Is my HDD brick
Symptoms, no boot or gross windows errors even BSOD crashes, or windows flat telling you the HDD has read errors. (well windows did not lie to you)
Or you try to install a fresh OS and the installer (setup.exe? ) told you the HDD is missing or will not load it, due to load errors. BAM you land here.
OS = Operating system, (be that FreeDOS, Windows, Linux, or OS/2, or MS DOS or vast others 1981 to now..)
The best way to test any drive is moving it to the non failing system. (means not be booted to it, to the bad drive under test) We use and external eSata case to do this magic.
If the PC will not boot?, see if Linux Live will.? and run these tests.(SEE KNOPPIX)
It is for sure too late to clone your drive now.(be that windows scrambled or HDD bad or virus infected)
If the drive spins, talks and the partitions are ok, but there is some file corruption, then try to backup your private data now
Backing up data first is always a wise choice if possible.
Sorry no HDD lasts for ever, all die, every one made will... (an Entropy thing)
If lucky the HDD runs out of spare sectors (redundancy repairs are done unseen by you! ) but now SMART told you it ran out of sectors, believe it and time for a new drive.
A hard disk works like this, an electric motor, a media platter, a set of heads, and a head servo actuator and a SATA comm chip. (any of these can fail).
You are here because WINDOZ fails to boot, and you found your BOOT sticks all work but HDD 0 does not.
Here are the HDD for dummies, checks.
My Power supplies are ok.
BIOS is ok F9 works to my other 5 bootable devices, CD/DVD/USB/SD-card, and USB STICK but the HDD0 fails to boot.
You have HDD, and you can hear the motor spin? with ear connected to a screw driver handle and tip of same touching case of any HDD made. hear it spin? If it clicks the HDD IS BAD . No spin? BAD HDD.
Is the HDD plugged in (both SATA connectors)?
We go to BIOS next and and GO here, BIOS HDD tests (think of this test as a TOY, it's kid simple and none-destructive and if it does fail? then the HDD IS DEAD (toasted) end story in 5minutes work.
If the drive fails BIOS HDD tests , then the HDD is DEAD.
If you get this far, what next?
Next is always SMART;. Run the SMART APP. (learn rule one, Windows flat hates bad HDD (or SSD) in fact it can even BSOD for bad HDD), Run SMART app.
If windows is dead Jump to here.( run linux tests, run smart and the full linux DISK tests)
If the drive kinda works great, but windows complains, and S.M.A.R.T Tells you it's out of SPARE sectors, then it's time for a new SSD or HDD. Believe it. the HDD is DEAD.
If the drive overheats and the system fans are : Dead, or packed in lint or any heat sinks are packed in lint fix that first, and if case fans are dead the HDD sure can overheat. (most do every year not getting lint cleaning session)
A slow OS is usually a virus. (or overloaded with start up files, disable them? yet?) or the S.M.A.R.T page tells you DRIVE is bad or going bad. All drives end up bad. ALL DO.
I am not covering corrupted OS here, only bad HDD and all tests to do.
If all HDD test pass and Windows is acting odd ,then reload Window by using HP F11 key at power on, BINGO, back to day 1, HP Windows, and no infections and zero corruptions, with just 2 finger pressings.
BIOS may show you no drive 0 exists. If missing that is a dead drive, but be warned some dead drives, can show the PCI scanned drive ID as present and still be dead.
If the Drives busy bit is set , (forever) the Drive is dead, most good BIOS see that bit and then will show no drive present. (busy fails for many reasons, dead motor or the drive can't seek data.,etc)
If BIOS shows it present, then this test in BIOS is offered.
If the BIOS drive tests fails, the drive is dead. (a simple test, this is and does not prove drive is good, only proves dead, if it fails there) I will now present more tests...
Your driver maker has test tools get them and use them.
Seagate has answers here.
Always run this first, if system boots.Crystal Disk Info.
Do know that a full blown HDD test program may take all day to finish.
Know too that some do destructive tests, and ends with a blank, HDD !
The HDD can be tested all these ways, let me recap all ways: (when I mention STICK below that means "USB flash memory stick, a.k.a. Thumbdrive, flash key, etc)
HDD school: (As simple as I can make it...)!
The HDD its called a rotating memory on disk with flying heads, it has platters and R/W heads and a SMART BRAIN, on mount Everest the heads can not fly with no air, so CRASH. (same on the moon too.)
