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Hard Drive Oddness

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yckx

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A few weeks ago, my computer froze while I was playing Rift. Upon rebooting, I got an error stating "hard disk read failure" or something similar. It was disheartening, but I had a spare drive, so I switched drives, installed everything, and was good to go.

A couple days ago, my computer started pausing for maybe a minute at a time. Specifically, some programs or windows would become unresponsive, while others remained responsive. It was damned odd. I haven't been keeping up with my computer fixing know-how for a long time, and I was fearing it would be beyond my capacity to solve. But it seemed like hard-drive access was the initial cause of the problem. Not every access, but often enough. Backing up info to my Passport worked fine, but updating DirectX took over two hours. Playing around some more, but in a completely let's-see-what-happens-when-I-try-this fashion, it seemed like writing to the drive was what caused the problem, although it didn't always occur.

So I decided to swap it out and put in an old drive I used to have in this computer, with XP installed, just to make sure it wasn't an issue with the controller on the motherboard.

I got my drives mixed up, and grabbed the original one that had the hard drive read failure. It's working fine. I'm running on it right now, no problems (so far...)

So, uh, where do I go from here? I seem to be avoiding the problem rather than fixing it. And now I expect to begin having problems again any time. What do I do then?
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Buy a new computer - if you have had multiple hard drives fail, then there is something bad going on there and it isn't worth the extra couple hundred bucks to keep trying to figure out what the problem is...

I don't know what your money situation is, but that's what I would do. You could always keep the existing machine around as a server or something, but I wouldn't trust it after eating multiple hard drives...

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You don't mention what type of HDD it is, IDE/SATA/SATA-II.
Or if it's mounted as one of those or AHCI or on a RAID array with a single drive ([i]pointless to do but I've seen it done[/i]) ?
What OS are you running?
Do you have SMART enabled in the BIOS for you drives?

It does sound like it could be your mobo HDD controller. So a cheaper option than a new PC might be to get a HDD controller card and run off that instead. If the problem goes away then you've found the culprit, if the problem remains then it's probably a HDD... but other options might actually be bad RAM which could cause the application freezing you're seeing too.

So my advice would be to get a HDD SATA controller card and connect your HDDs through that only, and disable the onboard IDE/SATA ports/controller if possible in the BIOS.

If the problem persists then you should save up and replace the machine as Jason Z suggested.

Andy

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