Is a grinding hard-drive always a failing one?

  theDarkness 00:13 19 Oct 2010

I have been given an MSI VR601 laptop here to check out, as its hard drive was always grinding, its dvd drive was not working (would not read discs-despite the eject button being ok), and it was also taking a long time to boot.

On my first look at the system, the psu gave up completely (it got too hot to touch and started smoking, so I had to switch off and replace the plug immediately). The system on my first boot made a beep on startup, asking at first to repair or boot as normal into vista. After 'repairing', the beep is still heard on a boot, but there is no message or warning along with it, and is alot faster to boot. There is also so far no longer any grinding of the hard drive at all, and no constant flickering of the hard drives 'reading/writing' cylinder icon/light on the bottom right of the laptop.

Could it all have really been the cause of a really bad power supply? If so I would like to try reinstalling windows completely, but I may still be stuck as the dvd drive wont read any discs. Can a bad power plug really damage the drive? I need some tips on how I can find out if the laptops dvd drive is fixable or what its true state really is-thanks for any help!

  Terry Brown 07:46 19 Oct 2010

I'm guessing that the PSU had a short somewhere , which was causing the problem of overheating, bad connection/loose wire on plug?.

If you have a spare DVD power lead on your computer (is it SATA or IDE ?)try using that, you could also try replacing the data cable, else you may need to get another DVD drive.

If that is all the damage that was done , you got off very lightly.

  theDarkness 16:16 19 Oct 2010

Perhaps a new hard drive also be on the cards for purchase in the very near future! One to keep an eye on I think. yes, the adapter plugs cable must have been pulled hard alot over time, as it was fairly loose on both ends of its own small external ac power block, and I was told that it would occassionally not work at all unless the cabling on either end of the block was pushed in quite hard. It would seem that the laptops main battery which sits inside the pc has survived, as the laptop is working ok when connected to the backup plug I have here (backup plug is identical, same input/output). The laptop does not seem to have a spare connection to use an external dvd drive, so it would seem as you say that there may be no way to reinstall windows at all unless I tried to replace the dvd drive or its cable, which sits inside the laptop?

If this is relatively quick and easy to do then I will do so, as the laptop is likely to be out of warranty now, and I do have a spare dvd drive for the same model, to try and find out what is wrong with it-if i just need a new data cable or completely new drive. Unfortunately the spares I am using for testing are needed for another system, so can only be used to test. I am not sure whether laptops in general are built to a certain standard (if the parts/drives are easy to buy and replace without having to pay large fees-eg by having to go through the original manufacturers 'for repair' with large fees). I am guessing that a new plug (even without needing a battery) would have to definately go through msi, and they may try and get me to buy the related battery anyway, as 'one item'. Perhaps a new dvd drive is most likely to have the chance of being bought and installed individually, but I am not sure what the average costs may be for a laptop plug or battery, or laptop dvd drive, either way?

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 16:57 19 Oct 2010

First check device manager for yellow exclamation against DVD drives , also try uninstall reinstall of drive.

Drive should be easily removable (screw on underside?) if above doesn't work try a remove and refit to remake the connections.

  theDarkness 20:00 19 Oct 2010

thanks for the replies - there are no yellow exclamations, and after uninstalling the drive and reinstalling, its still listed as "working", yet all it can do is eject. as on how easy it would be fitting a new dvd drive/where the screw fittings are, here is the laptop from the back:- click here

you can see the battery on the top, hard drive top right, and dvd drive bottom right. It would seem that I would have to remove the entire backing to refit any new drive? Im not sure if I would have to go through msi for a fitting, or if its easy enough to buy parts via third party - does anyone know if many systems are of a custom build to prevent using non official parts? Im guessing for the exact plug even without the battery I may have no option but to go to msi. I dont know at what cost, so I will contact them to find out exactly what I might have to pay for a new dvd drive and plug, and possibly a new hd (as its started buzzing again, although no where near as loud as it did on little battery power!

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 21:00 19 Oct 2010

click here screw at back end of drive releases drive

  theDarkness 22:04 19 Oct 2010

thanks for the link, also very useful for easy replacement of the hd, noted as sata. hopefully its not too difficult to get a dvd drive to work, but this system was given to me in a bit of a mess. I think a complete reinstall of windows is needed even if I do get one working :) I will try swapping the dvd drive tomorrow to see if I can get it working on the system

  theDarkness 18:15 20 Oct 2010

update! ive swapped dvd drives with the similar/near identical system now, and the dvd drive from the smoking system definately does not work, on both machines. the battery from the smoking system seems ok on both systems, so all I possibly need to do there is to replace the bad plug.

there are 2 issues left though, and thats with the lower whirring noise on the bad machine. Ive swapped the hard drives, and am certain that the noise is still present.. could it be a problem with a fan after the power/plug giving up? how likely is that, rather than destroying the hard drive, after such a power problem? Perhaps I should use the replacement good hard drive on the bad system and keep an eye on it to see if the loud grinding sounds come back. It seems to mainly happen when the system is initially switched on, which might indicate that its temperature related?

perhaps unrelated-I also need to reset the bios password on the bad machine, as I cannot enter the bios menu. the machine always beeps upon startup, but I do not know what this might indicate? the owner of the machine does not know the password. from the initial booting screen, the hard drive is set as 'primary master' and the dvd drive as 'third slave'.

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