Results 1 to 16 of 16

Thread: Help Please: Is my HD Dead or is it SATA Controller?

  1. #1
    Cabledude Avatar Fan purecomedy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2000
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    1,361

    Help Please: Is my HD Dead or is it SATA Controller?

    Current symptom is that hard drive light is on about 80% of the time and making all sorts of sounds. Kind of reminds me of the sound a wren makes, not a normal "crunching" sound a hard drive makes. I've got 2 of the same 200 Gb Seagate SATA drives, not using RAID. I did buy the drives a few months apart so probably slightly different production runs....second drive seems to be maintaining it's partitions. Obviously the "first" drive is the one with Windows on it although given my Knoppix test below not sure that matters.

    About a month ago I was having this trouble with my hard drive going ultra slow....it seemed that there was some instability so the computer decide to put the hard drive into PIO mode. I found this out by going into devices, IDE controllers etc., Primary IDE (really SATA) and it was in PIO Mode instead of Ultra DMA 5. When I uninstalled this device, rebooted, it re-installed with DMA 5 and worked for about a month.

    Yesterday, computer slowed down suddenly when surfing the web and eventually I needed to press the power button to shut things down. When I rebooted I got this "bla bla bla missing hal.dll message". After rebooting, doing a quick NTFS partition/reformat I got WinXP running again. Things slowly degraded to the point where every reboot leads to a blue screen. Last time I had Windows running I had an alert that there was a hardware problem.

    I used a Partition Magic recovery disk to try and create a 10 gig partition on the 2nd hard drive but for some reason Windows Setup just didn't like that partition I set up. Although weird, I'll assume if I erased that whole disk that it would work.

    So, from the symptoms I'm describing, is this a bad hard drive, bad SATA controller on my motherboard (a quite high end board for it's day, an ASUS P4C800-E Deluxe) or just a SATA cable or something.

    For what it's worth I disconnected the first hard drive which had the partitions messed up (eg. could not use Win XP repair, partition was scrambled) threw in a Knoppix 4.0.2 CD just to see how that worked and was still getting the hard drive light and weird sounds. I did leave this drive on the secondary SATA channel as well (didn't screw around moving the cable since I was just using a CD based operating system anyway).

    Anyway, any ideas and any more info that would be useful to diagnose what I need to do. I'm actually am a little fearful about what I need to do, I've never needed to send back a piece of hardware like a hard drive or motherboard before. Could be a serious pain in the arse.

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2000
    Location
    ohio
    Posts
    6,471
    do you have any other hard drives to test? or sata cables? replacing the sata cables would be an easy and cheap way to rule that out at least..

    both hard drives are messing up? from re-reading, it looks like just your first "primary" is the only one giving problems?

    the Hal.dll error is related to the hardware access list by microsoft....so something is definitly wrong with the controller or the drives....I'm leaning towards the cotroller.

    You can always call ASUS or the HDD manufactuer if they are still under warrenty, and they will walk you through some troubleshooting to determine if you can send it back for repair...I'm not experienced enough to have a good answer for your sorry. good luck with getting this resolved.

  3. #3
    Dr Tweak mnosteele52's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Location
    Chesapeake, VA
    Posts
    11,912
    Download the UltimateBootCD and boot to it and run the full Seagate diagnotics on it, it will tell you for sure.


  4. #4
    Moderator YeOldeStonecat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Location
    Somewhere along the shoreline in New England
    Posts
    50,908
    Seagates Diagnostics! Any S.M.A.R.T. errors when you boot also? Is it enabled on your mobo?
    MORNING WOOD Lumber Company
    Guinness for Strength!!!

  5. #5
    Cabledude Avatar Fan purecomedy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2000
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    1,361
    Quote Originally Posted by drdoug99
    do you have any other hard drives to test? or sata cables? replacing the sata cables would be an easy and cheap way to rule that out at least..

    both hard drives are messing up? from re-reading, it looks like just your first "primary" is the only one giving problems?

    the Hal.dll error is related to the hardware access list by microsoft....so something is definitly wrong with the controller or the drives....I'm leaning towards the cotroller.

