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  1. #1
    ABW Ambassador bettylou's Avatar
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    Do I Need a New Hard Drive?
    My laptop (Dell Inspiron) has been very slow for a while now. I just chalked it up to having too many big programs on it.

    Yesterday when I went to wake it up in the morning, it wouldn't come on. It was running but the screen was black, the mouse wouldn't light up and the keyboard wasn't working. I did a restart (using the power button) but it did the same thing -- black screen and no response from keyboard or mouse, only the power light was on. I could hear the fan running and the hard drive (I assume).

    After a few tries, it came on. But when I went to a site that uses flash, it did the same thing -- black screen, etc. Not really knowing what I am doing, I thought I would try hooking it up to another computer to see if maybe it was something with the laptop's screen but still nothing.

    I looked online and found a lot of websites that said to try reseating the memory -- didn't help, but when I took out both cards, I was able to get the CD drive to open, put in the Vista Reinstallation DVD, put the memory back in and it started. I went into BIOS and it gave me this error, "Hard Drive DST Short Test Failed".

    I did CHKDSK and it found bad sectors on the hard drive but said it repaired them. However, after running the BIOS test again, I still am receiving an error.

    It seems to be running fine now, but I am guessing that I need a new hard drive? Maybe? I don't really want to invest six million dollars into it but I will if it will make it run faster, stronger, better than it was before (Show your age and name that TV show!).

    Thanks

  2. #2
    ABW Veteran Mr. Sal's Avatar
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    but I will if it will make it run faster, stronger, better than it was before...
    I don't know if you have too many programs on your HD, but...

    Have you tried the free, CCleaner program?

    I've 8 GB of memory on my HP, and sometimes when I see Vista running slow, I just run the CCleaner and it deletes a lot of unnecessary junk from my computer, making run a lot faster, again...

  3. #3
    What's the word? Rhia7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Sal View Post
    Have you tried the free, CCleaner program?

    I've 8 GB of memory on my HP, and sometimes when I see Vista running slow, I just run the CCleaner and it deletes a lot of unnecessary junk from my computer, making run a lot faster, again...
    I want to remember this
    Thanks for the tip Mr. Sal.
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  4. #4
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    "Hard Drive DST Short Test Failed".

    That's not good. It pretty much is saying you are on borrowed time with your hard drive. How new is the computer? I'd start backing up your data and head out for a new one. (depending on age of computer, I'd get all new).
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  5. #5
    ABW Ambassador bettylou's Avatar
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    Mr. Sal, I use that program ALOT! It does clear out quite a lot of space but I can usually make a sandwich while waiting for a program to load. Or to switch between programs.

    Deb, it's a little over two years old. When I try to save anything to a CD, it keeps telling me that I have to format the disk or that I don't have rights to save to that drive. I don't have an external hard drive but maybe I should run out and get one.

    If I opt to get a new laptop instead, could I just network with my old one and copy my files that way?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by bettylou View Post
    If I opt to get a new laptop instead, could I just network with my old one and copy my files that way?
    It depends. Liz recently had similar issues with her HP laptop and she did several things, including moving files off and cleaning up the hard drive, scanning for viruses, and doing a system restore to a date prior to the date the problems started. Since then her computer has been running fine again.

    She did go out and get an external to move all her data off and delete it from the computer hard drive. Will alert her to this thread and you can PM her for more info, it might help to talk to her.

    The thing that just clued me in is that she couldn't write to CDs either.
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  7. #7
    ABW Ambassador bettylou's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by loxly View Post
    The thing that just clued me in is that she couldn't write to CDs either.
    That's interesting. Thanks, I would like to talk to her. Maybe I will start out by getting an external hard drive like she did. I should have one anyway. I am probably the only person who doesn't.

  8. #8
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    Hi Bettylou! Definitely get an external! I was able to get one at BestBuy for $80 that is 320 gigs! I moved all of my files onto that and deleted any programs that I don't use, and somewhere in the process I managed to fix it LOL Feel free to PM me if you want!

  9. #9
    ABW Ambassador bettylou's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Liz - Team Loxly View Post
    Hi Bettylou! Definitely get an external! I was able to get one at BestBuy for $80 that is 320 gigs! I moved all of my files onto that and deleted any programs that I don't use, and somewhere in the process I managed to fix it LOL Feel free to PM me if you want!
    Thanks so much, Liz! I am on my way out the door to get the external drive. I will let you know how it goes.

