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  #1  
Chojin Chojin is offline
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Old Jun 16th, 2007, 06:37 PM        Big huge computer problems, prz help son
Okay if you just want to see the problem and not what led up to it, I'm going to break this into a TWO-PART EPIC SAGA which may or may not be helpful for troubleshooting. But please do help, and I have no idea what to do next and need to know if I should RMA these drives to Newegg.

For clarity's sake, here are some nicknames for the various hard disks talked about:

IDE160: Original C Drive, IDE, 160GB Capacity
*IDE160_PART_WORK: Original C Drive's resized original partition
*IDE160_PART_GAME: Original C Drive's new gaming partition
IDE40: Original D Drive, IDE, 40GB Capacity
SATA300_WORK: New C Drive, SATA 300, 320GB Capacity, meant for work
SATA300_GAME: New D Drive, SATA 300, 320GB Capacity, meant for gaming

=======================
PART 1: BEFORE THE TRAGEDY
=======================

I'd recently gotten some upgrades for my aging socket 939 mobo: An Opteron 180 processor and a GeForce 8800 GTS. Running the new setup through some benchmarks, I discovered that it's all running slower than it should. However, I didn't want to have to back everything up and reformat the whole drive, so I concocted a BOLD NEW PLAN.

I installed PartitionMagic and was all ready to resize IDE160 so that 15GB would be put aside for another partition (*IDE160_PART_GAME). I would then install another copy of Windows on this partition to use for gaming so that I could make sure nothing else was running. However, I noticed an option in PartitionMagic that said "Install new OS on new Partition", and since that's what I was technically trying to do I decided to give it a whirl instead of doing what I knew would work. It then asked if I was going to install the OS immediately afterwards, since it needed to set the new partition to ACTIVE to receive the OS's moneyshot or something. I said yeah and left things overnight to process.

In the morning, my computer was all UH DUH UH DUH so I tried to boot from the Windows CD to install the OS on the new partition (*IDE160_PART_GAME). I don't remember exactly what happened next, but the install didn't go well - not only had PartitionMagic set the new partition to active, it had gone ahead and HIDDEN my old one (*IDE160_PART_WORK) from Windows for some reason. At this point, I installed a copy of Windows onto my secondary storage drive (IDE40), reinstalled PartitionMagic on that, deleted the new partition (*IDE160_PART_GAME), and made the original partition (*IDE160_PART_WORK) viewable again. The weird thing is that when I tried to run programs from the original C partition (*IDE160_PART_WORK) on either the new gaming parition (*IDE160_PART_GAME) or the secondary drive's (IDE40) windows install, it would usually complain about a corrupted file, but not when running windows on the original partition (*IDE160_PART_WORK) itself. I backed up my files and decided that since my mobo has SATA 300 ports on it that I would order a pair of OEM SATA drives from Newegg.


========================
2. A NEW HOPE
========================

I noticed here that my motherboard's markings conflicted with its manual in regard to where RAM goes - it lists DIMMS 1, 3, 2, 4, and I had identical chips in 2 and 4. However, 1 and 2 were the same color and more sensibly numbered, so I popped the chips in there and my BIOS was now telling me that I was running Dual-Channel RAM. Great.

I popped in the new SATA drives (SATA300_WORK & SATA300_GAME), full formatted both, dropped a copy of Windows XP Professional Corporate SP2 on each, installed drivers, ran some benchmarks, and everything was cool. On SATA300_GAME, I disabled a bunch of services, restarted, everything was cool. I ran NVTune to overclock my CPU and GPU, and it crashed somewhere in the middle - not uncommon for NVTune, so hey, whatever. On reboot, NVtune tries to restart, only to discover that it no longer exists in the NVidia Display Manager. It also isn't in the add/remove programs list and running its installer gives some wacky error. I try to do something else and it complains about corrupted files. Not so great.

I go into the Windows installation on SATA300_WORK and try to run a full CHKDSK surface scan of SATA300_GAME. It terminates prematurely - near the end - and says that it can't finish. I set CHKDSK to do a surface scan of SATA300_WORK and reboot. Where I'd normally see the blue windows console telling me about CHKDSK's progress in this endeavor, I instead get a bluescreen and forced reboot. Trying to boot to SATA300_GAME just hung at a black screen after the Windows loading screen. Fantastic.

