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Chapter 3. Troubleshooting Storage Devic... > Determining Actual Drive Failure Has...

Determining Actual Drive Failure Has Occurred

Although today's hard disk drives are extremely reliable, it's still possible the drive itself has failed. Look for these indications of drive failure:

  • Drive will not power up. To determine if an internal hard disk has failed, shut down the computer, place your hand on the top of the drive case, and turn on the computer. If you can't feel any vibration through the case (or you can't hear the drive turning) and the drive is connected to a working power supply, it's probably dead. With an external hard disk, make sure the drive is connected to a working power source (USB or IEEE-1394 port, AC adapter, or PS/2 keyboard port) and then hold your head next to the case; if you can't hear the drive running, it's probably dead.

  • Drive makes excessive noise when the system is turned on. If the drive sounds like it has a marble loose inside or makes scraping or coffee-grinder noises as soon as you turn it on, it has sustained physical damage and is probably dead.

  • Computer won't turn on when the drive is attached to the power supply. If your computer appears to be dead when you start it with the drive attached but powers up normally when you disconnect the power supply from the drive, the drive has a short-circuit and is probably dead.

  • Other devices connected to the same port work properly. This is the classic method for discovering whether the port or the device is at fault. A faulty port can't use anything connected to it. But, a bad device is bad no matter where you connect it.

If optical and removable-media drives don't display any power lights at any time and won't spin up when you insert media, check their power, data cable, and jumper configuration as described earlier. If the drive's configuration checks out OK, and another drive works when connected to the same cable, the original drive is certainly damaged or dead and should be replaced.

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