Hard drive dying?

  drewster 09:23 24 Jul 2003

I have a funny feeling that my hard drive (20gb 5400rpm, between 3 and 4 years old) is dying on me - when I turn the pc on, it often sounds like it struggles. Also, on start up, it crashes and leaves a black strip across the top of the screen, with a row of small vertical green lines. Outlook is now getting slower too.

Am I paranoid or should I be getting a new one? If the latter, should I get a faster one, or will that be dependent on whether or not my system (AMD 750mhz) will support it?

Many thanks.

  DieSse 09:29 24 Jul 2003

The crash with the small vertical green stripes is almost certainly not the Hard drive - I've seen that on several systems - even had it on my older system. i suspect it's a graphics driver problem - but have never actually proved it one way or another.

The commonest cause of noises when starting is fans - the one in the back of the power supply, or the processor fan - have a careful listen and see it you can isolate it. Even try stopping each fan mometarily, to see if th noise goes away.

  Gongoozler 09:34 24 Jul 2003

drewster, it is possible that your hard drive is dying. If you are sure the strange noises are from the hard drive, it almost certainly is. But check carefully because the noises could be from a failing cpu fan, and the problems you are getting could be due to an overheating processor. You can fit a faster hard drive. The bus speed (ATA figure) will be limited by your motherboard, so if you get an ATA/133 hard drive, and your motherboard only supports ATA/33, then the drive will transfer data at 33Mhz. A faster spin speed will however speed up your computer, so it will be worth getting a 7200 rpm drive. The only problem I have had there is that Windows 98 sometimes doesn't shut down properly with fast drives (and often just with faster computers), but that isn't a serious problem. Does your motherboard support very large drives? Yours is about the age where the maximum drive supported was just over 30G. There are ways of getting around this limitation, but you should be aware of the possibility.

  Stuartli 09:35 24 Jul 2003

Best thing to do pronto is to back everything up..

Then a ScanDisk check which will indicate any problems, including bad sectors; however, a replacement seems on the cards.

Hard drives these days work out at £1 or less per GB, approxinmately eight times lower than three or four years ago.

I've just bought a 60GB Western Digital Caviar W600JB for £66 from dabs - I could have got an 80GB for the same price or slightly less, but the Western Digital models ending in JB come with a three rather than one year guarantee.

It's to replace a 20GB drive of around two years old which is, like yours appears to be, on the way out.....

It cost almost as much as the new 60GB HDD at the time. The 8.4GB Samsung HDD it superceded cost £64.

  drewster 09:47 24 Jul 2003

Thanks all.

Re. black strip with green lines, you could be right - seems to happen when loading up the graphics card (geforce fx - had problems with it since installing).

Will try to isolate source of noise - have recently installed new 400/450W (can't remember which) power supply, so hoping its not that. Will check CPU fan.

Re. motherboard, how do I find out what it will support? I've run AIDA, but it doesn't tell me what the actual m/board is.

  Gongoozler 09:54 24 Jul 2003

drewster, if you can identify the BIOS number, you may be able to find what motherboard you have. Go to this site click here, and click on "Bios Numbers".

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