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Windows 7: Hard drive failure

10 Oct 2012   #1

Win7 Ulitmate x64, XP x86 (Dual Boot)
Hard drive failure

I hope y'all don't mind if I piggy back onto this discussion because my computer has just generated the same error message. I followed Never Say Die's advice and d/l'd the HDDScan utility. Here are my attributes:

And the results from the short test, which at least were encouraging. I think.

I note that my drive appears to be having "Spin Retry Count" issues, and I wonder if the problem might be related to the drive's operating temperature. The computer's case has a thermometer and it's showing a relatively cool 78.7 degrees F. So, can you offer any comments? This popup is annoying. Even after I click on it to get rid of it, it pops up again a few minutes later, so I guess it isn't going away by itself. I don't suppose a little drop of machine oil on the drive's spindle would do any good would it? Come to think of it, I don't even know if the spindle's end is exposed.

I got a question -- will the windows warning popup indicate more than one partition if they're all part of the same drive? In this drive's case, the warning mentions the "C" partition, but the drive has three partitions. I guess it doesn't matter a whole lot.

Also, regarding the OP's worries about backing up his drive, I did this recently with my laptop. I bought a larger hard drive for it, and used a Linux .iso for this. The .iso included several utilities, including a cloning utility. It also came with Parted Magic, which I ended up having to use as part of the cloning process. The cloning utility did exactly what it said -- it duplicated the old drive onto the new, right down to the old drive's size. The rest of the space was unallocated. So I used Parted Magic to reclaim this space. Worked like a charm, but it just took a while. The cloning utility took about six hours from start to finish. Sorry, I don't know the name of this Linux utilities collection. I just wrote "Parted Magic and other utilities" onto my disk's sleeve. It's bootable, though, so you just have to make sure your DVD/CD drive is set to bootable and you're all set.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Oct 2012   #2



Since you know how to use PartedMagic that can help us here.

Boot into PartedMagic.
After PartedMagic loads, double-click the Disk Health icon on the desktop and then double-click the icon for your hard drive.
Next click the ERROR LOG tab and let me know if there are any entries and if there are let me know what the rows say.

A picture is fine or if you are connected to a network you can use Firefox from the PartedMagic desktop to log in here and and copy and paste the error log results into your reply.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Oct 2012   #3

Win7 Ulitmate x64, XP x86 (Dual Boot)

Thanks for getting back with me. Well, I couldn't get the Linux utility to "see" my network adapter, so I wasn't able to get on the Internet, and couldn't do a Print Screen of the results, either, because I didn't have any sort of graphics program available for use that would handle it. But I was able to save the data to a file, which I've cut and pasted.

smartctl 5.39.1 2010-01-28 r3054 [i486-slackware-linux-gnu] (local build)
Copyright (C) 2002-10 by Bruce Allen, smartmontools

Device Model: ST3750640AS P
Serial Number: 3QD144TC
Firmware Version: 3.BTG
User Capacity: 750,156,374,016 bytes
Device is: Not in smartctl database [for details use: -P showall]
ATA Version is: 7
ATA Standard is: Exact ATA specification draft version not indicated
Local Time is: Wed Oct 10 23:31:16 2012 UTC
SMART support is: Available - device has SMART capability.
SMART support is: Enabled

SMART overall-health self-assessment test result: FAILED!
Drive failure expected in less than 24 hours. SAVE ALL DATA.
See vendor-specific Attribute list for failed Attributes.

General SMART Values:
Offline data collection status: (0x82) Offline data collection activity
was completed without error.
Auto Offline Data Collection: Enabled.
Self-test execution status: ( 73) The previous self-test completed having
a test element that failed and the test
element that failed is not known.
Total time to complete Offline
data collection: ( 60) seconds.
Offline data collection
capabilities: (0x5b) SMART execute Offline immediate.
Auto Offline data collection on/off support.
Suspend Offline collection upon new
Offline surface scan supported.
Self-test supported.
No Conveyance Self-test supported.
Selective Self-test supported.
SMART capabilities: (0x0003) Saves SMART data before entering
power-saving mode.
Supports SMART auto save timer.
Error logging capability: (0x01) Error logging supported.
General Purpose Logging supported.
Short self-test routine
recommended polling time: ( 1) minutes.
Extended self-test routine
recommended polling time: ( 202) minutes.
SCT capabilities: (0x003d) SCT Status supported.
SCT Feature Control supported.
SCT Data Table supported.

