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Hardware - Disk Drive and/or Fan struggling and testing

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Okay, something is making unhappy noises, either the HD or the fan. That means I have to do something about it at something faster than a glacial pace!


First question.

I have twin drives - is it possible for someone like Geek Squad (or does anyone prefer Staples tech? Other?) to do a bit for bit copy of the data over, swap drives, and then swap the letters? That's the ignorant layman's guess of what "common sense" should be. After a little preventative copying, I literally have nothing at all on the second drive.

Unfortunately it's still too early for a big exploration into Windows 10. I am feeling like I need to "punt" and use my second drive if necessary. Of course, I don't think I need a second license, it's just a hardware switch, and if the other one is indeed fried, then well, "so long and thanks for all the data served for eight years!"

This will be a bit of an unruly thread, as I stumble through some of my tests, some of yours, and sometimes astound you with how fast Newbies can generate Blank Looks That Want to Make You Cry (TM).

(Though a few initial drive tests look okay, so if it's just a fan, ... get a fan! Sure!)

Edit: I'm def thinking fan, because it's back to normal. This is at least the third time I've seen this "pair", except I noted it but forgot about it last time.

I have Speedfan and CPUID HW Monitor. I do notice it seems now that the fan is behaving, the CPU temp seems to be going down.

(Edit 2 - it's back to being feisty.)

first two step to perform:
backup all important data to external drive.
open the case and see if you can figure out what's making the noise.

Could you better describe the unhappy noises?

A high pitched whine sort of sound ("eeeeeeee") usually means a spindle is starting to seize. That could either be a fan or a disk. Steady rattling sorts of sounds can often be a fan.

Clunky mechanical noises - especially a sound like a marble being dropped in a small glass ("kah-plonk-kah-plonk") or distinct repeated bursts of clicking usually mean a drive is on its way out.

Either way I'd follow Mouser's suggestion and copy everything you want onto an external drive pronto. Once your stuff is in a safe place you can start to fix the problem.

You also don't need an outside tech. You can create a system restore image from within Windows along with a boot floppy or USB key. Create those and just restore your machine to a new hard drive if that's what's needed. But copy off your data first.

Fan test are simple : when the PC  is active (but hardly doing anything!) simply block the fan you suspect is making the noise for a second. if the noise stops immediately, you have the fan in need of replacement.

Turn the PC off an look how this fan is oriented and wired up (take photos if need be) and unscrew it from it's location, take the fan to a store where you can buy PC parts and ask them to get a similar one (exactly!). Put the replacement fan back (now the photos you took earlier could be of help) and activate your PC to verify it works without noise. When it does, close the case again , turn the PC back on again and pat yourself on the back for the repair job you have completed.

Computers do attract a lot of dust, so it might be a good idea to remove the dust from fans and computer parts.

It could be that the fan inside your power supply is making the noise. If the back of your power supply consist of evenly spaced holes, chances are that you have a model that has the fan on the bottom of the power supply. Get a professional to check and/or replace this fan...or spring for a new power supply. This model is usually more expensive (but worth the money!)

However, if you have a power supply that has a set of holes forming a circle on the back, than you have a model with the fan on the back. When the power supply is active, press on the metal in the center of this circle. If the noise changed or went away, it is likely this fan is giving problems. If you want to replace the fan, get a professional to do this. Usually it is easier to get a replacement as they are relatively cheap (even here in Paraguay this model (500W) costs around 10 USD).

In any case, always check/remember how all connectors are connected before you disconnect any of them. That makes it easier when reconnecting. Well, it isn't hard and most connectors are shaped in such a manner that they fit in one way only, without the use of force. Still, if you are unsure, photos can be of help.

As a general rule, if you want to use force to disconnect/reconnect anything inside a PC, you are doing it wrong!

Cloning a hard disk (bit-for-bit copy) to a different hard disk isn't difficult, but requires attention to detail. First, write down all info (brand, model, serial) of each drive you plan to use for cloning (pen and paper). Identify which is the Source hard disk and make sure you know the info of this drive by heart. The other drive will automatically be the Destination.

Doing a bit-for-bit copy means that any data that exists on the Destination will be overwritten, so back this up first, if you want to keep it!

There exist a lot of software (free/commercial) to clone a hard disk. I'm personally fond of 'Miramay HDClone', 'MiniTool Partition Wizard' and 'Eassos Partition Guru' that order. HDClone lets you boot from CD or pendrive, select the Source and Destination and start the cloning. Depending on the size & speeds of the hard disks and the version of HDClone you use (the free one is the slowest) this can take time. Please use the available SATA connectors on your motherboard to connect the hard disks, any other way diminishes the chance of creating a successful clone significantly.

Don't expect free software to be able to clone a bigger Source to a smaller Destination, for example a 2TByte Source (bigger) to a 1.5TByte Destination (smaller). The Source and Destination must at least be the same size or the Destination has to be bigger.

When this operation is finished, turn the PC off (completely), disconnect the Source hard disk (completely) and start your PC again. If the system boots and everything is working like you expect, it is safe to assume the cloning operation was a success. Turn off the PC again, remove the Source and keep it in a safe & dry place, preferably in an anti-static bag. This way you still have a fall-back if after a month of using the clone you are not satisfied with the clone. To be really complete, mark the Source with a label stating its purpose and why + when you took it out as a reference. Just make sure you don't cover any hole on the hard disk.

first two step to perform:
backup all important data to external drive.
open the case and see if you can figure out what's making the noise.
-mouser (December 08, 2014, 05:10 AM)
--- End quote ---

Incidentally I have been putting in little spurts of cleaning in my Apt, so I re-located my external drive. "Important" might be a bit of a trick to determine, in one sense, but not the other - I keep darn near every important non-program piece of data "above" the desktop - desktop/a/b/c/d/e/f/g or whatever. Not exactly expecting this reason, but it works, I have resisted a broad tendency of Windows programs to stuff things in to "My" this or that.

C/Documents/MyCody/Hymns of Bird Praise/ etc.

Also, I don't really think I have all that much more "important" data than the 160 Gig drive, if I really push myself to let a few huge things go. A quick test is "what can I just re-do with a memo note".

The big eater is the installed programs. (Brainstorming) I can't just blindly read "C/Progs" because the folders tend to have names like MouserSoft/ a b c

Maybe a dir read on whatever populates the Start menu? Then (with laborious work) I could re-install most of the stuff I actually cared about. (Though I'll miss the fact that it's already here.)

That's another reason I wanted to ask about a bit-bit copy and just flip drives. But right now I think I can live with a 160 Gig drive and a raw list of what used to be in Programs.


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