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I have a customer who's dell dimension computer's hardrive failed. Obvious constant clicking. I replaced the hardrive and reinstalled the OS Windows XP Pro. Customer had the computer back only a week with the same issue a second time.
I then rebuilt another newer Dell Dimension for the customer and put another new hardrive in the computer. I ran the computer at my shop for over a week to make sure things looked ok. I gave the computer back to the customer who has been using it on and off for over a week and then called and said the computer came up with the keyboard not found error.
I went to the customers house and booted the computer. Keyboard was found but the computer would not finish booting.
When I went into the bios, no hardrive was found. I opened the computer and sure enough the hardrive was clicking like it was dead again. Double checked all connections, tried to boot again and nothing. Dead drive again.
My question is this. Could all of this be happening because of a power issue at the customers site?

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Last Post by caperjack
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  • Hello, I would be more inclined to believe this is a power issue. Does the customer have a good power protector such as an APC SurgeArrest [url]http://www.apc.com/products/family/index.cfm?id=176[/url] or compatible 3400 joules or more rating along with brown-out (low voltage) protection? Low voltage is very bad news for any electrical motor … Read More

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Hi,
I would suggest contacting the hard drive manufacturer and asking them what could cause this problem. I had a different problem once with two faulty hard drives (first one, returned it then another). shortly after putting them in the PC they just cooked and smoke went everywhere. Both ran for over 2 hours and both were replaced free of charge by the manufacturer. Therefore it is possible that you have struck a faulty batch of drives.

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Thought of that, however, drives are from 3 different manufacturers. First one was out of a working computer and had been running fine.

Hi,
I would suggest contacting the hard drive manufacturer and asking them what could cause this problem. I had a different problem once with two faulty hard drives (first one, returned it then another). shortly after putting them in the PC they just cooked and smoke went everywhere. Both ran for over 2 hours and both were replaced free of charge by the manufacturer. Therefore it is possible that you have struck a faulty batch of drives.

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Possibly. If they arent shut down properly (power failure) the write head can crash. My main idea would be heat?

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Hi,
It makes no difference where they cam from or if they are from 3 different manufacturers, contact one manufacturer and ask them what could cause their ###$#$# model number hard drive to just start clicking. Could it be because of excessive power from the users PC, a problem with his mobo or something else. If they give you an answer you can go from there. Another option is to contact Dell as both PC are Dell, maybe they have experience of hard drives in their PCs doing this.
You have rebuilt the computer and it is still happening, There is nothing left to offer you. If I could come up with a list of things to look for and do, the final item on the list would be to replace every bit of hardware and start putting back old pieces until it happened again, but it happened with a complete rebuild.................
My idea is to try all the simple fixes first, you have gone for the most complete fix and still have the problem.
I am left with only one suggestion, don't use Dell....

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Three, major causes of hard drive failure;

1. Heat
2. Vibration
3. Plugging directly in to an outlet

These are the things I'd be looking at, at the customers house, as you said you had it running for a week w/no problems.

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I felt the same way, so first thing I did check was excess heat and or any blockages to the vents. Not enough vent blockage to create that issue but I cleaned the entire pc before repairing it the first time and when I returned it also made sure there was nothing blocking the vents or that would create a heat buildup. Second thing I checked was that the customer had a surge suppressor power strip attached. They do, however I have little to no faith in them (unless you spend the money on a good one) and then I find that the customer had that plugged into an outlet that wasn't three pronged and is using an adapter without the ground screw attached.
This is why I'm wondering if it's a power issue causing the problems. I have advised the customer to either move the computer to a good outlet with proper grounding and a better surge protected outlet strip. or fix the outlet at the computer site.

Three, major causes of hard drive failure;

1. Heat
2. Vibration
3. Plugging directly in to an outlet

These are the things I'd be looking at, at the customers house, as you said you had it running for a week w/no problems.

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I would look into the power being the cause of the problem. Maybe check the PC power supply's also , they may still work but if there not outputting the correct voltage/current (which could have been caused be the dodgy power socket ) then it might be shorting the HDD's. Hope this helps

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Hello,
I would be more inclined to believe this is a power issue. Does the customer have a good power protector such as an APC SurgeArrest http://www.apc.com/products/family/index.cfm?id=176 or compatible 3400 joules or more rating along with brown-out (low voltage) protection? Low voltage is very bad news for any electrical motor such as that of a hard drive.
Heat would certainly do it but it would still run more than a week unless installed in a sauna or on a radiator. Are there sufficient fans installed in the machine to keep everything cool?

