Is this normal behavior from a dead HDD?

BigSmooth

Lifer
Aug 18, 2000
10,483
7
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I've never had a hard drive die on me before so I don't know if this is normal or not.

I have an older 20 GB Quantum drive that seems to be kaput. It was working fine one day - then there were some scraping noises for about 5 seconds and the drive seemed to die - everything froze up completely, and I could hear the disk spin down. I rebooted a number of times and it did nothing except make quiet clicking noises.

Anyway, the next day I tried it again and somehow it was working. Yet a short time later, the exact same thing happened (scraping, then freezing up). I tried messing with it some more (rebooting, sometimes changing settings etc.).
The drive will spin up and work normally about 1/4 of the time, but after 10-15 minutes on average the system freezes and the disk spins down (usually but not always accompanied by scraping noises ).
The other 3/4 of the time the disk does nothing except make quiet clicking noises.

Is this normal? I'm definitely inclined to think the HD is bad considering the strange noises it's making and the fact that it only works occasionally, but since it does seem to work for short periods I thought there was an outside chance it could be a power supply problem. The system does POST, BTW.
 

13black

Senior member
May 2, 2003
273
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I'm no expert, but that does sound (no pun intended) like it is dieing. Have you tried it in another PC or swapped ribbon cables to make sure it's the drive? If you want or need to recover files from it you could try the freezer trick. Put it in a zip lock bag and stuff it in the freezer till it's good and cold. When your ready put it in as a slave drive in another PC. Now copy what you can before it heats up and quits again.
 

BigSmooth

Lifer
Aug 18, 2000
10,483
7
81
Originally posted by: 13black
I'm no expert, but that does sound (no pun intended) like it is dieing. Have you tried it in another PC or swapped ribbon cables to make sure it's the drive? If you want or need to recover files from it you could try the freezer trick. Put it in a zip lock bag and stuff it in the freezer till it's good and cold. When your ready put it in as a slave drive in another PC. Now copy what you can before it heats up and quits again.
I just heard about that freezer trick but actually this is an old system and I don't really mind if the data is lost. I could try hooking it up to my main PC, but I'm lazy and I'd rather have AnandTech spoon-feed me the answer. :p I just wanted to see if anyone had experienced anything like this before I spend time doing that.
 

13black

Senior member
May 2, 2003
273
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I have only had one drive go like that. Started getting corrupted files. Showed errors every time you ran chkdisk. It finally made a few grinding sounds and then click, click, cli............. Into the bit bucket it went. I think the spindle bearings dried up.
 

BZ

Member
Jan 9, 2003
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that is exactly what my WD80 is doing at the moment. died once with clicking noises, then worked fine for a couple weeks and passed the SMART test, then died again recently. I think I'm still under warranty and may be able to RMA.

But the point is an inconsistent drive that you can't count on has no value whatsoever. If you have to worry about it you might as well trash it.
 

VansTheMan

Member
Sep 13, 2003
131
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You should download a SMART testing utility and see what it scores. One should be available from the mfg website. If you heard any kind of evil noises coming from the drive, chances are it's heading down the tunnel into the light. I had a drive die on my a couple weeks ago that started with clicking and scraping noises.
 

13black

Senior member
May 2, 2003
273
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If it is toast you could always make a clock out of it. I'm only half kidding. Anybody remember the old Winchester 30 30 drives. Big as a tank, lol. I know people that opened them up and took the spindles out. Then they mounted an electric clock motor inside. Fed the power in through the molex connector and hung it on the wall.