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hard drive problems - reinstalling windows xp
Old 04-09-2006, 09:07 PM   #1
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hard drive problems - reinstalling windows xp

Computer gurus, I need help!

Laptop is giving me problems. Not sure exactly what is wrong yet. So far the symptoms are:

1. Running hot, suspect it is overheating (it operates better/faster when it is cool, then slows down and dies after it heats up, and it is too hot to touch on the bottom when it crashes)

2. Hard disk is running very slow - seems to get slower when it gets hotter
(ran a Dell diagnostic and it said "Uncorrectable data error or media is write protected (under the "Read" and "Verify" tests))

3. After running for a while, I would get the Blue Screen of Death. Now it gives me the BSOD when Windows XP begins loading.


After doing a ton of troubleshooting and research, I'm stumped. I have reinstalled windows from the CD without reformating the disk. There may be data on the hard drive that I want to attempt to save, but I'm not really sure about that.

I am on my first boot after the reinstall, and CheckDisk (CHKDSK) runs as part of windows bootup process. It is taking an excessively long time to chkdsk, getting "stuck" on Stage 4 of 5, "verifying file data". The percent complete keeps going up slowly, but it crashes (BSOD, presumably due to overheating) before the chkdsk gets done. At the rate Stage 4 chkdsk is running, it will take 5-10 hours to finish stage 4.

My questions:

1. Is there a way to skip CHKDSK when it starts running on bootup (before windows loads).

2. Should I skip chkdsk?

3. Does chkdsk taking forever to run mean my HD is screwed? Should I try reformatting the HD and then reinstall windows to see if it fixes my HD problems?

4. How do I determine if it's time to buy a new HD?

5. Is there an effective way to cool my laptop (installing extra internal fans, an HD fan, cooling systems, etc)? I'm trying to improve ventilation to it by propping it up on some blocks and keeping the fan inlet (located on the bottom of the laptop) away from the desk surface.

6. The fan and temperature sensors both checked out as "ok" in the diagnostics tests I ran. It has always run hot (for 2.5 years), but it has never crashed like this until a week ago. How do I determine if I need to replace the fan or temperature sensor?


I like this laptop and, when working, still performs excellently for what I use it for.

Need help!
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Re: hard drive problems - reinstalling windows xp
Old 04-09-2006, 09:22 PM   #2
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Re: hard drive problems - reinstalling windows xp

Justin,
I am no expert, but I had sort of the same issue with my new laptop. Without going into detail of my issue, I shutdown and unpluged including taking out the battery. Then with canned air, I blew out the fan area. I could not believe the cloud that came out, and this box was less than six months old. Now, I hardly hear the fan, and only after very heavy usage does it go to high speed.

I looked online everywhere and found this "quick fix", and figured why not? Actually their fix was to take a portion of the bottom off and clean up and replace the heat sink, but thank goodness I didn't have to get to that point.

Good luck and let us hear of your results.

Billy
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Re: hard drive problems - reinstalling windows xp
Old 04-09-2006, 09:29 PM   #3
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Re: hard drive problems - reinstalling windows xp

Cleaning the fans is a great idea.* *If your laptop is 2.5 years old, chances are that you have a hot-running intel chip in there.* *Those CPUs will throttle down when they get too hot, and they definitely will get too hot in a laptop that has clogged exhaust vents.

If you have one of those mini-vacs, suck out dust from intake port.* *That is preferable to blowing air into the exhaust port with compressed air.
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Re: hard drive problems - reinstalling windows xp
Old 04-10-2006, 06:21 AM   #4
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Re: hard drive problems - reinstalling windows xp

Thanks guys. I'll try the "remove dust from vent area" thing. I left the laptop running "chkdsk" overnight, and when I came back this morning, the "Let's configure and install Windows XP" screen was waiting for me. I'm hoping a system reinstall will do the trick, plus the dust removal. I'll update if this works.

I also elevated the laptop off of the fan so the fan has plenty of clearance from the desk. It's isn't nearly as hot now.
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Re: hard drive problems - reinstalling windows xp
Old 04-10-2006, 06:30 AM   #5
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Re: hard drive problems - reinstalling windows xp

Should I risk taking the laptop apart to get closer to the fan, vent ducts, and heat sink(s)? Or just suck what I can from the outside?
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Re: hard drive problems - reinstalling windows xp
Old 04-10-2006, 09:22 AM   #6
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Re: hard drive problems - reinstalling windows xp

Wab, you're just trying to bait me. Everyone knows the old AMD chips ran a lot hotter than the intel chips did, probably due to all the friction created when the processor gnashes its teeth. At least the intel chips have thermal protection.

