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    Hard drive incredibly slow


    I read these kind of questions and go ape, due to the following: my details are pretty skimpy and I have done no investigation. But, I'm old, and working long hours. And, hardware is my weak suit - I don't care about it and I don't know much. So, forgive me but here's my wildly general question: I've got 7 computers on a network at my house and a 500 GIG Western Digital hard drive (SATA) in one box. I think it's less than a year old. I was running my web server from it for a long time and it always responded sluggishly (on reboot, using SSH - everything...from the day I got the thing). I rebuilt everything recently and put that drive in an HP tower (dual core, fairly decent). Yesterday I stalled Centos Linux, using that drive, and just the drive format took about an hour - it usually takes 10 minutes or something. Then, the install took about 2 hours (it usually takes 20 minutes). And, then, the first installation was corrupt. I did it again and Centos runs, but doesn't 'feel" right - very sluggish.

    Can a hard drive not completely fart out, store data, etc. but just have some defect that would make it slow - and unreliable - like this....? When I put another hard drive in the same box (with Centos on it) it absolutely flies. How safe is it to just store files on this darned thing?

    Thanks for any thought/tips. I may just throw the damned thing away.
    Last edited by 88guy; June 6th, 2011 at 04:20 PM. Reason: typo
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    It's possible, if the drive were encountering a large number of transient errors it could force the disk to frequently re-read/re-write the same data. Since it was like that since the beginning it's also possible that you simple purchased a slower drive.
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    Replace the drive. Check your windows event log and see if disk errors are being logged, anyway, and check your SMART report, but my guess is the drive is failing and will continue to get worse if you don't fix it. WD has an easy-to-deal-with warranty exchange program, as cheap as drives are these days I'd just get a new drive then exchange the old one, ending up with a spare.

    Bad sectors on a drive will cause multiple retries per sector, and occasional re-seeks to the cylinder, all of which takes a lot of time. From what I've read the drive firmware only replaces bad sectors when the sector is written, so the bad spot lingers and if it's in a often-used area your system will be very slow.

    Or, of course, it could be something else causing your slowdown like dodgy DNS or something
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    Who knows...


    Heck - I dunno. I threw a Hiren's CD in the thing - which has a bunch of testing tools - and the quick versions of Seagate Tools and the Maxtor doo-dad both swear the drives are fine. The drives are identical, by the way. It's baffling to me, because I design websites and run a server for a living, now, and I sit in front of a computer all day, every day. Believe me, that one drive acts crazy - runs exactly like a drive with a bunch of cross-linked files. I do some minor, computer repair jobs and it runs like a badly corrupted drive.

    I'm lost. I guess it will be a file server on my network until such time as it explodes.
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    Back Up Everything!


    I advice that you take the necessary steps to back up all the important files you have on the defective hard drive as it may fail anytime soon.
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    I have to agree with sytico, back up everything because you do not want to lose any data that you need or want to keep.

    It happened to me once. I had a 120Gb hard drive, it started running a bit slow and it was also making a noise. I ignored all these symptoms and lost all of my data.
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    Even a new hard drive can be instantly shop, Waldo sort of factory mistake, it happens to the service several times.

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