OT: HD replacement/supplement

My home computer is acting up. I built it myself, it was my first and it was a frustrating/4-weeks later satisfying process.
Background: For the last year of two, after turning it off it would often click with all the lights on the front of the case, speakers and keyboard flashing at the same time as the clicking. Sometimes it would sound as if it were 'winding down', sometimes not. The only way to stop it would be to hit the power switch on the back of the case.
The other day I'd used the machine for about an hour, turned it off (always using the normal Windows shutdown method) then turned off the switch in the back. About 10 minutes later I turned it back on, it sounded like it had turned on but the monitor was black with the tri-colored box with a statement (NO SIGNAL). I didn't notice if the HD light was on or off.
Two days ago it started up and ran "normally"
I've talked to 3 people and had 3 suggestions, HD, Power Supply and Mother Board
I want to add a second HD, I'm a rank amateur inside PC's, this being my first and only build. It has a Maxtor D740X Ultra ATA133 and an MSI KT3 MS-6380 motherboard. I want to do it as painlessly and inexpensively as possible.
I found only one Ultra ATA HD at www.newegg.com... http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16822152031
What other options do I have, to keep it as simple as possible? The cable to my existing HD has the master/slave connectors, I don't know if the MB will accept other cables for newer HD's?
Once I install the new HD, what's the easiest way to get programs and data to it?
Thanks and sorry for the OT
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The PS is the cheapest, easiest to check (usually by replacing), and most likely problem. They do go bad over time.

Looking at newegg now, they show 10 ATA133 and 41 ATA100. Any of those should work if you're already running and ATA133 drive. No need to worry about ATA100 being slower, since no single drive can saturate that bus anyway. The only potential speed difference is mainly related to cache size and rotation speed. Bigger is better.

PATA to SATA adapters are out there, but I don't think you're stuck yet.

A lot of boxed HD come with software for moving a system to the new drive. OEM drives won't ship with this, and there's no guarantee that a retail boxed drive will have it. You'll have to look at the individual drive. Such a utility may be available for download from the drive's manufacturer. I wouldn't expect them to work with other manufacturer's drives. Perhaps an evaluation version of Norton Ghost or something similar would work. Hopefully, someone has a more definitive answer.
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Thanks for the info, I guess I limited my search too much when looking at newegg. I was hoping to find something at my local Fry's, but I suppose that'll be a longshot...unless I get more modern and use adapters, etc... rather not.
I'll poke around Maxtor's site for any 'backup' utilities.
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Fry's should still be carrying a variety of IDE drives (the kind that your motherboard takes). Just don't buy a SATA unless you plan on also purchasing an adapter for it. Note that WindowsXP sp0, Win2000 (all versions?) and winME/win98 won't recognize partitions over 137gb. The sweet spot right now in price is on 250gb drives. You could split that into a pair of 125gb partitions.
I always purchase Seagate because they are the only drive manufacturer with a 5 year warranty on their consumer level drives. If it is a low use computer then you probably don't have to worry about it burning out.
Make sure you get a 7200rpm drive as it makes a big difference from 5400rpm.
Get a retail drive instead of an oem one. You will pay a few dollars more, but the software they come with is generally user friendly. Boot from CD -> click setup a new drive -> follow the wizard and ta-da. Everything has been moved to your new drive and works fine.
WC wrote:

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Dang, you make it sound so easy...many thanks for the info.
Now I have to decide whether to mess with it this weekend or go soak in the river...hmmm...
"Mr. Who" wrote:

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I doubt it's the hard drive it's probably Motherboard or CPU. If it was only the hard drive you should have at least seen the BIOS screen warning that there was a problem.
John Layne www.solidengineering.co.nz
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I got so tied into the HD stuff that I forgot my analysis of your initial problem.
So your problem is definitely odd sounding. Clicking sounds are often indicative of a dying hard drive. But the failure to properly turn on and the flashing sound like motherboard failure to me. It could be power supply, but in my experience even cheapo power supplies either work or don't work. Never have they led to intermittent problems.
If its the motherboard you can almost always find people experienceing the same problems. Do a google search on your mobo version plus a description of your problem. Hopefully that will turn up something. Mobos generally have three year warranties so it sounds like you are a candidate for free replacement. Although it can take several weeks.
WC wrote:

