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computer locks up because of HD ?

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computer locks up because of HD ?

Postby dodecahedron on Wed Sep 07, 2005 8:52 am

i've just started to use a new Maxtor HD:
it's a Maxtor 6Y160P0
this is a DiamondMax Plus 9 series drive, Parallel ATA/133, 160MB, 8 MB cache, Fluid Dynamics Bearing motor.
the drive is hooked up on a Siig PCI ATA controller card.
the drive is being used as a backup drive. it's idle most of the time.

i've had a few lockups when using the drive.
the first time was when i copied data to it from another HD using MaxBlast (the Maxtor HD installation utility) - a few gigs.
another couple of times when trying to copy a few gigs of data to the new HD using Windows Explorer.
another few (2-3) times during a compare operation using CDCheck (again a few gigs).
once during a defrag of this hd.

the computer locks up - absolutely no activity, no response from mouse, keyboard, Ctrl-Alt-Del, nothing. used the reset switch.

the data appears to be intact. (the drive is used to mirror data with another HD, comparing with CDCheck the data is indeed there and identical).

what could be the cause of this ?

i've never had such a thing. i'm certain the lockups are related to the HD activity, not caused by something else. like i said the lockups are very well correlated with those HD actions i took.

i don't know if it's relevant, but the drive makes (relatively to other dirves) very loud noise while working (rant). i'd thought these are normal seek noises, but if so they'er much stronger than anything i've heard from my old IBM DeskStar (system and main data drive, most in use), the Western Digital Caviar 200BB (old 20GB drive that was replaced by this Maxtor) or the Seagate drives i've recently installed (but hardly used yet).
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Postby Ian on Wed Sep 07, 2005 10:51 am

Could it be the power supply?
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Postby dodecahedron on Wed Sep 07, 2005 12:54 pm

i sort of doubt it.
it's a 480W Antec TruePower - a rather good PS i believe.

and i don't run all that much stuff.
a low-end graphics card - Radeon 9550 (passive cooling)
one case fan, one HSF fan
3 optical drives connected but not in use when that happened
4 HDs
2 PCI cards (ATA controller card, modem)

is that too much? i shouldn't think so!
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Postby LoneWolf on Wed Sep 07, 2005 4:15 pm

are the controller drivers and firmware up-to-date? What about the mainboard BIOS?

P.S. FDB drives should NOT be noisy. If yours is, start running diagnostics on it right away.
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Postby dodecahedron on Wed Sep 07, 2005 6:25 pm

motherboard is an Nvidia Nforce 2 chipset, so IDE drivers are M$ ones. i think those are the only relevant drivers for HDs, right?
i admit the mobo drivers aren't the most recent ones.

as it happens, i updated earlier today the drivers of the onboard SiI 3112 Sata-RAID (not that it makes a difference for this drive since it's Parallel ATA).

motherboard BIOS isn't the most recent.
i have a suspicion that the BIOS is finicky.
i'm having triouble installing Linux, very annoying.
but i'm too tired to get into that now.
i don't want to flash the mobo since i'm afraid of a misflash and dead mobo.
right now is not a good time to hunt for a new mobo, i need the computer in the next 2-3 weeks or so to finish my M.Sc. thesis...

BTW the drive passed Maxtor's PowerMAX diagnostic utilities, it seems OK. although i'm not sure i completely trust them.
my IBM DeskStar passes IBM/Hitachi's Drive Fitness Test diagnostics but fails on Ontrack's Easy Recovery Pro's tests. #-o
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Postby dodecahedron on Thu Sep 08, 2005 1:32 am

i'm not so sure now the HD is at fault.

i removed it, but still got an instance of the following:
the computer became at some point very sluggish. right click the taskbar - took the popup menu minutes to appear, no response etc. had to hit reset.

i'm starting to think maybe the fault is elsewhere.

the Siig controller card to which these 2 HDs are hooked up used to be on slot 4 but i moved to slot 2 (too bad i don't remember exactly when). according to a guy on Asus support forums slot 2 shares an interrupt with the AGP card (the manual doesn't say this), slot 4 does not share its interrupt.

could these sympotms be attributed to the controller card not playing nice with shared interrupts ?
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Postby LoneWolf on Thu Sep 08, 2005 12:22 pm

I meant th drivers and firmware for the SIIG card. Are these up-to-date?

