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UltimateSilence

Compatible disk diagnostic tools

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Hello,

I am looking for a compatible disk diagnostic tool(s) for Windows 98SE ( :wub: ). I am aware of ScanDisk and I have already run a full scan in DOS; no errors were found. But for some reason, I hear this "click" every few minutes, and I just want to be sure.

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Hello,

I am looking for a compatible disk diagnostic tool(s) for Windows 98SE ( :wub: ). I am aware of ScanDisk and I have already run a full scan in DOS; no errors were found. But for some reason, I hear this "click" every few minutes, and I just want to be sure.

You hear a click every few minutes? Backup and replace the disk ASAP.

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Hello,

I am looking for a compatible disk diagnostic tool(s) for Windows 98SE ( :wub: ). I am aware of ScanDisk and I have already run a full scan in DOS; no errors were found. But for some reason, I hear this "click" every few minutes, and I just want to be sure.

You hear a click every few minutes? Backup and replace the disk ASAP.

I'm not even sure if it's the disk making the noise... :ph34r:

If there is a problem, wouldn't ScanDisk have 'found' anything?

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If there is a problem, wouldn't ScanDisk have 'found' anything?

Not necessarily, scandisk (or Norton Disk Doctor) will only find bad sectors (in surface scan mode) and a disk may fail without having any bad sectors.

And to answer your initial question, you may check you drive SMART values with software such as SmartUDM or Victoria which may or may not indicate a problem with your drive, but here again, a drive may fail without any SMART value being "in the red".

Beyond that, there is nothing you can check AFAIK and my best advice, again, if the clicks come indeed from the drive, is to back it up and replace it ASAP.

Edited by loblo
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Get the UBCD and use the appropriate Manufacturer testing tools for your hard disk:

http://www.ultimatebootcd.com/

briefly, scandisk, disk doctor and the like are at a "higher" logical level.

The "click (if any) comes from a "lower" physical level that only the Manufacturer tools (and some third party that you should NOT attempt using for the moment, such as mhdd, Victoria, hdat2 and the like ) can access/inspect/verify/diagnose.

Before ANYHTING else, procure yourself another disk and image the one that is presumably clicking.

jaclaz

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I had been living with clicking HDD for two years before it actually died. Clicking sound does not mean that your drive will die very soon. And before drive died, things become even worse, it started to hang my system for several seconds after click. Though I'd back up all important files from the drive in your case. One of my three HDDs started to click recently. However SMART (PC Wizard) shows drive health over 70%, and it is not degrading rapidly, so I don't care about it for now. Hope that it will live at least for two more years :). Besides, I suppose, it may be caused by starting/stopping the drive, as it is not my system drive, and I have recently disabled pagefile on it, so may be it's just because it is powered off sometimes after 30 min no access.

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I had been living with clicking HDD for two years before it actually died. Clicking sound does not mean that your drive will die very soon.

I have been driving a pickup with a 4 (four) cylinder engine where only 3 (three) actually got ignition, eventually the engine jammed, what gives? :w00t:

OF COURSE a clicking HDD is trying in the best way it can to tell you that it is gonna die soon, with the exception of a few models that produced a noisy click when parking heads on the ramp.(nowadays very few disks use a parking ramp).

Of course it depends on a case by case basis, I have really OLD disks that were clicking because they had developed some bad sectors areas, by simply re-partitioning them in such a way to avoid the bad areas they stopped clicking and lasted several years, but the clicking (with the exception mentioned) is a sort of warning that should make you aware that there are *some* issues (and of course you are perfectly free to ignore this alarm bell)

However SMART (PC Wizard) shows drive health over 70%, and it is not degrading rapidly, so I don't care about it for now.

Well, there is nothing as deceiving as SMART status, more or less it means "nothing".

Strangely enough, we have an actual good report from Google (now severely dated):

http://research.google.com/archive/disk_failures.pdf

That amounts (summed up) to:

  • if SMART status says that a disk is going bad, it is going bad
  • if SMART status says that a disk is good, it may be actually good or fail tomorrow (you can flip a coin and have the same level of accuracy) :ph34r:

Please also note that any "new generation" of hard disks may behave in several ways differently from a previous one. :(

jaclaz

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This is a bit late, but here goes anyway just in case --

I use and recommend Steve Gibson's SpinRite. Notwithstanding some scattered grousing to the contrary around the Web, this little program has repaired two hard disks for me; it might do the same for you. If nothing else, if the disk is ready to kick the bucket, it could patch things up for long enough to get the data off it.

It's not freeware and it's not cheap ($89), but it sure has worked for me.

Another possibility: the DEKSI Hard Disk Manager won't cure your HDD, but it will give you a fairly extensive diagnostic report. It's even more expensive to buy, but it does come with a 30-day trial period which is all you need if a crisis is impending. Works on every PC I've tried it on, including my Win98FE system, and it's brand-agnostic.

Good luck!

--JorgeA

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I would first take the HDD out of the computer and power it up on a bench with a standalone power supply. Now you can hear whether it really clicks and in what pattern. It is entirely possible that a case fan is unbalanced or covered with dust or has hair in the innards and makes a similar noise.

If the standalone HDD really does click, the next step is to immediately mount it in another computer as a slave and duplicate it or copy the files you want to keep. This should be done BEFORE running any software that purports to fix the HDD ( and believe me, this is very controversial ). Treat it like its days are numbered, because most likely it is failing. The best thing you can hope for is that it is having difficulty recalibrating or it is relocating damaged sectors, neither of which is something to be too thankful for. Exactly as Jaclaz mentioned, forget SMART. If it says failing, take note. If it says healthy, it might be right, it might be wrong. A coin toss to be sure.

FWIW, I find that adding a 120mm case fan directly in front of the HDDs extends the lifetime dramatically. It does this by aiding cooling and keeping the temp extremely low, and it reduces accumulating dust which can also increase temp and even plug the breather hole(s) on the HDD unit itself. Note that even with a blasting fan they still attract some dust so it pays to clean them from time to time.

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