Is my hard-disk
drive (HDD) brick
Dead or Sick or ?
Just run the tests covered
here if PC is dead
RUN the free Linux S.M.A.R.T ("DiskTest"
If not a dead PC run any of these app.'s.
What is S.M.A.R.T technology : (I do not cover IDE drives
they are obsolete 20 years ago...)
The 2 top reasons of SMART are, to self repair it self and later,
tell you the drive is now EOL , end of life.!!! (all servers made
do this and even email you , drive 6 is EOL on RAID Array #3, for
Example of one common: Seagate
ST32001a (2GB) drive.
These are tests to do
and what to look for , testing any HDD today. (for 2 decades now)
The BIOS pages shows
the HDD0 is missing, well it is and is
dead HDD. (more proof below) (assumes CMOS RTC battery
is not dead)
"SILENCE" Total death by the motor inside not spinning ( power
to case hear this) that is a dead drive, Skip this test on
any SSD or M.2 drive, they have no motors to make noise.
CHICK of Death, it clicksmadly and loud over
to be confused with tiny
quiet normal tick sounds ear
to casing) A skill set to learn is this. Skip this
test on any SSD or M.2 drive...
Here is the motor spin up
sound, powered on. Skip this test on any SSD or M.2 drive, they
have no motors to make noise.
If S.M.A.R.T TESTS FAIL:
a drive has bad
sectors? , see S.M.A.R.T Parameter
(metric) C6 must be at 0 or the HDD is bad.
The HDD S.M.A.R.T 05 parameter
must not exceed Threshold, if yes, the HDD is
bad, mine below is
154 and over 140 that means the spare clusters are now USED up, and the drive is BAD .
(dropped PC?) and now is damaged beyond repair. A 3 foot drop running can do this.
This SCREECHING sound can be super load even like the sounds of
bats flying out of hell.
Do know that any PSU power power
rails dead, low or noisy, 12vdc and 5vdc (laptops and
SSD use only 5vdc) must be clean power, and regulated or the HDD can
fail even a new HDD can fail.
If lucky and the HDD is still 1/2 working you can still backup data now.
We use and external eSata case (with
power pack) to
do this magic.
Most folks at this moment think to
ALL DATA if possible NOW.
It is for sure too late to clone
your drive now
See all HDD tests below: First things
First ! TESTS are super simple !
the electric motor spin the media platter, see
the head servo actuator pick tracks?(cylinders )?
You are here because MS WINDOWs fails to boot, and you
found your BOOT USB sticks or CD/DVD disks all boot and all
work, but HDD 0 does not.
If Windows is dead, you can not run many applications seen below, to
run this simple test.
ON A DEAD PC I can test the HDD 3 ways:
PC's we have HDD tests built in to BIOS, DELL or HP have this feature,
the Dell it is called ePSA. (read your OEM PC manual; and learn how to
- Boot to Linux media (USB) and test the HDD.
- Boot to Windows PE 7 or 10 and run APPS seen below.
- Move the suspected bad HDD or SSD to any External USB caddy
and run the same apps below on any GOOD PC !. (under TESTS APPS)
HP BIOS page.
APPLICATION PROGRAM's or APPS for short.
havea list of Apps that work best, all are free but #2
Do not allow them to add download agents from hell to
your Browsers. !!! Run Firefox v69+ up.(for safety)
Below is a list of things any one can do, and may help know basic
theories and some technology helps. ( and how backing up data may fail
school: (As simple as I can make it...)!
A.K.A RUST DRIVES OR SPINNERS. (today's
All HDD fail , and on laptops even sooner for 2 reasons most laptops
use cheap HDD, and if dropped bam it is dead, see why"G" forces do that.
Best is to put in a SSD and end all this pain. (or a M.2 gum stick SSD)
All new HDD were bad Day1 in the factory , the maker tests the drive fully
and the repairs all (logically) bad sectors using the spare sectors on the disk,
and now the drive if perfect. ( no drive made is born perfect!)
Later as the HDD ages, this Same MAGIC ( called S.M.A.R.T) repairs all
bad sectors every day of its life, and in the end , (EOL) it runs dry of
spare sectors and now fails SMART tests. (buy a SSD and end the pain)
The HDD its called a rotating
memory on disk with flying
heads, it has platters and R/W heads and a S.M.A.R.T BRAIN,
Everest the heads can not fly with no air, so they CRASH. (worse the moon
Many HDD are in fact limited to 10,000 feet altitude, so avoid trips to
Mount Everest. (or the like)
you bump any HDD hard enough while spinning, the heads can
(with power off, bumps are mostly harmless below 2 foot drop) spinning
is a whole other
matter. (a 3 foot drop is 100G's so.... out of spec that is)
Drops to concrete or rock is bad , drops to pillows is ok. (easy no?)
The drives S.M.A.R.T brain
knows all HDD made grow bad
its whole normal
life span, so the designer puts in spare clusters (usually in the form
spare cylinders you can not directly reach deep inside)
A good drive can run for 10 years, and not run out of spares cylinders.
sure kept cool and not bumped/dropped , ever)
When you let
your HDD overheat and is your fault never
cleaning any PC.
Yes some brands of GREEN drives, are junk. (short lived) I will not say
The best drives are marked and are Enterprise grade HDD. ( they are
more robust and we have hard proof to prove that)
As bad sectors grow, the HDD brain immediately and logically and fast ,swaps in
new sectors for the old bad and is cured now. The OS sees no
now. But when BAD, you will see SMART Parameter 05(hex)
increase from 0.
