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SATA Drive testing/monitoring

Old 23rd Jun 2012, 12:23
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SATA Drive testing/monitoring

I'm getting the odd drive issue (WinXP) which could be those dreadful white tacky power connectors OR the drive. Anyone recommend a good 'health' monitoring prog for Windows XP/SATA?
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Old 23rd Jun 2012, 14:33
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Any program that will read the SMART data off the drive is probably what you're after ? Passmark DiskCheckup for example, but there are doubtless hundreds of others..... "SMART" is the secret word you need include within your choice of search terms on Google !

To be honest, drives are cheap as chips these days, so if you smell something fishy, its better to replace earlier rather than later.... the later you leave it, the greater the risk of data corruption. The monitoring software might not always pick it up.

Last edited by mixture; 23rd Jun 2012 at 14:36.
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Old 23rd Jun 2012, 15:08
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The drive manufacturers all have their own free diagnostics software. I would look at those first.

Next would be SIW - includes disk section with SMART reporting.

SD
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Old 23rd Jun 2012, 17:30
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Thanks guys - I had run the WD diagnostic on my two drives and it is showing bad sectors, so I think Mixture's idea is the best. However, I am updating my SIW 2008 to 2011 to have a look. 2008 does not seem to have much SMART info.
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Old 23rd Jun 2012, 21:05
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The WD tool doesn't lie
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Old 23rd Jun 2012, 23:23
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The molex power connector was for a PATA drive that kept going invisible, the SATA drive has one of those nice thin ones doesn't it ? Would just do the check disk repair thing and get it to correct errors (and reboot, and wait and wait...). Ok, change disk if it happens again anytime soon otherwise just backup and plough merrily on. Have had bad sectors on two machines and disks carried on without anything terminal happening (however past performance isn't a guide for the future, E&OE etc).
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Old 24th Jun 2012, 08:43
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Mr O - was tempted, but have ordered a new WD. Done all the Win disk repair stuff, and it found the bad sectors etc too. I do not want to risk data loss etc.

What is the expert's solution to the crummy Molex connectors? Over the 25 years plus of computing they have been a constant source of trouble, constant 'replacement' and still every now and then power 'interruptions' which need 'fiddling with' if I 'disturb' the internals, and cannot do the drives any good.

Are there better quality solutions, or do I just go for a terminal connector strip 'hard-wired' solution?
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Old 24th Jun 2012, 14:48
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"What is the expert's solution to the crummy Molex connectors"

well, actually the Molex connectors used on old IDE / PATA drives were a lot better than the SATA connectors used now. With the molex ones the only real problem was if the connector pins came loose, or if the plastic became brittle and cracked
with SATA connectors, the things easily fall off the contacts. Some modern STAT data connectors now have retention clips to stop this, but the power leads don't. Problems with SATA connectors got so bad at one large company I worked at, that we routinely fixed the connectors into place with blobs from a thermal glue gun
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Old 24th Jun 2012, 15:00
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As far as I can tell, the Sata plugs have not been the problem - I havehad several occasions when just 'wiggling' a Molex doubler has caused problems.
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Old 24th Jun 2012, 15:19
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In which case the problem will be with the pins working loose on old connectors where the plastic has aged.

Irrelevant now anyway - they are simply not used any more
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Old 24th Jun 2012, 15:25
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At least with a molex you can close up the female part of the connector to stop poor contact, that is providing it hasn't overheated and turned the plastic brown.
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Old 24th Jun 2012, 16:27
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I had to read that post twice...................

All me female bits have been well and truly 'closed up' over the years..................
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Old 24th Jun 2012, 17:12
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"All me female bits have been well and truly 'closed up' over the years"

As I once saw quoted by a doctor - "they'll never wear out but they will sure as heck rust up"
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Old 26th Jun 2012, 00:24
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"they'll never wear out but they will sure as heck rust up"
Curiously enough, that is exactly the principal problem one has noted in the current generation of SATA connectors -- exposure to moisture with some modest amount of corrosive chemical (salt suffices) will frustrate the longer-term of SATA connectors that are either dampened directly or exposed to open air of an aggressive kind.

Pets and free-range vermin with territorial marking habits can ruin many a connection -- with just a single essay.

Older generations of disk drive connectors had much more surface area for contacts to touch their mates (at higher mating pressures and better wiping action to remove contaminants and oxides), had larger physical barriers for moisture creepage along insulated spaces between contacts, and possibly also had better chemistry in the contact metals.

Newer contacts one sees on drives and cables shipped with them are tinier, carry less current, and seem to not be made with the same care to prevention of oxidation and corrosion. The Gold standard (which was actually a plating layer of gold over nickel or similar underlayment that prevents ions migrating through the plating to contaminate mating surfaces) seems to have been replaced with unpredictable variants.

Eyeball examination of the visible male bits and down into those tiny female slots before mating can help to save the longer-term grief of an intermittently fouled connection...... the classic Wackelkontakt.

Last edited by arcniz; 26th Jun 2012 at 00:30.
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Old 27th Jun 2012, 12:04
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Win XP/SP3

While I eagerly await delivery of my replacement drive, a techie query please.

Ever now and then I cannot open a folder on my desktop with a double click. The folder will be one that is 'in' the user's Desktop folder and will open with a right-click/'Explore'.

Following a reboot, all back to 'normal'. Am I correct that this is indicative of sector issues?
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