SMART Attributes Data Structure revision number: 10
Vendor Specific SMART Attributes with Thresholds:
1 Raw_Read_Error_Rate 0x000e 100 253 006 Old_age Always - 0
3 Spin_Up_Time 0x0003 093 093 000 Pre-fail Always - 0
4 Start_Stop_Count 0x0032 096 096 020 Old_age Always - 4657
5 Reallocated_Sector_Ct 0x0033 100 100 036 Pre-fail Always - 0
7 Seek_Error_Rate 0x000f 063 060 030 Pre-fail Always - 537125700211
9 Power_On_Hours 0x0032 090 090 000 Old_age Always - 9016
10 Spin_Retry_Count 0x0013 093 093 097 Pre-fail Always FAILING_NOW 0
12 Power_Cycle_Count 0x0032 097 097 020 Old_age Always - 3663
187 Reported_Uncorrect 0x0032 100 100 000 Old_age Always - 0
189 High_Fly_Writes 0x003a 100 100 000 Old_age Always - 0
190 Airflow_Temperature_Cel 0x0022 055 045 045 Old_age Always In_the_past 45 (Lifetime Min/Max 45/48)
194 Temperature_Celsius 0x0022 045 055 000 Old_age Always - 45 (0 21 0 0)
195 Hardware_ECC_Recovered 0x001a 064 056 000 Old_age Always - 2091189
197 Current_Pending_Sector 0x0012 100 100 000 Old_age Always - 0
198 Offline_Uncorrectable 0x0010 100 100 000 Old_age Offline - 0
199 UDMA_CRC_Error_Count 0x003e 200 200 000 Old_age Always - 0
200 Multi_Zone_Error_Rate 0x0000 100 253 000 Old_age Offline - 0
202 Data_Address_Mark_Errs 0x0032 100 253 000 Old_age Always - 0

SMART Error Log Version: 1
No Errors Logged

SMART Self-test log structure revision number 1
Num Test_Description Status Remaining LifeTime(hours) LBA_of_first_error
# 1 Short offline Completed: unknown failure 90% 9016 600009329

SMART Selective self-test log data structure revision number 1
1 0 0 Not_testing
2 0 0 Not_testing
3 0 0 Not_testing
4 0 0 Not_testing
5 0 0 Not_testing
Selective self-test flags (0x0):
After scanning selected spans, do NOT read-scan remainder of disk.
If Selective self-test is pending on power-up, resume after 0 minute delay.


It gave me the same Spin Retry Count failure and showed several more areas that appear to be problematic. I found the comment about failure expected within 24 hours to be disturbing, and wonder if this is time the machine is on or is it suggesting that the drive will fail within a day's time?

In any case, I'll have to do some scrambling to find enough resources to back up this drive to. I have a few hard drives laying around that aren't in constant use that I can probably use for this.

What do you recommend as far as back-ups go? All my data files, of course, but other than data files, is there much point to backing up program files, etc? I'll have to reinstall them all anyway.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

10 Oct 2012   #4


Hi CoolTouch

I'm going to be afk for about 12 hours so I just wanted to mention a few things in case you check that error log before I'm back.

The main reason to check the error log is because the drive looks very healthy except for the "Spin Retry Count". Sometimes (though it is rare) you can get erroneous SMART attribute values and I noticed that the Raw value for that attribute is 0000. Now, that doesn't mean anything by itself because different manufacturers use different values in the Raw field. Some manufacturers have Raw values reset to 0000 after reaching a certain value.

If there really is an error it should show up in the SMART error logs so that's why we look there.

"Spin Retry Count"
That attribute going below the threshold is usually a sign of a mechanical problem and since it now has a value of 93 and the threshold is 97 it should be qualified for replacement under the warranty.

The problem could be lots of different things. Bad or too little lubricants (don't try to oil the spindle, though you certainly understand what the error is ), it could be stiction (heads sticking to platters), it could be power or motor problems in the drive's circuits and other stuff.

I got a question -- will the windows warning popup indicate more than one partition if they're all part of the same drive? In this drive's case, the warning mentions the "C" partition, but the drive has three partitions.
The warning is for the drive but it probably says C: because that is the partition being used when the warning condition occurs.


EDIT: What timing
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Oct 2012   #5


Back up the most important files to another drive (in case the cloning does not work). Then clone the drive to another drive. If you need help with cloning or would rather make an image, let me know and I'll help you with some directions tomorrow.

