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hard drive removed from NVRAM

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hard drive removed from NVRAM

Postby MediumRare on Sun Feb 01, 2004 6:27 pm

Both my PC's were out of action this week. I've got the old rig (use it for communication) going again- the power supply died. I scavenged a replacement from a derelict at work and upgraded my CPU while I was at it- it's now a dynamic Pentium 200 MHz (was 133 MHz :wink:). Put it back together and it works, but is a bit louder than previously.

My main machine is still acting up (to put it mildly). :evil:

It started earlier this week while copying a CD. Because of a dumb setting, Nero tried to cache more than 32000 files on the hard drive. FAT apparently can't handle that in one directory (at least I think that's what the "no space" message meant). But then the stupid computer locked up (which it has done occasionally while accessing an optical drive) and when I rebooted, the hard drive was gone from the CMOS / NVRAM (or whatever you call it). I restored it in BIOS setup and it seemed OK afterwards (read 1 day).

But this has happened several times since and the PC locks up at irregular situations (e.g. during scandisk), has spontaneously rebooted and just now, when I was reading e-mail, it started booting, although it was turned off and I didn't touch the frigging thing. The hard drive apparently has errors, but that's definitely not the only (?) problem because it also locked up while booting with Partition Magic from a floppy. Grrrrrrr! :evil: :evil:

Any idea what could be causing this?

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Postby BurninMan921 on Sun Feb 01, 2004 6:54 pm

I had something similar happen to an old Thunderbird system I had; I finally found out it was a faulty IDE controller on the mobo. Hooking everything up to a PCI controller (a Promise) fixed everything.

The mobo was an Abit w/a VIA chipset. Lesson: avoid VIA :)
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Postby MediumRare on Mon Feb 02, 2004 9:30 am

BurninMan921 wrote:I had something similar happen to an old Thunderbird system I had; I finally found out it was a faulty IDE controller on the mobo. Hooking everything up to a PCI controller (a Promise) fixed everything.

Well it is a VIA chipset for an Athlon XP(MSI board). But it's served me well for over 2 years, and (unlike a lot of people) I haven't had any problems till now.

I'm not sure if it's the same situation, because the rig also locked while booting from a floppy. I guess the floppy controller resides in the north (?) bridge too, as well as the IDE controller. But if it is the north bridge, then an additional controller card wouldn't remedy everything. I'm willing to give it a try, because I could use some more IDE ports.

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Postby MediumRare on Mon Feb 02, 2004 7:12 pm

It looks like the mainboard is going##### gone. I managed to boot a Knoppix system to get a better diagnosis, but the video display was intermittent- the monitor periodically lost the signal. It caught itself, but I couldn't shut down properly.

I borrowed another power supply, but that didn't help at all, so it must be the voltage regulators or similar on the MB. On my last boot attempts, it only found 1/2 the memory, none of the hard drives and didn't even get far enough to enter setup. :evil: :x

Oh well, at least I know where I'm at now (at least I think I do).

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Postby dodecahedron on Fri Feb 06, 2004 11:53 am

MediumRare wrote:I'm not sure if it's the same situation, because the rig also locked while booting from a floppy. I guess the floppy controller resides in the north (?) bridge too, as well as the IDE controller. But if it is the north bridge, then an additional controller card wouldn't remedy everything. I'm willing to give it a try, because I could use some more IDE ports.

all of the I/O, including the floppy and IDE controllers, reside in the southbridge.
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Postby MediumRare on Fri Feb 06, 2004 7:00 pm

dodecahedron wrote:all of the I/O, including the floppy and IDE controllers, reside in the southbridge.

Yeah I know that I mixed up north and south- I checked that after I got home.

I'm still trying to get the system going. I picked up a new MoBo yesterday (Epox, NForce 2 with onboard SATA) and rebuilt it. Mucked around a lot with the new(er) hardrives to get them configured like I want and then tried to copy the data from the damaged hard drive with Partition Magic. The :evil: drive has deteriorated incredibly rapidly and I haven't got everything rescued yet (e.g. Kprobe scans, Linux partition). No backup, of course- backup is for sissies :evil: . It may be OK for a bit, but then locks up. I'll keep trying and hope for an auspicious moment- the correct phase of the moon or if Aviationwiz has a prime number as post count or whatever voodoo it takes.

At the moment, I have the strong suspicion that the old MoBo is fully OK and it's only this buggered hard drive that's giving me pain (don't take that literally :o ) because I've had similar symptoms with the new setup (other than the video signal dropping out).