If you bump any HDD hard enough running the heads can crash. (with power off, bumps are mostly harmless) running is a whole other matter.
The drives smart brain inside knows all HDD 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 reach deep inside)
A drive can run for 10 years, and not run out of spares. (for sure kept cool and not bumped ever)
As bad sectors grow, the HDD brain immediately and logically swaps in new sectors for the old bad and is cured now. The OS sees no errors now. (in and instant)
SSD's do similar self healing and also spread the wear.
When the spares run out , you hit the brick wall of death soon. See Parameter ID 5 this is the max spares allowed.
In this drive is 140. (x4096 = 573,440 bytes. or 1/2 meg byte.) Think 1/2 a floppy for spare space.
Blast from the past, in the olden days we'd unpacked our "Winchester drive" mid to late 70s and grab the bad sector map sheet, from the box it came.( the young kids go.. gee it's bad new?,,, sigh...)
Then we CONFIGURED (rom monitor in HDD controller MFM) what sectors were bad. Then formatted it and then installed some OS.
Later drives now had brains inside (uP), and cured there own bad sectors for the life of the drive, unseen by anyone, ! (that is not using SPART app)
end crash course HDD.
Factoid: Our first IBM PC HDD cost us $5000 , few buyers could afford one then. We sold S100 bus CPM Z80, , tests systems to Intel and all other top SEMI chip makers..
Some had this.(or the HP 85 ,circa 1979) HP had PC's before IBM, but cost more. but I digressed.
WINDOWS IS DEAD ! or F11 dead or F9 key shows no drive there? (those are HP power on hot keys)
If not backed up it's to late (if lucky) move HDD to another PC as 2nd drive and backup your data, if you can't it is a goner.
BTW: by the way Windows 7/8/10 all tell you in clear warning live words when the HDD runs in to bad sectors, then on the next boot windows is now dead, this is a common play out.
LINUX:(ways and means) USB STICK BOOT LIVE:
Burning a DVD-R disk with Knoppix 7 works too. (I always used Imgburn (free) to do that)
Do this on a good PC, not one infected or corrupted.
The best live OS USB boot stick is Knoppix, v7 and up. This is a stick designed for live LINUX only and has full testing apps present for HDD tests. USE this stick!
I down load the KNOPPX file here, 4GB ISO, FILE DVD Image file. or here, USA
I then burn a USB stick using RUFUS. (10min burn is common) , exit RUFUS when done.
Using the windows task bar, click the USB ICON and eject USB drive now. (if not , risk a corrupted stick)
At the bad PC under test we....the Dead PC., lets call it.
We next boot this USB stick, using the HP F9 hot boot key, to the USB Linux stick. (power on, hammer F9 fast 1second blows) BAM the below pops, if missing your stick try all USB ports on PC dead.
I down arrow 1 time for my Cruzer stick. (knoppix here)
All modern PC can boot to all USB ports or at least 1/2 of them.(that means try them all if one fails) My Elitebook fails on the USB3 ports. but USB2 works.
The F9 key can boot my stick or 5 other devices, (RTM read your manual)
It stops at the Knoppix linux command prompt verion 7 up, and I hit enter key now.
Next, see the magic of linux booting and its beautful, live real time logging of files loaded. Love Linux I do...
It takes awhile to boot, faster sticks boot faster. for sure, and this Cruzer stick is one of the fastest made, (yah costs more)
The desktop should look normal to my Windows users, there is a start button just like Windoz. The start ICON looks odd, but works.
Click that start button,just like you do in Windows and at the top of the menu is accessories, pick that now and see DISKS, click DISKS
Do I need to say if this stick runs and all those features in Linux work perfectly, that now you know you PC is ok and that your HDD is bad or you OS is corrupted.?
I even go to the hd0 drive (or sdd0) drive, and see if the HDD is totally dead, or the hp-tools or HP recovery partitions are missing or mangled.
If the HDD0 was dead and not heard to spin, (listen to it?) then Linux may not see it. (depends on who made the drive this) but if you see HDD0 or (SSD0)there , click on it, and there must be Windows files or folders there but if not the HDD is bad or files missing or corrupted. Next up , is the Linux DISK program.
