A friend has recently passed me her laptop which hung at Windows loading screen. Indefinitely. Unable to reach safe mode.
What I've tried so far
- Took the drive out to try on another Windows 7 machine with a dock, but it wouldn't mount without a force reformat.
- I load up Ubuntu and I'm able to explore the drive with no issues with everything appears intact, until after some short time the explorer freezes and the drive remounts with a different /dev/sd*.
- I ran ntfsfix but no errors given, so I'm thinking the drive is failing (unsure which component).
- To confirm it was hardware failure (or to get away with it with a bit of luck) I tried to clone the disk to a raw disk image with dd but it always seem to crap out at the same point: at around 90GB in (on a 640GB drive) the drive would again remount with a different /dev/sd*. So I'm thinking perhaps a deeply scratched platter on a particular area within the disk?
I wanted to hear what the drive sounded like, so I loaded up my machine with Windows 10 and put the drive back in a dock. It fails to stay mounted. It seems to keep unmounting and remounting every 19 seconds indefinitely. Throughout the 19 seconds, the drive would make the following sounds:
- Spin up faster
- Typical hard drive sounds, nothing suspicious for a few seconds (at this point, Windows recognises the drive and displays partitions in Computer)
- 6 light clicks
- Continuous steady spinning
- 19 seconds is up, repeat process (at this point, Windows removes the partitions from Computer suggesting the drive is unmounted)
I feel like the arm needs replacing with a new head and I'm happy to do this, but I'm really curious as to what else I can do to troubleshoot this so that I'm sure and confident in my decision. Thoughts and guidance welcome.