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Interesting hard drive failure that caused Win to crash

  1. #1

    Interesting hard drive failure that caused Win to crash


    This was on a Win7 PC, but I think it would also apply to Win8 systems...


    My son brought over his friend's "sick" PC last night. It is a homebuilt, water cooled AMD Phenom II x 6 based system with 4GB of DDR3 RAM, nVidia GTX 9800 video card, Corsair 550 watt power supply and a NZXT case, 2 DVD burners and 3 SATA hard drives (80GB boot, Windows 7; 500GB data, 1TB data), built on a GigaByte GA-880GA-UD3H_Rev_2.2 motherboard.

    The system would boot into Windows 7, then randomly crash with a screen that was colored with lines all over it, no BSOD's. Sometimes, the PC would crash when loading Windows 7 and sometimes it would run for a few minutes and then crash.

    I went into the BIOS and set it to "fail safe default" since I diidn't know if/what the builder did with overclocking, etc... and started basic troubleshooting. As I was about to hook up a know good WD Raptor hard drive from my bench to run diagnostics on the system, we saw that the SATA data connector on the Seagate 1TB hard drive had broken off and the cable was just barely connected to the hard drive. The plastic part of the SATA data connector was still in the cable and the bare data pins were showing at the rear of the hard drive. This was a data drive, not the boot drive, BTW...

    I powered it down, removed the damaged hard drive and then powered the PC back up and all was fine, no crashes or anything. I hooked the hard drive to an external SATA hard drive caddy and played with it until I got my PC to see the drive (NOT EASY!!) and copied 900GB of data (mostly games) off the damaged Seagate hard drive. I had not seen a case when the failing hard drive caused this type of problem in Windows 7 and I wanted to share thus experience with your folks in case you're ever in a similar situation...

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #2


    Posts : 1,339
    Windows 8.1 Pro x64 bit


    Thank you for the info Art. You never know when something like this might come in handy.

    BTW how long did it take to transfer 900 Gbs of data? Man, I've never tried to do anything like before.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #3


    Thanks! I had the dying hard drive hooked to my PC with an external SATA enclosure and USB connection to my PC and my 2TB data drive. It took about 12 hours for 900GB... Windows estimated 24 hours, but you know how accurate that estimate is!
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4. #4


    Posts : 1,339
    Windows 8.1 Pro x64 bit


    12 hours, eh? I kind of figured it would be a lengthy process. One nice about SATA III and having Windows on an SSD is the transfer rates are pretty fast. It takes a system image of my OS, which is around 26 Gb's, about 4 minutes to complete.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  5. #5

    "Before" and "after" pics....


    Yep! The USB transfer was painfully slow but i can't get the eSATA interface to work reliably and I really needed to get the data copied off the dying drive ASAP, so I was scrambling. Here is a "before" and "after" picture of the PC I'm fixing for my son's friend...
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails WP_20130122_003.jpg   WP_20130123_005.jpg  
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  6. #6


    Posts : 1,339
    Windows 8.1 Pro x64 bit


    You are indeed an artist my friend! Great job!
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  7. #7


    Thanks! Once I saw that the video card was in the wrong slot (4x instead of the 16x slot), i knew I had to start from scratch and do it the "right" way. I could not return that PC without putting things the way they should be... The thermal compound was on the CPU like it was frosting on a cake and two of the supports for the water cooler block were tight and two were loose, so the water cooler block wasn't doing much. This PC will fly when I finish tweaking the BIOS tonight!
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  8. #8


    Posts : 1,339
    Windows 8.1 Pro x64 bit


    I will be pulling the cooling fan from my Q6700 cpu, when I replace the motherboard in my 8 year old Systemax PC. It should be interesting to see what the thermal compound looks like on that, as I have never replaced it. The cpu temps have always been good, so I didn't see the need. Also, I am replacing the PSU as the one currently installed, is starting to act up. Maybe I will see about doing a better job with the wiring as well. Looking at the job you did, makes it look great. Did a sysrep on the drive last night so I don't have to re-install windows, or my programs. The copy of windows 7 is an upgrade version, so it should activate with no problems.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

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