Is my harddisk drive (HDD) brick Dead or Sick or?                                
                 If any of this is confusing? then find a tech, and ask him/her to fix it, they know all these ropes!
                 See my Linux HDD testing.


HDD means Hard Disk Drive,  not SSD, SSD means solid state Drive, (as in motor free) SSD uses this technology.
All HDD fail, not one lasts say a decade (be rare if used daily)
HDD have many single points of failure, as does the whole PC.
  • Total death by  motor not spinning or you hear the head click over and over,  the click of DEATH.
  • If you hear it spin, and if you hold it in your hand (desktop test easy) we can feel the gyroscopic action as it fights you as you attempt to move it in your hand,  all good signs of a good HDD.
  • If  drive has bad sectors , see Smart Parameter (metric) C6 below,  raw =0 good, raw not zero bad.  end of life 1 HDD.  crush it and trash it is what you do now.
  • Head crashes, (dropped) and now is damaged beyond repair.  A 3 foot drop running can do that !
  • The BIOS scans all HDD, and if found lists it.  I dead motor or drive that does not communicate to BIOS I.D. scans, will be show up missing, in BIOS.
  • If the disk files are corrputed only , do the HP  F11 recovery method startup repairs, or full install,  or use the HP media kit (OS install kit sold at HP)
  • Do know that any PC with the power rails wrong, not at 5vdc and 12vdc, all HDD fail, with out of spec, power, but in most cases the PC self shuts off when power fails (or drops out of spec).

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, it may say SMART ERRORS)

If we think the HDD seems alive we then test it. (it's not hard do this)

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 (with power pack) to do  this magic.
It  is for sure too late to clone your drive now.(be that windows scrambled or HDD bad or virus infected)
It many not be to late to backkup , then try to backup your private data now

See all tests below:

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 MS WINDOWs  fails to boot,  and you found your BOOT USB sticks all work, but HDD 0 does not.
  • My Power supplies are ok.
  • The PC is not overheating.
  • The HDD is heard to spin and not click madly.  The cables did not fall off the HDD.
  • The HDD shows up in BIOS
  • The HDD shows up in F9 key (power on hammer F9 see boot list)!
  • BIOS is ok F9 works to my other 5 bootable devices, CD/DVD/USB/SD-card, and USB Memory STICK, but the HDD0 fails to boot.
BIOS has a HDD test. (rudimentry but if the HDD fails this ,it for sure is bad)
See photo of   BIOS HDD test
If you get this far,  what next?
Next is always SMART tests;.
 Run the SMART APPlication program.. (learn rule one, Windows can BSOD from corrupted HDD fails and with Windows 10 its worse turn off fast boot.)

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.
After then New HDD is installed, reload the OS.

If windows is corrupted (I will not cover that here). there are cures via A/V scanners,  and the SFC /scannow command, and full fresh installs.(F11 recovery HP methods)
With a good HDD,windows can do many bad acts, endless, infinite.
  • Slow
  • Crashes,
  • BSOD's
  • endless, issues, problems and complaints on this topic , I will not cover here,  but the cure is here.            And here.
On  modern PC one can just do HP F11 restore. and cure that.
back to HDD checks:

Seagate has answers here.
 


Always fun this first, if system boots.Crystal Disk Info.

 
Do know that a  full blown HDD test programs may take all day to finish. (some have short test, medium and long tests) Don't expect the 1TB drive to test fast and easy.  It is huge.
Know too that some do destructive tests,  and ends with a blank, HDD !  (read the instructions on your  HDD Test APP )


