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Hard Drive Crash & Possible Causes

by rfultonjr / May 16, 2006 2:43 AM PDT

I am writing this posting because of an interesting situation I recently experienced, and I wanted to ask other members if this is something they may have run up against before.

I have within the past three years, crashed two hard drives - one an IBM drive inm my old Dell Inspiron laptop and recently one in my Compaq Presario laptop. Fortunately, I was fully backed and lost nothing (other than my dignity and some time necessary to reload all the software I use.

I was talking to a friend, and he suggested that I am either suffering from bad luck, or for some reason I am crerating a lot of wear and tear on the laptop hard drive. That got me thinking about processes that are hard on drives (no pun intended). The first thing I did was back off my regularly scheduled antivirus and spyware scans to "once per month" (I trust my firewall).

At first I could not think of what else I might be doing, but then realized that I do tend to use the laptop's CD player to play a lot of classical music CDs. Just for yuks, I played a CD and watched drive usage (the access light) using Winamp 5.1 and Windows Media Player 9.0. Both seemed to cause/require excessive (I mean almost constant) drive use during playback. First, is this normal? Second, should I worry about crashing another hard drive because of it. Third, if so, what can I do about it (e.g., maybe using an external CD player drive would be better?)?

If anyone has any suggestions, please let me know. I am using Internet radio (SKY.fm) in the meantime, but I love my classical music and have a huge CD collection that will go fallow if I let it!

Thanks,
Bob Fulton

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One idea
by steve749 / May 16, 2006 3:21 AM PDT

Depending on how much memory you have installed on the laptop and how WinAmp runs there are a couple of possibilities...

1) Swapping. Remember that your virtual memory is mostly that pagefile.sys on your hard drive so that if you look in the Task Manager this can give you an idea of how much physical and virtual memory you are using. Additionally, windows tends to allocate something like 1.5 times your RAM to give lots of virtual memory so that this is one possibility.

2) Buffering. It may be that when you play the CDs that WinAmp or Media Player may buffer on the drive instead of in memory and so this causes a lot of trips to the hard drive. Additionally if there are playlists associated with these CDs then these would go on the hard drive and not the CD for another time when the player would go to the hard drive.

Just a couple of ideas,
JB

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Buffering & Swapping
by rfultonjr / May 17, 2006 4:41 AM PDT
In reply to: One idea

Thanks JB. I believe the issue may be the buffering.
I'm going to investigate whether it is possible to eliminate the buffering for CDs.

Bob Fulton

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