Hard drive or motherboard failure?

  pauleboy 16:32 26 Aug 2007

I bought a Mesh 4000+ PC in April '05 (at the time it was the PC Advisor best buy).

The hard disk (Maxtor 300 Gb serial ATA) failed in December '05 and after being replaced by an on-site engineer I noticed that the Windows XP shut down only allowed "Turn Off" and "Restart" and that "Stand By" was now unavailable (greyed out).

The next failure occurred in April '06. The new hard drive failed to work and the engineer thought the problem was with the motherboard. The PC was returned to Mesh and fixed. The hard drive seemed new (none of my data was on it) but I don't know if the motherboard was changed.

This July it started to freeze again - sometimes at boot up when scanning the IDE drives; often as Windows XP was loading; and sometimes after I had been using it successfully for some time.

Mesh firstly suggested reloading Windows to eliminate any corrupt files causing the problem. After this reload the "Stand By" option was again disabled. Mesh also suggested running a Seagate tool to analyse the hard drive. I tried this but the tool reported that it could not find a hard drive. Eventually an engineer called but the new hard drive that Mesh had sent him was faulty and now the PC does not even complete boot up as no hard drive is detected at this stage.

I have had three hard drives fail (that's not counting the two the engineers could not fit)since April '05. So is the problem with the Maxtor hard drives themselves or is the problem with the motherboard (or something else)? Does the fact that the "Stand By" becomes unavailable indicate a problem or is it just the XP build that Mesh use???



  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 16:37 26 Aug 2007

"Stand By" option was again disabled


* That the power management functions are enabled in BIOS setup
* That the correct motherboard chipset drivers are loaded for your system

my guess is they did not reload the correct chipset drivers this may also relate to problems with the HDDs incorrect IDE controller drivers would make HDD detection and use poor.

  pauleboy 16:53 26 Aug 2007

Thanks Fruit bat - I'll check this out ... Not quite sure, however, if this explains why a PC that has been working o.k. for sometime then starts to go wrong as mine did.

Also thinking about checking my consumer rights as I am sick and tired of the numebr of times this has happened.

  Diemmess 17:38 26 Aug 2007

Faulty RAM can so corrupt a HD that the disk will not even format.
To my mind HD failure is rare enough to hope it never happens.
Have you tried the simple one of removing, cleaning and reseating the RAM chip/s?

or -
Once is happenstance
Twice is circumstance
Three times is war!

  UncleP 20:23 26 Aug 2007

I've been trying (and failing) to find some realistic statistics for the failure rate of moderns HDs in normal operation. The best I've come up with indicates that the chance of HD failure over the usual 5-year lifetime of a conventional computer is around 10% (for a specific HD) - enough to justify routine backup procedures of important data as a matter of common sense. But I have no feel for the uncertainty to be associated with this estimate.

However, taking it as a working value, Diemmess' summary may be transcribed to

once: (one HD failure in 5 years) - not unusual, it happens,
twice: you're just unlucky, the victim of statistics and the large number of HDs in use,
thrice: I'd start looking for a common factor which is causing the HDs to fail, or which produces the symptoms of HD failure.

Not much help in itself, I know, but I would have checked the 'faulty' HDs in another normally operating machine to determine whether it was the HDs themselves or the set-up or other components in your machine which were at the root of the problem.

  woodchip 20:30 26 Aug 2007

Most Replacment Drives are Not new but Refurbs when it's done under Warranty

  pauleboy 13:39 28 Aug 2007

Thanks for all the help - I will attempt to check all the sdvice out.

I have been able to get my daughter's old PC out of the loft and load enough software to get back on e-mailand the internet.

I am going to press Mesh for some form of compensation asI have no conficence that my machine is fit for purpose.


  pauleboy 13:51 23 Sep 2007

Thought I had better give a final update on this.

Mesh have returned the PC and have fitted a newer motherboard, a different hard drive, a graphics card (PCI Express to be compatible with the new MOBO) and a different DVD reader/writer.

All is working at present although I am having difficulty installing my printer (but that's another thread!)

Consumer Direct (the new OFT web based service) were very helpful and said either go for the warranty or statutory rights (which I intend to use when the machine dies again) as long as the device is less than 6 years old. However the burden of proof that the machine has not beeen "misused" is with the buyer. You can also get in touch with your credit card company to claim back the money if Mesh prove difficult as you also have similar statutory rights with them.


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