Customer calls, saying her laptop is very slow to start… up to 30 minutes (I removed a virus infection many months ago, and it worked well, but only had 256MB RAM).
Once on site, I start the laptop, and it takes 5 minutes to start, and once norton is fully running, it doesn’t seem too slow. I suggest getting more RAM. She agrees, so I return a week later to install the RAM.
Now the laptop is VERY slow (even after the extra RAM is installed)… the HDD makes strange clicks, and the occasional beep and squawk!… it sometimes sounds like a grinding noise.
OK, I take it back to the office for some careful analysis.
I check the SMART settings, and most look normal, except the drive has had a few bad sectors reallocated, and another setting that indicated the disk might have lost some alignment (possible due to being dropped while running)… I also note that it gets very hot (almost too hot to touch). It idles at 43c, but during a disk defrag, it gets to 55c… This is starting to sound familiar.
While making a backup image of the drive, I try starting the laptop with a linux diagnostic CD, but it refuses to boot from the CD. I try changing the boot order in the BIOS, but no luck. I try all sorts of things, and the internet is no help. When the disk image is complete, I re-insert the failing HDD… and I can’t believe it: The CD now boots… Can you believe that HP would design a PC that cannot boot from a CD unless a HDD is installed? Very strange (and frustrating!)
I also note that the HDD is placed above ram socket… That doesn’t help with the temperature.
Customer agrees to getting a new HDD. I purchase a new one, install it, and copy the old image to the new drive… and it all works quite well. Customer is happy to have a much faster PC, and promises to backup important data in the future.