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Aackh! Well I just bought a nice 250Gb UltraATA133 for $85...hmmm
So that's two more for MOBO. I took the beast apart and it was dirty as heck, the fan inlets were almost completely covered...damn cats! I live in an old drafty house too.
What's the worst that can happen when a MOBO/CPU dies? Just won't start, or can it toast other things?
If I replace the MOBO I might as well return the HD and get a newer fancy one...maybe
Thanks John & Mr Who
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Dirty hair & moisture covered crap all over a motherboard can cause leakage that zaps down any piece of electronics that is not perfectly sealed against the environment (or gets over connectors that can't be sealed).
I've seen a laptop or two come back to life after air blasts cleaned out all the gunk.
Bo
WC wrote:

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I've seen a perfectly good computer toasted after cleaning with an air blast from a compressor. It wasn't earthed at the time of cleaning and I assume a static charge from the air blasting caused a chip to be fried.
A good cleaning is a good idea, just make sure it's earthed.
John Layne www.solidengineering.co.nz
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Follow-up:
Thanks for all the input!
I'm a bit of a luddite when it comes to the actual assembling of these machines...so many things don't work with so many other things...but they fit! I manage to muddle thru, get it going nicely then dont mess with it....except for one problem this machine has had since I built it. It'll "hang" whenever doing deep scans, defrags, anything it seems that is using just the HD and CPU (ie no other inputs happening).
Last night I got the new HD installed and recognized by WinXPsp2, it looks and acts like it partitioned correctly (2x 150Gb partitions). I began by using the Maxtor software to copy the old drive to the new drive to make it the boot drive, the machine froze (luckily it made it thru the partitioning and was copying when it froze) -- no HD light, no noise or vibration from the HD's, no inputs from the keyboard or mouse...nothing, only option is to power off with the button on the case.
After rebooting - it did start-up happily - I checked the new drive, it had copied only a small fraction of the existing data. So I tried again, using the Disk-to-Disk Copy option, it made it about 10% before the action stopped again and the power button was the only option.
2.5 hours of this fun was all I could handle.
Should I jump in and replace the Mobo and CPU, or wha???
Sorry for the novelette
Thanks again!
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For heaven's sake, get the existing hard drive out and into an enclosure that lets you take off ALL data files from the old hard drive before you keep going through this.
If you have power suddenly drop, you can wind up damaging a hard drive's electronics in some circumstances and you can also cause a partition to become unreadable (without elaborate recovery services). Yes, I've had it happen to me.
It sounds like to me that you have an intermittent "solder" or pin-socket connection somewhere and when the computer heats up, and undergoes thermal expansion, it breaks a connection and everything goes down.
If it was me, the computer would go in the trash, as I can't risk losing time and data.
Bo
WC wrote:

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As a last ditch effort, make sure the BIOS is flashed to the latest revision. It helped me once with similar symptoms.
If you need to make money with this thing, definitely do a cost analysis to see if it's worth your time monkeying with it.
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I'm going to bring the HD's up to work and try to copy the files from the HD's on a machine here, then once I've secured the data I'll see how much monkeying I want to do. Sounds like I should start from scratch, I do a little nickle and dime work at home, mostly it's home stuff though.
thanks again...
Whit
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Well from the sound of it there are two likely culprits. The disk to disk copy is very cpu intensive and very hd intensive. This causes both the drives and your cpu to heat up significantly. If overheating occurs then the system can lock up. The cpu you are using will not have thermal throttling to prevent overheating. The second likely culprit is that your old hard drive has some serious problems. Bringing it into work and seeing if the same problem occurs is a good idea. If it works fine there then you know you have isolated the problem to the home computer. From there I would get some canned air (a couple bucks online or at a computer supply store, outrageously priced elsewhere) and clean out your processor heatsink. Hook up your new drive and use the new ide cable (very rare that these things go bad, but might as well as remove variables). Finally test for overheating by downloading prime95 and running it overnight. Choose torturetest from the menubar and pick "just testing" from the popup box. This will find out very quickly whether your system is overheating.
I wouldn't be overly concerned about screwing up your hd's even if the system is flaky. You can always do a Master Boot Record Repair from the cd.
Replacing the mobo is an option, just a pain. It will most likely require a reinstall of windowsXP (pain!!!). If it doesn't then it will require reactivation. So make sure you know where your license key and whatnot is. Even replacing with the same mobo model will trigger reactivation. If you repalce the mobo with one that is similar in architecture (I think you said you had an nforce2 mobo) then you can probably get away with not reinstalling xp. Otherwise I doubt it will take.
WC wrote:

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