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Old 12-09-2003, 09:06 AM   #1
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Computer destroys hard drive after two weeks

I'va had the motherboard, memory and CPU combination for ten months. In that time this computer has destroyed four Windows instalations and one Red Hat Linux Instalation. The last windows installation was a Windows XP that lasted two weeks before it was unbootable. The hard drive manufacturer's diagnostic test reported bad sectors. This was a new hard drive.

I brought the computer in for checks at the store I bought it and they found nothing wrong with the computer. I replaced the IDE cables, disabled the PNP OS option and the ACPI option in the BIOS and gave lilo parameters to use biosirq and noacpi

The motherboard is an ASUS P4S533 motherboard with a P4 1800 Mhz chip.
It has 1 GB of 333 MHz DDR RAM.

I cannot include a lspci as the computer right now hangs after five minutes.

Messages I've seen output to the console screen include:

hda: lost interrupt
hda: dma_timer_expiry: dma status = 0x61
hda: timeout waiting for DMA
hda: (__ide_dma_test_irq) called while not waiting
hda: read_intr: status = 0x51 { DriveReady SeekComplete Error }
ide0 : rese : success
hda : read_intr : status 0x64 { DriveStatusError }
blk: queuec03c940, I/O limit 4095 MB ( mask 0xffffffffff }

None of these messages appear in /var/log/messages, only on the console.

My computer is now running RedHat Linux with the latest patches and kernel.

It hangs even in single user mode

Since the computer has destroyed both windows and linux systems at an alarming rate I believe there must be something wrong with the hardware.

I ran memtest on the computer for a full day and memtest did not discover anything amiss with my memory.

Another weird thing. Both in linux and in windows when making images from a CD in the Panasonic DVDROM drive the computer is unresponsive. The mouse is jerky and it is very slow.

I brought the computer in to the store I bought it two weeks ago and they did not find anything wrong with it.

As the computer has only two months left of warranty I would appreciate any hypothesis about what could be wrong with the hardware and if possible any tools that could diagnose hardware problems.

Any help would be appreciated.
Old 12-09-2003, 09:40 AM   #2
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Sounds like the drive is crapping out on you. Bring the drive to the store and demand a replacement.

You say that the computer is unresponsive when creating CD images. How is your DVD-ROM set up? If possible, set it as master on the secondary channel on the primary IDE controller. If you have it on the same channel as a HD the performance will suffer a lot because of the DVD-ROM's slow response time.


Last edited by hw-tph; 12-09-2003 at 09:43 AM.
Old 12-09-2003, 09:43 AM   #3
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Sounds to me like a hard drive controller issue... Have you tried running the diagnostic tool for the new drive?
Old 12-09-2003, 11:05 AM   #4
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This is about the most obscure point to look at...

my room mate had this problem, turned out that his computer was plugged into an outlet with a FAULTY GROUND! We're in an old factory made into lofts, and the landlord made a hack of the wiring. The outlets are three pole, but the grounds dont make it back to the panel.

What this meant was, any and everything thing dirty about the power was going right into the computer!
Old 12-09-2003, 10:52 PM   #5
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umm it looks like you answered your own question when you said the hard drive diagnostic test reported bad sectors, unless i read something wrong
Old 12-10-2003, 07:45 PM   #6
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The hard drive diagnostic test when I ran it today did not report any bad sectors. I'll run it again because I tried booting into linux and after some of the messages I posted originally I got after several hours the console screen full of the following message:

Ext3 - fs error: device ide0 (3,2) in start_transaction: Journal has been aborted.

I do not think it is the hard drive because I find it suspicious that in a new 40 GB harddrive Windows XP died and the hard drive developed bad sectors.

Death of windows XP:
I like having my computer on the whole time, I tend only to reboot windows when a security patch comes out. I like running peer to peer software. Sometimes the computer just reboots. No warning messages in the event log, no nothing. After five or six reboots Windows XP would not start and the Seagate diagnostic tools informed me that the drive had bad sectors.

I installed RH9 in another new 40 GB Seagate harddrive. Two weeks and RH9 seems to have died. That I believe is not normal. I've seen computers running linux continuously for years (except for power failures).

Before that three instalations of W2K died in the same way as the Windows XP. Several of the drives were new. Some few reboots and the OS would not start and the hard drive would have bad sectors.

One thing I find very telling is that on no ocasion after these sudden reboots in Windows or system failures in Linux is that nothing was written to neiter the Windows event log nor to /var/log/messages

Maybe it is the IDE hard drive controller?

Any tools to diagnose IDE hard drive controllers?

Last edited by andreseso; 12-10-2003 at 07:49 PM.
Old 12-10-2003, 10:28 PM   #7
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are you overclocking your CPU or anything? have you recently upgraded processors? sometimes if your overclocking too much your systems becomes unstable or if you have wrong voltages set that can cause crashes. I recently got a new cpu and the default voltage on my motherboard was wrong for that cpu.
Old 12-11-2003, 04:39 AM   #8
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I am clueless about the Pentium 4 1800 Mhz cpu's. I've not touched the tab controlling CPU voltage since I've had the computer

The CPU VCore setting is set to Auto and the reported CPU Vcore voltage is 1.750 V
Old 12-11-2003, 09:43 AM   #9
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that must not be your probelm then. You might want to check for overheating. CPUs will always act funny when they get too hot. sounds like this isnt your problem but its always good to check your temp. Check it in the bios because those third party benchmark programs dotn report accurate temps.
Old 12-11-2003, 12:07 PM   #10
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Check your board mfg. for a BIOS flash upgrade. I would bet that your not the first with this problem. I had to flash upgrade my BIOS to overcom,e similar problem with Asus mobo.
Old 12-11-2003, 03:09 PM   #11
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my friend faced a similar problem with his computer. when i went to his town on a visit and dropped in. he had the same problem as you mention. he had 2 HDs damaged. i noticed that his computer was plugged into a socket on the same board as his 1.5 ton air conditioner. i told him to either move the pc or the ac. but he told me moving the ac a big bother and putting the pc downstairs was not convenient. instead he said he decided to use only one of the two (ac or pc) at a time. since then he tells me he has not lost another hd. hope you got the drift. don't connect the pc to any switchboard to which any heavy load (a motor, washing machine or ac) is attached.
could this be your problem?

Celeron 633 MHz
40 GB Samsung + 13 GB Maxtor
196 MB RAM
Windows ME & RH9
19" SyncMaster 950p
Logitech Optical
101 Standard Windows Kb


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