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  1. #1
    WS Lounge VIP Coochin's Avatar
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    HP All-InOne PC Problems

    FYI and comment.

    Today I attended a customer who has an HP All-In-One Win8 -> 8.1 PC model# 20-b021a.

    AFAIK the customer purchased the PC about February 2013.

    The customer's problem today was that after the PC was powered on Win8 repeatedly ran "automatically repairing your computer" etc.

    With some trouble I was able to enter "advanced options" and attempted to boot to Safe Mode but w/o success (it just went back to "automatically repairing your computer" etc. I then re-entered "advanced options", went to "command prompt" and attempted to run a chkdsk scan on the Windows partition but chkdsk halted w/ "cannot lock drive" error.

    I decided to back up the customer's files before going further, so pulled the back off the All-In-One to get access to the HDD. Lo and behold the SATA cable leading from the motherboard to the HDD connector is kinked and cracked with copper wires visible. The cable is kinked w/ radius about 4mm, so it is no wonder the insulation has split.

    I have since connected the HDD to one of my workbench PCs and run a data-recovery program to backup the customer's files. But there are a collection of folders on the customer's C:\ ("OS") drive which appear to result from chkdsk scans mid-June 2013. One of the sub-folders contains <> 1.5GB of JPG, MP3, and DOC/DOCX files, so that is probably about the time when the SATA cable split it's insulation.

    At this point it seems likely I will have to somehow fit a replacement SATA motherboard-HDD cable, and probably a new HDD.

    Am interested in comments re above?
    Computer Consultant/Technician since 1998 (first PC was Atari 1040STE in 1988).
    Most common computing error is EBKAC: Error Between Keyboard And Chairback
    AMD FX8120 (8-core @ 3.1GHz) CPU, Gigabyte GA-990FXA-D3 motherboard, 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3 1866MHz RAM, ATI-AMD Radeon HD6770 PCI-E VGA, 480GB Kingston SSD, 2TB Seagate SATA3.0 HDD, ASUS DVD/RW.

  2. #2
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    With the bad data cable you may find more problems with data. No doubt the user doesn't have a backup so you are not going to have an easy time.

    cheers, Paul

  3. #3
    Silver Lounger wavy's Avatar
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    The cracked cable may mean that area is getting too hot. All in 1s are cramped by nature.
    David

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  4. #4
    WS Lounge VIP Coochin's Avatar
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    @ PaulT

    Typical customer so no backups, which is why I didn't try too hard before I pulled the HDD out.

    @ wavy

    The PC was running for at least an hour before I pulled the HDD. The motherboard and HDD under sheetmetal covers, both of which were warm but not hot (about normal really). As long as SATA has been around I have understood that SATA cables should not be bent sharper than about 12mm radius.
    Computer Consultant/Technician since 1998 (first PC was Atari 1040STE in 1988).
    Most common computing error is EBKAC: Error Between Keyboard And Chairback
    AMD FX8120 (8-core @ 3.1GHz) CPU, Gigabyte GA-990FXA-D3 motherboard, 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3 1866MHz RAM, ATI-AMD Radeon HD6770 PCI-E VGA, 480GB Kingston SSD, 2TB Seagate SATA3.0 HDD, ASUS DVD/RW.

  5. #5
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    It looks to me like you're dealing with some REALLY cheaply made SATA cables in order to have the insulation split like that.
    I've had cables bent and tied at extreme angles (for years) and not had an issue. Well made cables don't split.
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  6. #6
    WS Lounge VIP Coochin's Avatar
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    @ CLiNT

    Yes, I've often seen SATA cables "bent and tied at extreme angles" before w/o problems. Over the years I have developed fair respect for HP's hardware quality (pity about HP's software quality), but in this case it is quite disappointing.

    Customer has raised warranty questions, so have put the PC aside until the warranty questions are settled.
    Computer Consultant/Technician since 1998 (first PC was Atari 1040STE in 1988).
    Most common computing error is EBKAC: Error Between Keyboard And Chairback
    AMD FX8120 (8-core @ 3.1GHz) CPU, Gigabyte GA-990FXA-D3 motherboard, 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3 1866MHz RAM, ATI-AMD Radeon HD6770 PCI-E VGA, 480GB Kingston SSD, 2TB Seagate SATA3.0 HDD, ASUS DVD/RW.

  7. #7
    WS Lounge VIP Coochin's Avatar
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    Have looked up the PC's warranty status on HP's Support website; warranty expired June 2014. Phoned cust. about this and she confirmed that she had checked her records which agree w/ June 2014. So will have to find a suitable SATA cable and maybe do some soldering on the power connector wires to get it working w/o HP's HDD connector block.
    Computer Consultant/Technician since 1998 (first PC was Atari 1040STE in 1988).
    Most common computing error is EBKAC: Error Between Keyboard And Chairback
    AMD FX8120 (8-core @ 3.1GHz) CPU, Gigabyte GA-990FXA-D3 motherboard, 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3 1866MHz RAM, ATI-AMD Radeon HD6770 PCI-E VGA, 480GB Kingston SSD, 2TB Seagate SATA3.0 HDD, ASUS DVD/RW.

  8. #8
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    Sound like you got a tad bit more than you bargained for.
    Good luck on the fix.
    DRIVE IMAGING
    Invest a little time and energy in a well thought out BACKUP regimen and you will have minimal down time, and headache.