    You can always call ASUS or the HDD manufactuer if they are still under warrenty, and they will walk you through some troubleshooting to determine if you can send it back for repair...I'm not experienced enough to have a good answer for your sorry. good luck with getting this resolved.
    I'm contemplating if I should go buy another SATA cable....My second drive seems to work relatively well in that the partitions don't get messed up and it stays on Ultra DMA Mode 5 instead of backing down into PIO Mode. I'm still very confused by the fact that I unplugged that 1st hard drive, put in Knoppix and the hard drive light + weird sounds thing happened a few times. This is why I can't entirely boil the problem down to the 1 drive.

    I'd love it if Windows would install on that second hard drive, but it always gives me this error about not being a valid partition for Windows. Considering that Windows XP doesn't require to be installed on C:, doesn't have to be installed on the first physical partition I just can't imagine why it's doing that. Murphy's law seems to be kicking in here.

    Maybe I'm making a rookie mistake here. Does Windows XP have to be installed on a Primary partition vs. an extended partition?

    I do a full backup about every month and I was 1 hour away from doing this month's backup. Needless to say, I'm at the part of the cycle where doing full formats is undesirable because I will lose a few things. I guess I'd be quite mad if I tried formatting, lose everything, and things still don't work.
    Last edited by purecomedy; 01-15-06 at 01:29 PM.

  6. #6
    Cabledude Avatar Fan purecomedy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2000
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    1,361
    Quote Originally Posted by YeOldeStonecat
    Seagates Diagnostics! Any S.M.A.R.T. errors when you boot also? Is it enabled on your mobo?
    No S.M.A.R.T. errors when I boot.

    Yes it is definitely enabled, enabled is a default and I left it alone.

    I tried Seagate Diagnostics and when your partitions are corrupted it basically just confirms that things are messed up. It doesn't really seem to give a straight answer about the hard drive being physically messed up or not. I'll try again and see what happens on both drives.

    Edit: I just had the same result as last time. Both drives came up as "unsupported".

    One thing I notice is that I have my hard drives under "Serial ATA controller" and then the same drives under "other devices". Those aren't the exact words, point is they do show up twice. Only more confirmation that things are messed up!

  7. #7
    Cabledude Avatar Fan purecomedy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2000
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    1,361
    Quote Originally Posted by mnosteele52
    Download the UltimateBootCD and boot to it and run the full Seagate diagnotics on it, it will tell you for sure.

    FWIW I downloaded this last time and didn't find that it was really that "ultimate". All the other tools on there weren't too impressive so I just use the Seagate diagnostic tools from their website.

    Is there any other information I could be giving you guys to help figure out what the problem is?

  8. #8
    Forum Techie A_old's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2000
    Location
    Atlanta
    Posts
    10,663
    DFT is my hdd scanner of choice. it's on the UBCD... Some of the other tools are useful as well.. Memtest is generally accurate (altho not perfect), the burn in tool is similar to prime95..etc

  9. #9
    Cabledude Avatar Fan purecomedy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2000
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    1,361
    Screenshots of Seageate diagnostic tests...



  10. #10
    Forum Techie A_old's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2000
    Location
    Atlanta
    Posts
    10,663
    yes yes i'm aware, used it before several times

  11. #11
    Cabledude Avatar Fan purecomedy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2000
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    1,361
    Quote Originally Posted by Amro
    yes yes i'm aware, used it before several times
    That wasn't the point of posting those pictures.

    The point is that under "Serial ATA Controller 0" my hard drives show up as unsupported yet under "Other Seagate drives" they show up as Passed

    They are the same drives so why do they fail in one area and are okay in the other?

  12. #12
    Dr Tweak mnosteele52's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Location
    Chesapeake, VA
    Posts
    11,912
    Try a new cable, also see if there is a BIOS update.


  13. #13
    Cabledude Avatar Fan purecomedy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2000
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    1,361
    Quote Originally Posted by mnosteele52
    Try a new cable, also see if there is a BIOS update.

    Did the BIOS update already, was already fairly up to date anyway. New features in the BIOS were in relation to supporting weird CPUs that you could put on with a new adapter (laptop CPUs basically).

    I took my second SATA cable and attached it to my first drive and it has run stable for a few hours. I'm thinking the cable might be a good lead. Only problem was that even the bad cable worked for almost a month. This just brings to light the pain in the ass you run into when something works half-ass, vs working perfectly/not working at all.

