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The hard drive on my wife's new laptop appears to be seriously whacked. We're running SuSE 8.2 and XP Home and it was really smoking until this afternoon. Then the hd performance just slowed to a crawl. I reinstalled everything (big hammer approach) and it is better but still seems much slower than it should be. It's a 2.4ghz P4 w/ 512mb RAM.
Any thoughts on diagnostic tools I could try? I'm a classic hardware-challenged applications programmer but always looking to learn. Linux reports a clean filesystem on boot. Plus the installs recreated the partitions so they started fresh.
We could create perfect software it weren't for hardware and stupid customers.
Does the Harddisk make funny noises? Does it click rhytmicaly?
Did you change ANYTHING right before it stopped working? Any IMPROVING changes made to the BIOS?
("Hmmm, "direct DMA Noodle access protection conjection acceleration profile", sounds like that it going to give this computer a boost. I wonder why this is not enabled.. Let's just switch that on, can't do any harm, can it?)
Thanks for the help all. The hard drive doesn't appear to make any funny noises. It has simply become outrageously slow. The only bios setting for the hd was whether to use 32-bit IDE transfers. It was off and I tried on though I have no idea what is the proper setting for XP/Linux.
This is not an issue with a process running away since it takes forever to boot into either Linux (like an hour to boot) and forever and a day into XP. Once something is cached into memory all is well and a program will run lightning fast.
I ran the "HP system restore" last night. Grub was still in charge of booting and did not like my reimaging at all so I went ahead and reinstalled SuSE. After that I could dual-boot but Windows was still super-slow and lInux seemed to be very slow but not as bad as before. Odd part was that the reimaging transfers to the hard disk were very fast and it gobbled up several gig in what seemed to be a reasonable time. The SuSE transfers also seemed reasonable but seemed a bit slow though it could be the "watched pot never boils" syndrome.
I am under the assumption that post all this I had a perfectly fresh system with all new partitions newly formatted. Is that assumption correct?
I'm inclined to just think the hard drive has physically gone bad. Still, it seems strange that it can bulk transfer data so quickly. Maybe the surface media is bad but the hard drive mechanics are ok?
Before throwing in the towel I would like to see if I can at least verify that the hard drive is physically bad. I'm thinking that I could completely redo all the partitions. I did get an XP Home install CD with the laptop with a separate drivers CD so I can install XP without having to go through the reimaging. I'd also like to do a low-level surface scan to see if the media is still ok.
Basically I have a number of ideas but am so inexperienced with this stuff that it could days of research and experimentation for me to do the right stuff on my own. I would really appreciate a head start on how to properly diagnose this.
Well I reinstalled SuSE once more and saw there was an option to rewrite the MBR. I took this but no cigar. I then ran a badblocks test and it hangs on a certain block every time. I guess it's time to just send the thing back for repair. The only thing that seems weird is that it is very fast in loading the data from the DVDs onto the drive during installation. I suppose there is some type of bulk transfer that the install program is doing? The XP reimage program was the same way. It gobbled a few gigs in a reasonable time but was then slow as christmas.
Yep, looks like you got yourself a bad Egg HD here.
I would have suggested something about the IRQs (which can slow a machine to a crawl, remove all hardware that is non essential, try with another hd on the same system, but it really looks like it is the HD.)
If you can, hook it up to another computer and see if that one crawls then too, just to know what to tell the service guy in a firm voice
(....it stinks, I want my money bad, sales dude said it will boot faster than my 386 system, that took 1/2 day, and now it takes 1 day to boot..... I want-my-money-back.....rant rant...)
lol browny .... unfortunately it's a laptop and you have to take just enough crap apart to get to the hd that I'm not comfortable trying it for fear of violating the warranty. I'm just hoping the guy at Circuit City doesn't go "aha ... here's your problem ... you put Linux on it!".
Well it turns out I needed to call HP directly on this. I sounded intelligent enough that he guy did not give me any grief when I explained how I troubleshot the drive issue and they are sending me a new one out today. I think it actually helped when I told him I was dual-booting Linux. Should be here by Monday or Tuesday. Yippee!
As I mentioned, this is my wife's laptop and she's seriously considering letting me totally switch her to Linux. She's had so many problems getting applications under XP to be stable (even ones supposedly certified) that she's pretty sick of it. Plus she loves all the really important stuff about Linux like being able to have kitty cats and dogs and penguins running amock.