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IBM Drive woes

Arrgg! I've been bitten by the bad IBM harddrive bug.

I was playing 4x4 evo on XP the other day and after a while the game froze. Nothing could get me back to the desktop, tried Alt+F4, Ctrl+Alt+Del, nothing. So, I reset.

Then XP would boot fine until just before the logon screen appears and the drive started making a clicking sound. So, I tried booting to safe mode, nothing. Tried repairing XP, nothing. Tried reinstalling over current XP to at least keep most of my settings but XP said there was a bad cluster and couldn't continue. Damn. I at least was able to boot to Win98 and backed up some important files to another drive (whew).

I downloaded IBMs drive fitness program and sure enough, it said I had 1 bad cluster... just 1... a whopping 16kbytes. It said the drive was defective and gave me some error code. Not really what I wanted to hear.

I then booted to Win98 (on the same drive, another partition) and did a scan disk which also said there was a bad cluster. It marked it as bad, so I then reinstalled XP ok. I then used the drive fitness test program again and did all kinds of stress tests to see if I would get any more errors, all seems ok now, but I still have that bad cluster.

Meanwhile, after reading a few other posts here about bad IBM drives lately, I thought I was just another statistic and bought a Maxtor drive (works good by the way).

I was just about to get an RMA from IBM to send it back when I decided to try something. I first used partition magic 7 to wipe the whole disk clean of all partitions and formats. Then, I used the Erase Disk option in IBMs fitness test program. Bad cluster went away! Not really trusting this, I really stressed the drive using IBMs program and some drive benchmarking proggy, but everything is still OK.

Now, even though its "good", I don't really trust that drive. I really can't send it back because it's fine now. So I have a 60Gig drive sitting in a box :mad: Makes a darn good paperweight, albeit an expensive one.

Now that I'm done with all the details, on to my question: What could cause a bad cluster like this? Could the error I got in 4x4 evo somehow cause it? Did I really fix the problem or what? I've been digging around on the net for answers and the only concrete thing I've heard is that if you have a bad sector, then the drive is bad.

I also read the clicking sounds I heard in my PC were the heads trying to find the spot where data was supposed to be and couldn't find it, so the heads kept "parking" and trying over and over again, resulting in the clicking sound. I also listened to the WAV sound clips of different types of drive failures at the IBM site, but none really sounded like what I had.

Sorry for such a long explanation, just wanna give any troubleshooters out there some ammo to help me out :)


The college i work at uses nothing but IBM drives (20 gigs to be exact)...i have heard that clicking far to much. Dont get me wrong they are good drives but if you hear the clicking backup backup backup...then check your warranty.

Another problem i have with IBM drives is the soldering is shotty on em. I have had to resolder like 5 drives. Primarily the power connections to the board but once or twice i have had IDS pin troubles. Sorry about the rant...sad thing is i have 2 of these same drives in my main system.
Well, that sucks! I bought that drive because I heard IBM drives were fast and reliable!

I guess I'll just have to really stress it out again until I get another bad sector so I can send it back. I don't think I could trust it again.


They are reliable quick and i love em but i do have my qualms about them, i run across hundreds of drives and like i said 5 had the soldering problem and only a couple have has the clicking problem. You should be able to return it just from the clicking noise alone
I would, but the clicking has stopped now since I "fixed" the cluster thing.

The soldering on mine looks great, the connectors look ok too. I heard the issue was that they use some type of metal for the platters. Normally, this wouldn't be a big deal, but mine spins at 7200 rpm which heats 'em up a bit. Metal expands as it gets hotter, therefore so do the platters. The data can't be read reliably anymore since it's not where the drive thought it was. I guess now, they use glass, since it takes a much higher temp for it to expand.

Plus the newer drives are packing more data per square inch now making the data area smaller which makes it harder for the heads to find the correct area.

I thought since I have good ventilation in my case (4" fan in rear sucking air through the front panels), that the heat issue wouldn't be a big deal. Plus, the mounting branket acts like a heatsink too (would be better if it were aluminum). I wonder if I somehow make a new drive bracket, or modify the current one, using thinker (1/8" thick) aluminum panels, if it would help the drives stay cooler? I dont really like the drive coolers on the market, they look clunky and most require yet another fan. My system already sounds like a wind tunnel. Hmmm, food for thought ...
So, does anyone know the answer to my question:

What could cause a bad cluster like this? Could the error I got in 4x4 evo somehow cause it?
I know IBM have had a bad track history lately, but I want to know if a software app (other than virus) can cause bad clusters. I don't even want to attempt to really use this drive if its just going to go bad again.

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Hello, is there anybody in there? Just nod if you can hear me ...
What a long strange trip it's been. =)

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