What are the signs of a HD on its last legs ?

  tonyx1302 16:52 08 Feb 2009

My desktop is over seven years old and over the last month or so takes about 15/20mins to fully boot up. I have ran all the free Malware/virus/Ccleaners/Reg cleaners/Optimisers etc,etc,etc.....all to no avail. I have booted up with the minimum..SwTerm and AVG. No difference. and I am wondering if the HD is past its use by date.
I have always kept the machine clean inside and out and daily cleanups etc. The pc has plenty of memory and only one third of the hd is used.
Is there any way I can test the drive or could it be something more sinister...cpu or something else giving up the ghost?
I am not experienced enough to do any major checks but would be very grateful for any simple tests.
I run XP home with SP2 on BB and it is only ever used for emails/WP work and the Internet and BIOS(?????) is way beyond me. Sorry
I am out till about 5pm but will respond asap when I get home
Thanking you


  Diemmess 17:26 08 Feb 2009

Many and various, often no warning signs at all, just sudden death!

Many of the HD manufacturers publish their own little programs to perform basic health checks on an HD.
Have a look for your HD's name and then search the manufacturer's site.

There is a significant list to be found with Google, and dedicated programs to download, but I would caution you about making a hobby of it.
Too rigourus attention could finish an elderly HD

Don't overlook the obvious safety move and back everything up while it is working.
Treat yourself to a copy of Acronis and have a complete installation ready to restore to C: drive on a new HD

  grey george 17:33 08 Feb 2009

Hard drive failure is often preceded by noise from the drive, a chattering sound which gets louder and more frequent. That said they can just fall over without warning. Windows systems seem to fill themselves up with rubbish (mainly in the registry). I've found eventually the only thing to do is to remove everything, format and reinstall all the system. That's why I take a ghost image of the drive after a clean installation so I can restore it quickly. There are programmes to test the performance of a drive if really want to. After seven years good service I would buy a new large drive and use that as the primary, making your old drive the slave and use it as a back up.

  BT 17:46 08 Feb 2009

My D drive packed up a little while back. As its only used for data storage it doesn't get too much of a hammering. The first sign of problems was when Chkdsk ran on every startup and eventually it failed.

  woodchip 18:22 08 Feb 2009

crashes are one of the things, computer will freeze when it cannot read a cluster or bad sector. do a disc check using windows tool set for a full scan and fix errors

  woodchip 18:24 08 Feb 2009

don't think that as anything to do with slow boot times. that sounds like a windows problem or programs loading

  tonyx1302 19:15 08 Feb 2009

Many thanks you all. I am just going to try the various suggestions by everyone. I will report back later but after reading Diemmess and grey george post, I think it is on the last knockings as there is a chattering sound when first booting up and I think I may have to go the way of removing everything and a format and reinstall of all the system on a new hard drive. If my local pc repair man has to do this, what should be the rough cost please? The local man is very trustworthy and I think he will do what ever is needed without taking advantage. The beauty of a local professional

Thanks everyone


  Fingees 19:21 08 Feb 2009

In Hastings, a shop my friend used at £20per HR (cheap).
It cost £69 including a new 160 G Hard drive.

  tonyx1302 20:06 08 Feb 2009

Thanks Fingees. I think the O.A.Pension can hopefully run to about that figure and after trying a few suggestions, I think that is the road I may have to take


  woodchip 10:40 09 Feb 2009

You will get the chattering if the Files and boot sector get corrupted. As I said run the Disc Check before condemning the Drive

  woodchip 10:44 09 Feb 2009

The chattering, can be as I said above when the read head on the drive is trying to read the boot index, and looking for corresponding bits on the drive

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