Sunday, April 10, 2011

One messy Samsung F3 1TB drive

My girlfriend’s brother is once again having problems with his PC. Previously it was the integrated NIC getting burned and now it is his data drive failing.

I cannot explain what really happened. At first, he couldn’t write to his partitions. It would make the PC freeze up. However, he was able to read the files. When I plugged it in dad’s PC, I couldn’t see the first partition. I could see the second partition, but couldn’t write data nor read some files.

I gave Spinrite a shot. It found errors, some were not correctable; some were. But after running it for hours and hour, and seeing the estimated running time as 10000 hours, I gave up.

One more thing. The partition table seemed to have gotten screwed up. There was a 0 sized partition at the beginning and a 0 sized partition at the end. I tried removing these from Acronis Disk Director but it didn’t find those partitions. But the weirdest thing comes now. It somehow screwed up Windows in dad’s PC. Upon booting, it would always detect an error and automatically go into recovery mode. There was no way to boot normally. When I told the recovery process to go ahead and do its thing, it would stall there.

So I had to reinstall Windows and stuff in dad’s PC. When installing Windows 7, I saw that this hard drive also had those 0 sized partitions, but it didn’t give a problem.

After few days, I was asked to format the 1TB drive and see if that fixed the hard drive. I could quick format the hard drive, but not full format. It would stall in the middle when I would do a full format. Guess what? It screwed up dad’s PC for the second time!!

I installed Windows like before and I didn’t get an error. But in the night, dad told me that it is not booting into Windows normally. Instead, it would go into the recovery mode. But this time, it was doing this without me plugging in the defective hard drive.

OK, format time. This is the 3rd time. But things were not that easy this time. Windows installation wouldn’t proceed. It would wait for the drive to respond but for no result. So we decided to remove all the partitions and start from the scratch; But how do we format the drive? Luckily I had a bootable Disk Director disc. But it didn’t work either. It gave an error and would not start. Then I tried a Linux CD I had with me. It let me format the drive in EXT2 so I did that and tried loading Windows 7 setup. This time I could get into the place where you format the drive. I could format the drives, but still it wouldn’t let me install Windows. I was getting an error saying that Windows cannot be installed to that drive.

Now what? Maybe it had something to do with the quick format which Windows 7 does instead of a full format even on a brand new HDD. How do I do a full format?? Right! Windows XP setup. That did the job! It successfully finished the full format, and it took its time. After that when I tried Windows 7 setup, it worked. No problem till now. Smile

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