Justin...you may have a failed fan, or it might just be impacted with dust. Your laptop might also have more than one fan. It IS plausible to open up a laptop but some come apart easier than others, and some have lots of funny parts that you should be certain are put back. I had an older dell that dropped about 6 plastic pieces when I opened it that were intended to 'guide' airflow inside the machine. I found places to put all but one of them. It did run fine for some months after that and in fact is still operational, so I guess it wasnt important.

A reinstall of s/w is not your primary concern here. You've probably seen a partial failure of your hard drive due to excessive heat created by the unit not being able to cool itself. Its also possible that everything just shut down and that no permanent damage has been done.

Try blowing it out both from the air/fan ducts and also blow out under the keyboard. If you get a bunch of dust, then see if you can hear a fan or feel air flow through the air ducts. If not, take a whirl at taking it apart yourself and looking for fan obstructions...unless its a very expensive laptop, its going to cost you more to try to get it fixed than its worth. Laptops are like old VCR's...makes little sense to spend $250-350 repairing a defective part in one when a new one thats better runs 500-750. Plus you might have substantially shortened the lifespan of many of the components by running them too hot.

While operating the laptop until you figure out whats going on, set a small fan to blow directly across it. At least that'll disperse some of the heat.
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Re: hard drive problems - reinstalling windows xp
Old 04-10-2006, 09:30 AM   #7
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Re: hard drive problems - reinstalling windows xp

don't know if this is your problem but i had a dell latitude laptop from work that ran hot but not slow. at that time (about 2 years ago i think) there was a factory recall on a number of their batteries.
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Re: hard drive problems - reinstalling windows xp
Old 04-10-2006, 09:48 AM   #8
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Re: hard drive problems - reinstalling windows xp

FYI, it is a dell Inspiron 5100, purchased 9/11/2003. 2.4 Ghz, 512 mb ram, CDRW/DVD drive, 15" screen. It was something like $1000 new when I bought it.

It gets the most use from me playing tv shows and movies on it when I hook my tv up to its S-Video output.

Worst case, I ebay it for salvage value of ~$300. Then I buy a machine to replace the tv-watching function. Maybe a divx dvd player, and a dvd burner for the desktop. Anybody know if I can install a video card with tv video outputs into a Dell Dimension 2300 (purchased 2002)? It currently has a built-in video card (intel extremegraphics or something : ).

Maybe I can come over to your house, CFB, and watch my tv shows on your 32" monitor

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Re: hard drive problems - reinstalling windows xp
Old 04-10-2006, 10:09 AM   #9
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Re: hard drive problems - reinstalling windows xp

Well, you'd be forced to watch it on my 110" projector or my 56" LCoS set. Sorry.

Sounds like a more or less permanently plugged in setup. Plenty of laptops for sale each and every week for $399-500 that could kick that laptops butt. Usual holes in them are short battery life, no dvd burner or they're heavy. Doesnt sound like any of those are problems for you. A machine with a celeron-M 1.6 will perform similarly, if not better, than the one you've got now. Good luck getting more than a hundred bucks for that old laptop though.

Open up the 2300 and see if it has an AGP slot in it. If so, you can install a $30-50 ATI 7000 or 9000 based card in that slot that will do a beautiful TV out function. Some of the older Dells with the onboard graphics didnt have an AGP slot for a graphics card.
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Re: hard drive problems - reinstalling windows xp
Old 04-10-2006, 10:47 AM   #10
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Re: hard drive problems - reinstalling windows xp

Quote:
Originally Posted by justin
Should I risk taking the laptop apart to get closer to the fan, vent ducts, and heat sink(s)?* Or just suck what I can from* the outside?
Try getting as much as you can without taking the laptop apart. Look for a program that can monitor your temps to see the effect. There's one called i8fangui that works with many Dell models, but I don't recall if it works for the 5100.

