Is my hard drive failing?

Oskar Mothander November 7, 2012
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I read the article “5 signs your hard drive is failing” but I’m still not quite sure. I have had a nasty virus on the computer. It is called “Trojan horse Generic 19.CMYZ” or “iNiceWare” which seemed to do some serious damage on the filesystem. It was a while back, but as I remember it my problems started after this. I have been able to remove it with AVG though.

I have run chkdsk /F /R multiple times and I am currently running it for a third time in a row. I’m hoping that after a while it won’t find any more problems but not yet.. I think it found bad sectors in the past, but now it does not find any bad sectors (0 KB in bad sectors). My last run (third) did delete index entries and recovered several files however.

There are no weird sounds coming from it and it hasn’t slowed down, but Windows has been working very poorly where features have been broken, like the Windows Search didn’t work at all and control panel features have been non working. It has also been telling me that executables are corrupt.

So finally, should I A) Reinstall Windows if the problems persist or B) Replace the hard drive. I know it’s not easy to give a “correct” answer to this but what is your guts telling you?

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  1. Alison Gent
    December 14, 2012 at 2:34 am

    First reformat your drive and ifd that doesn't fix it...yah get a new one.

  2. Sean A
    November 19, 2012 at 1:06 am

    Backup everything then get a new drive

  3. Richard Benkov
    November 14, 2012 at 2:04 pm

    One can never be 100% sure that A) the virus is gone and B) other viruses were not brought to the party... so at minumum you should reinstall....This is also a good time to upgrade the HD ...faster RPM, bigger size can also assist in PC performence..

  4. Chew Jian Yue
    November 14, 2012 at 1:54 pm

    Backup before any problems or bad sectors start to appear.

  5. Mike
    November 12, 2012 at 10:46 am

    Hi,

    1. Make a backup of your drive if you haven't yet. I usually use http://www.runtime.org/driveimage-xml.htm but it might not be the best solution if you have bad sectors.
    2.You might be able to repair the bad sectors on the harddrive with “Spinrite” which you can purchase on https://www.grc.com/sr/spinrite.htm from Steve Gibson. He has been around for more than a decade which you can probably see based on the looks of his website but his Software spinrite works pretty well.

    If you search a bit on a torrent site like the piratebay you might find the software somewhere for free, so you can test whether it works in your case and then only buy a license if it actually fixes the problem - but be fair and buy the software if it actually does. Burn the less than 1mb big program on a bottable CD, and boot from it. If the hard drive is in really bad condition it might take up to several days to repair it – don’t be freaked out by that – just let it run.

    $89 might seem much for fixing this problem, but for me it has come in handy to have a copy of the program laying around – over the years I was able to fix several hard drives of friends this way.

    I hope it helps.

    Mike

  6. Lisa Santika Onggrid
    November 8, 2012 at 1:49 pm

    If you've formatted your drive to find similar state, then your hard drive might be failing. But from what you described, I think your computer is just malware-ridden or suffering something as the result of the last virus attack. Backup, DBAN, then reinstall Windows.

  7. Jim Chambers
    November 8, 2012 at 4:55 am

    Why give yourself all this stress and anxiety? Backup your files and re-install OS and apps.You might even consider erasing (zeroing) the whole drive using app from drive manufacturer.

  8. Alex Perkins
    November 7, 2012 at 6:03 pm

    Backup externally then format the drive and reinstall the OS.

  9. Aniket Singh
    November 7, 2012 at 3:09 pm

    first save ur importanat file on other flash drive and make backup of other file......and format ur computer.....

  10. Paul Pruitt
    November 7, 2012 at 3:04 pm

    Buy an 120 GB SSD drive. Reinstall your OS on it. Use your old drive as a second drive. The difference will be night an day. Even a 60GB SSD drive is a workable solution as long as you don't install too many apps or store too many files on this your new primary drive...

  11. ha14
    November 7, 2012 at 2:54 pm

    there some SMART tools that will warn you in case hard drive failure.

    hard drisk sentinel
    http://www.hdsentinel.com/
    it has also surface scan, perhaps can tell you what is wrong.

    HDDLife
    http://hddlife.com/index.html

    HDD Regenerator
    http://www.dposoft.net/
    Shareware, will create bootable disk, so to boot on it and to fix bad sectors. It can take a while like day depending the bad sectors.

    if Windows is the problem you have to consider to reinstall or use the upgrade feature so that to preserve files on your hard drive; You will need to reactivate.

  12. Adam Campbell
    November 7, 2012 at 1:20 pm

    Definitely backup. if you have a portable hard drive that is a great option. Once you backup reformat hard drive (basically just re install Windows which will take care of the formatting)

  13. Tina
    November 7, 2012 at 11:25 am

    Oskar,

    Immediately make a backup of your data!

    It is hard to thoroughly remove malware and your Windows installation can get damaged in the process. It sounds like this is what happened. Additionally, you say you hear weird sounds. That's an almost sure sign your hard drive is failing.

    If it's not a big deal for you to buy a new hard drive, I would just do that to save time and trouble. Priority, however, is to make a backup of your data - immediately!

    If investing in a new hard drive is an issue, I would recommend you to do the following:

    1. Make a backup of your data.
    2. Format your ENTIRE hard drive to remove any trace of malware.
    3. Re-install Windows.

    If issues persist, specifically the weird sounds and issues with Windows, you have to get a new hard drive. Good luck!

    • Anonymous
      November 7, 2012 at 12:09 pm

      Tina,
      He said there are NO weird sounds and it hasn't slowed down, so it probably is not the hardware and Oskar's comment about bad sectors may not be entirely reliable since he indicates that the system is reporting 0K in bad sectors. If bad sectors were found on in previous runs, the lost space in bad sectors would be reported after each run. I do agree that the proper course should be backup of all data, DBAN the drive and reinstall the OS. All other symptoms are definitely pointing to residual damage (mostly to the registry and probably a few files) that was not properly corrected with the removal of the initial infection.

    • Tina Sieber
      November 13, 2012 at 11:03 pm

      Thanks for catching that one and correcting my recommendation, Bruce!

    • dragonmouth
      November 13, 2012 at 10:20 pm

      If Oskar's drive contains malware and he backs up that drive, won't the malware be backed up also? The malware problem needs to be fixed prior to any backups. Otherwise the problem will be propagated to any subsequent drive to which Oskar restores his data.

    • Tina Sieber
      November 13, 2012 at 11:07 pm

      True, but making sure the data is safe is more important than anything else. You can always re-install an operating system. It's not so easy to recover data. Also, I have to admit that didn't read the question properly and alarm bells rang when I saw 'weirs sounds' in connection with the hard drive. I thought of a possible hard drive failure and that would be game over for all data on it.

      Besides, malware typically doesn't self-execute from unopened files. So what is left in a backup are traces and 'sleeping' malware at best. It will be found during the next proper malware scan.

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