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  1. #1
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    Question Question on results of drive-health scans: HP PC; Windows 7 SP1

    Hi Helpers,

    This is a corollary to what's been discussed in http://windowssecrets.com/forums/sho...nal-hard-drive.

    The health of internal hard drive in my HP PC has been looking scary according to Hard Disk Sentinel. It rates the health currently at 68%, a number that has been falling every few days from its high August 1 of 97% (where it had been since I first loaded the Sentinel trial). It is still gives it a "good". Results also say:
    There are 22 bad sectors on the disk surface. The contents of these sectors were moved to the spare area.
    Based on the number of remapping operations, the health of the disk was decreased in different steps.
    At this point, warranty replacement of the disk is not yet possible, only if the health drops further.

    The increasing number of bad sectors matches the lowering score. The S.M.A.R.T. score seems to be okay as far as I can tell.

    I was advised to check with the disk manufacturer re. S.M.A.R.T. and what analytic tool the manufacturer recommends. Doing so, I discovered that my SATA disk drive was manufactured by Seagate. Seagate likes to use SeaTools and suggests other tools might not give relevant information. When downloaded and run, that program gives my drive a "pass" on S.M.A.R.T. and offers no warnings.

    So, what's the verdict according to the Loungers who know about these things? Do I focus on SeaTools with daily checks or pay attention to HD Sentinel? Or is there another suggestion?

    Also:
    • can I do something about the bad sectors to make them good?
    • we get a lot of power surges and outages (Florida!); the PC is on battery backup, but could the surges cause the bad sectors?

    A lot of questions and information, but wanted to give you as much as I could to go on.

    Thanks for any advice you can offer!

    Linda

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  3. #2
    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IreneLinda View Post
    It rates the health currently at 68%, a number that has been falling every few days from its high August 1 of 97%
    Linda,

    Falling every few days? I'd order a new disk now so you have it when you need it, use the warranty replacement as a spare or additional drive. Keep an up-to-date Image and secondary backup of your data JIC!
    May the Forces of good computing be with you!

    RG

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  4. #3
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    I was kind of afraid of that. Have never bought an internal hard drive before. Can you suggest a link for info on how to do so? Or do I just check out the HP site for my computer model?

    Thanks for your response - and for its speed!

    Linda

    P.S. Will create another image this week. Data is all backed up in the cloud (Mozy). Is that enough?

  5. #4
    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    Linda,

    Any bare drive will do as long as it has the same interface type, e.g. IDE (Large Ribbon Cable) or SATA (small flat cable).
    Most likely you'll want a 3.5" drive for your desktop. Since you mention in your OP that you have SATA you could also consider an SSD from Crucial (my favorite as I just put one in my laptop) if you go this route you may also need to purchase a bracket to fit the 2.5" SSD into a 3.5" drive slot in your case unless your case also has 2.5" drive slots.
    I'm personally fond of Western Digital drives but others have other preferences. Try sites like Amazon, NewEgg, Tiger Direct, etc.
    Decide on a drive and then shop price. Good Luck.
    May the Forces of good computing be with you!

    RG

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  6. #5
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    Wonderful information! Thank you. When I work up the nerve to open my PC's case (to clean it with compressed air), I'll see what drive is there. I'm pretty sure there is room for a second one as well. If not, thanks to "health of hard drive" thread responses, I know I can use the warranty one as a "plain Jane" for backups.

    Have to back burner it for a few days, but will post with results.

    Linda

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    Being too nervous to open the case and look inside to determine size and needed specs, I found the product number of my current drive in Hard Disk Sentinel info and searched on Google.

    Will the drives that showed up be what I need in terms of fit? They vary in GB size and MB cache size. All are 3.5" and made by Seagate, manufacturer of current HP drive.

    Can I add as much memory as I want or does that depend on other things in my PC setup?

    As for Crucial SSDs, I researched them, too, and they sure get fantastic reviews. They are much more expensive (a consideration). Do you think they justify the price? I have a surface knowledge only of SSDs, as we didn't have any so I have spent little research time on them.

    Extra Info: Did some "comparison searches" on SSD vs. HDD right after posting. Appears that HDD has more capacity, at cheaper price than SSD and that speed issue won't be huge factor for our business use so it looks as if the HDD will be fine, given its price right now.

    I'm going to get someone else to install it when it's time as I don't want to mess around in my PC's innards, but want to have a new drive on hand as suggested. The number of bad sectors is up to 26, but the S.M.A.R.T. Vendor Specific values are all well within range. Sheesh!

    Feedback welcome on this new series of questions!

    Thanks,

    Linda
    Last edited by IreneLinda; 2012-09-22 at 15:12. Reason: Added extra info

  8. #7
    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    Linda,

    There are some limits on the size of the HDD based on the age of your system and its BIOS. If it's less than 3-4 years old and you stay under 2GB you shouldn't have any problems.
    May the Forces of good computing be with you!

