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  1. #1
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    Replace a hard drive, or buy a new computer?

    So the hard drive on my trusty old Dell GX270 seems to be dying. (I say "seems", because while it won't boot up, even in safe mode, I can boot using a Knoppix CD with no problems.)

    Should I replace the hard drive? Or is it not worth it on an old computer?

    Thanks for your suggestions.
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  2. #2
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    Buy a new computer. Cash is not an issue if you are asking this sort of question.
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  3. #3
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    Is the computer doing everything you need it to so far? If it is buy a new hardrive, if it is not then get a new computer.
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Atarim View Post
    So the hard drive on my trusty old Dell GX270 seems to be dying. (I say "seems", because while it won't boot up, even in safe mode, I can boot using a Knoppix CD with no problems.)

    Should I replace the hard drive? Or is it not worth it on an old computer?

    Thanks for your suggestions.
    Sounds like you can afford a new computer... or you would not ask.

    You really want a new computer, get it. Get yourself a new toy. Don't feel guilty for those who can't. I have tons of computers that I can never use... and don't care.... sometimes I give them away to kids going to college. All good... buy it.
    Windows 10 to Linux and Mac OSX: I'm PARSECs better than you. Eat my dust!!!
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Atarim View Post
    Should I replace the hard drive? Or is it not worth it on an old computer?
    That depends on answers to a few quetions:

    1) Is this your primary/main computer?

    2) If it isn't, how exactly do you use this as a secondary computer? How often? How important is this computer? Is it mostly for hobby use?

    3) If this is your primary computer, I would buy a new one which will come with a faster CPU, GPU, Windows 7, DVD Burner, etc.

    Older $50 IDE hard drive or $500-ish new OEM computer.

    If you can justify the cost of a new computer and aren't going to build your own. Check a hot deals site such as GotApex.com where you can buy a brand new Dell with LCD, Windows 7, etc. for under $500-ish.
    What's your budget?

    Seriously, what's your budget?
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  6. #6
    Buy a new computer. That's a P4. That means even an E3300 would smoke it. Sans hard drive, which you'd need to buy anyway, you could build a very nice PC for $100 if you take advantage of a Newegg combo.

    Also, we have a fleet of P4 Dell machines about the same age as yours at work and they are starting to get a little flaky.
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  7. #7
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    Hey, everyone - thanks for the replies so far. Meantime, to add a twist, I found this from Dell Support that makes it sound like not a hard drive failure after all (Unmountable Boot Volume, error code 7). I haven't tried out the diagnostics at home yet.

    Your thoughts? If it isn't a hard drive failure (this time), am I living on borrowed time with my current setup? Or should I keep it going as long as it is able?

    Thanks again.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by cfrogue View Post
    you could build a very nice PC for $100 if you take advantage of a Newegg combo.
    I hope thats a typo... the cheapest newegg motherboard is 40 dollars alone and even if it was under 100 it would be equal to about a pentium 4.


    To the op: Did you link to the wrong thing? I don't see any mentions of error code 7 there unless I skipped a part.
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  9. #9
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    Here's the part that caught my eye, in the Things To Check section:

    "Hard drive failure Run the built-in diagnostics on the hard drive. Remember: Code 7 signifies correctable data corruption, not disk failure."
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  10. #10
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    Update: following the instructions I triangulated from a couple of different web sites, I was able to repair the errors using chkdsk and then fixboot. The computer seems fine so far.

    Does the fact that the file errors occurred indicate any larger problem, or am I good to go now?

    Thanks again.
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Atarim View Post
    Update: following the instructions I triangulated from a couple of different web sites, I was able to repair the errors using chkdsk and then fixboot. The computer seems fine so far.

    Does the fact that the file errors occurred indicate any larger problem, or am I good to go now?

    Thanks again.
    I would backup your data and run some chkdsk's every few days. I have seen hard drives do this when they start to show there age and other times it is just a one time occurrence and is back to normal.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Atarim View Post
    Update: following the instructions I triangulated from a couple of different web sites, I was able to repair the errors using chkdsk and then fixboot. The computer seems fine so far.

    Does the fact that the file errors occurred indicate any larger problem, or am I good to go now?

    Thanks again.
    Oh, no one knows if this is part of a larger problem. Drive could last five minutes or five years... no one knows.

    I'd dump it myself, but that is me...
    Windows 10 to Linux and Mac OSX: I'm PARSECs better than you. Eat my dust!!!
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  13. #13
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    If it is performing best and you are only having a problem with storage then its better to buy a new hard disk..

    If you are millionaire then why bother about such small things
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  14. #14
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    Millionaire or not, Atarim has a really good point. What is the optimum price point that when arrived to will dictate if he should either purchase a new computer altogether or just replace the part. He might be a millionaire because he constantly asks these questions and watches every penny for all we know!

    So my guess, Atarim, is that if your HDD presents more problems in the future you will simply purchase another HDD. The opportunity cost of migrating the whole computer to a new one could also pose some time/value questions that someone reasonable like you would probably take into account.

    When the HDD finally breaks, let us know what you do.
    Dan Salcedo
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  15. #15
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    Thank you, everyone, for your thoughtful and helpful suggestions!
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  16. #16
    Personally, rich or not, I would build my own computer or have someone do it for you rather than going down the road of an OEM. This brings me to my boss's recent HP tower. He had a power surge, which damaged the hard drive. He gave it to me to replace his hard drive and it was almost impossible to remove the hard drive from the case. I had to remove the screws by holding a drill bit with my fingers as no tool would fit in the small space, which left me with bloody hands and a slightly bent chassis.

