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Last post Author Topic: Something on computer is fubar  (Read 23052 times)

4wd

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Re: Something on computer is fubar
« Reply #25 on: January 05, 2010, 04:28:09 AM »
@cmpm: Been there, done that :)

Besides, I've changed network config so that both of my computers are now networked via a Gb switch and are then plugged into a single port on the modem/router - the other computer that's on 24/7/365 has no problems at all and neither does another that's connected via the routers wifi - it's just something that affects my work/game rig and it does it even with no network cable attached.

@nite_monkey: If I might enquire, can you tell me what manufacturers the HDDs in your computer are?

I think I've found another lead to follow and it's possibly bearing some fruit on my rig.

nite_monkey

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Re: Something on computer is fubar
« Reply #26 on: January 05, 2010, 11:43:16 PM »
My main drive (which might be the culprit) is by hitachi
My backup drive (which I have no problems with that I know of) is a WD
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4wd

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Re: Something on computer is fubar
« Reply #27 on: January 06, 2010, 06:33:22 PM »
I completely pulled apart, (CPU, RAM, HDD, motherboard, PSU - everything), and rebuilt the computer from scratch removing any contamination, (dust, etc), as I went - made no change.

My drives consist of: 2 Samsung 1TB, WD 640, WD 750 and WD 1TB.

I found this thread which describes a problem similar to what I'm experiencing, (except I don't get any noises from the drives).

So, having added a Seagate 1.5TB so I could get the data off of my HDDs, I thought I'd give it a try - low level format every drive in turn using the appropriate manufacturers util.

Watching Win7s' Resource Monitor Disk Activity, I see when it happens that the Response Time blows out to 1-3 seconds on access on only 2 of my HDDs, (WD 640 and WD 1TB), even though another HDD is in use, (Samsung 1TB), it's access times are normal.  The WD 640 just happens to be my system drive and the WD 1TB is where the portable apps I use are located - so I think those two are next for the low level format.

Maybe that's why I see it most when using Firefox, all that caching of small files just happens to make it more likely to hit a defect on a HDD.

Maybe something to try if you have somewhere to shift data to - took 4.5 hours to low level format one of the Samsungs.
« Last Edit: January 06, 2010, 06:36:14 PM by 4wd »

4wd

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Re: Something on computer is fubar
« Reply #28 on: January 09, 2010, 11:01:26 AM »
Well, after error checking the the two WDs using their own tool they both reported as being OK, (a few hours later).

So, both HDDs then got full formatted, (not quick formatted), and Win7HP installed on the WD 640 no problems until..............I plugged the WD 1TB, (newly mindwiped), back in and started copying things to it.

The freezes returned, so out came the 1TB and the system began behaving normally.

So, even after a few formats, error checking, etc, etc which all reported OK, the drive has some bad blocks somewhere, possibly the firmware has gone buggy or it just may be a firmware incompatibility with the new motherboard.

Bit annoying, now to dig out a receipt and see who I got it from since it's only about 3 months old.

cranioscopical

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Re: Something on computer is fubar
« Reply #29 on: January 09, 2010, 03:54:36 PM »
Quote
Well, after error checking the the two WDs using their own tool they both reported as being OK, (a few hours later).
So, even after a few formats, error checking, etc, etc which all reported OK, the drive has some bad blocks somewhere, possibly the firmware has gone buggy or it just may be a firmware incompatibility with the new motherboard.
Glad to see that you found the source of your problem.  :up: :up:
Tools from WD have passed as A-OK a couple of WD's of mine that proceeded to fail (what seemed like just) moments later.

I don't think I'd have had the patience to track down your problem. Out of sheer frustration I'd probably have kicked the entire machine into touch some time back.
On more than one of my boxes, if I have >3 HDs then drive problems seem to occur. Since I run only Windows XP I don't know if that's OS related.

4wd

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Re: Something on computer is fubar
« Reply #30 on: January 09, 2010, 08:50:45 PM »
Well, I have to say that as far as I can remember this is actually the first HDD I've had go faulty on any machine I've had, including my old Amigas - guess my luck had to run out sometime.  Usually I've upgraded the HDD before the old one has reached its 'your screwed' date.

I plugged it into a PCIe SI-3132 card and while it didn't cause the computer to freeze, the transfer rate dropped to <100kB/s during copying - so it's hitting bad blocks somewhere.

I'm just intrigued they aren't being mapped out.  Wish WDs utility had a low level format option.

