Is this a virus that ate 2 hard drives?

Discussion in 'hardware' started by james77madison, Apr 23, 2009.

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  1. james77madison

    james77madison Registered Member

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    Hi yall. Problem: Computer crashed and would no longer boot from drive. This was a sata drive, plus I had an identical sata as storage. Both are seen in bios, system drive won't boot, and most importantly, computer won't boot at all, even from cd, until I remove the system drive from the computer. Now no computer will boot if this drive is connected, so I can't even format it or diagnose it. Long story longer, I put in another drive and installed xp. This drive was an ide, cuz I was suspect of the sata (even thought my sata storage drive never got hurt). Ide system drive worked for a week, then died in the exact same way, no boot up if it's connected to any computer. I can't see how a hardware failure could kill 2 hard drives on 2 different controllers in the same way. I'm afraid a virus may have been in the files I restored to the new install, and now I'm worried cuz I put the backup files on a different computer so these people have a computer to use, and I'm afraid their going to fry this hard drive too. Any ideas?

    Tim
     
  2. SmackyTheFrog

    SmackyTheFrog Registered Member

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    I would guess either your power supply or SATA controller is killing the disks, in that order.
     
  3. james77madison

    james77madison Registered Member

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    Yeah, I'm gonna check the power supply later today. But I had 1 drive go bad on the sata, with the jmicron controller, and 1 go bad the exact same way with the ide intel controller. And all the while leaving my second hard drive alone that was on another sata port.
     
  4. spelunk

    spelunk Registered Member

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    What brand and model were these SATA drives? There have been MAJOR issues with some of the Seagate Barracude 7200.11 series drives. I lost two the other weekend; one on my PC; one on my wifes.
     
  5. JimIT

    JimIT Registered Member

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    I think you've possibly got flaky voltage going from one of the power plugs on your power supply. What you're describing makes me suspect the power supply is doing something evil. I do not suspect a virus caused this.
     
  6. Keyboard_Commando

    Keyboard_Commando Registered Member

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    Have you tried all drives in another computer? Just to make sure they are actually dead?

    If they all died ... whilst connected to this board (I presume they all failed on same motherboard?) 1) Could be an earthing problem with the board. 2) General electrical fault of some kind - a multimeter might find the problem.

    I would RMA the board - if you still have warranty.

    Could be a virus flashing the drives, I guess. I would go with hardware failure with your motherboard somewhere causing this, though.
     
  7. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    One was SATA and the other was an IDE, so it is not likely a controller issue. This could be a coincidence, and you had two drives fail at the same time.

    And I don't think a bad controller (which uses low voltages) would "destroy" drives - the data yes, but not the drive - not to the point where simply attaching that drive to another computer blocks that computer from booting, as that would suggest a major wiring fault or component failure occurred in the drive, for some reason, shorting the PSU's +12VDC rail straight to electrical ground. Hopefully the builder invested in a quality PSU, the PSU would shut down before any further damage.

    So with 2 different drives on 2 different type controllers, and assuming it is not a coincidence, I too would look at power first. To properly test a power supply unit (PSU), a qualified technician puts the PSU under "true" (realistic) loads, then analyses the voltage using an oscilloscope or power analyzer. So I keep a FrozenCPU Ultimate PSU Tester in my tool bag when I am "in the field" and don't have a good spare power supply handy. While not a certain test, they are better than nothing. The advantage of this model is that it has an LCD readout of the voltage. With an actual voltage readout, you can better detect a "failing" PSU, or one barely within specified tolerances. Lesser models use LEDs to indicate the voltage is just within some "range". These are less informative, considerably cheaper, but still useful for detecting PSUs that have already "failed". Newegg has several testers to choose from. All these testers contain a "dummy load" to fool the PSU into thinking it is connected to a motherboard, and therefore allows the PSU to power on, if able, without being attached to a motherboard - great for testing fans, but again, not a true load.

    As mentioned, swapping in a known good spare supply (with ample power) will quickly reveal if the old supply was at fault.

    I do not recommend using a multimeter to test power supplies. To do it properly, that is, under a realistic load, the voltages on all the pins must be measured while the PSU is attached to the motherboard and the computer powered on. This then requires poking (with some considerable force) two, hard and sharp, highly conductive, meter probes into the main power connector, deep in the heart of the computer. One tiny slip can destroy the motherboard, and everything plugged into it. It is not worth the risk considering the multimeter, like the plug in testers, do not measure or reveal any unwanted AC component to the DC voltages.

    If this proves not to be a power supply problem, then it points to the motherboard. If you have an old drive laying around, you could give it try - just to eliminate the coincidence factor. But I would run with only the essentials - 1 stick of RAM, no extra drives, etc.


    Umm, flashing? No. Trashing? I don't think so, but...
    ...just to be sure, you could run some malware scans then as well.
     
  8. Howard Kaikow

    Howard Kaikow Registered Member

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    First, run the hard drive manufactuer's diagnostics.
    Seond, try booting with a live Ubuntu CD.
     
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