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Grimy
31-12-2011, 08:54 AM
Hi guys,
My sister has a HP Touch Smart 300-1060a - AMD Athalon II X3 400e 2.20GHz - 4GB RAM - Seagate 500GB HD – ST3500418AS.
WINDOWS 7 Home Premium 64 bit

For the past year it has had the problem where sometimes it starts and runs normally (starts up in less than a minute, opens programs quick as), but then will sometimes take 3 minutes to open a blank Word document, and 15~20 minutes to start up.
Once up and running it is usually okay doing email, browsing, solitaire, but as soon as it needs to think a bit more deeply it starts to struggle.

When it goes on a go slow the HD starts ticking away (usually slowly, a few clicks at a time) as though the platter arm is flicking back and forth.
I removed a program the other day (MS Office). It took about ½ an hour but finally said it had uninstalled. I restarted the PC and it wouldn’t start. After several attempts a message came up (can’t remember the exact wording) saying it couldn’t find the Windows OS and I should try to restart by turning the power off and back on. After trying that several times with no joy it popped up the black safe mode screen with the option “Your PC could not restart-would I like it to run Start-Up Repair Utility”. Clicked yes and after about 20 minutes of a screen saying Start-Up Repair Utility is searching for problems and will attempt to repair them, it restarted (W7 is soooo much more helpful than XP!!).

I have run Sea Tools and the HD passes all the tests. I have also installed Ashampoo HD Control and it reports the HD has 100% health. I have run the disk surface test and the benchmark tests - it reports no problems and average read/write numbers for the HD brand/model.
I ran MemTest for 14 hours and that reported no problems.
Running MSE, Malware Bytes and Spybot. No problems reported.
When transferring files (via usb cable - photos to an external drive) the transfer rate sometimes dropped to less than 2MBs a seconds (3hrs + for a couple of GBs). Other times it will whizz through quickly.

My feeling is still a faulty HD because of the ticking, but as the HD tests are fine, I’m wondering if something else could be the problem? Is there any burn-in test software I could run to identify the component that’s causing the problem? Any suggestions welcome.
Thanks, Graham.

wainuitech
31-12-2011, 09:28 AM
Ticking hard drives = time bomb ---- all the slowness and problems you have mentioned can be caused by a faulty drive.

A drive test doesn't always show up the cause of the ticking. One day it will simply fail. That's why its called the tick of death.

1st process - image or backup the drive while you still can.

Burn-in test software -- you can try Burn in Test (http://www.passmark.com/products/bit.htm) - its a trial but will work fine for the time you need. Word of warning - even that may not find faults, BUT it can also push the system to the point of breaking, as in cause the HDD to actually die.

Grimy
31-12-2011, 12:04 PM
Thanks Wainui. That's what I thought. I've done an image a while back and backed up photos and documents. I've got a HD dock at home so will get a replacement drive and see if it will transfer across before failing.
Luckily she doesn't use it for much, so if I had to install everything from scratch on a new drive, it shouldn't be too painful.
Cheers.

Agent_24
31-12-2011, 02:14 PM
100% what Wainuitech said.

Drives which are suddenly slower, or have started to make funny noises are always going downhill.

Paul.Cov
31-12-2011, 03:00 PM
I fully support all that has been said already, but you could also question whether or not the noise is from a cooling fan that is loaded with filth.

Do any parts feel particularly warm at that time, or is it generally only happening after some time on a lap / bedding / carpet (which may be blocking air flow vents)?

Grimy
03-01-2012, 06:44 PM
It doesn't sound like a cooling fan. The noise is coming from the HD. It can start clicking when cold or hot, at first start up, or after hours of use. It is only used on a clean table and all external vents are spotless. HDD Control reports temperature can reach 46C, but as mentioned it can start clicking on first start up.
I'm not a Seagate fan and so am looking at other HDs that would be applicable (Seagate ST3500418AS don't seem that common now). WD500GB-AAKS sounds like a good replacement? - sister doesn't need anything bigger. Any comments on that?
Thanks and Happy New Year everyone.

Grimy
03-01-2012, 08:26 PM
Should have said WD5000AAKX.
One question . The Seagate dimensions are 20x101x147 (within a mm).
The WD is 26x101x147. Is the extra height going to be a problem in an All-In-One chassis? I don't have the HP here to look at the room around the Seagate.

Agent_24
03-01-2012, 09:58 PM
Should have said WD5000AAKX.
One question . The Seagate dimensions are 20x101x147 (within a mm).
The WD is 26x101x147. Is the extra height going to be a problem in an All-In-One chassis? I don't have the HP here to look at the room around the Seagate.

No idea, but I think the fastest\easiest way is probably to just check it yourself, than trying to trawl around and find out, and then end up having to check it yourself anyway.

Grimy
04-01-2012, 06:53 AM
No idea, but I think the fastest\easiest way is probably to just check it yourself, than trying to trawl around and find out, and then end up having to check it yourself anyway.
Small problem is I am 500kms away from the PC and won't get a chance to look at it until I am there next to do the job, so need to have a HD with me.
Have emailed HP support, but they didn't shed any light on it. I may have to go with a Seagate replacement to be sure.

Agent_24
04-01-2012, 11:23 AM
Ah... I guess it wouldn't be the easiest then!

Yeah looks like you'll just have to get a HDD you know is 20mm high or less, to go with the original.