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Thread: Cannot Write To Disk In Drive C

  1. #1

    Cannot Write To Disk In Drive C

    Oh, Mighty Virus Gurus…Please help a mere mortal such as I !!

    Perhaps someone knows the answer to this problem right off the bat. But if not, I’ve written a lengthy post so as to provide as much info as possible about the problem I have. So, sorry if this post is long-winded….


    This is the error message I am receiving on a regular basis during any computer session, regardless of whether I am online or not. I’ve had this message even when trying to access a simple game of solitaire!

    The error message occurs after much “grinding” coming from the disk as it tries to retrieve data or perform any command. When the grinding occurs, the system is completely frozen at that time, often remaining frozen for several minutes. And user control only returns when the ‘blue screen of death’ appears with the above message.

    If I “Press any key to continue”, as the blue screen instructs, sometimes I regain control of the machine and can continue; sometimes the system just crashes and begins an immediate automatic reboot.

    Upon reboot, the system will tell me it needs to perform SCANDISK and goes ahead with it, but it also insists on doing a SURFACE SCAN as well (due to the disk error it assumes it has). However, whenever it does the surface scan, it comes up with NO BAD CLUSTERS FOUND.

    WINDOWS will load up and everything appears fine. But within minutes, the system will revert to “grinding” again and the same blue screen error message “CANNOT WRITE TO DISK…”.


    I am convinced this is a virus because I have already eliminated the hardware aspect:

    The drive has been removed from the machine and has been rigorously tested with it’s own diagnostics and reports that there is nothing wrong with the drive. The diagnostic report itself informs me that this type of “grinding” can occur, not due to the disk itself, but due to a defective cable or a virus.

    The cable connecting the drive was replaced with a new one (for the sake of eliminating this as the culprit) and yet the system still grinds away and gives the same error message.

    I have run a search through Google using the error message as the search item and found some web entries online from other people complaining about this same error with the same symptoms as mine. But none of the articles I read offered any solution. I also ran a search on this site using the error message as the search item but found no message thread that matched this one.


    It seems to me that this must be a virus/trojan/worm, not a hardware problem. And it seems to be somehow linked to the SCANDISK program itself. It is as though the system is being forced to run scandisk as a way to kick off the virus itself. I say this because recently, when the system boots, I have decided to exit from the SURFACE SCAN before it completes (since it takes ages and doesn’t seem to do any good anyway), and I have noticed that by exiting from the SURFACE SCAN program prematurely, when the system comes up, I may still have “grinding” but I DON’T have the blue screen of death/error message.

    However, with or without the blue screen of death, the constant grinding is making it impossible to get anything done at all and I know it’s not healthy for the disk to be suffering from this grinding all the time.

    I am truly baffled at this point and desperately hope that somebody has heard of this problem and may know how to fix it. I don’t know the name of the virus because I am also unable to run an accurate virus scan – I tried to run an internet update on my anti-virus program, but that fails for unknown reasons. So, if this is a fairly new virus, the anti-virus software version I have on my PC wouldn’t know about it and I cannot get the update downloaded from the net - perhaps the virus itself is preventing this download???

    I am running Windows 98SE, have a 10GB Seagate hard drive with 32 Meg. memory. (It’s an older machine but extremely reliable – until now !) I have been using AVG Anti Virus software which has served me well in the past.

    If nobody knows the remedy to this, perhaps someone might recommend a website that offers a free virus scan so I can at least try to determine if a virus is present and what the name of the virus is.

    One more note: On one of the SURFACE SCANS, the system DID report that it found a bad cluster on Drive C and then proceeded to map it out. Yet it had no bearing on the performance of the machine; the grinding and error messages continued. And interestingly enough, I have heard of viruses that sometimes create a “fake” bad cluster on disk that the virus itself then occupies and uses as its resident location. Is this true? Could such a scenario be happening to me?

    I sincerely appreciate any advice from the virus “gurus” who frequent this site!

    Thanx in advance,

    Dazednconfused…’n very frustrated.

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    how old is your hard drive, a friend of mine has one not to old with similar problems. He got his replaced.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Hmm, my advice is to perform a full backup immediately (if you don't already have one) and try reformatting. However it sounds very much like a hardware fault.

    Not all hard drives fail because of bad sectors (hence Scandisk finds none). Also, it could be a controller or memory fault which Scandisk also wouldn't pick up on.

    In my experience, HDs usually don't "instantly" die, rather they stop working gradually, which yours sounds like it's doing.

    So go on, backup and reformat. Run any testing programs you can to try to diagnose the fault.


  4. #4
    Senior Member Zonewalker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    you haven't got a Linksys EtherFast 10/100 network adapter in your system by any chance do you? If you have read this it might help;

    If you haven't... could you let us know exactly what the BSOD says - any references to dll, exe etc?

    A good online virus scanner can be found here

    Have you tried booting in safe mode and scanning? That will prevent most things from loading and may give you enough time to complete the scan.

    Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes

  5. #5
    The Doctor Und3ertak3r's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    You can have a HDD problem and Scan Disk checks ok..

    D/L PC-Check from eurosoft (don't have the link to hand you know how to use Google..don't you) , This d/l creates a self booting floppy, boot the sick machine from this floppy..
    navigate your way to the HDD tests .. the two you are interested in are the Drive mechanics, and the non destructive read, you could run the write test as well.. but I am sure that a drive mechanics test run 5 to 10 times will most likly yeild a result... if not do the read test..then a write test.. the last two will take several hours each (well used to)..

