Re. hacked laptops
I have suspected this since 2009, ever since my mostly new x520 started throwing "Disk Read Errors" and refusing to let me copy files from the stock 500GB to a new drive.
Every single machine that drive was installed in later failed inexplicably, even after a zerofill (twice!) and other tests which passed SMART and other attributes the drive never reliably held a Windows install.
This machine also had intermittent problems from the start, later found that the Core 2 Duo only had 3MB instead of 4MB cache and also refused to let me use more than 4GB RAM.
Also lost a 1TB drive and another 500GB since, all failed with the same symptom pattern and machines they were installed in also failed apart from the c650 which seems (so far) to be holding.
The drive which is in there is also slowly deteriorating and this time it shows actual bad sectors yet the
SMART says everything is fine and it is losing performance. (yes I backed it up!!)
Lost my external 3TB hard drive but this is just a power supply issue and traced one problem back to a bad USB3 cable.
It wasn't the infamous x32 memory limit as the machine simply wouldn't turn on, also had issues with external drives inexplicably failing, two bad pendrives (both same controller) and bad SD cards.
Trouble is that as mentioned earlier every drive has been "contaminated" with this thing and I can't trust a single backup made since.
Latest casualty was my HP 3000 netbook which failed after upgrading the stock 500GB to an SSD at which point it failed to boot about 2 days later.
Apparent BIOS issue here as its the same chip (Winbond 25x160) and in fact the machines that failed all had near identical parts. Acer Extensa 5220 (1MB), AOA110, AOA150, PCG61611, 650C but my desktop also has an earlier version of the same BIOS albeit on a 44 pin chip.
Can someone skilled in forensics please have a look at this before I hand over the drives and be done with it? Thanks!