    Build your own system; get everything you want and nothing you don't.
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  9. #9
    WS Lounge VIP Coochin's Avatar
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    I found a suitable SATA cable, and removed HP's HDD connector block. The HDD is powered from a socket on the motherboard, so cut the four power wires from the connector block and soldered them to an ordinary SATA HDD power plug.

    So it is working, but have had to clean-install Win8.1 to a new 500GB Seagate HDD. BootIt Bare Metal and ActiveFileRecovery both reported that the original 500GB WD HDD has 127 bad sectors on the Windows partition, which probably has to do with the "chkdsk found" folders noted in my #1 post.
    Computer Consultant/Technician since 1998 (first PC was Atari 1040STE in 1988).
    Most common computing error is EBKAC: Error Between Keyboard And Chairback
    AMD FX8120 (8-core @ 3.1GHz) CPU, Gigabyte GA-990FXA-D3 motherboard, 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3 1866MHz RAM, ATI-AMD Radeon HD6770 PCI-E VGA, 480GB Kingston SSD, 2TB Seagate SATA3.0 HDD, ASUS DVD/RW.

  10. #10
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    Bad sectors and a knackered cable, which came first or were they unrelated? It may be that the SATA cable was working OK, albeit with degraded performance, and the disk was on it's way out. Did you check the SMART?

    cheers, Paul

  11. #11
    WS Lounge VIP Coochin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul T View Post
    ...Did you check the SMART?...
    No SMART errors.

    Can only guess whether the "knackered cable" caused the 127 bad sectors. Just seems too much of a coincidence.

    I tried to create a backup image of the HDD, but the 127 bad sectors caused a "might result in data loss" warning/error so I backed off. Thought it better to fit a new HDD rather than losing future ability to recover files (if necessary) off the old HDD.

    Whatever - I might have been able to rescue the WD HDD by "wiping" it and re-installing 8.1, but I thought it better to keep the option of future file recovery in case I missed something when I backed up the customer's data. Also, I tend to mistrust HDDs that have bad sectors, especially when it comes to re-installing Windows.
    Computer Consultant/Technician since 1998 (first PC was Atari 1040STE in 1988).
    Most common computing error is EBKAC: Error Between Keyboard And Chairback
    AMD FX8120 (8-core @ 3.1GHz) CPU, Gigabyte GA-990FXA-D3 motherboard, 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3 1866MHz RAM, ATI-AMD Radeon HD6770 PCI-E VGA, 480GB Kingston SSD, 2TB Seagate SATA3.0 HDD, ASUS DVD/RW.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coochin View Post
    I tend to mistrust HDDs that have bad sectors
    Very sensible IME.

    cheers, Paul

  13. #13
    WS Lounge VIP Coochin's Avatar
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    Installed Win8.1 on a new HDD, installed all available WU patches, installed needed programs including MS Office Pro 2003, set up her four email accounts in Outlook 2003. Everything seemed to be working well.

    But a couple of days later the customer complained that a few newer HTML emails were incorrectly displaying as text-only in Outlook 2003. I called on her and checked out the problem and found that Office 2003 didn't have Service Pack 2 installed. I knew I have a DVD at home with the 2003 service packs, so told her I would return and install SP2.

    When I returned a couple of days later to install the SP the customer told me a friend had offered to help with the HTML email display problem in Outlook. When I investigated I found that her friend had installed "SpyHunter" (see the #3 post in this bleepingcomputer.com forum thread), which seems to have also installed hidden "extras". One of those "extras" is "Zip Opener".

    So the upshot of the above is that I am not inclined to waste time cleaning malware off a newly-installed system, so will have to re-do the clean install. The customer realises that it is her own fault for allowing her friend to mess with her PC.

    Edit: I have added a new thread under "Security and Scams" at Caution: "SpyHunter" and "Zip Opener" for the "SpyHunter" and "Zip Opener" issue.
    Last edited by Coochin; 2015-03-04 at 22:54. Reason: add link to new thread
    Computer Consultant/Technician since 1998 (first PC was Atari 1040STE in 1988).
    Most common computing error is EBKAC: Error Between Keyboard And Chairback
    AMD FX8120 (8-core @ 3.1GHz) CPU, Gigabyte GA-990FXA-D3 motherboard, 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3 1866MHz RAM, ATI-AMD Radeon HD6770 PCI-E VGA, 480GB Kingston SSD, 2TB Seagate SATA3.0 HDD, ASUS DVD/RW.

  14. #14
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    I wonder why it is that "a bloke I met in the pub" knows more about computers (about anything) than the professional who just fixed your PC?

    cheers, Paul

  15. #15
    WS Lounge VIP Coochin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul T View Post
    I wonder why it is that "a bloke I met in the pub" knows more about computers (about anything) than the professional who just fixed your PC?...
    So many of my elderly customers complain "the computer was working fine until the grandkids stayed the weekend". A lot like "a bloke I met in the pub". How does it go? oh yeah "fools rush in where angels fear to tread".
    Computer Consultant/Technician since 1998 (first PC was Atari 1040STE in 1988).
    Most common computing error is EBKAC: Error Between Keyboard And Chairback
    AMD FX8120 (8-core @ 3.1GHz) CPU, Gigabyte GA-990FXA-D3 motherboard, 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3 1866MHz RAM, ATI-AMD Radeon HD6770 PCI-E VGA, 480GB Kingston SSD, 2TB Seagate SATA3.0 HDD, ASUS DVD/RW.

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