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A little over four years ago I built a PC with a Core 2 Quad Q6600 and 4GB of DDR2 800 ram. Not very good by today's standards, but it has served its purpose well.

Recently (within the last two to three weeks) I've been experiencing very strange issues. Most noticeably Chrome tabs crashing on every single page load. Being the new year I decided that a fresh install of Windows (7 x64 Professional) couldn't hurt. I went ahead and reinstalled and everything was going great until a few days ago.

The Chrome issues came back, and I don't remember the last time I used a computer this slow. These are actual times as recorded by a stopwatch:

  • Launching Firefox 9 with no extensions installed: 40 seconds before the GUI shows up, nevermind the homepage loading.
  • IntelliJ Idea 11: An entire minute for the splash to show up and over an additional 4 minutes 40 seconds for the actual IDE to load. Even more time before the program becomes even remotely usable.

Nothing else is running besides small programs like pidgin. My Asus Transformer is faster and more reliable.

I downloaded the latest version of Ultimate Boot CD and ran Memtest86+. No errors. Whenever I try to run any of the hard drive diagnostic tools it freezes at idle: going to resident fdapm. Googling that shows that other people have that issue as well.

The hard drive is the newest component, as the one I bought with the machine failed. I purchased the new hard drive on March 21, 2011. The hard drive is a 1 TB Western Digital Caviar Blue.

So where do I go from here? To be honest, the whole thing is making me want to get a new computer (with nice things like DDR3, Sandy Bridge, etc). I was going to sell this computer but there is no way I am selling it in its current operating condition.

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This sounds like it may be a problem with the hard drive itself. – Shinrai Jan 10 '12 at 20:17
That's what I'm thinking but I can't find any diagnostic tools that will actually run. That error message doesn't have anything to do with the hard drive. – KPthunder Jan 10 '12 at 20:19
Sorry for not being more detailed but I have my hands a bit full at the moment. I see the drive is relatively new but controller issues, cabling issues, power issues could cause that. The latency speaks to a failure either with the drive or an actual electrical problem (assuming there is no software cause, which seems unlikely on a clean installation). I would at a minimum check the SMART data on the drive (easily done from in Windows with any number of tools, I personally use AIDA64) – Shinrai Jan 10 '12 at 20:25
up vote 8 down vote accepted

It sounds like a bad hard drive.

Check you Event Log for clues as to what may be failing.

Test the WD hard drive using WD's Diagnostic Utilities (available on their site here).

If the drive won't pass those (and it's not the computer's fault), then it's grounds for replacement, and if you purchased it in Mar. 2011, it should still be well under warranty.

If it comes up clean, then scan the file-system and disk condition with something like SpinRite, or a thorough Windows disk check (with a blank-space check: chkdsk /R).

As always, do you best to make a backup of important data before you start trying to 'repair' the drive or file-system.

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I'll try that. Thankfully, I keep all of my important stuff in BitBucket and Dropbox, and all of my really important stuff in TrueCrypt in Dropbox. – KPthunder Jan 10 '12 at 20:26
I'm running the diagnosis right now and the time remaining is fluctuating between 25 and 35 hours remaining. Is this a normal amount of time? – KPthunder Jan 10 '12 at 20:50
For a full surface scan on a 1TB drive? It sounds a bit longer than expected, but that can be normal. – afrazier Jan 10 '12 at 21:05
Which 'diagnostics' are you running? The WDDiag (in DOS mode) shouldn't take any longer than a couple hours to do the 'extended' test. But, assuming WDDiag, just let it go until it finishes, it may give up after a while and just give you an error code. – Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007 Jan 10 '12 at 21:41
The DOS one wasn't working, so I'm running the Windows one. SMART is coming back fine but I'm currently at 13 hours 25 minutes remaining. – KPthunder Jan 10 '12 at 22:20

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