Is the sound of a very sick drive, sounds like a WD.
The longer you run it the worse your chances of recovering data are. Though the video below shows and old IDE not a SATA drive, it will give you the idea should it completely fail to mount for recovery. Replacing a controller board works works fairly often however extreme care is required to get the precise sub-revision and controller boards are very static sensitive once removed from the HDD body.
Came back and the memtest was still running, but had shown no errors. I exited the test and took out the hard drive.
I tested it on the XP computer, didn't work. And I tested the XP drive on the PC i'm trying to fix, also didn't work.
I then took @srgtroy's advice about hooking it up as if it was a 2nd hard drive, and this worked!!!!
I was able to get the data I needed out of the hard drive, so now I don't have to worry about reformatting or anything like that.
I'm so glad that worked because I would be afraid to do what @Rory suggested
Then I could re-install windows 8 on the hard drive without any problems.
It took me a while to figure out how to make a USB bootable, and mount the image on my drive and then x transfer it to the USB and learn how to prioritize the USB over hard drive on the BIOS, but in the end... it worked!
My PC is back.
Sure it's empty and it has no files, but I don't care as I was able to recover those files already!!
I don't know what the issue was, and I hope it doesn't happen again. But hey I'm happy for now.
Thanks so much to everyone who helped me out with this. Once again you have shown that FIO is the best community in the planet. You're better at solving Microsoft problems than the Microsoft community which includes Microsoft employees....
Thanks Rory, I'll run the data lifeguard diagnostics.
The PC is not quite out of the woods yet. It is extremely slow and appears to have little-to-no drivers installed. But for some reason all my data is still in there, despite selecting the option that was supposed to delete my data lol.
I've got to install some drivers first so it can connect to the internet though, then I'll run some diagnostics and see if I need to pick up another hard drive.
Any other diagnostic that you suggest now that I can access windows on the PC?
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Drives fail so there is no reason to think beyond replacing the drive right now. I would be surprised of WD's lifeguard diagnostic tool passes it.
If memtest passed, it (the system ram) probably fine. Low main power/brownout is a common cause for spinning HDDs to fail, less often is a power spike. I lived in a rural area for a while and every time the milking machines or arc welder of my neighbor came on the incandescent lightbulbs would dim to cherry red. A special UPS that deals with undervoltage (not all do) was required as it killed drives. I'm not saying that is needed at all but worth bearing in mind. Drives do just fail sometimes, especially if moved recently perhaps.
The extreme slowness is often down to the drive reading a bad sector often dozens of times until it get a good read and moves on (to another bad sector). If you want a fast system get a solid state drive, it is night and day and well worth the price difference. a 512GB is not that much really, completely silent too.
Warranty replace (often they are 2-3 years with the manufacturer) maybe but get a new one is my advice (SSD is great).
The following user says Thank You to Rory for this post:
@Rory sounds like he knows more then me but I would look for the diagnostic utility from the maker of the drive and I would also run Chkdsk. I might have tried doing it while it was installed on the other pc but if the gaming one is working now then do it from there, I guess.
If drive passes all tests then reformat and re-install OS, otherwise if drive if failing, get new one first.
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The following 2 users say Thank You to srgtroy for this post:
Honestly, at this point you'd be better off replacing your drive with a SSD. There is significant doubt about how long the current drive will last, so it might be better replacing parts before you have a catastrophic crash. Yes, I know you have a backup, but replacing hardware over a weekend means zero potential downtime to a trading pc during trading hours. If your pc crashes while you have a big position on, you better have another way to exit your trade(s).
If storage space is an issue, you could also get another HDD - SSD prices have come down a lot, but if you really need something like 4TB of storage, then a single HDD might be the way to go.
The following user says Thank You to grausch for this post:
I second this recommendation. An SSD will speed up all disk reads and writes, and breath new life into an older PC. It is the best upgrade you can do at this time, other than adding memory, but you may be maxed out there already. You will notice the difference immediately. You can transfer everything from the failing drive to a new SSD without starting over.
The following user says Thank You to bradhouser for this post:
I missed this bit earlier. Since it is not a trading pc, you may not care if it goes down during trading hours and you can elect to use your current drive until it fails.
bradhouser is correct. I should have included the bolded comment in my post. The 2 items that make the biggest performance difference for average use are RAM and a SSD. Insufficient RAM causes a lot more buffering to your hard drive (SSD or HDD) and can reduce the life of these devices. 4GB is really insufficient nowadays, 8GB is the minimum, 16GB is recommended (for my usage), 32GB is even better.
With regards to a SSD, even with insufficient RAM it will make a huge difference in speed. Actually, with insufficient RAM it can make a greater increase in speed than with sufficient RAM, but you are using up a lot of your read-write cycles of the SSD. Luckily SSDs are more robust now than a couple of years ago, but RAM is cheap and reduces stress on your drives.
If you wish to upgrade your pc on a budget, a used Z68 motherboard and a used i5-2500 (k or non-k) will be a nice upgrade and they are not too expensive. I still rock two i7-2600 PCs at home and feel no need to upgrade.