EDIT: S.M.A.R.T.s Remapped Sectors Count doesn't indicate anything wrong - maybe I'll have a play with MHDD on it.
« Last Edit: January 09, 2010, 09:04:51 PM by 4wd »

cranioscopical

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Re: Something on computer is fubar
« Reply #31 on: January 09, 2010, 11:07:27 PM »
maybe I'll have a play with MHDD on it
You do that and I'll poke myself in the eye with a sharp stick, then we can compare notes on who had the most fun :)

I remember the slightly smug feeling of never having suffered a hard-drive failure. It was nice while it lasted.

Shades

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Re: Something on computer is fubar
« Reply #32 on: January 09, 2010, 11:14:13 PM »
You should, in my environment it detected bad HD's where the original software (Windows-based) didn't find any.

Here I discarded the drives...because they were relatively small sized anyway (and by discard I mean: putting them in box with other broken computer gear). However if you're out of guarantee and want to remap or discard the broken sectors, would you mind telling how the drive behaves afterwards?

4wd

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Re: Something on computer is fubar
« Reply #33 on: January 10, 2010, 04:10:21 AM »
However if you're out of guarantee and want to remap or discard the broken sectors, would you mind telling how the drive behaves afterwards?

I decided to go with the Low Level Format tool at HDDGuru first rather than diving straight in with MHDD.

At the moment the results seem positive, transferring files to it at about 70-90MB/s.

Interesting to note that S.M.A.R.T. doesn't show any indication of sectors being remapped.  So at the moment I'll let it run with volatile data to see how it goes.

As I said, the drive is only around 3 months old so I'm making a guess that possibly the Conficker virus I caught might have glitched it since the two events were coincident.

EDIT: Over 500GB copied to it and it's still working OK.

@nite_monkey: This may help, (or not), determine if the problem is a specific drive.  Open up the Resource Monitor and switch to the Disk tab, in the Disk Activity pane on the left is a column called Response Time.
With that open, start copying files on both drives but only to the same physical drive. eg. If the whole of one drive is C: and the other is E:, then start copy files from C: -> C: and E: -> E:

I found that the response time for one drive would blow out to 3+ seconds when the system would apparently "freeze", (obviously it was hitting bad sectors at this point), whereas other drives would still have significantly lower response times, (unless the transaction also involved the faulty drive).

It helps if you can minimise OS writes during the test period, eg. disable Pagefile if you have enough memory, stop the indexing service, etc, etc.
« Last Edit: January 10, 2010, 06:12:51 PM by 4wd »

f0dder

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Re: Something on computer is fubar
« Reply #34 on: January 10, 2010, 08:12:14 PM »
I decided to go with the Low Level Format tool at HDDGuru first rather than diving straight in with MHDD.
Hmm?

AFAIK there hasn't been such a thing as "low-level format" after MFM drives were phased out... tools claiming to do "low-level format" usually just overwrite every sector with zeroes. Drive capacity is actually somewhat larger than size_of_all_sectors, since there's per-sector error correction and head sync stuff... but unless there's something I haven't been told, you don't have access to that data via ATAPI nor SCSI commands.

Might be possible to reset the bad-sector remap table though, so a "low-level format" could be a combination of that and zero-filling all sectors.
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4wd

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Re: Something on computer is fubar
« Reply #35 on: January 10, 2010, 08:29:53 PM »
AFAIK there hasn't been such a thing as "low-level format" after MFM drives were phased out... tools claiming to do "low-level format" usually just overwrite every sector with zeroes.

Actually, I thought current HDDs, (as in after MFM like you said), just ignored the command completely - didn't know about the sector zeroing but if it works I'm all for it :)

f0dder

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Re: Something on computer is fubar
« Reply #36 on: January 10, 2010, 08:36:08 PM »
The sector zeroing can still make it feel like you're "curing" a drive (and thus imply the sense of low-level format) because it'll kick in sector remapping - this remap only happens on writes, not reads. Dunno if sector remap can be turned off and/or cleared, perhaps I should take a look at the ATAPI specs (are they available for free?) - I'm certain it's possible somehow, but wouldn't be surprised if it's some vendor-specific trickery that might not be available through ATAPI/SCSI.

