Possible failing hard drive

  Andsome 12:31 10 Nov 2009

I was using my daughters computer over the weekend, running XP Home SP3. It is an Evesham with an Evesham dedicated version of Windows, so I cannot reinstall Windows using my old XP disc. It is in an awful state, and using it is worse than wading through thigh high treacle.

I ran C Cleaner, which took at least a couple of minutes to run, such was the clutter, and followed this up with a boot time defrag using Diskeeper, having set it to run a three stage check disc first. The summary after the check disc showed that there was 8KB of bad sectors. I then ran a five stage check disc, having elected for it to find and if possible to correct bad sectors. The summary again showed 8KB of bad sectors. On boot up I noted that the small summary window said that Windows scan had completed, and that the volume was clean. Does this mean that the bad sectors had been repaired? I had no time to run another scan as it was time for us to leave. The computer was still just as painfully slow.

Some possibly relevant points follow.

My five year old granddaughter regularly plays on the computer and has done so for the last couple of years.

The inbox in Outlook Express contains literally hundreds of old e mails which she never deletes.

C Cleaner is usually only run when I do it.

The computer is only defragmented when I do it.

I noted that Firefox had been installed, but it failed to start, stating that there were missing files. When I booted it up on the second day, there was a message that Firefox was reconfiguring and downloading missing files. It then ran OK, but equally as slow as I.E. 8.

There are always C.D’s or D.V.D’s in the drive drawer, no one ever removes them after using them, and the drive can be heard spinning when the computer boots up. Boot up time is several minutes.

She uses Zone Alarm security suite. A scan however using Shields up showed that five ports were open. All the other ports were shown as closed. NONE were shown as in stealth mode, although the recommendation is that they should be. The computer failed the scan.

What is the opinion of the experts on here please? Does this hard drive need replacing yet?

  Pamy 12:49 10 Nov 2009

download and make a diagnostic disk from the makers and test it out

  DieSse 13:08 10 Nov 2009

Give us a clue as to general age, processor speed, amount of RAM, graphics type, hard drive free space.

And on the software side, which Anti-virus, and how much in the way of resident programs (Skype, Messenger etc) always running, please.

Forget the bad sectors for now.

  DieSse 13:10 10 Nov 2009

BTW - even though it runs an "Evesham" WinXP (which may actually signify very little) - as long as the code label is on the case, you can almost certainly reset it up with a regular OEM WinXP CD.

  GaT7 13:17 10 Nov 2009

Before you do anything else, do a thorough backup of the drive to another hard drive. This will include emails, data, music, video, etc. Location of OE emails is usually in C:\Documents and Settings\[username]\Local Settings\Application Data\Identities\{xxxxxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxxxxxxxxxx}\Microsoft\Outlook Express folder.

Then use the diagnostic disk as Pamy suggests.

I've done a reinstall of Windows on an Evesham PC before with a generic Windows Home disk, so it is possible. Just use the same type - Home for Home & an OEM copy if possible (as a retail copy may not work with the product key). Before you start though, determine the Evesham PC's product key - should be on a sticker on the case. If not, use MJB Keyfinder click here BEFORE you reinstall. G

  Woolwell 13:34 10 Nov 2009

Follow all of the other advice first.

I had an Evesham which suffered a hard drive failure. I installed a new one and then used the discs supplied by Evesham with the computer to get it running again. You may need to make sure that you have the SATA driver disc.

  Andsome 13:57 10 Nov 2009

Many thanks for the tips so far. I will not try a reinstall myself, as I would be blamed if anything went wrong. The computer is about five years old and as I said, sadly neglected. I live about 45 miles away so at the moment cannot supply more info. Does anyone think that the youngster playing on it, and the fact that it only receives maintenance when I do it can have any bearing on the slow running and bad sectors, and can always leaving discs in the drives make any difference?

  Pamy 14:43 10 Nov 2009

not a lot as far as I can say.

  Woolwell 14:59 10 Nov 2009

How dirty is the machine and in what environment is it kept? Dust will affect it. The keyboard could be full of crumbs, etc.
The PC may try to boot from the disc slowing boot times and if there is a problem with the disc then you could damage the drive.
Slow running may be due to many things - age, space left on hard drive, processor, amount of memory.

  Andsome 15:35 10 Nov 2009

To the best of my knowledge the machine has never been cleaned and it stands on carpet. I have warned her but she takes no notice.

  GaT7 16:23 10 Nov 2009

Point her to this thread. Others pitching with the same advice will perhaps make her see the error of her ways & change.

In continuation of my Tue, 10/11/[email protected]:17 post...

From what I remember, SP3 & Windows update had all the necessary drivers & I didn't have to download any, similar to the experience at click here. As the link shows, you can determine the make & model number beforehand, then download the drivers direct from the manufacturer's website if required. G

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