This is topic Spontaneous hard drive combustion in forum Ask a Geek! at The Geek Culture Forums.


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Posted by Xanthine (Member # 736) on September 06, 2004, 10:19:
 
So this is what happened to my bro's computer. Last year, he got a custom-made PC from CompUSA. It ran fine the entire school year. Over the summer, we stored it in my apartment. It sat in a box for three months. It was brought over by car, but after that, no one touched it. It was exposed to no extremes in humidity, air pressure, or temperature (honestly, if it had been, my computer would also have been in trouble, and it wasn't). It was not plugged into anything. It sat in abox on the floor.

My bro moved in, set up his machine, and it wouldn't boot, not even to safe mode. We were having issues with the recovery CD as well, so my bro decided to take it in as it was under an extended service contract. They tried to fix it, but couldn't, so they asked permission to reformat. My bro decided he had nothing to lose other than a bunch of pirated music and worthless old school papers so he gave the go ahead. Today I picked it up for him and learned that the HD had been completely corrupted and they'd had to install a new one! So now my bro has a free new HD. I set the machine up in his room before going into lab. It booted up, which is a good sign, and it also recognized that he had an internet connection, which will make him happy (there's a long piece of Cat5 snaking from my router, out my door, around and into his room, behind his desk, and into his box).

I have two questions. First, how the hell did the drive go kaput when no one touched the computer for three months? And second, where can I find Cat5 that matches my light, sorta beigey carpet? The royal blue I've got going right now just ain't cutting it from a decorating standpoint.

And please, no elitist BS about CompUSA. I had nothing to do with the acquisition of this machine, and when all's said and done they were very good to us about this. When we first brought it in, the tech found a polite way to tell us that the problem is most likely that Windows sucks, and then, after they replaced the drive, they downloaded Service Pack 2 onto it.
 
Posted by fanboy_uk (Member # 2132) on September 06, 2004, 10:34:
 
Speaking with my Health and Safety hat on. Probably not a good idea to colour match Cat5 cable to carpet.

I can see it now...
<wobbly fade to X's bro's room>
Tappity, tappity, tappity, tap, tap taaaaaap, I have you now.....
-Phone rings-
-Shout from hall way-
"Hey, -insert Bro's name-, it's for you."
"Coming", run, trip on camouflaged beige Cat5 cable, miss ground flies into something hard"
-Sound of siren-
</wobbly fade to X's bro's room>

To avoid above, purchase wireless network card and base station. [thumbsup]
 
Posted by dragonman97 (Member # 780) on September 06, 2004, 10:56:
 
fanboy_uk: Speaking with my cup of tea sitting squarely to the right of my left thumb, seated on top of my laptop... [Wink] .

If the Cat-5 is securely stowed to the side of the wall, and under the door, it will be quite safe. Given the layout of the place, I'm quite certain it will be safe. If it won't be noticeable, Xanthine, I'd recommend getting some big staples, and stapling into the floor/base of trim. Oh, and while I'm partial to gobs of putty||white Cat-5, I like that style of Cat-5, too. My computer at work runs back to the main switch in a nice sky blue, and that's the instant way to identify which one is mine [Big Grin] . But I digress...Cat-5 comes in all sorts of sizes and colors. You'll be wanting something in either the very typical white, or possibly in a putty shade. I'll glance at staples.com later today to see if I can find SKUs. Oh yeah, and let me add this - get it *without* a jacket or hood. I think I speak for most near all NOC people when I say that I hate those bloddy jackets. Whenever I see those damnable things, I take my knife out and cut it off.

W.r.t. the HD, well, all I can say is "sh*t happens."

Now, if you want a proper network setup, I can arrange that [Razz] .

P.S. In my room, I ran Cat-5 through the wall, and where it came in, it was a dark blue, which didn't go well against the white trim, so I got some white freezer tape (normally for marking stuff), and wrapped the few inches that peeked out with it.
 
Posted by Xanthine (Member # 736) on September 06, 2004, 11:04:
 
Dman's right. There is no way in hell anyone could trip over the cable, especially not running for the door (and there'd be no need to run for the phone as there's a phone in each bedroom). The bulk of it is tucked behind furniture, and the visible portions hug the baseboards very nicely. That said, I've got no desire to staple it down. First, I'd get in trouble with the landlord, and second, with my luck, I'd drive a staple through the cable. I may, in the future, once I get the nerve up and find the time to do some preliminary research, install a dataport between my room and my bro's. That would solve everything. As for now, well, I notice the blue Cat5, but, then again, I've noticed that I tend to be a bit more observant than most. The sad thing is, my bro has a cable that's a rather pretty orange. Too bad it's too short.
 