Sounds weird that S.M.A.R.T doesn't report any remapped sectors, though... Anyway, S.M.A.R.T has always felt like a bit of a failure to me: never really reported anything interesting before the drive was dead, lack of standardization across vendors, lack of proper documentation - especially the fact that you have no idea what the reported values represent, you can only see if they change, and whether they're above/under threshold. Yay.
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nite_monkey

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Re: Something on computer is fubar
« Reply #37 on: January 12, 2010, 10:05:31 AM »
You are not gonna believe this, but I am pretty sure I may have found the culprit that was causing my computer to mess up. I was watching a bunch of youtube videos, and my computer started to freeze up every few seconds. Which is kind of a pattern. If I watch to many videos, my computer starts to freeze. And then what convinced me that this is the problem, is the sound just completely stopped coming out of my computer all together. Then I switched from my pci sound card(the one that just died on me) and I went to my onboard sound card, and my computer pretty much instantly stopped freezing up, because it was still doing the freeze every couple of seconds thing right up until I switched over to my onboard audio. So I believe that the problem was my pci soundcard. I won't be replacing it though, because the card was just an extra that my brother had, and he wasn't using it, so he gave it to me to use.
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f0dder

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Re: Something on computer is fubar
« Reply #38 on: January 12, 2010, 10:30:54 AM »
Dunno if there's much reason not to use onboard audio these days, unless you have high-end gear connected to your machine. Audio quality used to suck, have low output levels and craptons of component noise... but imho audio quality is decent enough these days, I haven't had my SB Audigy PCI card installed for years. Some might claim "But zomg the sound is not accelerated with onboard audio!" - well, can you tell the CPU consumption hit? :). Haven't had any driver problems with onboard audio either for the last bunch of years.
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nite_monkey

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Re: Something on computer is fubar
« Reply #39 on: January 12, 2010, 10:34:44 AM »
lol, well it was a free card(for me, not for my brother) and it was better than my onboard sound, so I figured why not use it, but then it died on me, so I will just stick with onboard now.
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f0dder

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Re: Something on computer is fubar
« Reply #40 on: January 12, 2010, 11:44:06 AM »
lol, well it was a free card(for me, not for my brother) and it was better than my onboard sound, so I figured why not use it, but then it died on me, so I will just stick with onboard now.
Better how, though? :)
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nite_monkey

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Re: Something on computer is fubar
« Reply #41 on: January 12, 2010, 05:19:09 PM »
It was a fairly high end card... though it's main purpose was for music producers.
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f0dder

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Re: Something on computer is fubar
« Reply #42 on: January 13, 2010, 04:05:06 AM »
It was a fairly high end card... though it's main purpose was for music producers.
And then the follow-up question comes: did you use any of those features?

I'm pretty sure the old Audigy card is better than the onboard sound I use now... but considering I don't need the extra in/outputs and I don't run games with EAX support and don't think I can perceive any audible difference (except perhaps the Audigy suffering more from component noise), the card might be better but not offering me any real added value. Just saying :)
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nite_monkey

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Re: Something on computer is fubar
« Reply #43 on: January 13, 2010, 07:32:58 AM »
yeah, I will agree, the card doesn't add any real value to my computer, but the fact that I didn't have to pay for it was the reason that I was using it, and those are the reasons why I don't plan to replace it.
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4wd

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Re: Something on computer is fubar
« Reply #44 on: January 13, 2010, 06:46:04 PM »
Just wondering, possibly a interrupt clash?

Or the slot it's plugged into is sharing interrupts with another card?

Maybe try another slot if you want to keep it otherwise just dump it since, as f0dder has said, onboard audio has come a long way and unless you have really good hearing, (or need the features), you probably wouldn't know the difference.

Good to find the problem though.

nite_monkey

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Re: Something on computer is fubar
« Reply #45 on: January 16, 2010, 05:13:00 PM »
Maybe try another slot if you want to keep it otherwise just dump it
lol, that could be kind of difficult, because my only other pci port is hidden under my behemoth video card. But unless the current pci port the card was plugged into could cause the card to stop sending sound to my speakers, I think the card has died on me.
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Innuendo

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Re: Something on computer is fubar
« Reply #46 on: January 17, 2010, 11:04:45 AM »
Hardware-accelerated audio and EAX are dead. Neither work on Vista or Windows 7. The only reason to go with a dedicated sound card these days is if you need something like ASIO support or if you have an undying hatred & mistrust of all things Realtek. :)

f0dder

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Re: Something on computer is fubar
« Reply #47 on: January 18, 2010, 02:02:23 PM »
Hardware-accelerated audio and EAX are dead. Neither work on Vista or Windows 7.
Yeah, pretty lame move from Microsoft's side. Isn't it supported through OpenAL, though, or is that purely software based?
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