Horrible hard drive experience

Last Wednesday I got a 300 GB Seagate Barracuda hard drive. My 80GB drive is almost full, and I know that my camera’s huge picture files will quickly use the remaining space.

This 300GB drive is $130 after a rebate, although taxes and the return receipt shipping on the rebate will put the net cost just over $150.

Problem after problem has made this the most frustrating hard drive experience of my life.

  • Problem 1: Seagate’s included DiscWizard software cannot correctly copy my Windows XP system to the new drive. The copied version of Windows XP on the new drive had a blue screen of death pretty quickly. Before that, Office applications kept asking for a file that does not exist. (The file is inside a MSI that is part of Office XP SP1.)
  • Problem 2: Windows XP pre-SP1 cannot use drives over 137GB. To fix this, I slipstreamed SP2 into my XP CD and burned a CD.
  • Problem 3: Windows XP’s Automatic Updates crashed my computer. Would you believe that Microsoft classified a video card driver update as a “Critical Update”? For some reason this driver caused my GeForce4 MX 420 video card to end up in some kind of infinite loop. When Windows switched into the full GUI mode, the computer hung, wrote a log file, and auto-rebooted. It took a while to figure this out. I had to search the crash log files for Windows error codes and do a convoluted search. In the end, I had to tell Windows Update to not install the video drivers. That means that Windows Update will always whine about me missing this driver, even if I tell Windows Update not to load it.
  • Problem 4: The stupid hard drive is bad. After finally getting everything installed, I still got occasional BSoDs. I tried all sorts of hardware configuration combinations, but finally I whittled the system down to just having the Seagate drive on IDE bus 1 and nothing on IDE bus 2. Still got the BSoD. Sometimes, right after a BSoD and a reboot, the computer couldn’t even detect any hard drives installed. Reverting the system to its previous state—with my Western Digital 80GB drive as the single—returns to flawless performance. The BSoDs usually were the 0x00000077 or 0x0000007A error, which suggests a hard drive problem.
  • Problem 5: Fry’s printed out the wrong rebate! Yup. I just double-checked the rebate form. It’s the kind where the cash register prints out this lengthy duplicate receipt/rebate form. The top of the rebate receipt shows my hard drive purchase, but the rest is a $20 rebate for a 2.5GB Seagate pocket drive, not the $50 hard drive rebate. Fortunately, I managed to get Fry’s to fax me the correct form.

Argh! Experiences like this make me question why I do my own computers.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *