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My computer recently started to hang during common everyday use and it seems to be getting worse. It doesn't just completely stop functioning though as I can still move my mouse around. Originally, I thought it had something to do with the new power supply I had put in but I think at this point, I can prolly rule that out.

Clicking on the Start Circle on Windows 7 bottom left took half a minute to register and load up the start menu. I did a reboot, and that took exceptionally long. Then when I have to the log in screen where I choose which profile I want to load, clicking on a profile lead to another minute long wait to get to the screen where you enter in your user password.

I mean, I have no clue what the hell is going on here and the best I can come up with is something crazy must be going on with my hard drive. After finally booting up Windows, everything is initially very slow and basic startup things take a looooong time to load up. It seems like once things are up and into RAM, they run fine but I feel like anytime I have to access new memory from the HD, the computer sorta freezes up for a while. Though, it's not a complete freeze since I still have mouse control.

Does anyone have any suggestions on how I can figure out if this is really an issue with my HD? I'm worried so I've already started backing up important files to an external HD I have.

EDIT. After reading some similar questions, I have installed and run the SeaTools for Windows diagnostic program and while the short generic test passed, it failed on the long generic. I'm currently running the Fix All Long. This also leads me to believe that there may be an HD issue.

I'm open to any and all ideas. If anyone thinks this is something other than the HD acting up, I'm all ears. I may just go ahead and pick up a new HD tomorrow but the idea of reeinstalling everything just hurts my head. Also, my desktop was originally an HP so I don't even think it came with OS cds. So I'm not entirely sure what I should do to reinstall my Windows.

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Related: superuser.com/questions/119063/… –  Gnoupi Apr 13 '12 at 14:39
    
Make sure it's not the cable nor the controller (mainboard) first. Hard drives are sensitive creatures. –  Bora Apr 13 '12 at 15:29
    
"the idea of reinstalling everything just hurts my head." I feel your pain... –  Moab Apr 13 '12 at 15:33
    
Make your own HP recovery DVDs...h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/…... –  Moab Apr 13 '12 at 15:35
    
Or HP recovery USB drive...h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/… –  Moab Apr 13 '12 at 15:35

3 Answers 3

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Clicking on the Start Circle on Windows 7 bottom left took half a minute to register and load up the start menu. I did a reboot, and that took exceptionally long. Then when I have to the log in screen where I choose which profile I want to load, clicking on a profile lead to another minute long wait to get to the screen where you enter in your user password.

The only way to be really certain that it's not a user service or driver, try to boot into Safe Mode using F8 and look how long it takes to work inside that, optionally try to create a new user profile.

it failed on the long generic

Yeah, that's definitely some bad news. Can you share us S.M.A.R.T. information? Use HD Tune Trial.

... pick up a new HD tomorrow but the idea of reeinstalling everything just hurts my head.

Actually, how faster you get yourself that new HD how more chance you have to just mirror all your data. This obviously only is a good idea if your data is not corrupted or inaccessible in one or another way, else you might indeed better be off reinstalling everything just to be sure you're in a clean state...

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Safe mode was just as bad as the regular and as I was backing up files, there were a few that I couldn't get to copy. I'm certain at this point that it was indeed my HD that was totally borked. Luckily I got all the important stuff off (pictures) and all my work related files are already backed up in two other locations. Thanks for the help =) –  Steve Apr 14 '12 at 6:18

to simply test for actual read/write errors and speed under Microsoft Windows, h2testw by heise is a good tool:

http://www.heise.de/download/h2testw.html

it writes data to the disc until it is full, then reads it again to verify.

Works best if the drive is empty. However, if the drive is about to fail, you might first want to backup all your stuff, because lots of data transfer could send it to the eternal hunting grounds.

otherwise i agree with using https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S.M.A.R.T too.

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Thanks for the reply! I installed two separate hard drives today (One SSD and one regular for bulk files). I transferred basically just my music and pictures off my old drive and am just counting everything else as a loss. Even just the small amount of data I managed to transfer off took upwards 2 hours to get onto an external so the thought of attempting to move anything else just wasn't appealing enough to try. –  Steve Apr 14 '12 at 6:20
    
if there is other important stuff on it, you could try total commanders batch copy process over night, and tell it to skip all files it can't read (you'll have to check every now and then for the first hour probably, if there are popups how to go on, but after that it does everything reliable till the end, or until it gets to a physical part that makes the HDD hang up. totalcommander.com --- please don't forget to vote or accept. Hungry for badges :) –  Kai Apr 17 '12 at 13:53

Most HD vendors offer a tool (app) to test the drive beyond what SMART does. Vist the vendor site and check for their tool. Western Digital,Seagate and Maxtor all have such tools. I assume others may as well.

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The tool I used was a Seagate specific diagnostic tool and my HD failed 2 of the 3 tests. Only passing the short generic, failing the long generic and the fix long =( –  Steve Apr 14 '12 at 6:21

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