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How do I troubleshoot a slow hard drive?

I have a SeaGate drive and I ran the long and short generic tests and they passed. However, the system still seems slow after a defrag and the processes are very few so I am still sure the drive is bad. Is there any other tests or something I can try and prove it's not the drive?

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Which tests did you run and where? Within Windows? 'Lower Level' tests usually require booting out of the OS. Tools for lots of diagnosis can be found on Hiren's Boot CD, including Seagate ones. –  HaydnWVN Sep 5 '12 at 10:43
    
Did you run Seagate's Seatools to get these results? Have you tried the drive in another computer? Different cables? Clone your stuff to a known good drive and try that drive. Still, if you disbelieve what you're being told by the tool you chose, and are "still sure the drive is bad", then why not just replace it? If you are just looking for a list of HDD diagnostic software, this isn't the place to ask that. –  techie007 Sep 5 '12 at 12:08
    
Ended up with a FAIL on Reallocated Sectors Count RAW(3) VALUE(100) and THRESHOLD(36) time for a new drive? –  Travis Johnson Sep 6 '12 at 2:51
    
Travis, it may be time for a new drive. I hope you have good backups. –  user3463 Sep 6 '12 at 5:20
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marked as duplicate by techie007, Indrek, Xavierjazz, Nifle, Randolph West Sep 6 '12 at 5:21

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Acronis Drive Monitor will work and is free. I use this, it's really good. However, like all of these things, it's only as good as the signal route - IE, a bad cable may cause false positives etc so if you can also test the cable you will have the extra reassurance (and of course then the port on the motherboard! Although normally, the results are pretty accurate I just wanted to point out it could be something else.)

Acronis Drive Monitor: Estimate health percentage, and use Windows Event Log events (which may be related to risk of data loss). Can trigger automatic backup on S.M.A.R.T. alert when combined with Acronis backup software.

Wikipedia also gives you an overview of such S.M.A.R.T tools (too much to copy across).

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The results of reports based on S.M.A.R.T data should be taken into context. Many of the problems HDDs have they are not even aware of. The best way to have a healthy drive is to run it through a program that will read each and every sector often. This allows the HDD to move data from bad sectors to good sectors and then mark any sectors it determines as bad as unusable. This is far more useful then say a defrag although it should be said, running a defrag, often does exactl this. One program I use for for all my HDDs is SpinRite. –  Ramhound Sep 5 '12 at 10:49
    
I found your comment very informative - I didn't think about needing such a thorough test. Can I assume though that this is quite a timely test compared to things like Acronis Drive Monitor which appears to be instant. –  Dave Rook Sep 5 '12 at 11:02
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SpinRite actually boots into its own mini-dos shell. It also is far from being instant.If a HDD actually has a problem SpinRite could take days, weeks or even months if you allowed it to correct the problem.I can't fully explain SpinRite and its main feature in 400 words. The general idea is that, SpinRite can help a HDD, fill in the missing bits which enables what basically amounts to data recovery.By running SpinRite lets say yearly, you are able to make sure the HDD is always aware of, the status of its sectors.This can prevent data loss except in the case of mechanical problems. –  Ramhound Sep 5 '12 at 11:08
    
Programs like Acronis Drive Monitor just display the S.M.A.R.T to the operator. Its useful to a point. It basically will warn you have a major failure before it happens, simply because the read error rate will increase to a point where it will be reported as a problem. This won't of course prevent data loss. –  Ramhound Sep 5 '12 at 11:10
    
Ended up with a FAIL on Reallocated Sectors Count RAW(3) VALUE(100) and THRESHOLD(36) time for a new drive? –  Travis Johnson Sep 6 '12 at 2:30
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