Posted by GMx (Member # 1523) on September 06, 2004, 12:03:
 
Was the drive a MAXTOR [thumbsdown] ? [Big Grin]
 
Posted by The Famous Druid (Member # 1769) on September 06, 2004, 14:25:
 
Sounds to me like a bad case of bit rot [Frown]
 
Posted by -ct- (Member # 209) on September 06, 2004, 20:56:
 
quote:
Originally posted by GMx:
Was the drive a M**** [thumbsdown] ? [Big Grin]

yes, it was
and i can almost guarentee that

compusa uses that brand as their default - they sell a noname compusa branded hdd and that's the kind you get
no doubt they used one in that pc

note my sig and the url - i have good reason to blast that brand many times over


as far as colored cat5 - can't tell ya where to get a specific color, but a home depot has a light gray that might do you, if you want 500' at a time

"the tech found a polite way to tell us that the problem is most likely that Windows sucks"

the tech is stupid
this was not a windows fault whatsoever
 
Posted by Xanthine (Member # 736) on September 06, 2004, 21:49:
 
I don't know what kind of drive it was. My bro doesn't know either.

What amuses me is that people seem to be very willing to accept the fact that this HD just up and fscked itself but insist that something must've happened to cause my printer cable to just die (which happened a few months ago...the cable, which came with the printer, up and died without any help from me or mine...printer cables relly are a rip-off). What gives?
 
Posted by GameMaster (Member # 1173) on September 07, 2004, 06:43:
 
quote:
Originally posted by Xanthine:
I don't know what kind of drive it was. My bro doesn't know either.

What amuses me is that people seem to be very willing to accept the fact that this HD just up and fscked itself but insist that something must've happened to cause my printer cable to just die (which happened a few months ago...the cable, which came with the printer, up and died without any help from me or mine...printer cables relly are a rip-off). What gives?

A cable has no moving parts, fewer things to go wrong, and less power running through it. A cable can go bad only by too much power being sent, cable being bent such that the inslation inside cracks causing a short or the inslation breaks down from age also causing a short. A harddrive has a few moving parts: heads that move and forth, diskplates that spin. It is fairly easy for motor to wear out or damage to happen to a disk plate from spin-up, spin-down or power loss.
 
Posted by unclefungus (Member # 2118) on September 07, 2004, 06:56:
 
the lubrication used in the bearing that the platter spins on, will seize a drive after a while of sitting. if the platter cant spin the HD is toast. I always try to turn mine on about once a week, even if they are just getting plugged in for a minute to make then spin. Doing that will be interesting in March when I'll be in the desert for seven months.
 
Posted by -ct- (Member # 209) on September 07, 2004, 07:21:
 
quote:
Originally posted by unclefungus:
the lubrication used in the bearing that the platter spins on, will seize a drive after a while of sitting. if the platter cant spin the HD is toast. I always try to turn mine on about once a week, even if they are just getting plugged in for a minute to make then spin. Doing that will be interesting in March when I'll be in the desert for seven months.

interesting theory, i have not heard that one before

but, i'll accept it as plausable for older/used drives and then only for one specific brand since i've never come across that problem before, as i had a drive die on me (guess what band?) after sitting around for a few months (story on my site)

[ohwell]

i can't beleive it would apply to new drives that have been sitting on a store shelf for a while
 
Posted by Doco (Member # 371) on September 07, 2004, 10:34:
 
No idea what caused that drive to die - but it could be almost anything as they keep driving to shave pennies off the manufacturing costs of the drives.

I have had drives (around 1990ish) that if left powered off for even a few hours would no longer spin up. The theory was that the lubrication in the bearings cooled down and was then too sticky for the tired motor to get going again. The practice was that if the computer (a Sun 3/50 or 3/60) didn't boot you'ld rap it once and then take the drive out and rap the drive and finally give the drive a little spin and sudden stop on the desktop (with power applied of course) Every time I had to do that little dance it would spin up and the machine would be happy again until the next time there was a longish power outage.
 
Posted by CommanderShroom (Member # 2097) on September 08, 2004, 05:52:
 
Xanthine,

The whole "Windows sucks" would have worked if they could reload Windows and get it rolling again. Since that didn't happen it is more likely that the HD just sucked. I personally have had very good luck with Maxtor, others haven't.

I have heard about the motors sticking when cooled down. Usually I have seen it happen on systems that run constantly for days, weeks, months etc. and are then shut down for an extended bit of time. Just like taking a failed drive and placing it in the freezer to get that last bit of data off it.

As far as CAT5 goes I like to keep the color obvious. I carry a really cool red 20' cable with my laptop. You never miss mine. Also they make a cable snake that is designed to go under carpet that could hide some of your cable. Also if you want to secure the cable to the baseboards, just get the nylon tabs with the little tack nails. When you move, pull them and get some white Elmer's glue and no one will be the wiser.
 
Posted by Xanthine (Member # 736) on September 08, 2004, 08:14:
 
Well, in all fairness to the tech, he was blaming Windoze before he found out that the drive had shit itself. I picked it up from a different tech who muttered something about power surges but, like I said, the machine wasn't plugged in and, since I live halfway underground, it's not like I felt compelled to use it as a lightening rod either.

I've never heard of the lube on a drive going dry. I know I've left my computer sitting in a storage locker all summer (no other place to put it) and it booted up just fine when I set it up. But I have a different brand of drive.
 


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