I know folks, that run off sticks full time, so they can not get infected, ever.(or off DVD, for sure you can not infect a DVD once good and burned) (or run a virtual OS )
On the left side "DISK" window click your disk you want to test. ( easy no?) Mine has 4 disks of 2 types, so I pick my BOOT Drive. (SDD0 is mine or SDD_boot, mine has solid state drives)
Now on the top right of screen is settings ICON, not a gear icon sadly but the new fangled --- Target-tripes, it looks like a stack of cards to me. for SETTINGS.
This is your smart data before your eyes, look for gross errors. like bad sectors not repairable.
Next and last click. start self test (bottom left button) and pick short, extended (long) or conveyance(finds gross errors , not too long running, the book said this is shiping damage checks)
All test finish and say disk is ok. I dont have linux logged errors to share but this shows one bad hdd.
Both Linux and Windows Smart show ID 5 as Realloated sector count ( this is the repair modes)
My new drive is 0, this drive is 169 hit rate, this means 169 bad sectors found, and C6 (198.) is real super bad.
C6 (198.) means I have 118 bad sectors the drive can not HEAL.....
All HDD grow bad sectors during its life span (there are no true perfect HDD on Earth), and all HDD heal themselves, until one day it fails for the lack of spare sectors. (I have many parked in my attic, like this)
This drive is now bad,, runs but will fail. soon. Even minutes.Do not think its ever good to run a sick drive like this, it is hopeless, venture.
This is a Windows program, but the Linux version looks near the same and shown later belows, but look at ID 5 and ID C6 (189.) very very carefully.
Lets say you C6 looks ok, C6 is zero. If yes, we then do more tests. (hope happens)
If C6 is bad buy a new drive, now, and go here and load the new OS.
It may be too late Best is to backup now
Know that most backup software will fail hard reading the bad drive, they do sell expensive forensic software to do that....(I will not get into that here)
There are other tests to run, but some are dangerous to run as they might wreck your data.
I have 483,000 bad sectors uncorrected here, (118 x 4096) 483k bytes dead. Windows will not be happy if those land on any windows files. (it will lock up)
Do not Defrag this disk, or you risk losing data.
If the HDD is 100% dead there will no backing up data , it is now too late. (in most cases not all and software to get it is very expensive)
If windows (or Linux) flat refuses to copy files? this is normal with bad HDD/SDD.
There may be free software that copies bad data files, it would have to somehow force windows to ignore bad sectors.. Windows does not like those ever. and PUKES.
More simply stated , smart says, this drive is screwed ! (above but not below)
Knoppix "DISK" program screens (so far we are at a whopping 3 clicks to get here) settings is click 4 See how I put the clicks needed below to get here?
One of the best DVD or boot sticks to have. (and free)
I went to Knoppix page seen above under Download, and make a boot stick USB boot stick, or DVD-r boot DISK.
I get this page, now.
This is what Linux looks like, similar to MS, Diskmanagment.
If the drive is missing it is dead. As seen below the HP_Tools is there.
My HP recovery partition is missing , by my actions on purpose,(W10 load)
I click settings to get SMART date.
Knoppix smart screen. (start button + Accessoris, + DISK)
Note how my spare sectors are all still virgin, (unused) ID 5. This is my SSD. But HDD looks same. Note the drive is not overheated.
Click start selftests.
Pick short, later pick the other 2.
Failures are not allowed, if yes, the drive is bad. This Disk Self test is hidden in the SMART page below.
A thousand thank you's to Mr. Klaus Knopper.
Then next topic below is just me looking about the drive, to see if my STUFF or Windows THINGS are all still there. (W10 here)
I check for files not missing and folders not missing and I check that all partitions from MS, HP_tools and HP-Recover are not missing nor my personal partitions, missing or messed up.
If you backup your data , weekly or as you need, then all these facts stated here are obvious.
Last is showing what Linux can do. you can find and see if files are missing. (most folks get lost here)
In all cases if HDD is ok, reload windows fresh, using the F11 key on all HP PC's ... If F11 fails only this works now on a good HDD/SSD.
Smart means = Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology
Knoppix 7.6 , the start button works, you run the disk checks easy, click "start + accessories + disk"
this screen is just browsing files on the system. Linux sees it all.
Keep in mind , LINUX see all things, all formats that windows can not see. It does not hide things from you, so do not delete things you don't understand. (nor move them)
version4 7-25-2017 (this page does not cover how to restore corrupted windows.) Knoppix is the best tool out here, for free. Use it !