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  1. #1
    Uranium Lounger
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    Reliable Drive Diagnostics (The Click of Death)

    I'm soliciting everyone's opinion on good, in-depth diagnostic software for a fixed drive. Recently, I've been getting the "click of death" from my primary hard drive, a Western Digital 60GB model that's about three years old. WD's diagnostic software found a few bad sectors but otherwise reported a clean bill of health. SMART monitoring also reports no problems in spite of the fact that something is obviously not right. I'm a cynic and don't trust what the software is reporting; I've had a few drives in the past click like this and it usually means that the drive is potentially failing.

    Along with this is a related issue where Device Manager reports that ALL IDE devices in the system are running in Multi-Word DMA Mode 2, which is incorrect for the hard drives - they should be reporting in as UDMA Mode 5. I was suspicious of the onboard controller until I started hearing the click of death.

    Thus, I'm interested in what everyone's opinions are regarding diagnostics, be it software or something entirely different. I'd rather not shoot in the dark and replace the drive if it's not at fault although that's the indication at this point.

    Thanks in advance!
    -Mark

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    Re: Reliable Drive Diagnostics (The Click of Death)

    Joe

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    Re: Reliable Drive Diagnostics (The Click of Death

    No, I haven't, because I (perhaps mistakenly) believed Spinrite to be more of a recovery tool than diagnostics. Even in looking over the online information at Steve Gibson's website, I don't see much emphasis on analysis of impending doom - did I miss something?
    -Mark

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    Re: Reliable Drive Diagnostics (The Click of Death

    I've never used it. I was just going by what I read there also. I believe the primary purpose is data recovery but the first section with the Leo Laporte video made me think it might be something to investigate.

    Joe
    Joe

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    Re: Reliable Drive Diagnostics (The Click of Death

    I have used the earlier versions of SpinRite and I always thought that it was for fixing bad spots within the drive, either by relocating or doing a low-level format of the bad area, so in that aspect it would not be doing any type of data recovery.
    Ed
    "Somebody left the cork out of my lunch." - W. C. Fields

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    Re: Reliable Drive Diagnostics (The Click of Death

    I can now officially state that I have tried SpinRite, and though it's an excellent program in its own right, it's not exactly what I am looking for. It's very much geared towards recovery and maintenance - so Ed's observation still holds true. The program did find a few bad sectors on the drive in question and fixed them, but it's still too soon to tell if that was the cause of the "click of death." I really should have looked at SpinRite ages ago but the lack of a trial of any kind always put me off.

    I suppose part of my concern is due to my own ignorance, since I am not sure what condition(s) would cause that sound to emanate from the drive. As I mentioned previously, I have come to associate this sound with impending mechanical failure. I will likely end up replacing the drive since that's what instinct tells me, but if nothing else I have added a great tool to my arsenal.
    -Mark

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    Re: Reliable Drive Diagnostics (The Click of Death

    Have you checked the WD website for a firmware update? Dell used some Hitachi drives made 21/2 years ago that clicked and the problem was solved through a firmware update. All they stated on the Dell site was the following:

    " Fixes and Enhancements:
    Address an intermittent clicking noise issue"

    It may be a similar issue for the WD drive(s).

  8. #8
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    Re: Reliable Drive Diagnostics (The Click of Death

    An excellent suggestion. My search turned up this unhappy news:
    <hr>For EIDE hard drives manufactured after 3/25/03 there are no firmware updates available.<hr>
    Apparently their drives are flawless. <img src=/S/grin.gif border=0 alt=grin width=15 height=15>
    -Mark

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    Re: Reliable Drive Diagnostics (The Click of Death

    Mark,
    I'm not 100% sure on this but I have always associated the click of death with a partial failure of the drive spindle or bearing. Complete failure could come at any time or never.

    I have also thought that this was a failure of the older types of HDs and that it has been mostly overcome in the design of the newer faster drives.
    BOB
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    Re: Reliable Drive Diagnostics (The Click of Death

    Sounds reasonable. In this case it's just a single "click" almost as if the drive heads were parked and suddenly moved to position. That's my fanciful imagination, anyway. What's odd to me is that it does this once, the system briefly halts as the noise occurs, and then within two to three seconds everything seems normal again.

    I'm wondering also if it could be a) power management settings or [img]/forums/images/smilies/cool.gif[/img] bad sectors (which SpinRite found and fixed). I don't know if the secondary issue is related - why, why, why would all drives show as Multi-Word DMA Mode 2 if the controller was not faulty? Could one errant device in the chain cause all to do this?
    -Mark

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    Uranium Lounger viking33's Avatar
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    Re: Reliable Drive Diagnostics (The Click of Death

    Mark,
    You mentioned in the original post that the drives were showing up in Device Manager as MW DMA mode 2.

    Where was this shown in DM?
    I looked at my drives and controllers properties in DM and can't see any mention of Mode type anywhere.
    BOB
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  12. #12
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    Re: Reliable Drive Diagnostics (The Click of Death

    Under the IDA/ATAPI controllers heading. Open either the Primary or Secondary IDE Channel entry and on the advanced tab you can see what timing mode each device is using. I'm disturbed in this case because it means I have two IDE hard drives that are transferring data at a fraction of their potential.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    -Mark

  13. #13
    Uranium Lounger viking33's Avatar
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    Re: Reliable Drive Diagnostics (The Click of Death

    Strange,
    I don't even HAVE an advanced tab? No wonder I can't see the mode settings.
    BOB
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  14. #14
    Uranium Lounger viking33's Avatar
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    Re: Reliable Drive Diagnostics (The Click of Death

    I'll answer my own question/post.
    I checked Intel for new drivers and there was one. Installed it and lo and behold! <img src=/S/doh.gif border=0 alt=doh width=15 height=15>
    BOB
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  15. #15
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    Re: Reliable Drive Diagnostics (The Click of Death

    That sounds like the drive is "recalibrating". It does this if it no longer knows the exact position of the heads, so it has to move them right off the disk and start again. Can be caused by faulty electronics or mechanics.

    StuartR

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