In any case, this will still keep me occupied for a few days.

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Postby dodecahedron on Fri Feb 06, 2004 7:16 pm

MediumRare wrote:I picked up a new MoBo yesterday (Epox, NForce 2 with onboard SATA)

sounds sweet.

MediumRare wrote:The :evil: drive has deteriorated incredibly rapidly and I haven't got everything rescued yet (e.g. Kprobe scans, Linux partition). No backup, of course- backup is for sissies :evil: . It may be OK for a bit, but then locks up. I'll keep trying and hope for an auspicious moment- the correct phase of the moon or if Aviationwiz has a prime number as post count or whatever voodoo it takes.

is the bad partition NTFS or FAT32?

if it's FAT32, i've heard good things about SpinRite ( www.grc.com )
but it's not free AFAIK.
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Postby MediumRare on Fri Feb 06, 2004 7:30 pm

dodecahedron wrote:is the bad partition NTFS or FAT32?

if it's FAT32, i've heard good things about SpinRite ( www.grc.com )
but it's not free AFAIK.

FAT32. I won't use NTFS until Linux can write to it. I haven't used Linux much the last while, but I don't want to lock out part of my system.

I'll have a look at SpinRite, thanks for the tip. Don't know if it'll help much, though- it's not just a bad sector problem. The IBM disk check program found a problem "excessive shock" or something like that (don't have the note at hand).

Incidentally, I love those SATA signal cables- they should have gone that route years ago!

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Postby CDRecorder on Sun Feb 08, 2004 3:51 am

How hot is the processor getting?
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Postby MediumRare on Sun Feb 08, 2004 5:52 pm

CDRecorder wrote:How hot is the processor getting?

The old MoBo didn't have a temperature monitor. I just installed the utility for the new system and it's reading ca. 45° C for the processor, 28° for the system (it's an Athlon XP 1700+). I still have the case open because I keep trying to read from the old hard drive at intervals. It has the odd lucid moment and then goes back on strike.

I just downloaded the acoustic management utility and will activate the "quiet" mode- increased seek time but reduced acceleration. I hope that will keep the drive sane a bit longer per go.

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Postby CDRecorder on Sun Feb 08, 2004 10:09 pm

Hmm, the CPU temp certainly isn't nearly high enough to cause the crashing you are seeing. I'd also recommend that you test the RAM; MemTest86 is the RAM testing program that I use.

Although I doubt that this is what you're dealing with, I recently had a similar problem on one of my systems, and it turned out that the problem was a dying CPU (well, it was completely dead by the time I figured out what the problem was).
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Postby MediumRare on Mon Feb 09, 2004 2:45 am

Maybe I should be more explicit- the new system is perfectly stable as long as the old hard drive (which I know is broken) is not connected. When I do hook it up, it sometimes isn't recognized and even blocks the automatic drive recognition, which is why I can't enter setup. If I do manage to boot with this drive active, I can only access it for a short time, and then it freezes the system.

The problem is that I still want to get at some of the data on the drive- which is why I keep going through this raindance. Other than that, the new system is fine, and I have the strong suspicion that the old MoBo would be OK too.

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Postby dodecahedron on Mon Feb 09, 2004 1:39 pm

have you thought of hooking this problematic hard drive in an external USB or FireWire case (if you have one)?
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Postby Bhairav on Wed Feb 11, 2004 12:41 pm

Which HDD is it? If it's the infamous IBM "DeathStar", I feel your pain. Had 3 crash on me in a week, with the symptoms you are describing. Did you hear a high pitched whine ot scratchy noises from it?

In any case,if it's an IBM, go here : http://www-1.ibm.com/support/docview.ws ... MIGR-44195
and update your drive firmware. It MAY help.. no promises though.
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Postby dodecahedron on Wed Feb 11, 2004 2:55 pm

thanks for the link, bhairavp!

i've looked for it but couldn't find it, eventually went to the Hitachi website the "officially" supports the IBM drives now.
http://www.hgst.com/hdd/support/download.htm

my DeskStar is going strong, knock on wood. never given me any problems at all. :D
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Postby MediumRare on Wed Feb 11, 2004 7:43 pm

Thanks for the feedback, guys.

CDRecorder wrote:I'd also recommend that you test the RAM; MemTest86 is the RAM testing program that I use.

