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I've got a system that is basically corrupting an ever growing stack of hard drives. I am looking to determine the cause.

Here's what I've determined is NOT the cause:

  • hard drives: I've gone through several different brands and sizes of drives, they all eventually get corrupted in this system. Interestingly, all happens in similar fashion: I format and do a fresh install of the OS... everything works fine for 2 to 3 weeks .... then suddenly the OS begins to fail to start... I can usually get in after a CHKDSK or a similar fix ... maybe a few more restarts its fine, but then the problems occur again ... and at this point I am lucky to get it to boot the OS at all .. until finally the system is unbootable

  • OS: I've tried both Windows 7 and Ubuntu 11.04 and both times the drive becomes corrupted in similar fashion

Here are the basic specs for the system:

CPU: Athlon 64 X2 +4800

Motherboard: GA-K8N-LSi

Memory: 4 GB (don't have the exact models handy)

Video: NVIDIA 9800 GTX

PSU: 485w Enermax

-- Any thoughts or tips on pinpointing the issue?

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So you replace the drive rather than reformat and install? – Moab Aug 14 '11 at 16:48
Have you checked your power supply and sata controller? – D.Iankov Aug 14 '11 at 17:00
@Moab I have reformatted and installed the OS a dozen times with a given drive, but the issue kept coming back. So then I started trying new replacement drives. Same issue occurs. – Derrick Aug 14 '11 at 20:08
@D.lankov no I haven't 'checked' them, other than the fact they seem to be operating ok. I suppose I could invest in a new PSU and then try it out again with a clean install. – Derrick Aug 14 '11 at 20:10
I suspect a bad hard drive controller or controller driver, possibly bad hard drive cable(s) – Moab Aug 15 '11 at 4:56

Ensure all connections are secure (motherboard, power supply, disk drives, etc.)

If you are overclocking, revert to standard clocking. If that fixes the problem then you were overclocking too much.

Update the motherboard BIOS to the latest version, then reset to defaults. I had a BIOS once that misinterpreted the SPD memory timings for my particular memory, causing instability. I replaced the memory multiple times and the motherboard once and still had the problem. A later BIOS revision fixed it.

If you have another power supply available, try it in case the power supply is faulty.

Since you've tried multiple hard drives, the hard drive is unlikely to be the probably. I agree with @Moab's comment that it probably wasn't necessary to replace the hard drive unless you had more evidence that it was faulty.

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Okay, good tips - thanks I will go over the connections and swap out all the SATA cables for new ones. Update the BIOS. Try again with a fresh install to see if the issue occurs. And if that does't work, I'll order a new PSU for it. And if that doesn't work - I'll be posting back here again ! Thx again. – Derrick Aug 14 '11 at 20:13

So, the file system gets corrupted. You've tested different hard-drives with the tools provided by the manufacturer, and they pass the tests. All these hard-drives exhibit the same issue at some point in time.

How are you turning off your computer? Some times, when the computer gets shut down improperly, you can experience those types of issues. Do you have the computer attached to a good UPS?

Check the SATA/IDE controllers and cables. The easiest way to do this is to get new cables and see if the issue persists. IF it does, get a SATA/IDE (depending on what type of hard-drive you have) card. Install the card and load the drivers for the card. Then turn off the computer and plug in the drives to this card. Run the computer as you normally would and see if the problem persists.

Edit: Also, as others mentioned. Test your power supply.

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The computer seems to turn off normally. Though their is an interesting occurance that seems to happen occasionally when I turn it ON. At the POST screen the system will hang (indefinitely) just when it would normally list the hard drives. If you reset it, it will work and boot normally. So perhaps that is related to the issue. Another wildcard is that one of the SLI ports is no longer functional. I'm not using SLI so its fine, but definitely an indicator of a problematic motherboard. I wonder which is more likely - PSU or motherboard. – Derrick Aug 14 '11 at 20:15
I haven't been using a UPS, perhaps I will invest in one. Also, I am going to swap out the SATA cables for new ones and see if that helps. Thanks again. – Derrick Aug 14 '11 at 20:19
If one of the PCI-e Ports stopped working, you are right, that is a sign of a faulty motherboard. Hanging where the hard-drives are listed usually means a problem with the drive or the controller. So, it seems that maybe there is a problem with the board. When you are using your PC, do you experience error messages, blue screens, or crashing applications? It seems that you've had this PC for a while. So updating the BIOS may or may not fix any issues since it probably worked fine in the beginning, and it just started with the issues. – LDelgado Aug 15 '11 at 3:08

Try updating your BIOS to the latest stable, then if you got one, install AHCI raid drivers (probably included in your chipset driver).

Make sure the HDD stays cool. If it gets slower by day try to defrag the drive.

In BIOS you might be able to select between AHCI or IDE. If you can select IDE make sure your power supply can supply +12V without voltage spikes (you can get a external drive to boot from USB).

Always shut down the PC safely from the start menu and don't unplug until fans stop spinning (cache might be full, it usually does write/read operations most of the time).

You can also try to disable cache (right-click on drive → hardware tab → specs → disable cache option)

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