Google+ February 2012 ~ High Tech House Calls

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Saturday, February 25, 2012

Virus Attack or Hard Drive Failing?

Your hard drive is making sounds you have not heard before.

Is the hard drive failing, i.e. crashing or is a virus attacking your computer system? Try the following suggestions to determine which problem you have.

Can you get the task manager to appear on your desktop?*1
If the task manager does not display, usually a virus is stopping the task manager from appearing, which is used to delete processes. A virus does not want to give you a tool to delete it.

Does the high level of disk drive activity diminish when you boot your computer in Safe Mode?*2
Safe Mode runs a minimal version of the operating system in which you cannot print to a printer. The screen will look distorted because the normal video card driver is not loaded. This minimal version usually does not have the resources for the virus to thrive, but one exists in your computer in general.

If the S.M.A.R.T. status is good, your hard drive is probably not failing.*3 
S.M.A.R.T. enabled hard drives can predict if your hard drive is starting to fail. You can load and execute a program like Speed Fan, which can display the S.M.A.R.T. Status of your hard drive.

Running the Error-Checking utility will scan the hard drive and look for and repair hard drive errors.*4
If errors are found, your hard drive is failing. Back up as much as you can before the computer stops booting to the failing hard drive.

*1 Press Ctrl, Atl and the Delete key at the same time. If your operating system is Win XP, the Task Manager should pop up. If your operating system is Vista or Windows 7, select Task Manager from the menu that is presented.
*2 Restart your computer and start pressing the F8 key. When the menu is displayed, select Safe Mode with the cursor keys.
*3 Click here to download Speed Fan.
*4 If you can get to the Properties Tab of the hard drive by right mouse clicking the hard drive icon and select Tools, you can run the Error-Checking utility. You will need to re-boot your computer to get the Error-Checking utility start running.

Carl Thorne High Tech House Calls
Expert Computer Consulting