SSD's do similar self healing and also spread the wear (eeprom
wear). (SSD are
more rubust and have longer life spans, seems to me )
When the spares run out , you hit the brick
wall of death NOW. See Parameter
ID 5 this is the max spares allowed, as does parameter C6 =0
is good not zero is bad.
drive is 140. (x4096 = 573,440 bytes. or 1/2 megabyte.) Think 1/2
a floppy for spare space.
can not stay running with any Bad HDD. (the corrupted files there
cause that and even BSOD's)
The same holds true running SFC to cure this corruption.
Never skip doing such a simple tests like SMART scans. A 15
second job, why skip this super important test.
NOW EXAMPLES !
I run this LINUX
CD/DVC/STICK. and run
DISK TEST and S.M.A.R.T tests that why.
HOW TO TEST
THE HDD WITH THE LIVE BOOT LINUX OS is here.
CrystaldiskINFO (is free)
If windows is
dead there are 3 other ways to do this.as
v8.3+(Newer) click disk tab to change which disk is tested !
is bad boot disk, nice example , no? C6 is NO GOOD ! Uncorrectable !
same page above, can also be seen in Linux Ubuntu v17+ live demo DVD/USB
stick booted and click TRY ME ! running
is to run Linux USB boot and see if the HDD is bad, if the PC is dead.
(zero cost for Linux, if you have 1 blank USB stick drive in which you can boot
up this stick.)
on HDD: Why not to drop any HDD
or the Laptop /Notbook) or the MAGIC of "G" forces (Gravity is
not your friend here)
Most good hard drives, have a head landing zone, (why damage a data
track?) and have a park lock device , (why wreck a head while the drive
is on the USPS truck ?) (all this is covered in the drive
One guy told me he has no locking heads then I handed him the real
datasheet on his HDD, and he never seen one before, all are there at Seagate.com
the bests drives made!. Read the spec, first.
Heat kills most HDD, owners pay no
attention at all to heat, and not check the temperatures (C2
above) and heat kills all things , electronics , and more. Try to
have working fans in the PC case and win.
The heads in the HDD fly, just like a glider air plane does. So
the head never touches disk media, or both will be
damaged, so avoid hitting the drive or dropping or hitting it. (for
The head fail to fly over 10,000 feet, (inside and regular air
plane with pressurized cabin is ok) but climbing mount everest or here, is a
fail. (why not buy and use only a SSD today)
The drive, as installed for normal operation, shall operate error free
while subjected to intermittent shock not exceeding 15 Gs at a maximum
That means dropping a laptop from a height of x to a
concrete floor. (stopping time is key in the MATH) Concrete does not
squish or flex. So is a nasty thing. (that is why Mil Spec tests use a
slab of steel 2" think over huge concrete slab.)
Newtons laws work here, not mass but velocity (height governs speed)
and surface is key, (on concrete or a pillow of down feathers not
the same effect) .
The drive not powered on it 75G's spec is far larger due to that
about flying heads. (and the gap is gone and heads are LOCKED high and
The best packed box (shipping) is about 60"drop max. (about what
USPS does many times to any box shipped (we have proof, from a
major University tests using G meters inside a box shipped all
The math is is not hard, (unless common core kids )
So as you see, the 'G' value knowing the , 32 feet
per second per second law. It's a constant until fluid
of air kicks in ( terminal velocity on earth)
Leaving only one VARIABLE ("a")
in Math result "G=" and that is stopping time (rate of).
( This value of deceleration is super hard to calculate, But can be a
very small number , on concrete, and huge G forces as a result.
"a" can be as small as
1/8" inch or 3 mm.... and with that you can kiss off that HDD
even at a low dropping height, even 3 feet high. From the 3foot
high bed to say ceramic tiled floor.?
Guess what?, concrete is very close to zero decel. time. so close
that 15 G's
is child's play to reach on concrete drops, (metal drive to Crete) BAM.
Keep mind the drive is solid machined metal, so it can't bend and
reduce the force! , at all, only the PC CASE may flex a bit (or HDD
case) the G-forces can be huge
The "a" factor (parameter) is really how fast the object stops while
falling and one
does not need to be a rocket scientist to know concrete is doom for any
HDD or your skull landing there.
ALL Symptoms ( exclusive of
deep HDD testing): Lots there are:
PC fails to boot the OS. (sure login screen not reached or is
DEAD past this point)
BEEP codes ignored? or Caps lock blink codes.
Errors to screen (or LED error codes like DeLL has, (4 LED in a row,
codes (blank is good)
Errors to sthe screen showing, SMART fails HDD0 or startup files
missing or corrupted, some HP and dell have boot up DST or DPS
test that can fail for HDD.
The boot loop, PC boots fails and keeps looping
Or boots and shows F2 , hit F2, ever and over,( or what your OEM uses
here) This means, no BOOT on the HDD found, and invites you to enter
BIOS and see if the HDD0 is missing or run HDD tests.
Windows boots and BSOD's (due to corrupted OS) and caused by bad HDD.
HDD click load and madly (bad HDD) or screams like banchee.
HDD dead slient, (bad hdd)
BIOS test fail. on HDD0 , run by hand.
Windows might only act sick in 100s of ways, like this and not a
Windows screens dead, (any)
Windows, will not update (auto) nor Control panel dead , all of
it or partial.
You can not launch the Task Manager
The hard disk drive can slow down then speed up even PC freezing then
waking up, can happen, BUY A NEW SSD and end this.
I use my Linux
boot stick and run "DISK TEST" if the PC
is dead. Costs zero if you have spare USB boot stick laying about.
#9 9-16-2017 12-18-2018, shorter, and
more direct ! This whole page can be reduced to 1 or 2 lines. see
above. No coverage for any PC over 20 years old, most are retired
now or dead forever.