    You must have a good reason to suspect a virus (btw.. I only read 33% of what you I hope I'm not too off track)..
    Have you been playing with certain types of software for you to think virus? if not and your friends are not into giveing out virii for fun..
    or visiting Warez or crackz sites?
    And If you have any half updated AV you should be clear of the type of virii you suspect..

    "Consumer technology now exceeds the average persons ability to comprehend how to use it..give up hope of them being able to understand how it works." - Me

  6. #6
    Yes, that's my CC number! 576869746568617's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Here's my advice:

    1.) Get another HDD, preferably a new one, but a used one that has been low level formatted by a known clean machine is OK. Pull out the old HDD and put in the new one, and install Windows on it. Make sure it's not connected to the internet at this point. After Windows is installed connect to the internet and download AVG with the updates. Also run a Windows Update. Download Ad-Aware and it's updates, as well as Hijack This! Now disconnect it from the internet and install the second drive as a slave.

    2.) Restart the PC in safe mode and run AVG on both drives. Do the same with Ad-Aware. Afterward, copy the new AVG install files, as well as the Hijack This and the Ad-Aware.
    Turn off the computer and remove the HHDs and replace the original drive as Master. Do not put in the other drive.

    3.) Reboot the computer and see if the problem went away. If it did not, shut it down and put the new drive back in as master and the old one in as slave. Copy all your data to the new drive and re-install any applications from original distribution media. Now low level format the old drive.

    This is probably not what you wanted to here, and yes, it's a lot of work, but it will fix the problem.

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Pacific Northwest

    There’s more going on in the case of you HD than just platters spinning and heads reading. The controller could be on it’s way out, it’s an older HD (probably 1998 vintage), and having just replaced an older 10GB HD in my son’s computer which had the same symptoms, you’ll probably need a new HD.

    However before you replace the critter, definitely try the recommendations previously posted. That’s great info they provided and if you can save the drive all the better. And if for no other reason, it’s a weekend, the Super Bowl isn’t on until tomorrow, and hey we can always pick up on some training this way.

    Some of the reasons why we would do a Low Level Format?

    -- To renew the sector ID. The sectors are magnetic images placed on the disk and with time and use they can become less distinctive (the heads can’t sense them as well anymore).

    -- To introduce the drive and controller – known as calibrating them to function together (older styles with separate HHD and Ctrls)

    -- If you make a mistake while you are formatting (to the wrong size, etc).

    How do I do it?

    -- Since you are using win98se you should be able to do from the DOS prompt with the DOS program DEBUG. Should be a utility on your rescue/boot disk.

    -- If your HDD came with software it may be there specifically setup for your 10GB HD.

    -- And of course there are a multitude of generic programs on the web, is our friend.

    -- Unless my brain housing group has a leak and some stuff has slipped out, I don’t believe you can do low level formats with NT, XP, or other new OS’s. They don’t allow it. Kinda a self-preservation mode.

    Well hopefully that helped and good luck!

  8. #8
    The Doctor Und3ertak3r's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    I missed this when I first read the post.. sry

    The drive has been removed from the machine and has been rigorously tested with it’s own diagnostics and reports that there is nothing wrong with the drive. The diagnostic report itself informs me that this type of “grinding” can occur, not due to the disk itself, but due to a defective cable or a virus.
    Did the drive "Grind" in the test machine?.. if no .. then there is another possability.. Cruddy PSU.. test the System with a NEW PSU as well.. And certainly Relyt's advice is worthy of checking out as well...
    Also Was the drive readable in the other machine?.. could you retrieve data?

    Cheers and sry for my bad..
    "Consumer technology now exceeds the average persons ability to comprehend how to use it..give up hope of them being able to understand how it works." - Me

  9. #9
    I just wish to express my thanks to all the folks who took the time to reply to my query.

    As most of you have indicated, you believe the problem I am having to be hardware
    related. I do not disbelieve you! In fact, I first thought that the disk itself was the culprit
    yet I became suspicious of my own conclusion when I tested the disk rigorously with
    its own diagnostic software that I downloaded from Seagate's website online.

    Since the diags - which took a a long time to run - reported to me that there were no faults
    found on the disk itself, that's when I started thinking that my problem was perhaps a virus.
    The diags report itself, told me that I should not be so eager to throw the HD in the trash
    without further trouble-shooting since the report indicated that some viruses can mimic HD
    failures when the HD itself is not at fault. Based on that info, this was
    the reason I decided to post my question here in case anyone knew of such a virus capable
    of creating this problem.

    Nevertheless, I have received from those who replied an assortment of ideas that may help to get
    to the root of the problem and I will try some of these out over the next few days and see if my
    problem gets fixed.

    So, once again, thanks to all who contributed their ideas and tips. Your suggestions are
    all very helpful.

    I'll be sure to post a note at the end of this thread in a few days time explaining what
    eventually fixed my HD problem in the hope that those who replied (and others who may
    encounter a similar problem) will find the solution useful for future reference.

    Best Regards to the Anti Online community !


  10. #10
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    A HDD can pass the manufacturers diagnostics and still be bad, doesnt happen often, but it does happen. G'Luck

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