    RG

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    Laptop Specs


  9. #8
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    So, what's the verdict according to the Loungers who know about these things? Do I focus on SeaTools with daily checks or pay attention to HD Sentinel? Or is there another suggestion?

    Also:
    • can I do something about the bad sectors to make them good?
    • we get a lot of power surges and outages (Florida!); the PC is on battery backup, but could the surges cause the bad sectors?
    *Bad sectors themselves are not a major issue unless they occupy an area on the drive where an important peice of data is located.
    SMART will automatically relocate data away from bad sectors. But if you are seeing a trend to more and more bad sectors in a short period
    of time, a replacement of the drive would be prudent at some point.
    *You might also try running checkdisk with the "R" switch enabled. I doubt it will fix anything but it's worth a try in any event.
    *Your unlikely to have had bad sectors created as a result of surge protector that is functional and reliable, not to mention
    one with working battery that can allow you to turn your computer off properly in the event of a power outage.
    (If you live in an area where power outages are frequent, ensure your battery and surge protector is of high quality and in tip top working order)

    I would get a new drive, as RG recommends, and have an up-to-date image ready to go when needed for restoring to the new drive.
    Have the drive replaced by someone who is familiar and comfortable with doing so if you are not, stay and watch if able.
    (This will be one of your best reasons for creating a bootable recovery disk).

    For a new HDD I would recommend a drive that has 7200-10,000 rpm as a minimal speed, and keep the size down to 150-300 GB.
    An SSD would be preferable, but if cost is a major factor then the above will do fine.

    Avoid using large capacity HDD like the 1 or 2 TB drives for the primary boot drive. Go for smaller and faster boot drives and
    purchase an extra large capacity internal drive (1-2 TB) for your storage needs.
    (The rational for the use of smaller faster drives for your primary boot drive would be to restrict one from placing all their eggs into
    on basket in the event of a failure. Alway keep images, as well as important data, stored on a different drive than the primary boot drive
    ).

    I'm going to get someone else to install it when it's time as I don't want to mess around in my PC's innards, but want to have a new drive on hand as suggested. The number of bad sectors is up to 26, but the S.M.A.R.T. Vendor Specific values are all well within range. Sheesh!
    For as long as SMART is able to realocate those bad sectors on the drive you will have a working drive. But as you have been observing trends toward more and more bad sectors it would be highly prudent to replace the drive now.


    I've recently replaced several drives, one of which failed outright without warning (OCZ SSD boot drive), one that was on the verge of failing with serious raw read errors (2 TB storage), and several that where more than 5 years old that showed dimminished health and performance.
    Last edited by CLiNT; 2012-09-22 at 23:56.
    DRIVE IMAGING
    Invest a little time and energy in a well thought out BACKUP regimen and you will have minimal down time, and headache.

    Windows 8.1, 64 bit
    Motherboard: DX58SO2*Chipset: X58 Express/Intel ICH10*BIOS: SOX5820J.86A.0888.2012.0129.2203*Processor: Intel Core i7 CPU X 990
    GPU: Nvidia GTX 580*Memory: Corsair 12 GB, 4x3@1600*PSU: Corsair HX1000*Hard drives: REVO X2 160GB*OCZ VERT X3 120GB*5 mechanical storage drives (12 TB) total.

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    All hard disc drives can have low level formats (NOT the normal FORMAT your are used to) done to them given you have the correct software for IDE and SATA available, and SCSI drives (all that I ever use) have a built-in routine in the Controller's BIOS that can perform a low-leveling (DESTROYS EVERY BIT OF DATA ON THE DRIVE and is far more deadly to data than a common wipe or high level format) of the discs. Low leveling the drive re-magnetizes every sector and will fail out the sectors it can not do correctly using a read-after format routine, but it can usually recover a good percentage of the bad ones so designated by high level routines such as SMART, format routines etc. unless the media is physically damaged. Good drives can last a very long time, 5-10 years or more, IF power is maintained and they are normally run 24/7, however the magnetization does wear out on sectors that are not rewritten very often and sectors can start failing out due to this loss, and after a routine backup, or imaging or whatever should be done, then a low-level format is accomplished to renew the media and bad sectors do come back and re-reads pretty much go away once the data is reloaded to the newly re-magnetized media. High Level Format routines do not access the previously mapped out sectors at all so no recovery can be done using these routines. Hope this helps. As to SSD drives, they seem to have finite write issues so good luck with them. Additionally, I would recommend a small, say 40-60 GB boot drive that runs at 10K or 15K rpm for the fastest system boot times. Data drive size and speed is usually not as critical to machine operation unless you do a lot of video editing, or the like.
    Last edited by mpioso; 2012-09-27 at 01:38.

  11. #10
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    Sorry I haven't responded: for some reason the email notification didn't work! Missed a whole lot of detailed information - thanks for it!

    First, update: Hard Disk Sentinel reports Performance is Excellent, but Health is now Fair, 50%!!