    This is going down in history as one of the most painful computer problems. Diagnostics are not giving me the solution (really that hard to program something that is able to tell if it is a cable problem?). The other thing is that any time you mess with hard drives, it's just too hard to avoid losing something...it is just cost prohibitive for me to have enough backup capacity to be backed up to the day.

  14. #14
    Second Most EVIL YARDofSTUF's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2000
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    69,992
    With 800 GB you dont have enough to backup? Backedup to the day is a bit too time consuming.

    You have 2 200GB drives on teh sata controller and 2 more in the ide channel? Trying to read the screens right.

  15. #15
    Cabledude Avatar Fan purecomedy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2000
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    1,361
    Quote Originally Posted by YARDofSTUF
    With 800 GB you dont have enough to backup? Backedup to the day is a bit too time consuming.

    You have 2 200GB drives on teh sata controller and 2 more in the ide channel? Trying to read the screens right.
    400 Gb total. The point of those screenshots is that the 2 drives are showing up twice. I have no IDE hard drives drives (just a CD/DVD burner). The screenshots prove that I have some kind of problem, very unclear where, so to me it also proves that diagnostic tools (like antivirus tools) are often useless. Confirming a problem is about 1% of the battle, the 99% is what is the solution. Computers are failing in providing easy solutions in these kinds of circumstances.

    400 Gb wouldn't be enough to back everything up for me. Besides, I need some external devices that Windows doesn't touch everyday (and screw up for me). I've got 200 Gb external which doesn't quite cover everything.

    The thing that has kept me from doing automatic incremental backups is that I might be just downloading some large files (eg. MAME CHDs from a torrent) and each day as they are getting larger the incremental backup would see it as a change. Yes, most programs all you to exclude directories. I guess I just figured in practice that I wouldn't stay on top of it and my backup disks would be full in a month because of things like this.

    Obviously I need to change some of my disciplines as I have simply had too many problems the last year. I'm also moving to a part of my life where spending my entire weekend fixing these kind of problems isn't where I want to be. Honestly, would have been worth throwing $200 at someone to do this (who would be stupid enough to take it, this is going to take 20 hours to fix even if this new cable is the solution). I kept hearing how NTFS was more stable and to be honest I haven't noticed that at all. A partition magic diagnosis looked at the boot record info on my hard drive and was expecting numbers between 0 and 16607. My computer had something like 63 to 173,000,000. NTFS did nothing to curb this kind of thing.

  16. #16
    Forum Techie A_old's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2000
    Location
    Atlanta
    Posts
    10,663
    ok well, now that i've read more of your post: have you checked for distended capacitors on the motherboard (if the caps are bad, rma/get a new board.. you'll see the tops bulge or leak)? have you checked your ram? it's common for windows corruption to happen due to defective memory. i'm sure you're aware..but if you have two sticks try one or the other and switch em after the windows installation. you're right to some extent that software diagnostic programs are not always accurate, however, the trick is trusting them 85% and reasoning out the rest. In this case, the drives could be showing up for several reasons..are they on an external controller (even a chip like a silicon image sata controller which is on the motherboard but running through the pci bus)? that may have caused it if seagate didn't account for it in coding the program. try something else, like DFT, to scan the drives. i'd check memory first for corruption issues, hdd for the major slow down in windows.

    cliff notes:
    -check your motherboard for distended capacitors. i have a feeling the board might not be happy..but who knows
    -use DFT on the drives instead of the seagate utility, the issue on screen doesn't indicate bad hardware but could be a bug in their software
    -test your ram. you're right, you can't trust software diag programs 100%, but they save time and will be right most of the time..memtest is the best here

Similar Threads

  1. GamePC: Feature Heavy : AMCC’s 3Ware 9550SX-4LP SATA-II Controller
    By YeOldeStonecat in forum Hardware & Overclocking
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 09-30-05, 06:53 AM
  2. OMG I don't know what SATA mode to use :o
    By Brent in forum Hardware & Overclocking
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 10-30-03, 05:12 AM
  3. Beating a Dead Horse
    By Chris in forum General Discussion Board
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 09-25-03, 10:16 AM
  4. SATA Controller or new mobo?
    By Loonatic in forum Hardware & Overclocking
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 02-05-03, 10:36 PM
  5. My IDE controller dead?
    By LT-73 in forum Hardware & Overclocking
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 09-27-02, 04:45 AM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •