +92

    Try a third party software like Active@ Kill Disk or Darik's Boot and Nuke to wipe the drive free of data.

    When you go to install the legit copy of XP, do not choose the "Quick Format" option. This will bypass CHKDSK, which, you ought to run at this point.

    You very well may have a defective drive.
  4. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,524

  5. imstilllearning

    imstilllearning TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 22

    Thanks for the fast reply!

    Ok I tried using DBAN but the PC will not boot with my DBAN iso disk, and my working PC has no floppy drive to create those, the DBAN disk simply will not boot, however I have no CD-R's or CD-RW's but only DVD-R's, would the DVD-R not work for DBAN? it worked for the windows iso.

    Also I forgot to mention that when I ran chkdsk it did find one or more errors on the disk, but didn't fix anything, when I ran chkdsk /r it made it to 56% complete before I left to have a soda, when I came back apporximately 20 minutes later the progress went from 56% to 54%???? I know it went backward.........

    GAHHHHH! This thing hates me I think.
  6. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 6,000   +15

    with hard drives as cheap as they are now, if you suspect yours to be bad, why not replace it?

    A hallmark sign of a bad drive is clicking noises.
  7. imstilllearning

    imstilllearning TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 22

  8. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,524

    on a bootable cd or floppy
    You do not need ntfs or anything just the dos prompt A:\>
  9. imstilllearning

    imstilllearning TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 22

    I'm very close to the point of just saying screw it and telling him to get another HDD, but when I said money is tight this time of year I really meant money is squeezed to the point of implosion.

    I just don't want to send him out for another HDD just to end up with a still inoperable system, so I'm coming here first to see if I'm missing something or you all might have some revelation for that I have overlooked.Plus I have a strong feeling if I wipe the existing HDD clean it would happily accept a fresh windows install as it always has, but the darn thing refuses to go to the setup screen with my windows iso, only time I can get to the setup screen is with my recovery console iso I burnt, and that only has so much on it.

    P.S. No clicking noises from the HDD AFAIK, but I get closer and closer to thinking it is bad every day, would anything else cause such strange and random file incompatabilities and or changes?
  10. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,524

    The ISO image must have the same CPU type to be compatible

    Otherwise install the ISO
    Then Repair Windows
    Then it will work
  11. imstilllearning

    imstilllearning TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 22

    I'm sorry but I'm confused by this, or confused at what you're reffering to, is this reffering to my wondering why the XP disk will not go to the setup screen?
  12. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,524

    ISO refers to an ISO image, that is used to recover an entire system very quickly.

    Your Xp CD is not an ISO, I was not referring to this.
  13. Samstoned

    Samstoned TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,018

    what I noticed you did not say you did
    install the os boot disc let it run like its installing os
    delete the partition you have if you don't want to save data
    then it will install fresh
    or install along side the os thats broken
    if you did try this and received errors then the boot disc you made is good chance bad.
    only way to know is run it in known good system
  14. imstilllearning

    imstilllearning TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 22

    I meant to say that, but didn't word it right, The os boot disk I made does work, and I let it run (boot from disk) to do the regular install fresh like you said, that's what I did last time and it was happy as can be, but now the os boot disc loads all the files and says it is starting and right when it is about to go to the setup screen it stops everything and gives the message that the OS is already working properly and is closing the os boot proccess.

    That's why I wanted to wipe the HDD clean of data so it would not say the existing OS is working properly (that is what the microsoft site told me the error message means) but no matter what I do it won't allow me to format my HDD :(

    I have yet to try delpart simply because I have run out of cd's to burn from all this work these past few days xD.

    BTW, sorry Kimsland about that mix up when I was reffering to my windows iso I meant the XP cd I made from the iso.
  15. imstilllearning

    imstilllearning TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 22

    Delpart didn't work either and the hard drive is going in the garbage, I guess we'll try to buy a new one and hope that works...

    I appreciate the help but this site has too many people trying to give thier opinion to be effective, when most didn't even read the OP.

    Big thanks to the ones who really care you know who you are.
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