    Thanks again!

  10. #10
    If you're going to replace your laptop HD then I would go with an SSD drive. You won't be disappointed and your laptop will fly (not literally ;])!

  11. #11
    Member dsharpie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bettylou View Post
    My laptop (Dell Inspiron) has been very slow for a while now. I just chalked it up to having too many big programs on it...I went into BIOS and it gave me this error, "Hard Drive DST Short Test Failed".
    I had that same BIOS message on my HP laptop (bought in January) last week and got the drive replaced by HP under warranty -- actually, they sent me the drive and I installed it and brought back my installation from a "Ghost" image, which had taken a day and a half to create due to its difficulties in reading the data off the bad drive.

    However, prior to that, I had gone to a command window in Windows boot options (f8 on boot) and used the cryptic xcopy command to copy all my important files over to my Toshiba 1Terrabyte external.

    Before you do anything else, get the external and save what you can. If laptop is not under warranty, you can probably get a replacement internal drive for under $150, depending on capacity (be sure to find out exactly the type of drive specs in it now, such as SATA, etc.) Then you can use your system installation disks as a last resort to reinstall -- but don't mess around with that until you somehow make copies of important files onto the external.

  12. #12
    Affiliate Manager affilorama's Avatar
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    But of course if replacing the hard drive costs just a little less than getting a new laptop or pc (you do have to pay someone to put in the replacement disk and techs can be expensive!) you may want to go for the new laptop instead. They say windows 7 is fast and really good. I'm saving up to buy a new pc or laptop with windows 7 on it.
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  13. #13
    Member dsharpie's Avatar
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    If the laptop is out of warranty, replacing the drive yourself is pretty easy -- if you buy the correct type. Pop out the old drive, install the new one in the little carrier (if there is one) or just plug in the connector adapter onto the new drive (if there is one). Then put the new one in, boot with manufacturer's original installation disks or your own personal set of recovery disks, and let the system reinstall itself.

    If, however, you don't happen to have original disks (more and more laptops are being shipped without them), you can probably order a set from the manufacturer that will put the computer back into factory fresh configuration on the new drive.

    All of that CAN be accomplished without paying a tech for those who are intrepid enough to take that adventure.

    The suggestion to check prices for upgrading to the latest and greatest computer is good, too, especially if you have gotten your money's worth out of the old one (in other words, if it really is old). I'm using Windows 7 on my relatively new HP (speedy Quad-core Intel i7 CPU) and I like it a lot. BTW, I did order a set of system restore DVDs from HP when I ordered the laptop, but you can order them separately.

  14. #14
    Full Member Lanny's Avatar
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    Always backup to removable media or to Internet
    I suggest that you *always* back up any valuable data to removable media (DVD-R for example) or to the Internet. I have a free Dropbox account, which allows up to 2GB of space. It is *very* easy to use. Hard Drives, and other Mechanical components, are the ones most likely to fail.

  15. #15
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    Lanny, if I tried to backup to the Internet, there isn't enough space available. Plus to tell the truth, I trust internet backups *less* than I trust external hard drives. I have several externals now, with redundant backups, but then again I also have very large and very important (to me) files that need backing up. I tried Flickr pro account as a photography "master files" back up and *poof* all the masters disappeared!

    Get an external, then get another external, then back up the most important stuff to DVD. And not DVD-R, data will eventually "disappear" from DVD-R, they are not stable media for backups, they are more for moving data between places.
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  16. #16
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    This thread may have inspired a new Affiliate ABCs podcast....

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Sal View Post
    I don't know if you have too many programs on your HD, but...

    Have you tried the free, CCleaner program?

    I've 8 GB of memory on my HP, and sometimes when I see Vista running slow, I just run the CCleaner and it deletes a lot of unnecessary junk from my computer, making run a lot faster, again...
    I ran it on my computer, which I keep relatively lean, and the family one, which has, uh, other stuff on it. It couldn't be easier to use...but if I'm seeing a performance improvement, it is a small one.

    Maybe it's hard to optimize abacuses?
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