My hard drive's about to die, isn't it?
March 8, 2007 11:13 AM   Subscribe

A Google and AskMe search leads me to believe that my laptop's hard drive is about to fail. (Files missing, slow access, system running warmly). Yay or nay? Is it the software or the system?

Dell Inspiron 6000
Windows XP Home
1.25 GB ram
Purchased in June 2005
Mostly used for iTunes, internet, Word, Excel, Dreamweaver

The computer itself seems to be running warmer than usual, if that has anything to do with it.

A virus scan takes *forever*. ZoneAlarm's virus scanner has been running for 1 hour and 30 minutes and has covered ~100,000 files. It's never taken that long.

iTunes has been acting up a lot (v7.0.whatever and the new 7.1.whatever that came out this week). I don't think these are iTunes problems as I've never encountered anything like these issues, and I've been using iTunes since the day it was released for Windows (literally).
-I'll add music to my library and close iTunes, but it won't be there when I return to iTunes later.
-Albums I've had in my library for months go missing from both the iTunes library and the hard drive.
-Gobs of tags are being corrupted: something like ~750 songs in a 25 GB library no longer have some combination of album/artist/track info.
-File are being renamed: "1 Space Oddity.mp3" becomes "1 1 1 Space Oddity.mp3"
-Play counts aren't being recorded: I'll listen to music for an hour or so (straight through albums, without skipping tracks), but then later, the Recently Played smart playlist will only show music that I listened to days ago.
-iTunes forgets where to look for random songs, so many tracks have a little exclamation point next to it and I have to redirect the program to the file, even though I didn't change anything or move the file.
-I renamed the soundtrack "West Side Story" to "West Side Story: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack." Instead of just renaming the album with the new title, iTunes added a new instance of the album, so instead of having just one set of tracks from the album, there are now 2 copies of each song, one with the old album title and one with the new title; it follows that the set with the old title has exclamation points because the folder was also properly renamed.

My Dreamweaver sites in Dreamweaver itself are MIA. I was working on my two sites last night, and everything seemed fine. Revisiting them today, though, the sites no longer appear in the Manage Sites window, as if the program was just installed. They were there last night, and much longer before that. The content from the sites, though, still exists in My Documents.

I just reformatted the hard drive in December and started from scratch, but things aren't humming along smoothly as it usually does when I do that. Am I headed towards a hard drive failure? If so, how long could it be?

I'm backing things up as I write this, everything to an external hard drive and my important docs again to my thumb drive.

Hope this was clear and articulate. Thanks in advance for your help!
posted by jroybal to Computers & Internet (6 answers total)
Sounds like a corrupt iTunes catalog really. Have you ran a chkdisk ?
posted by zeoslap at 12:00 PM on March 8, 2007

You could try this but you should backup your computer ASAP!
posted by yoyo_nyc at 12:01 PM on March 8, 2007

chkdsk /f will hunt for and fix any filesystem errors.
posted by zeoslap at 12:02 PM on March 8, 2007

Hard drives in USB cradles have gotten very affordable. Your computer is giving you fair warning that it's time to back up. I believe that defragging is a good idea, after backing up.
posted by theora55 at 12:35 PM on March 8, 2007

Response by poster: @zeoslap: The other day I deleted the old library and added all my media again to a new library, but problems are still popping up. At least the issues with new music not being saved in the library and the play counts. Shouldn't this have done the trick?
posted by jroybal at 1:20 PM on March 8, 2007

I'll second yoyo_nyc's suggestion to try SMART. It should help you learn if the drive is failing.
posted by exogenous at 1:30 PM on March 8, 2007

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