Do a spyware scan with several products (AdAware, Spybot S&D, Hijack This!) to make sure nothing is messing with your system. Defrag and run a virus scan. Run MSCONFIG or use the Windows Task Manager to see what may be running in the background on your system.
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Postby dodecahedron on Thu Sep 08, 2005 3:31 pm

LoneWolf wrote:I meant th drivers and firmware for the SIIG card. Are these up-to-date?

my bad.
the drivers for the card are the latest on Siig's website.
there's no BIOS update for the card.

as for viruses etc. - i thought about that too.
the system is virus free according to NAV 2003
the system is pest free according to Spybot-S&D, Ad-Aware, Microsoft AntiSpyware, HijackThis - all the latest versions and with latest definitions etc.

all hard drives defragged (a few times during the last week).

nothing unaccounted for in startup stuff (Mike Lin's Startup Control Panel instead of msconfig).

do you think my PS is enough for the stuff i've got ? (see previous post).
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Postby Dartman on Fri Sep 09, 2005 1:30 am

Get rid of the new raid driver and see if that helps. On my Nforce3 board if I use the latest sil raid driver it stops seeing several drives and you may have a similar problem. I have also had loose power connecters/splitters drop power and cause similar problems when the hooked up drives stop responding. I bought a couple of new y adapters and so far so good for that one. You can try just tweaking the loose socket if you have some needle nose pliers and can see which one has gotten spread out if that turns out to be the problem. It could be lots of things but with what you mentioned those would be my top guesses besides the drive itself.
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Postby LoneWolf on Fri Sep 09, 2005 11:28 am

NAV 2003 is ancient. Go to www.avast.com and get the latest Avast! Antivirus Free Edition, which will do a lot better job. Update it fully and see if it finds anything.
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Postby aviationwiz on Fri Sep 09, 2005 12:01 pm

I'd recommend upgrading your version of NAV, personally, I love Symantec products in general, especially for Anti Virus purposes and the like.

NAV 2006 will be out soon too... a few weeks tops.
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Postby dodecahedron on Fri Sep 09, 2005 1:51 pm

thanks for all the help, info & tips, guys.

right now i don't have time to mess with all that.

i've removed the Maxtor HD (like i've already said), and since i could not get Ubuntu Linux to install whenever any drive is connected to the Siig card, i've removed other HD from that too.

right now i've only got my Toshiba DVD-ROM on the Siig card, no HD on it, and Ubuntu Linux is willing to install, so i'll stay this way for now.
in a month or so, when i've finished writing my M.Sc. thesis, i'll get back to this and start messing with the system trying to pinpoint the problem and fix it.

@LoneWolf:
can i install Avast AV alongside NAV ? (i don't want to start uninstalling and re-installing part of Norton SystemWorks, too much of a hassle.).
if i turn off NAV's Auto Protect will it live peacefully alongside another AV program ?
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Postby dodecahedron on Thu Sep 22, 2005 6:43 pm

LoneWolf wrote:NAV 2003 is ancient. Go to www.avast.com and get the latest Avast! Antivirus Free Edition, which will do a lot better job. Update it fully and see if it finds anything.

how does avast compare with AVG ?
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Postby VEFF on Fri Feb 24, 2006 6:45 pm

I am (or was) experiencing a similar issue, in terms of hardware at least, but the PC doesn't lock up:
In my case Windows Explorer stops responding when browsing a Maxtor hard drive hooked up to a Promise IDE(tried Ultra 100 and Ultra 133 TX2 with same results) on a brand new nForce 3 chipset (nForce3-A) motherboard.

I then seemed to get it while browing the hard drive hooked up to the mother
board's IDE controller.

I tried switching to the std MSFT IDE controller (drivers) instead of the
nForce 3-250 IDE controller (drivers), but it still came back.

I did have some nVidia drivers for a TV tuner card and tried old ones, then new ones etc.
Maybe that had dsomething to do with it, because now that I replaced my old TV tuner card with a new one (on sale at CompUSA) and uninstalled the nVidia WDM drivers and removed the 4 nVidia WDM-related nVidia devices (TV tuner etc.), the problem seems** to have gone away.

** It is hard to tell since it doesn't always occur right away and I haven't used the PC much since getting the new TV tuner card)

In any case, I am getting two SATA drives per PC (two total for now)
and getting rid of the Promise card(s).

I am just curious if you ever figured out exactly what it was?
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