    From what mpioso said, it looks as if I can "fix" the current drive once all its data is safely stored on the new one. One question:
    Good drives can last a very long time, 5-10 years or more, IF power is maintained and they are normally run 24/7
    I use the PC every day but religiously turn it off every night. Has that adversely affected its health?

    Clint, what terrific answers! I really appreciate how much time you took to answer all my concerns.

    Before I purchase the new drive, another question:
    • I have checked some of the recommended on-line sites, but the specifications totally overwhelm me and I don't want to make a mistake.
    • because of this technical intimidation,am I better to go to a computer supply store to get help on what to buy?
    • or can we work it out here?

    Here's what I can find out about current hard drive"

    • Belarc Advisor info - C: (NTFS on drive 0);987.13 GB; 912.05 GB free?
    • PC Wizard: Hard Disk: Seagate ST310005 28AS SATA Disk Device (1000GB)

    Okay. That's it for now. Again, sorry for not replying to your great responses earlier!

    Linda

  12. #11
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    If your computer is within 2-3 years old, check out these drives;
    Primary HDD
    Internal Storage Drive

    The above are very decently priced drives from newegg.
    Just make sure you have a couple of SATA cables handy.
    12-200-932-Z02.jpg

    SATA Cable


    If your unsure of your hard drive compatabilities, give us the make and model plus year of purchase and we'll
    check compatibilities for you.
    DRIVE IMAGING
    Invest a little time and energy in a well thought out BACKUP regimen and you will have minimal down time, and headache.

    Windows 8.1, 64 bit
    Motherboard: DX58SO2*Chipset: X58 Express/Intel ICH10*BIOS: SOX5820J.86A.0888.2012.0129.2203*Processor: Intel Core i7 CPU X 990
    GPU: Nvidia GTX 580*Memory: Corsair 12 GB, 4x3@1600*PSU: Corsair HX1000*Hard drives: REVO X2 160GB*OCZ VERT X3 120GB*5 mechanical storage drives (12 TB) total.

  13. #12
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    Wonderful, Clint, thank you! Having never seen a SATA cable before, I really appreciated the image. Checked out both drive links, but am not sure which "specs" would be better for my PC. Here is the information on computer:
    Purchased: December 8, 2010
    HP Pavilion P6620F Desktop Computer
    AMD Phenon II quad-core processor (?)
    6 GB Memory; 1 TB hard drive
    Windows 7 Home Premium (upgraded now to SP1 - with Lounge help!)

    Let me know if you need any further info and I'll dig it up.

    Again, many, many thanks!

    Linda

    P.S. Your advice: "Avoid using large capacity HDD like the 1 or 2 TB drives for the primary boot drive. Go for smaller and faster boot drives and purchase an extra large capacity internal drive (1-2 TB) for your storage needs." I noticed my internal drive was a 1TB one; never had a second internal one; have used an external for backups and now use cloud storage, too.

  14. #13
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    You've got the internal SATA ports, and you have the space (drive bays) for an extra hard drive.
    It's an added bit of backup security having an extra internal drive.
    Just ensure your OS is installed on the smaller faster drive if you go this route.



    HP Pavilion p6620f Desktop PC Product Specifications
    DRIVE IMAGING
    Invest a little time and energy in a well thought out BACKUP regimen and you will have minimal down time, and headache.

    Windows 8.1, 64 bit
    Motherboard: DX58SO2*Chipset: X58 Express/Intel ICH10*BIOS: SOX5820J.86A.0888.2012.0129.2203*Processor: Intel Core i7 CPU X 990
    GPU: Nvidia GTX 580*Memory: Corsair 12 GB, 4x3@1600*PSU: Corsair HX1000*Hard drives: REVO X2 160GB*OCZ VERT X3 120GB*5 mechanical storage drives (12 TB) total.

  15. #14
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    Thanks for the link to the detailed specs for my machine.

    I think I've got it. To be sure I do, here's my understanding:
    • either drive linked to in October 9 post can be used in this PC
    • I could install it as a backup drive
    • to do so, need to order 1 or 2 SATA cables as well
    • if I do, use it for OS and keep current 1 TB drive as backup (a good idea since it has a 50% health rating)
    • other option is one talked about earlier: buy needed hardware and hold until necessary, backing up faithfully elsewhere all the while.

    Have I got it?

    If so, I'll go ahead, order from newegg, check this off the list and stop worrying- about it it not to mention worrying the Lounge!

    I really appreciate your walking me through this unfamiliar issue - and giving me the confidence to go ahead!

    Linda

  16. #15
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    Just got back to this ... went to order the internal WD drive, but got stumped at the SATA cable ... there were so many listed when I searched newegg and I couldn't find the one you pictured.

    Can you tell me how to determine which SATA cable to purchase to be able to install the new HDD in the PC?

    Sorry for needing still more help!

    Linda

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