OT when things go bump in the night

BillyBoy wrote on 2/19/2005, 9:09 AM
File under Windows is clueless... This is offered to save those THINKING they have disk problems from running out and buying another when in fact its just Windows being stupid.

Yesterday I booted up and heard that dreaded sound of a drive dying. It came to life but was obvious from the sound of it was running far slower than it should and it sounded awful. Over a few minutes time is sped up to what seems like normal speed (based on pitch) but the drive now had a higher pitch whine it didn't before. OK, it was several years old so lucky me, I was able to copy the contents perfectly without a problem to another drive.

Now the fun begins. The drive that died was a slave on a IDE channel with another drive that was working fine. So to be safe I set that drive (the master) to run check disk to see if it had anything wrong. Being a NTFS drive it needs to reboot to do the disk check. More on that later.

So I pop in a new drive by itself, format, and proceed to copy the contents of the old drive that was getting ready to fail. Everything fine. Works OK. So now it comes time to put the older master back on the channel. So I do and reboot... or try to. Windows hangs. I try several times. Still hangs. I take out the new slave and try just the old master by iself that had no problems. It still hangs in the early stages of booting.

I double check the settings. Both the old master and new replacement drive are set to 'cable select' and I have a 80 wire cable. So is it possible now the master drive now failed too? Or did the controller fail, the cable? What's the odds? Very long.

So I pull the master and load it into another system. It boots fine and immediately runs check disk, (remember it was set to) everything fine, it works.

I put the master back in the first system alone, remember it would only cause Windows to hang, now since it managed to do check disk in another system, this time it also does check disk in the original system. Again everything reports fine. I return the new slave and both work fine.

Conclusion: Windows is clueless. Somehow if you have two drives on a IDE channel and one fails and you had set the other perfectly good drive to do a check disk, just to be safe to see if anything was going wrong with it some flag apparently gets set and that prevents the drive from spinning up hanging Windows. Apparently has no effect on a different system and for reasons only known the the boys in Redmen (yea right) letting it do check disk in another system solves the problem, and you avoid buying another drive you don't need. Yes, the slave was about to fail, but there was nothing wrong with the master.


riredale wrote on 2/19/2005, 10:04 AM
I've never had a disk fail (yet). I've gone through 3 molex Y-adapters, a couple of 80-conductor cables, 2 power supplies, and 2 cpu fans. Right now my PC contains 5 drives, and I'm just finishing up a major project, so a couple more weeks is all I'm asking. The veg files are all backed up, but it would be a major pain to manually reload 200GB of video clips.

I have WD, Seagate, and Maxtor--all fine. Funny thing is the Seagate runs hot enough to fry eggs on, but it, too, is doing fine.

Just saw a review of the new WD 320GB drive. Maybe one of these days I'll be replacing multiple smaller drives with just one or two of these monsters.
ghanks wrote on 2/19/2005, 8:20 PM
This sounds all too familair, went through this a few weeks ago. I only replaced the failed slave (which had junk on it), figuring I would make a second trip to the store if needed.

The fun really began when I tried to boot, and didn't have my OS on my Master (I had it on a SATA, drive J before the crash). Windoze re-ordered all of my drives and partitions -- Clueless is much too nice of a description