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HP HDD Error Code 303 - Atypical Hardware Failure

This is a discussion on HP HDD Error Code 303 - Atypical Hardware Failure within the Hard Drive Support forums, part of the Tech Support Forum category. I have a laptop that has developed a very strange set of symptoms for what would seem to be standard


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Old 04-21-2012, 10:56 AM   #1
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I have a laptop that has developed a very strange set of symptoms for what would seem to be standard hdd failure. It is an HP dv7 17'' with AMD Vision Premium processor. It refuses to boot, giving the "Disk read error occurred, press control-alt-delete to restart" message. Running the hdd diagnostics from BIOS yields the 303 error, which usually means that the drive is failing. However, I am able to put the drive into another computer (through a SATA to USB bridge) and read all data without an issue, and I am also able to put a known good drive into the dv7 and boot up without an issue. What is more, on the hdd that gives the 303 error I can load the Splashtop OS without a problem and even access files (music, etc.) from the drive, but booting to Windows always fails. I know how to troubleshoot Windows boot issues, but I am utterly confused as to why the BIOS would say that the hdd is failing when everything else seems to work perfectly well. I have to check the SMART data, which is my next thought, but I was hoping that you all might have some idea as to what the problem might be. I would deeply appreciate any help you can provide, thanks!

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Old 04-21-2012, 11:01 AM   #2
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Since you are able to access the files when connected externally I would recommend replacing the driver.

Even though you can access the drive when connected externally the drive could still have a fault.

You can run the hard drive manufacturer diagnostics to thoroughly test the drive.

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Old 04-21-2012, 11:43 AM   #3
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Just ran some diagnostics with Parted Magic, the drive has failed the Short Test and the Extended Test. It would seem that it is suffering from surface read errors that are relatively small but severe enough to indicate the beginnings of drive failure. I am backing up the drive now, I suppose that we just got lucky with Splashtop probably being on a sector that was alright and Windows wasn't. I guess it was simpler than I thought it was.
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