I have a customer who's dell dimension computer's hardrive failed. Obvious constant clicking. I replaced the hardrive and reinstalled the OS Windows XP Pro. Customer had the computer back only a week with the same issue a second time.
I then rebuilt another newer Dell Dimension for the customer and put another new hardrive in the computer. I ran the computer at my shop for over a week to make sure things looked ok. I gave the computer back to the customer who has been using it on and off for over a week and then called and said the computer came up with the keyboard not found error.
I went to the customers house and booted the computer. Keyboard was found but the computer would not finish booting.
When I went into the bios, no hardrive was found. I opened the computer and sure enough the hardrive was clicking like it was dead again. Double checked all connections, tried to boot again and nothing. Dead drive again.
My question is this. Could all of this be happening because of a power issue at the customers site?

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Second thing I checked was that the customer had a surge suppressor power strip attached. They do, however I have little to no faith in them (unless you spend the money on a good one) and then I find that the customer had that plugged into an outlet that wasn't three pronged and is using an adapter without the ground screw attached.
This is why I'm wondering if it's a power issue causing the problems. I have advised the customer to either move the computer to a good outlet with proper grounding and a better surge protected outlet strip. or fix the outlet at the computer site.

I live in the Philippines and virtually no PC (or house) here has an earth or ground connection. Due to the very variable power supply all (Most) PCs run with a ARV (Aromatic Voltage Regulator). Therefore if millions of PC can run without an earth and power that is variable and not have a major country wide problem, I would say it is a strong possibility that power is not the cause. I am not an electrician but I believe that even if the power supply was to vary a reasonable amount, the PCs power supply unit would still produce the small voltages at the necessary wattage with very little variation.
But if the client is experiencing power surges, an un-grounded surge protector would be next to useless as a surge protector needs to divert most of the surge to ground, only absorbing a small amount itself. This is the main difference between a surge protector and a automatic voltage regulator. This would only be a problem if the area where the client lives is experiencing significant power surges. Small to moderate power fluctuations should be handled by the cheapest surge protector or AVR. (Note:- this is my understanding not necessarily proven fact.)

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I am left with only one suggestion, don't use Dell....

then again, i own two dells (a dimension e510 (~2005) and an e520 (~2008) i think as well as an ancient (~2000) XPS. All work fine still. Only problem was some ram went funny in the old XPS.

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I support companies that use only Dell and love their machines, from 40 to hundreds of machines, environmental factures must be at work here.

then again, i own two dells (a dimension e510 (~2005) and an e520 (~2008) i think as well as an ancient (~2000) XPS. All work fine still. Only problem was some ram went funny in the old XPS.

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Thanks everyone for your help here. I'm pretty convinced this customer needs the UPS to help circumvent the problem with more of a brownout )low voltage ) issue as vanwicz suggests. I spoke with an electrician today and he agrees that this could very well be causing the customers issues. I will be investigating this further with the customer and will let you all know what I have found.

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I am not knocking Dell, but I only know two people with Dell PCs and both have had a lot of trouble with their PCs soon after delivery and both had even more trouble trying to get assistance from Dell. While that is 100% problems with Dell for me, 2 PCs out of maybe millions is all I know about.

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Mmm. Well, mine were all okay. Came with a pretty decent spec and a samsung SATA II drive, internal layout was good (even if annoying because the case/motherboard combo was nonstandard).

Only PCs ive ever had problems with are Acer and Packard Bell.

Edited by jbennet: n/a

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i have old dell laptop ,in the shead sitting doing nothing but works great when needed ,some for my dell 450 ,and in the house i have a toshiba laptop, new ,and 4 yr old Compaq laptop, only problem with it was power jack broke ,and my main computer is 5 yrs old and a generic p4 with a biostar motherboard and it has never given me a hardware issue .also sold dozens of used Dell over the past 6 yrs ,with little or no problems ,nothing wrong with dell's except what jbennet says about the mother boards and also the psu ,on some of them

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and also the psu ,on some of them

Every (non-slimline) dimension and XPS i have seen in the last 5-6 years has had a standard PSU, only problem is the dell one is physically a different size so it sticks out a bit and the holes dont line up quite right requiring you to snip some of the mesh off the back for the plug and switch (but they do work fine)

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the holes dont line up quite right requiring you to snip some of the mesh off the back for the plug and switch (but they do work fine)

yeah i done that, also drilled holes in the tower for the screws .

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