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Hardware Hardware like hard drives, motherboards, video cards, printers, CD-ROMs, etc.

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Old 11-13-09, 14:10
zxpipo7 zxpipo7 is offline
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Default Average life of a hard drive?

I've been having an intermittent problem with my computer where upon start up, the screen will remain frozen indefinitely on a blank black screen. The problem can be remedied by cutting power to the computer and trying start up again.

I'm then prompted with the "improper shutdown" message and asked to either "Start Windows Normally" or "Start with last known working configuration". Both options can work, and both options can fail. Sometimes up to 6 resets are required before the computer starts properly.

I've been told this is probably a hard drive problem due to it's inconsistently occurring nature. But the computer is only 7 years old.

So I guess what I'm really asking is, Will installing a new hard drive fix this problem?

Last edited by zxpipo7; 11-13-09 at 14:12.. Reason: Gramatical
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Old 11-13-09, 14:59
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collinsl collinsl is offline
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Default Re: Average life of a hard drive?

This may be a graphics driver issue. When you next encounter the problem, just before the windows startup screen appears (the one with the scrolling dots if you have XP) keep pressing F8 until you get a menu. Use the keyboard arrow keys to select "Safe mode" and press enter. This boots the computer into a recovery mode that does not use non-essential hardware drivers.

If this works, then I suspect that you probably need to update your graphics drivers. Reboot the computer into normal mode (just restart it), fire up your web browser, go to the website of you graphics card manufacturer, and follow the steps to download the correct driver for your card. When the drivers have been downloaded, navigate to the file and double click on it. Then follow the steps on screen.
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Old 11-13-09, 15:29
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Default Re: Average life of a hard drive?

Originally Posted by zxpipo7 View Post
I've been told this is probably a hard drive problem due to it's inconsistently occurring nature. But the computer is only 7 years old.
" ... only 7 years old." Well, 7 years of age for a computer is about time for the computer-AARP card.

Is your hard drive the original in that computer? What percentage free space do you have on your hard drive?

I believe your problem could be any of several things. One is the PSU (power supply). Has this problem been getting progressively worse? Have you ever replaced the PSU? What is it's rated capacity in Watts?
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Old 11-14-09, 06:26
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Butchtaylor909 Butchtaylor909 is offline
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Default Re: Average life of a hard drive?

text book answer is that the average life expectancy for a HDD is around 5 years.
i try to leave my comp turned on as much as i can, as it is said to prolong the life of the disk by not constantly reading the boot sector of the disk.

the magnetic bit strength of any hard drive has a half-life of around 5 years. That means the strength of the magnetic particles on the surface of a hard drive have lost 50% of their field strength in 5 years time. Not to mention the fact most external hard drives get much less cooling than the hard drive in a typical computer, which will speed this up.
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Old 11-15-09, 11:48
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Cool Re: Average life of a hard drive?

The SAFE answer for any HD is four years.
Beyond that, they can get real iffy.

Likewise the cmos battery.
When I have a PC on my bench that's over three years old, it automatically gets a new cmos battery.
For only $3 or less, it's cheap insurance against some weird failure on down the road. Take the battery out of the PC and check it with a digital volt meter.
If it checks out to less than 3.0 vdc, replace it.

Many brands of PC Power Supplies were made with those horrible Chinese capacitors. They can fail anytime from one month to ----- whenever.

After 7 years, I'd be changing out that PSU.

I took in on trade, a PC that I built back in 2000 with Windows ME on it.
I replaced the old PSU, installed a new cmos battery, oiled up the CPU fan and installed some more ram. After installing XP on that PC, it's running like a new one. (there were NO bulging capacitors).

For any OLD PC, there are just a number of things that should be updated, if the PC is still going to be used.

New life can be breathed into older HD's by backing up the C: drive and then reformatting (low level it if possible) and then restore the old OS and data previously backed up. I always use "Ghost" for that process.

I've been working on PC's for 29 years now, so I'm getting pretty good at it.
I still have several drives that I use for backups, data transfers, etc. that are over 8 years old. I even have and still use a "Quantum Big-Foot" 6 gig drive.

If you have reason to question that old drive, then replace it.

good luck,
A person with experience is never at the mercy of a person with an argument.
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