Is my hard-disk drive (HDD) brick Dead or Sick or ?    Symptoms?       


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.
History:
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)
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 on, ear 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 and over,   not 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 .
  • Head crashes, (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  BACKUP 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 !

    See 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:

    1. Boot to Linux media (USB) and test the HDD.
    2. Boot to Windows PE 7 or 10 and run APPS seen below.
    3. 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)
    On better 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 use BIOS)
    HP BIOS page.



    APPLICATION PROGRAM's or APPS for  short.
    I 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 now)



    HDD school: (As simple as I can make it...)!  A.K.A RUST DRIVES OR SPINNERS. (today's slang)
    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, on mount Everest the heads can not fly with no air, so they CRASH. (worse the moon too.)
    Many HDD are in fact limited to 10,000 feet altitude, so avoid trips to Mount Everest. (or the like)
    If you bump any HDD hard enough while spinning,  the heads can crash.  (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 inside knows all HDD made grow bad sectors its whole normal life span, so the designer puts in spare clusters (usually in the form of spare cylinders you can not directly reach deep inside)
    A good drive can run for 10 years, and not run out of spares cylinders. (for 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 their names.
    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 errors 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.
    In this drive is 140. (x4096 = 573,440 bytes. or 1/2  megabyte.) Think 1/2 a floppy for spare space.
    Windows 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 seen here.
    Free CrystalDiskinfo v8.3+(Newer) click disk tab to change which disk is tested !
    This is bad boot disk, nice example , no? C6 is NO GOOD ! Uncorrectable !
    The same page above, can also be seen in Linux Ubuntu v17+ live demo DVD/USB stick booted and click TRY ME running this.
    Best 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.)


    Facts 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 spec, see mine here)
    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 sure running)
    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 duration . 
    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 deal above about flying heads. (and the gap is gone and heads are LOCKED high and safe)
    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 over USA)
    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 dynamics 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. Wrecked .
    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 external case) the G-forces can be huge
    as seen here

      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 VIRUS.
    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.



    version #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.