I go into Windows Recovery Console off of the CD and format both SATA300_WORK and SATA300_GAME, fully, and run CHKDSK on each, only to have it tell me each time 'The task could not be completed because the drive contains unrecoverable errors.' I figure that since the drives are OEM anyway, I just got a bad pair. I take them out, put back in my original IDE160 drive, full format it, and prepare for the Windows installation. NOW, it finished the format on IDE160, copied the installation files, and crashes a few seconds after showing the Windows Installer screen (39 minutes remaining).


===========================
3. CONCLUSIONS AND SPECULATION
===========================

The first scenario I see is that PartitionMagic somehow murdered IDE160, and SATA300_WORK and SATA300_GAME were just coincedentally bad drives as well. But the whole CORRUPT FILES OH GOD thing is happening frequently enough to make me wonder why it would happen, and I'm not entirely sure PartitionMagic has the moxie to powerbomb my drive into submission AFTER I delete all of its handiwork.

Also, yes, I was running full virus, spyware, rootkit, and port protection at all times.

Thoughts? Helps? PRZ?
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  #2  
executioneer executioneer is offline
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Old Jun 16th, 2007, 07:36 PM       
have you tried checking the drives out on another computor, maybe your SATA controllor is fried
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  #3  
Chojin Chojin is offline
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Old Jun 16th, 2007, 09:41 PM       
Finally got Windows to install on IDE160 - After I'd removed the SATA drives, I had reconnected the IDE drive with a shitty power cable chained through all of my system fans, which drop a pin here and there. Hooking that up to a main cable seems to work fine, so I'm beginning to think that the SATA drives were just two bad OEMs.

Can anyone recommend me some software that I don't need a disk or OS to run that will run a full surface scan of a hard disk? When I get the new ones in I'd rather test them immediately rather than have to install another copy of Windows first.
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MetalMilitia MetalMilitia is offline
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Old Jun 18th, 2007, 05:32 AM       
Although I don't think I completely understand your situation, it sounds to me like you have a combination of problems. The first of which possibly being bad RAM.
The second part of your post seems to indicate you installed another two sticks of memory; one of these could be the problem or perhaps when you were installing the hard drives you knocked an existing stick out of alignment. I'm sure I don't need to tell you that bad memory is going to be writing corrupt data to your hard drive which could make it seem that the hard drive is at fault.
First port of call would be to re-seat all sticks and conduct some tests on the memory to check they all work OK.

But I guess you've already looked into that?

The second problem I can see is that you ever trusted Partition Magic to do anything. I've heard a lot of bad things about it over the years and I suspect it's still not a very safe bit of software. Stick with the default Windows partition manager next time.

You could try the following boot disk to check the drives without installing anything:

http://www.ultimatebootcd.com/index.html
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AChimp AChimp is offline
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Old Jun 18th, 2007, 11:16 AM       
Messing with partitions after installing the OS is always risky business! I nuked my entire computer with Partition Magic once and have never used it since. I just make one giant drive now since the size limitations with FAT16 were really the only reason anyone partitioned a single drive.

The only real reason I can see to do it nowadays is to have a separate obvious place for your swap space.
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AChimp AChimp is offline
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Old Jun 19th, 2007, 02:53 AM       
Guess what, jerks

I got home today and my HD had crashed (completely and utterly unrecoverable). Those Partition Magic fuckers must have seen me talking shit about them.
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Chojin Chojin is offline
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Old Jun 19th, 2007, 01:30 PM       
Willie - I didn't check the drives on another compy, but I'll do that if my replacements are having the same issues.

MetalMilitia - I was talking about hard disks, not ram.

AChimp - Yeah, well, I thought that a program that had been made for years would be able to do the task it was meant to do without too many complications. Also, it wasn't the partitioning that caused the first problem, it was PartitionMagic changing the file structure for no readily apparent reason.

I RMA'd the two SATA drives back to Newegg, and hopefully I'll have them again by the end of the week. I found out that the reason my IDE160 was acting up was because I was feeding it power through a series of daisy-chained cables powering my system fans, and feeding direct power to it from the PPU works fine. For some reason, Windows had put the drive in PIO mode, too, which I just figured out yesterday and reinstalled the Primary Drive Controller to reset it to DMA 5 mode ;<

I'll keep you all updated! STAY TUNED.
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executioneer executioneer is offline
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Old Jun 19th, 2007, 01:35 PM       
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chojin View Post
I found out that the reason my IDE160 was acting up was because I was feeding it power through a series of daisy-chained cables powering my system fans, and feeding direct power to it from the PPU works fine.
holy fuck i had the exact same problem a couple weeks ago

man spookyyyy
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