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)
  1. RUN the HP built in BIOS HDD test. (inside the BIOS screens)  (it is only a rudimentary test, but if this fails and BIOS shows it missing , the drive, it is a bad dead drive)
  2. Move the HDD to another PC as a second drive, you can then run extensive HDD tests there, endless apps to do that  for over 30 years. (run smart, run, virus scans, look for missing windows or HP restore parititons.
  3. Keep the drive there and run SMART if the PC boots at all run SMART APP. (see if drive is overheated,  my 3 run at 93f (78f from) so is 15f rise, my ssd runs 93f too. so we know this is normal (lots of  DT case fans in mine)
  4. Next is line 05,  note here this HDD is end of life,  ran out of spare Redundant sectors so can never again self heal itself. Line C6 shows, the bad bad news. Raw C6  not 0 is a bad HDD.
  5. Last we run LINUX LIVE or above, and run APP there called DISK. 
  6. There are for sure  other HDD apps, many are sold and many can run 2 or more patterns in the disc and test every sector, and leaving the drive blank. (or not)  (keep in mind backing up first is best , if possible at all)
  7. RTM read the app makers manual first. (a common data pattern is AA/55 hex)  The tests come in 2 flavors,  destructive or non-destructive, use the latter, first.  (top App.'s have many pattern tests)
  8. There are sold and for free,  dedicated boot disks that have a turn key, HDD test program that does this, endless examples on say, SourceForge.
  9. Boot the MS windows boot media and use the tests there, from  (CD/DVD or USB stick)    Do a startup repair first, to see if it is an easy fix.
  10.  (or press F11 at power on and run HP recovery) startup repair but  F11 mode will fail if the HDD is bad, you can't run software (F11) if said software is corrupted or the HDD clusters running this is bad. (and is risky)
  11. You can run recovery mode as above, but  go to command prompt via advanced options. and run CHKDSK from there.  chkdsk C: /f /r /x
Most folks with a bad HDD?
  • Notice the HDD is silent, and very dead.
  • Or clicks like mad. (it's bad) 12vdc power rail reads 12vdc or on laptop 5vdc rail reads 5vdc. if not any drive made can click , lacking correct power.
  • Sees SMART App. shows, C6 parameter failing.
  • The OS sees the HDD missing.( if BIOS can't find it  ,it is probably bad.)
  • The cables to it fell off?
  • Or it is overheating horribly.
Keep and open mind, HDD have vast failure modes!


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 below 2 foot drop) running is a whole other matter. (a 3 foot drop is 100G's  so.... out of spec that is)
The drives smart 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 reach deep inside)
A drive can run for 10 years, and not run out of spares cylinders. (for sure kept cool and not bumped/dropped , 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) But you will see Parameter 05(hex) increase from 0.
SSD's do similar self healing  and also spread the 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 soon. 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.

A 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 (a ROM monitor in the HDD controller MFM) what sectors were bad. Then formatted it and then installed some OS.
Later HDD  drives now had brains inside (uP), and cured there own bad sectors for the life of the drive,  unseen by anyone, ! (that is you  not using SMART app, to see them !)
end crash course HDD.
Factoid: Our first IBM PC HDD cost us $5000 ,  few buyers could afford one then. (that be 50,000 bucks in inflated dollars now)
We sold S100 bus CPM Z80, , tests systems to Intel and all other top SEMI chip makers..with said drive in place and booted.
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 maybe too late (if lucky) move HDD to another PC as 2nd drive and backup your data, if you can't,  your data is a  goner.

BTW: by the way Windows 7/8/10 all tell you in clear warnings, live words from the OS screens (popups) when the bad HDD runs into bad sectors, (warning it will get worse fast!) or it BSOD's
Installing any OS to a bad HDD is just pure endless pain, wasted of time, and grief, don't do that and be more happy... (IMO) The cure (prevention) is next.
If windows 10 goes dead,  turn off (and F8 on) fast boot. Now it might boot, and you can do tests.

I  run this LINUX CD/DVC/STICK.  and run DISK TEST and SMART tests that why.
HOW TO TEST THE HDD WITH THE LIVE BOOT LINUX OS is  here.

The below is  running on a sick PC, the windows is acting up, slow or whatever, but this Crystal Disk Info , program shows, the HDD is TOAST C6(hex) , not 0 is toasted, and bad. 118 is horrible bad.
05 and C6 are wrong.!
This drive is allowed to run, will go far far worse... and is HOPELESS to try.
 As you can see windows runs here now, and smart runs, in all cases if windows is dead, you can't get here. So run LINUX LIVE BOOT instead.(above)
Note too ,it is not overheating.


version #6  9-16-2017 (above page does not cover how to restore corrupted windows.)  (moved linux to seperate page and added more tests)