Dell has excellent online service manuals available. So if you get the geeky urge to take the laptop apart, clean it out and maybe even apply some thermal grease between the CPU and heatsink, the service manual will give you step-by-step instructions. (If you're planning to dump the laptop anyway, it might be a fun thing to do after you already have your replacement in hand.)
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Re: hard drive problems - reinstalling windows xp
Old 04-10-2006, 10:54 AM   #11
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Re: hard drive problems - reinstalling windows xp

I have a compaq with a 64bit athalon. You get two products for one with this laptop. A real nice laptop and a nice toaster too. My solution to heat was to purchase pad for the laptop that has two cooling fans in it. It runs off the USB port. Cost about $30 at Frys. Laptop runs considerably cooler. I can even hold it on my lap for prolonged periods of time. If heat is your problem this may solve it.
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Re: hard drive problems - reinstalling windows xp
Old 04-10-2006, 11:19 AM   #12
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Re: hard drive problems - reinstalling windows xp

Speedfan is another program that can tell you whats going on with your fans and temps.
http://www.almico.com/sfdownload.php

Works with many laptops and desktops.
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Re: hard drive problems - reinstalling windows xp
Old 04-10-2006, 05:45 PM   #13
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Re: hard drive problems - reinstalling windows xp

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cute Fuzzy Bunny
Sounds like a more or less permanently plugged in setup. Plenty of laptops for sale each and every week for $399-500 that could kick that laptops butt. Usual holes in them are short battery life, no dvd burner or they're heavy. Doesnt sound like any of those are problems for you. A machine with a celeron-M 1.6 will perform similarly, if not better, than the one you've got now. Good luck getting more than a hundred bucks for that old laptop though.
$400-$500 laptops with a video out connection? Can U post a link for me if you happen to see one advertised somewhere? I really don't care much about the specs, other than has video out, "has windows", is fast enough, isn't a Mac, and weighs under 12 pounds.

Amazingly, I do think I can get $300 salvage for a busted Dell Inspiron 5100 on eBay. Who knows why, but I guess people buy them and fix em and flip them, or buy them, then sell the battery, AC adapter, keyboard, touchpad, LCD+inverter, hard drive, case, motherboard, RAM, etc. as seperate pieces maybe.?

I scoped out dell's incredibly complicated product lineup this weekend, and it looks like any laptop with video-out is much more than $500.
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Re: hard drive problems - reinstalling windows xp
Old 04-10-2006, 06:02 PM   #14
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Re: hard drive problems - reinstalling windows xp

Office depot was clearing out some toshibas last week that were about $550.

Dell Sucks.

But you could pull a Wab and peer at the closeout/clearance area for cancelled orders until a cheapo with video out shows up.

Of course, when I did that I got a unit that had different specs from the one I had allegedly bought.

What video out do you need? s-vid?
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Re: hard drive problems - reinstalling windows xp
Old 04-10-2006, 08:33 PM   #15
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Re: hard drive problems - reinstalling windows xp

S video works. RCA 3 color yellow/white/red (just the yeller for video). Or RF, if anything has that. Anything else I'd have to buy another adapter for.

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Re: hard drive problems - reinstalling windows xp
Old 04-10-2006, 09:30 PM   #16
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Re: hard drive problems - reinstalling windows xp

Keep your eye on fatwallet if you dont want to do the Dell clearance "maybe you'll get what you ordered, maybe you wont" deal. Theres a staples/compusa/breastbuy/office depot or some similar clearance lappie just about every week for $399-550, sometimes after rebates. Some of them have an s-video out and a $2 adapter converts that to yeller. Green line out minidin to red/white is another cheap plug.
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Re: hard drive problems - reinstalling windows xp
Old 04-11-2006, 09:07 AM   #17
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Re: hard drive problems - reinstalling windows xp

I could always go the el cheapo route and get a dvd burner and divx dvd player.

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Re: hard drive problems - reinstalling windows xp
Old 04-11-2006, 09:11 AM   #18
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Re: hard drive problems - reinstalling windows xp

Probably a lot simpler.
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Re: hard drive problems - reinstalling windows xp
Old 04-11-2006, 09:14 AM   #19
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Re: hard drive problems - reinstalling windows xp

But I'm lazy, and I'd have to burn all the shows I want to watch to DVD, then watch them. Now I can download a show in 20-30 minutes, and be watching it over the network as soon as it's downloaded. Of course I would have a remote to fast forward and rewind the dvd, and I wouldn't have to worry about my little one destroying my laptop while it plays tv shows.

Decisions, decisions.

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Re: hard drive problems - reinstalling windows xp
Old 04-11-2006, 09:19 AM   #20
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Re: hard drive problems - reinstalling windows xp

I have a remote control for mine. Got an ATI RF remote wonder and downloaded a plug-in for windvd, then I use windvd to play divx and dvd's in the pc's hard drive.

I would have the same problem with the baby and the computer. Had to put my projector away until he gets bigger. Although I could put it behind the giant ultra wide baby gate I put in front of the tv/tivo/dvd player I guess.
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