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The big risk is that this kind of a blue screen (when you're defragging) indicates a physical problem with the hard disk. Backup right away!

I have a 2004 Dimension 8400 (with a specific service tag) that will only defrag to 51% and then blue screen. I received this error message (which is basically a bunch of hex numbers) and I can't find a way to fix it.

In this excerpt from Answercast #54, I look at a machine that is showing signs of disk errors and damage.

Blue screen on defrag

If defragging your machine causes it to blue screen at some point, I believe that usually indicates that there's a physical problem with your hard drive.

You should start by running Chkdsk (CHKDSK /R actually) to test the entire surface of the hard disk.

Backup first!

Let me back up... what you really want to start with is a backup! You want to backup that hard disk because clearly you are at risk of losing what's on that hard disk.

Surface errors

But after you've backed up, then make sure to run CHKDSK /R on it to basically check the surface for errors and potentially work around any of the errors that it finds. It may work around some; it may not be able to.

That's when a utility like SpinRite comes in handy. SpinRite can actually resolve many errors, hard disk errors, at the physical level, at the magnetic media level.

Replace the drive

If that doesn't do it (and you know in all honesty even it does!), if you're able to take a full backup of your machine, I'd really, really be tempted to simply replace the drive.

The drives aren't that terribly expensive. I would, like I said, after you've backed it up (you've got everything on a backup image somewhere), replace the hard drive, restore the image, and my guess is you won't have a problem anymore.

But the big risk here is, I believe, that this kind of a blue screen when you're defragging really does indicate a problem with the hard disk. I would take it as a sign of imminent failure. I could be wrong, but in this particular case, I'd rather err on the side of safety and not lose any data.

So, be sure to back up and basically consider replacing the drive.

Next from Answercast 54 - How do I tell if my ethernet is encrypted?

Article C5832 - September 20, 2012 « »

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Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

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