    Needless to say, it wasn't worth it.
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Featured View Post
    Personally, rich or not, I would build my own computer or have someone do it for you rather than going down the road of an OEM..
    Absolutely. Not only will you probably save money but it's much, much more customizable down the road.
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  18. #18
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    Heya,

    I'd first run scandisk on the drive before buying anything. Over time the magnetic platters can develop a weak spot which can cause all kinds of drive errors. When scandisk checks a drive and detects clusters that can no longer be read, it marks them as bad and those spots aren't used anymore. If the bad spot is in the location called the boot sector (where the bootstrap information is stored) then of course it won't boot.
    Scandisk isn't perfect, but it can save you a lot of trouble if it's able to find and mark bad the spots causing the problem.

    Nick
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  19. #19
    I'm wondering how old is that computer. If it's more than 3-5 years, I suggest getting a new one will definitely be worth it.
    It's the other components are still new, maybe a year or two older, then it's just fine to change the Hard Drive only.
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  20. #20
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    So far, things are still going okay. Thanks for all the suggestions!
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  21. #21
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    I think better is buy new hard drive and used your old hard drive alternate as a pocket hard drive. I don't think your data will be Safe long in your old hard drive. So change the HARD DRIVE. Thanks!!
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  22. #22
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    Even if you buy a new one, try fixing the old system as you should be able to gain some knowlegde from it
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  23. #23
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    Things are still running smoothly on the old drive...for now, anyway!
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  24. #24
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    You don't have to do a super upgrade, just a minor one will be a huge upgrade from that
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  25. #25
    Mate if your happy with your pc and your hard drive has had it, the only thing is your need to find the drivers for your chipset and if your don't what your doing its going to be hard one you need to find out what motherboard your got then what socket your processor is running of off then try to find a website with the drivers for your chipset. Its not easy. Its easy to fit a new harddrive it doing the rest that is hard.
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  26. #26
    He want one with a 8mb catch
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  27. #27
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    It will probably be better, and cheaper to buy a new computer, rather than pay for experts, etc.
    Kind Regards, -Ashley.S.
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  28. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by Ashley-S View Post
    It will probably be better, and cheaper to buy a new computer, rather than pay for experts, etc.
    A new hard drive is between £30-£80 but I have been a computer technician in my time so its easy for me to install one ts easy to put one in but its hard to find the drivers for the chipset and that when you need to know what your doing.
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  29. #29
    yeah buy a new pc.. everything is constantly changing and soon that pc will be heavily effected by it.. youll be glad you did in the long run.
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  30. #30
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    Hmm, it's happening again. I did install some new memory a month or so ago, and I'm running chkdsk to see if it finds anything again.
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  31. #31
    i would suggest useing a program called HD-Tune to check for any bad sectors and to see your benchmark read / write speeds. Combined, that will check the health of your HDD. if you think its the RAM, use a program called Mem-Test. If everything passes it could be related to your OS. if you have any more problems let me know.
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  32. #32
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    buy a new hardrive
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  33. #33
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    chkdsk /f /r found nothing.

    HD-Tune found 3 unstable pending sectors, for which HD-Tune shows a warning status. The write error rate is also 3, for which it says the status is OK..

    The benchmark says minimum transfer rate is 10.5mb/s, maximum is 56.6 for read.

    Temperature is 49 degrees C.

    Interpretations? Thanks, everyone, for your help.
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  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by hekwu View Post
    Sounds like you can afford a new computer... or you would not ask.

    You really want a new computer, get it. Get yourself a new toy. Don't feel guilty for those who can't. I have tons of computers that I can never use... and don't care.... sometimes I give them away to kids going to college. All good... buy it.
    Love it. I'd also make the same recommendation. Getting a new computer is exciting, there are so many labels to read, specs to compare. Nerd candy.
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  35. #35
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    I ran chkdsk again, and again it found nothing. But HD-Tune still showed the same issues as before. The hard drive is a Western Digital, so I downloaded WD's diagnostic tool. It found one or more errors that couldn't be corrected, so ... drumroll please... I decided to spring for a new hard drive.

    Hopefully, that'll be the end of this issue. From what I found in searches for my old hard drive model number, this behavior is consistent with a gradual failure. If the $43 for a new hard drive gets me another year or two on this old computer, I'm happy.

    Thanks again to everyone for your ideas and suggestions.
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  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by techjr View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by cfrogue View Post
    Buy a new computer. That's a P4. That means even an E3300 would smoke it. Sans hard drive, which you'd need to buy anyway, you could build a very nice PC for $100 if you take advantage of a Newegg combo.
    I hope thats a typo... the cheapest newegg motherboard is 40 dollars alone and even if it was under 100 it would be equal to about a pentium 4.
    Probably true at $100, but if you're willing to build it yourself, you can get a lot more for a lot less than Dell, including longer warranties.
    [GB ≠ GiB] [MB ≠ MiB] [kB ≠ kiB] [1000 ≠ 1024] [Giga ≠ gram] [Mega ≠ milli] [Kelvin ≠ kilo] [Byte ≠ bit]
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  37. #37
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    I'd recommend you buy yourself a new computer. Not worth putting $$ into the system every month just to keep it running.
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  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by RapidServers_ View Post
    I'd recommend you buy yourself a new computer. Not worth putting $$ into the system every month just to keep it running.
    Funny, that's how most of the users of VPS and dedicated hosting keep their servers running
    [GB ≠ GiB] [MB ≠ MiB] [kB ≠ kiB] [1000 ≠ 1024] [Giga ≠ gram] [Mega ≠ milli] [Kelvin ≠ kilo] [Byte ≠ bit]
    There is no millibit. There is no gram-bit. There is no Kelvin-Byte.
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  39. #39
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    I like old things. Economically, it usually makes sense. My car is older than this computer!
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  40. #40
    If the computer is old, buy a cheap hard drive
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