Can a faulty/dying hard drive cause a PC to randomly restart?

Discussion in 'SSD and HDD storage' started by Darren Hodgson, Jun 28, 2022.

  1. Darren Hodgson

    Darren Hodgson Ancient Guru

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    As per the title thread, I have an issue on my PC where it will random restart without warning warning but this only happens on the desktop and never while I am playing intensive games which I have been doing a lot of since installing the new RTX 3080 graphics card over a week ago. The issue has been happening for the last 18 months but happens relatively infrequently, perhaps once per week or fortnight at most.

    Now, I do have a hard drive (H) that is flagged with Caution by SMART but have been meaning to replace this drive with a new Toshiba one I bought over a year ago but have not gotten around to doing it yet. Besides, the drive still works and I actually download files to it plus Steam seems to use that drive to update games (which I suspect may be what is triggered the restart, especially as some patches are huge and take a long time to install, e.g. the one for the excellent Swords and Fairy 7 this week). Because the drive was still working and I don't really play any of the games installed on that drive then I thought I would just leave it until the drive finally died for good.

    18 months on and it is still working but I am wondering if the PC restarts are connected with this drive as Steam is set to only update games when I am not playing them so it would obviously be updating the games while I am browsing or the PC is idle on the desktop.

    Anyone know?

    I am pretty sure it is not RAM nor power supply related as the restarts only happen when I am NOT playing games so the PC is 100% stable when it is being pushed with a game with ray-tracing and high-framerates for example on my GTX 3080. My PSU is an 850 W one from XFX.
     
  2. mbk1969

    mbk1969 Ancient Guru

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  3. Mufflore

    Mufflore Ancient Guru

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    Yes a faulty drive can crash a PC but it depends on the fault whether its possible.

    For a definitive answer. unplug that drive and see how your PC behaves.
     
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  4. Undying

    Undying Ancient Guru

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    I never seen faulty drive can cause pc to restart. It can lock up stop responding but not restart.
     

  5. mbk1969

    mbk1969 Ancient Guru

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    Reading corrupted binary data (exe-files, dll-files), but even simple input data can result in many faults. Same as with faulty RAM.
     
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  6. Astyanax

    Astyanax Ancient Guru

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    Yes, but so can a Ryzen cpu with a triple exception fault caused by insufficient voltages.
    or an intel cpu with weak imc/cache

    a disk io exception can cause a coalesce of failure in the volume kernel and filter drivers.

    it just depends on the nature of the failure, platter issues generally not, pcb failures yes.
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2022
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  7. Darren Hodgson

    Darren Hodgson Ancient Guru

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    Thanks for the replies.

    It may be just a coincidence that the random restarts started happening around the time I found out one of my hard drives had errors (flageed as Caution) when I loaded up CrystalDiskInfo. It could well be an unstable overclock on my i7-4770K that is the issue, although it seems to work fine in games which is when you would expect the CPU to be stressed rather than (mostly) idle on the desktop.

    Anyway, I am going to backup the faulty drive this Friday and then install the replacement Toshiba drive I bought a while back on Saturday then restore the backup and see if the restarts still happen after that.

    My PC is quite old now (built in June 2013) so I suppose I shouldn't be too surprised if I get some weird behaviour such as random restarts from time to time. I am planning to build or buy a new PC but it likely won't be until next year.
     
  8. Truder

    Truder Ancient Guru

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    I've had a faulty sata cable cause crashing and restarts and I've had several sata cables fail over the years too (tell tale sign is when getting "delayed write failures"). I don't know how it happens but sata cables seem to wear out over time
     
  9. Astyanax

    Astyanax Ancient Guru

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    Idle stability is the annoying thing to test for, theres no way to do it except wait.

    i've got sata cables in this system i've used since the 2000's, sata cables certainly do not just wear out, its usually the contacts failing with replugs and mishandling / improper bending when stored.
     
  10. Truder

    Truder Ancient Guru

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    I promise you I've encountered fairly often dead sata cables - and a quick google search does yield a lot of results where others have encountered same issues, often citing poorly made sheaving or other defects.

    Obviously moving cables will indeed cause issues however I've encountered systems that have been completely stationary and untouched with hard drives seemingly failing which in-turn ends up being the cable itself
     

  11. AsiJu

    AsiJu Ancient Guru

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    I'm reusing this thread as it's related (and already exists).

    What's a good way to test for SSD integrity or reliability? I've ran surface tests from minitool partition wizard but dunno how much they mean for SSDs.

    I'm still having occasional crashes to desktop and would like to rule out storage as cause.

    Btw related to topic I once had lots of BSODs and corrupt data on a disk, the reason was the SATA cable had gotten loose.
    I replugged the cable and issues stopped.
     
  12. elaganza

    elaganza Master Guru

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    got a kind of this problem when my ssd started to die. Endurance was ~87% and while working on PC i got occasionally BSODs, restartings and etc. Changing ssd solved that problems.
     

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