Caviar Green + HP Pavilion = drive death

I had originally replaced the OEM drive in my HP Pavilion a1720n with a WD2500AAKS.

It worked fine for a while, and then I started getting BSOD’s (usually every time a virus scan ran).

I thought the O/S was bad, but before doing a clean install, I replaced the 250GB with a WD10EADS for more space (it seemed like an opportune time to change drives).

Again, everything was working fine for a while.

Then I put the WD2500AAKS back in as extra storage.  Yet again, everything worked fine for a while.

Then one day the computer wouldn’t boot at all.  In the BIOS SMART tests, everything was fine (or, it said “OK” even though the long test never really ran), and the drives showed up fine, and Vista would get to the Windoze logo screen (before it asks for user/password) and then the computer would just hang.

So, still not recognizing the problem, I thought I’d upgrade from OEM Vista to Win7.  While I was buying Win7, I also picked up a WD10EARS.

Not knowing what was causing the failed boots, I didn’t want to do an “Upgrade Install” retaining all the settings, but I also wanted to be able to go through and re-install appz, so I decided to use the new 1TB as the boot drive, and once Win7 was installed on it, go through the other 1TB and see what needed to be re-installed and what could be trashed.

So, at that point, I had 2 1TB drives in it.  Yet again, working fine.  Once everything was set up, and the second 1TB was cleared out, I eventually decided to put the 250GB back in yet again.

As soon as I pulled the 250GB, the computer was back working.  So it was the obvious culprit.  The problem was how to get the data off it if the computer won’t start with the drive attached.

I eventually tried Linux.  Even then I had issues.  Some times the 250 would show up, some times it wouldn’t, and sometimes it would just up and disappear in the middle of copying files off it.  Once I finally (after a few days and a few dozen reboots) got all its data saved, it went to the scrap heap.

The way it would periodically show up/disappear in Linux seemed almost as if there was a cold solder joint or something that would sometimes make good contact and sometimes wouldn’t.  Except that doesn’t explain why Windoze would hang – either the drive’s “there” or it “isn’t”, but neither should prevent Windoze from loading, especially when it wasn’t the boot drive.

Since it was no longer under warranty, I didn’t bother worrying too much about the why’s – all I knew was that it had croaked and was no longer usable under Windoze or Linux.

So, fast-forward a few months…

Now the computer again will no longer boot.  Well, it will boot to Windoze, but before it’s finished booting, I get a BSOD.  And, the long SMART test says it will take 80 minutes to complete, and then after about 10 seconds, it comes up as “finished” and everything “OK” (just like what had happened with the 250GB).

I know I _ can _ RMA this one (I checked the warranty status), but my real question is “what’s the point?”  If a drive can only be connected to the computer for 6 months at the most  before it starts throwing out BSODs every time you try reading the drive, I’ll eventually spend all my time moving TBs of data to replacement drives, and not get to actually _ use _ the computer anymore.

I don’t know whether just every Caviar that WD has made is bad (or, at least, all the AAKS, EARS, or EADS – which isn’t totally out of the question, judging by all the other posts bashing Caviar greens), or whether there’s something wrong with the MOBO’s SATA controller which causes the drive circuitry to fail (which also seems rather unlikely, but isn’t out of the question)… but whatever the problem is, it seems as if I simply can no longer put Caviar drives into the HP a1720n unless I _ want _ to kill them prematurely.  Guess it’s time to start looking at Seagate, since I can’t really afford enterprise-level drives for a simple home computer.

Hey, Jim, it might be worth RMA’ing them just to get some backup drives out of it.