I had Memtest-86 v3.0 running for over an hout this evening. It came with Knoppix 3.4 on the latest c't CD-Rom (includes kernel version 2.6.1). No errors on the first 2 tests, but I broke it off to get back to my system setup chores.
dodecahedron wrote:have you thought of hooking this problematic hard drive in an external USB or FireWire case (if you have one)?

That may be worth it in the long run. I don't have an external case and they're rather expensive here- nothing under 50 Euros. But it could be useful for a future DVD-burner.
bhairavp wrote:Which HDD is it? If it's the infamous IBM "DeathStar", I feel your pain.

I'm not sure- I thought that the "DeathStars" were one model earlier. This one is a
Code: Select all
IC35L060AVER07-0
(made in Aug 2001) which does show up on the page you linked to. I didn't hear any of those noises, but my system is kind of loud. :o I don't know which firmware it has, but the HD-feature tool I downloaded a couple of days ago shows this too (if I can get it running again). The problem is that the drive has "Alzheimer" and is in pretty sad shape- it is not recognized by the "detect IDE drives" function and locks up the boot process in most cases. The "drive fitness" utility said it's definitely defective.

My "Alzheimer" harddrive had a few lucid moments yesterday and I managed to rescue just about everything I need except my private Linux files. I'll keep trying for a couple of days, but at some point I may have to write them off. I still have to configure my new working environment and this now has top priority!

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Postby dodecahedron on Wed Feb 11, 2004 8:55 pm

IC35L060AVER07-0

this is an IBM DeskStar 60GXP line drive, the 60GB variant (3 platters).

while most of the bad reputation, and the name DeathStar, came from the older line called 75GXP, the 60GXP line also had some problems (though not as bad as the 75GXP by a long shot).

mine, by the way, is the IC35L040AVER07-0 DeskStar 60GXP 40GB drive. like i said, not a bit of trouble.

what HD utility are you referring to?
is it the Drive Fitness Test utility from the page i linked?
did you try the firmware-checker bhairavp linked?
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Postby MediumRare on Thu Feb 12, 2004 4:51 am

My starting page for this info one that I hope you won't need :wink: http://www.hgst.com/warranty. They refer to the the drive fitness tool on the linked Hard Drive Pre-check page. We use this tool at work, so just borrowed the floppy instead of downloading it. It's available as Drive Fitness Test (v3.60) at http://www.hgst.com/hdd/support/download.htm. I recall this being discussed here before.

The Feature Tool (v1.92) is available there too. I wanted to use it so set the accoustic management level to "quiet", which minimizes acceleration of the heads and is presumeably gentler with my sick drive. Unfortunately it didn't recognize it when I tried or couldn't access the firmware information (showed capacity 0 etc.). At present, the drive is effectivley dead- it freezes the system at startup so I can't use this tool or the firmware checker bhairavp mentioned.

I don't think there's much point in upgrading firmware either- if I can get my private Linux files copied, the drive is going back! It's still under guarantee until Sept., so I have a bit of time. :wink: However, you should check this in case your IC35L040AVER07-0 is affected !!!!

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Postby dodecahedron on Thu Feb 12, 2004 5:02 am

MediumRare wrote:However, you should check this in case your IC35L040AVER07-0 is affected !!!!

i'm not sure i understand what you mean by "affected".

damn, only a couple of months ago i visited that page and d/l the utils, the Drive Fitness Test was 3.51, the Feature Tool was 1.90.
at least it's good to know that that page is being constantly maintained and updated.
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Postby Bhairav on Thu Feb 12, 2004 5:05 am

dodecahedron wrote:thanks for the link, bhairavp!

i've looked for it but couldn't find it, eventually went to the Hitachi website the "officially" supports the IBM drives now.
http://www.hgst.com/hdd/support/download.htm

my DeskStar is going strong, knock on wood. never given me any problems at all. :D


Heh..you got lucky,punk :wink:
I have the same one you do, the 40GB 60GXP,a warranty replacement. It's outside now,without a home :(. I have a Seagate Barracuda 80GB and Samsung 120Gb in there now,they seem to work ok. My father is going to be picking up a new machine sometime soon, I'll put the FW updated IBM drive in that.
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Postby MediumRare on Thu Feb 12, 2004 5:50 am

dodecahedron wrote:i'm not sure i understand what you mean by "affected".

:oops: I meant bhairavp's firmware checker and a possible recommended upgrade!

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Postby dodecahedron on Thu Feb 12, 2004 6:33 am

well, i haven't run that utility, but in any case i'd be afraid to mess with the hard drive's firmware. like i said, knock on wood it's been working fine for more than 2 years now.
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