After you clone and get everything, you can go to the PERFORM TESTS tab in that program where you got that report from and try the CONVEYANCE and LONG SELF TEST. Only do this if you are curious about the error and want to try to get more info. The long test may take a few hours.

Try to get it covered under warranty. Let us know if you have any difficulty with that or it isn't covered.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Oct 2012   #6

Win7 Ulitmate x64, XP x86 (Dual Boot)

Hey James,

Thanks for getting back so fast. Unfortunately, I don't think warranty replacement is an option. I bought the drive used a couple of years ago. Wish I were that lucky.

Right now, I'm scrounging up drives that I can use to for data backups. I have over four hundred gigs of photos on that one drive alone. Erk. Hi-Res .tif files take up a lot of space. Not all are keepers, but I sure don't feel like sorting through them right now.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Oct 2012   #7


Since I do a lot of data recovery business, I often work with photographers (who are usually freaked out at the prospect of losing clients photos).
Even though compressing the tif's to zip files is a lossless compression, it usually doesn't make the files much smaller.

You need to replace the drive. 750GB and 1TB internal SATA 3 Gb/s interface drives are both running between $80 and $90 for a new one so maybe you can move up to a 1TB drive.

You'll need to decide which files are important and irreplaceable and copy those to another drive ASAP. After that, decide if you want to clone the drive to another drive or if you want to make an image of the drive that you can blast onto a new drive when you get one to replace the failing one.
A clone would erase everything currently on the drive that you are cloning to and attempt to make it look just like the bad drive. After that we would do any repairs to the file system (if necessary) and it should be okay.

An image is just a huge file containing every bit of the bad drive. We can use special software to mount the image so it looks just like another drive even though it is kind of a virtual hard drive. This is usually for when you want to recover a few files from the image and then delete it or you have not received the new drive yet but are afraid of losing the opportunity to get everything off of the bad drive before it fails. Most people do not continue to use their image as a hard drive. If you want to make an image, you'll need a drive with 775GB of free space (750GB plus 25GB of cushion in case we need to make a large log file while imaging it)
Since you don't have the warranty option (Try contacting the manufacturer and make sure. You never know with these guys. Sometimes they are incredibly nice.) you can check the box in the Windows error to "stop showing this error". At least I believe there is an option for that on the error message. I might be mistaken. Then you can continue to use it but always in fear that it will die at any moment (my first car was like that )

Let me know what you decide to do and if you need any specific instructions.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Oct 2012   #8

Win7 Ulitmate x64, XP x86 (Dual Boot)

Thanks, James. Yeah the popup has that option. I just haven't selected it yet for fear that I might put things off and then forget about it. So I'm putting up with the nags for now.

Guess I'll be heading down to my local MicroCenter or maybe Frys and see what kind of deals they have on big drives. Might as well bump up to a 1TB or more. Shame about this 750 gig. I got it used for a good price, but I guess it wasn't such a good deal if I'm only getting a couple of years of service out of it. I'll do as you suggest and double-check the warranty situation. I've gotten lucky in the past with drives that had longer warranty periods than I thought.

I'll let you know what comes out of all this.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Oct 2012   #9

Win7 Ulitmate x64, XP x86 (Dual Boot)

Okay, I decided not to wait and see what the warranty situation would be with the bad drive. Went to MicroCenter and bought a 2 TB Seagate Barracuda they have on sale right now. 7200 rpm, 6 Gb/s dtr. It even comes with a CD that has Seagate's "DiscWizard" software, which is meant for migrating data from the old drive to the new and an instruction manual that shows you how to do it. Cool! Don't even have to be a geek anymore to do this stuff. If anybody else might be interested in this drive, here's a description of it at Seagate's website:

STBD2000101 Barracudaź 3.5 Retail Kit SATA 2TB
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Oct 2012   #10


I'm glad you were able to get that resolved, and with a substantial upgrade too

The SMART for the 750GB had some very unusual characteristics. Nothing that couldn't be explained by the fact that Seagate does things differently than other manufacturers with SMART but it appeared consistent with the SMART data having been deleted at some point in the past. If you bought it used from a company that sells used drives as a core part of their business, maybe they do that. If you bought it from a consumer or a place that occasionally sells drives from gutted computers they get then it probably was not the case. I didn't want to say anything before because it's a serious accusation and I want it to be clear that I am not sure. Just looks like it might be.

You did an excellent job troubleshooting this.

My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Hard drive failure

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