Should I replace my hard drive or try to save it?

By Matt Ford
Dec 29, 2005
  1. Hello, frequent admirer of the site, first time poster.

    In short, should I replace my Vaio laptop (PCG-Z1WAMP, WinXP SP2) hard drive (Toshiba MK6021GAS, 60GB) or try harder to save it, perhaps finding some other cause of my problems?

    After 18 months of great performance, I started getting long system hangs as my laptop tried to access the hard drive-- the drive would just rhythmically go crunch, crunch, crunch for minutes at a time, allowing nothing to be done, then my system would start responding again, until I tried to do something else, whereupon it had a good chance of again hanging with crunch, crunch, crunch.

    --I did a virus scan with updated definitions. Nothing found.

    --I wiped all partitions and reinstalled Windows. The laptop then worked fine.

    --I installed several key programs. Still fine.

    --After reading these forums, out of curiosity and suspicion, I ran chkdsk /p from the recovery console. It found errors. I used chkdsk /r to fix them. (I know chkdsk is not the best program but it was all I had at the time.)

    --I loaded on a bunch of documents and programs.

    --All was well for several days.

    --I loaded on a few more GBs of documents.

    --It started again with the crunch, crunch, crunch hang and rapidly got worse. I considered cybercide but calmed myself.

    --I did chkdsk /r from the recovery console again. It said "The volume appears to contain one or more unrecoverable problems".

    --Honoring my Irish stubbornness I ran chkdsk /r again. After working all night, it said it found and fixed a number of errors.

    --Now it is "fine" again.

    --I have used Norton SystemWorks CheckIt diagnostic and it says no error found on the drive.

    --I used the Hitachi / IBM - DFT "Drive Fitness Test" and it gave no errors (disposition code 0x00).

    Despite this, I don't trust my drive to not keep developing these bad sectors. So now I'm wondering: should I just go ahead and replace the hard drive, because it is likely writing these bad sectors and will continue to do so?

    I doubt this has been virus activity since everything I installed should have been clean, and an updated Norton 2005 scan did not find a virus while my system was showing the problem. But any theory is welcome.

    I can crack open the laptop to check fittings and wires and such but I did not want to muck with that unless you all think the above behavior can be explained that way. I've not been moving my laptop except scooting it around on my desk so I did not think it could be a loose fitting causing this.

    I don't like the idea of replacing the drive (see my other post for an idea as to why) but I can accept that if you fine people here think that's my best bet. I just don't want to go through that cost and hassle to discover something else (shudder) is causing this.

    (I have two related questions in two posts. The other post will ask how to replace the hard drive if in fact that's what I need to do. Any help there would be appreciated.)

    Many thanks in advance,
  2. Xtra

    Xtra TS Rookie Posts: 29

    I would also be suspicious about bad sectors. My suggestion will be The DiskCheckup program from PassMark. It's free and can be downloaded from the following address:

    You can read the page to get more information.
  3. Samstoned

    Samstoned TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,018

    i think the drive is failing recover data soon as you can
    the sound could mean the drive is not running at the right speed and the heads cannot read disc (head crash)
  4. Matt Ford

    Matt Ford TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks to you both.

    The DiskCheckup says OK on all fronts. Does this mean my HD may be okay and it is another cause? Or should I go ahead and replace it? The other thread has been helpful with advice there.

    BTW my laptop has started the crunch, crunch, crunch again. :dead: But no worries as I don't have any more data to rescue from it.
  5. Nvidiamaster

    Nvidiamaster TS Rookie

    cheek and see if your hard drive is fragmented if you havent
  6. Samstoned

    Samstoned TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,018

    you got lucky the warning noise is the best sound of failing drive
    sometimes bad or corrupt system files will make drive go through read write cycles trojuns and virus's do this to
    but not crunch noises
    the toshiba drive uses a head landed system
    (cheaper to make)only when up to speed will heads move to disc,it is this speed that keeps heads off of the disc
    if speed drops and rises you get head crashs
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