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Old 06-22-2012, 04:50 AM   #1
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Default PC Failure Help Appreciated

Hello,

I've been having some trouble with my PC (Asus, OS: Windows 7) lately and I'm fairly sure it's a hardware component failing. I think I've had this computer for about three years now. I'm not that savvy with hardware, so I'd appreciate someone helping me out as to what exactly is failing.

About three weeks ago, my computer started making clicking noises when it started up and occasionally when I was working on it, but that was the only change (nothing slower, nothing refused to open, nothing magically disappearing). I think/thought it was my RAM, because that clicking sound happened whenever I would close a video after watching it for a while or after closing a "complicated" program — typical times at which the computer frees RAM. The noise did not occur if I moved, opened or saved files.

Yesterday, everything worked fine; the occasional clicking described above is the only thing worth mentioning. Today, I start the computer and nothing lights up: the computer is running but there's no output to the screen, the receiver for mouse and keyboard (I have wireless ones) does not show any light and neither does the Ethernet plug in the back, which is usually lit up in orange. So I hold the power button down and restart it, and this time, things light up in a normal manner and it does show me the desktop (though it takes an unusual long time).

I decide to run chkdsk, but just clicking on the Windows symbol to open the Start Menu and entering "chkdsk" took so long I decided to restart the computer yet again. The whole process was a bit faster this time, but still abnormally slow. Eventually I manage to run chkdsk (it took about five minutes, what with the waiting time between every single operation) and it takes about two minutes for it to show the first line (something along the lines of "This hard drive uses NTFS") and after the second line, lo!, blue screen...

To sum up a long story:
- I've been having clicking for quite some time
- No problems with files or operations with files
- Computer painfully slow today, crashes during moderately simple tasks (chkdsk)

Please note that one or both fans have been making terrible noises which would disappear again. However, as far as I can tell (which means not much at all), I don't think that's relevant to the problem.
I've also never had any odd beeps on start-up, which I've read is an indicator for RAM failure.

Thanks,
Lucas
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Old 06-22-2012, 05:16 AM   #2
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Default Re: PC Failure Help Appreciated

Right, if you can get into Windows use Ctrl Alt and Delete, get into Task Manager and the Performance monitor section.

If RAM and CPU usage is low, and it's slow, it's the Harddrive. (Most likely)

When your PC will not turn on, unplug your Harddrive and try again.

Harddrive LED at the front is doing what exactly? Staying on, off, rhythmic?

The clicking is 9 times out of 10 Harddrive failure, backup everything while you can.

As for it clicking after releasing the memory, theres a 'swap/page file' on the HDD which can be used as 'Fake RAM,' which may explain why it clicks when you shut down the programme.

The RAM is Solid State, so will not click.


In case you just want to read my opinion and skip the above post:

Harddrive is most probably failing, backup your data.
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Old 06-22-2012, 07:08 AM   #3
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Default Re: PC Failure Help Appreciated

Thanks a lot for the prompt reply, it means a lot.

I just started the computer and it booted up at normal speed. Task Manager came up pretty fast as well just now and, looking at the graphs and the numbers below, I'm fairly sure there's not much going on but it's still being slow, so you were right on that.

Ah, yes; embarrassingly, I forgot that RAM could be "extended" to the hard drive, which would explain my observation.

As for the hard drive light, as stupid as it may seem, I have no idea where to find it. There's no light in the front and as far as I know there never has been one, so it's not off. It's not that important anyway; what you've explained makes it evident that it's the hard drive.

One last thing if I may ask — I have two hard drives: one is a 500 GB on which I've got the operating system, programs and files and the other one is a 1.5 TB disk for data. That second 1.5 TB drive is only used when I open it, so it normally does take a second or two to load in the beginning, but right now it's almost as slow as the other 500 GB hard drive, which I assume is the one failing. Is that normal? (Since pretty surely only one hard drive is failing.)
By the way, the hard drives are rather hot — not too hot to touch, but it's almost at the limit.

Fortunately, when the clicking began I had backed up all of my data, so I just needed to copy over a few more files just now and I'm all set.

Thanks again!
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Old 06-22-2012, 07:21 AM   #4
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Default Re: PC Failure Help Appreciated

Are they SATA?

If they're IDE, if they're on the same cable it could explain why they're both slow.

Try removing one HDD, then swap them over so you have them both plugged in individually just to confirm which one is clicking.

Is the 1.5TB HDD nearly full at all?

But, whichever one is clicking is certainly failing, so if the other is also running slow, when you boot from your new HDD, you'll be able to check out your 1.5TB one again.

Sorry if that was a bit confusing, nearly confused myself
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Old 06-22-2012, 08:32 AM   #5
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Default Re: PC Failure Help Appreciated

Thanks again, I owe you! This has been very helpful. If you need something programmed in PHP, or something translated to/from French, to/from German or from Dutch, I'm your man.

I have no idea what the hard drives are. When I did chkdsk it told me they were NTSF, but I have the feeling that's something else. We have some additional hard drives which are SATA, so there's a good chance that they're that as well.

I'll try to do what you said about removing the hard drives with the help of a friend or with further reading because I know nothing of hardware (which is somewhat funny, seeing as I started programming at the age of 14 and am currently at university studying programming) I'll keep you posted in a few days for the sake of completeness.
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Old 06-25-2012, 08:41 AM   #6
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I would say it was your hard drive as its one of the few components that is mechanical. I would make a full backup and try a new drive.

If you get a similar sized drive you could use a program such as acronis true image home to clone the disk and then it will create you a bootable disk as then it will clone the old system to the new drive and it will be like you have never changed the drive as you will just be cloning the same data over. There will be no need to reactivate windows or reinstall your programs.
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Old 06-26-2012, 07:24 PM   #7
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Default Re: PC Failure Help Appreciated

Well this is embarrassing. Some people of my entourage took a look at my computer independently and they all determined it was a software problem (still, I can't stress enough that my hard drive doesn't sound healthy. Though every check I did now and also before when the PC was working said nothing was up, so I guess I'll give it a rest for now), so we tried uninstalling some things, it first looked like it was going to be fixed in no time but eventually it was clear that just redoing the whole thing would be for the best.

Luckily, Windows 7 CD was found rather easily, popped it in and now I'm setting everything up. I feel very fortunate that I had backups and that I knew where the OS CD was and of course for all the help I have received, including here. So thanks a lot! It was really comforting to be able to describe my problem and receive prompt help, even if I described the problem completely wrong.
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Old 06-27-2012, 03:26 AM   #8
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So reinstalling a fresh copy of windows fixed your problems ?

I would have said that was a hardware issue.
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