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Dell can remotely detect a bad HDD?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
My friend went to use her laptop today and discovered that it was unresponsive. She did a hard shut down and upon reboot, windows failed to load. She called up Dell and they ran her through some startup tests, including a "blue screen test" which returned an error code that meant "bad HDD".

Is there an error code for that? I know Windows can detect corrupted data, but how can it know the underlying cause?

She ran startup repair and it worked. She was able to log into Windows, but then shut it down because she was concerned that continuing to run the HDD would damage it before she can attempt to back up her files.

Does it seem like a faulty HDD is the culprit? I'd like to have her try some more tests, since <unresponsive computer+unable to start> is a pretty common symptom which could be caused by an awful lot of things. I'm not sure I'm ready to place all my bets on a blue screen error code.

She also mentioned that Mcafee was constantly crashing/switching off. That sounds more like bad RAM could be the culprit, or maybe McAfee itself corrupted a system file. I'll switch her to MSE.
post #2 of 11
did she repair windows? or do a check disk and repair the bad sectors?

Mcaffee could very well be the cause...Just saying, its terrible. It takes complete control of the system, if something gets corrupted with mcaffee, it could cause you to have to reformat being its basically a rootkit anyways.

I dont think the hard drive is failing...sounds like a software/corrupted OS to me.
    
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post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 
She repaired windows. I can't be sure of exactly what startup repair does behind the scenes, but I don't think it runs chdsk.
post #4 of 11
Boot from a Hiren's Boot Disk. Use HDD utilities in DOS to read SMART data. That will tell you if the HDD is bad.

The free version of HD Sentinel should be on a Hiren's BCD. Use that.
    
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post #5 of 11
why not check the S.M.A.R.T Status of the drive, and run some diagnostics on it to verify it is the drive, there are also memory diagnostic tools you can download, burn to a cd or dvd (some you can use a usb flashdrive).
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post #6 of 11
All dell systems contain a hidden hardware diagnostics partition on the hard drive. Dell techs use it (instruct end users) how to access it during suspected hardware failure phone support calls. It is accessed by tapping (I think F12) at boot. Just so happens, this utility is a full screen "blue" colored backround utility.

Sure this isn't the "blue screen" she was talking about?
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post #7 of 11
Dells have lots of diagnostic tools for customer service to help trouble shoot the PC. My old Dell desktop had 4 LEDs labeled A B C and D which could be yellow, orange, or green. Based on the colors they could troubleshoot the computer. That particular desktop was delivered to me with defective RAM and the customer service rep was able to tell me that as soon as I read him the colors.

Of course then he told me to open up the case and try re-seating the RAM. When that didn't work he said "I'm sorry but your warranty is void because you opened up the desktop and manipulated the parts inside." I lost it and ripped him a new *******, demanded to speak to a superior, and spent the next two hours on the phone arguing with Dell. I had that desktop for under 1 hour and they were trying to tell me the warranty was void.

I haven't bought a Dell product since.
    
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post #8 of 11
post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by GanjaSMK View Post
Boot from a Hiren's Boot Disk. Use HDD utilities in DOS to read SMART data. That will tell you if the HDD is bad.

The free version of HD Sentinel should be on a Hiren's BCD. Use that.
Quote:
Originally Posted by transhour View Post
why not check the S.M.A.R.T Status of the drive, and run some diagnostics on it to verify it is the drive, there are also memory diagnostic tools you can download, burn to a cd or dvd (some you can use a usb flashdrive).
I'd like to try that, but I don't have access to the computer right now, I've just been talking online.

Quote:
Originally Posted by xandypx View Post
All dell systems contain a hidden hardware diagnostics partition on the hard drive. Dell techs use it (instruct end users) how to access it during suspected hardware failure phone support calls. It is accessed by tapping (I think F12) at boot. Just so happens, this utility is a full screen "blue" colored backround utility.

Sure this isn't the "blue screen" she was talking about?
>_< She mentioned a "blue screen test" and I immediately thought she was talking about manually triggering a BSOD. I didn't even think to ask anything else about the test.

Okay... that makes it far more likely that the HDD is indeed the problem.
post #10 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by xandypx View Post
All dell systems contain a hidden hardware diagnostics partition on the hard drive. Dell techs use it (instruct end users) how to access it during suspected hardware failure phone support calls. It is accessed by tapping (I think F12) at boot. Just so happens, this utility is a full screen "blue" colored backround utility.

Sure this isn't the "blue screen" she was talking about?
@OP - ^This is probably 98% certain what she was talking about. Those quick diagnostic tests don't lie often and will generally tell you if a piece of hardware has failed, right away.
    
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