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This could be XP or just my hard drive, I'm not sure

A few months ago I purchased a new SATA 200GB Seagate hard drive as I was running out of space. I needed to use an adapter for the SATA power. I then moved all my music (100GB+) on to this drive. I had an issue with the folder taking a while to load and I assumed it was due to the number of files (folders for each artist, over 300).

A month ago I had problems with the computer overheating - I was told that this was probably due to the current heat wave so I left the computer off for the rest of the day. For the next week it worked fine and I assumed the advice was correct until one day it overheated out of the blue. It wouldn't boot at all - not a flicker, so I replaced the PCU. This solved the problem and I no longer needed the power adapter for the SATA drive.

A few weeks ago I discovered a new problem - a certain album folder would cause the Explorer window to hang and a yellow ! alert box appear in the system tray. I ignored it assuming a corrupt folder. More recently I began to notice the entire drive locking up after the PC being left on for a while, giving the error message "The request could not be performed because of an I/O device error." I did a quick Google and found no common problem or quick solutions so I left it and hoped it would sort itself out. A PCPitstop scan told me the drive was running at half the speed it should be.

Today I began to arrange the artists into smaller folders and it began to hang at every attempt. I got worried and tried moving as much as possible onto my current drive (although there is not enough room for it all). It hung repeatedly, sometimes giving the "The request could not be performed because of an I/O device error." error message. So I attempted a scan disk - it would not get past phase 1 and a defrag caused it to hang.

I'm now wondering what has gone wrong and what I should do to save my data. Could it be correctable? Or has some permament damage been caused (possibly due to the overheat?) I've tried to access the Seagate diagnostic tools but I'm having problems with the site.

If anyone knows what the problem could be and what action I should take I would be greatful.
 

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Hi 18seconds


Concentrate on saving your data first. A USB 2.0 external hard drive enclosure can be a big help for this sort of task (fairly decent enclosures start around $20 and go up from there). [The alternative is to slave the drive in another computer, using the IDE or SATA cable that matches your drive type]. Copy all the data to another drive for save keeping [you can pickup an extra 120gb drive for about $50-$60, if necessary]. If you currently have no other backup media in place, the extra drive can then serve as your backup media, even after you have repaired your system.

You mention that you replaced the "PCU", because the system overheated. By "PCU" - are you referring to the power supply, or the processor (cpu)? What symptoms made you sure that something overheated? It's true that when a power supply "pops" a capacitor, there's a burning smell (if this is what happened, be glad that there was no fire). It's also true the cpus can overheat -- but usually this is due to fan failure. In either situation, more than just the power supply or just the cpu can have suffered damage. Overvoltage can have damaged other components on the motherboard, and possibly the hard drive as well (though it has a decent chance of being OK).

You'll need to run diagnostics on as much of the hardware as you can.

MemTest86+ can test the system memory ( http://www.memtest.org )

Test all the hard drives in the system ( http://www.tacktech.com/display.cfm?ttid=287 )
Be sure to run the "Extended" tests for your hard drives. If the Seagate returns an error code, make sure to write it down, as you will want to supply that error code when you return the drive (since you just bought it, it should be covered by it's warranty). You mention having trouble accessing the Seagate site for the SeaTools diagnostics, try downloading them from a different computer.

Remove the Seagate SATA from the computer (following the usual static precautions - shutdown Windows, power off & unplug, ground yourself, etc.), and then boot the computer into Safe Mode with only your original drive present. (Tap F8 while the computer is powering on). See if checkdisk will complete on your original drive - or not. If it can, and if you are able to run several programs without any errors while in Safe Mode, you can try running a more thorough system check with something like SiSoft Sandra - which can test several components ( http://www.sisoftware.uk.com ). If you have PCPitStop installed on your original hard drive, you can test with that. If several component tests are failing or substantially substandard, it's likely the motherboard was damaged. If it's under warranty, you might be able to have it replaced. Check your documentation from the vendor you bought either the whole computer from, or the motherboard itself.

Best of luck
. . . Gary
 
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