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  1. #1
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    Is it dead?

    I've only just had more RAM added too

  2. #2
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    I feel for ya SamyT. I've only just recovered from a terrible systems crash. (Lucky I backed up ) I was trying to run one AGP and 3 PCI graphics cards together and on booting hung up on loading systems device driver agp440.sys. Had this prob before and shoulda known better but I got there in the end.

    The good side of this (albeit small) is you get to put everything back just the way you want it.

    My heart goes out to you for that second crash though

  3. #3
    Troll Killer and best Snooper!
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    Did it squeal like a pig? Was the smell unbearable? If so, then one of the R/W heads hit the disk, which is dead, but parts of it might be recoverable.

    Can you describe what happened?

  4. #4
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    I recently had a hard drive failure and the machine wouldn't boot up. Had about 3 years of data on the drive. An old surfer who owns a computer tried for a day to recover the data but the old hard disk would heat up and gradually slow down. They finally ended up putting the old hard drive in the freezer overnight to freeze it and then tried recovering date while blowing compressed air on the drive to keep it cool. That little-known trick worked and they recovered all the data.
    Ken

  5. #5
    notary sojac Herb ԿԬ's Avatar
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    always consider that the last procedure done before the crash may have caused it. it is possible to receive or mis-handle RAM so it is bad. bad RAM, depending on at which addresses it is bad, can cause everything from instability to outright crashes.

    unless you already know what is going on, try removing the ram you put in and see how it handles after.

    hope that helps.

  6. #6
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    WOW... Dang Girl

    Feeling for you!


  7. #7
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    It's not dead to the point of needing data recovery (yet), i'm on it at the moment. I've been trying to get the critical updates from microsoft and it keeps coming up with a windows CAB error (even though I'm on the MS site and not even using the CD). It seems to be having trouble with the microsoft VM security update. It's taken about an hour so far and comes up with an error every few minutes.

  8. #8
    ABW Adviser Panel Dynamoo's Avatar
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    I can vouch for the freezer trick for dead HDs.

    These are my recommendations if you're going to try it though. Put the drive in an airtight waterproof bag (like a ziplock bag or better still a sealable antistatic bag). Put the disk in the freezer for at least five hours.

    If you have airconditioning where your PC is then use it - turn the airconditioning up to maximum and leave it running for a good while before you take the disk out of the freezer. The airconditioning will reduce temperature and humidity and reduce condensation on the drive (because it's ice cold remember). If you don't have aircon but have a dehumidifier then use that.

    Prepare your PC and data recovery environment, so have your new hard disk tested and ready, or whatever backup device you are going to use. When you remove the HD from the freezer, keep it insulated until you get to the PC. If possible, keep the HD in the bag and open it as little as possible to fit the cables in - this will help condensation form on the outside of the bag and reduce the amount forming on the drive electronics.

    Remember, time is of the essence if doing this. The drive will warm up pretty quickly in use, so you may have to repeat the steps, but often the drive will be good for an hour or more, especially if you can keep the temperature down in the operating environment.

    I've used this technique a few times. It seems to work. I think the key thing is preparation.
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  9. #9
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    First timer tips for those diagnosing a HD failure or erratic behavior.

    1. Keep a CD burned with Ad-Aware -SpyBot S&E and I have a series of batch files to wipe the drive of all *.tmp files. Basically whack the BHO's,check for viruses, and make sure the HD has some temporary SWAP space.. So often I go to clients sick PCs and they have less then 80 MB of temp space so everything including new file saves takes forever.

    2. Put proven good memory chips into the sick box as marginal RAM will cause HD sector soft errors. Better yet, since it is the data your trying to save, take the sick HD and set it as a SLAVE with the HD jumpers and place into a working 2 HD system as the slave. Remember the key is data. All valid MSDOS files are the same since the inception of the IBM-Pc so the second test system can be running any version of Windows.

    My current test/recovery system for real sick drives is a P-III-866MHZ, 256MB ram,CDRW,floppy,basic video card,15" Monitor and 30GB HD set as the MASTER. Yep your basic cheap 250.00 setup on a closeout. No cover and the HD's are on a simple rigged bracket. Before resorting to the Freezer procedure I just mount the sick drive (slave -D) and do file transfers to the 30GB C-Drive. Then Burn the recovered files on the CDRW. Install a new HD in clients system verifying their RAM and system integrety and give them the CD with their old data.

    MY Freezer setup trick:

    I have a cheap external HD plastic enclosure for any 3 1/2" IDE HD. Put sick HD in enclosure, which has quick cable connect. My test system has a special IDE/HD long ribbon cable for 2 hard drives. I have a small $1.00 6 pack foam cooler with lid from 7-11 stores. Plop the HD enclosure in it, hook ribbon cable through a small cut opening. Add a chunk of DRY ICE into cooler, seal lid and whalla within 10 minutes your working on a frozen slave HD.

    Dry Ice evaporates at 30 degrees below zero with no condensation as is available in most all cities. Look for neighborhood Ice Cream truck route operators, like my brother, as they always carry it. Compared to affiliate marketing his business is simple. Put Ice Cream on truck, act like Taxi's Danny Divito and push drivers out door. Take cash money off drivers at end of day and repeat. All inventory is editable even the damaged items ...
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  10. #10
    Full Member markschok's Avatar
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    What about leaving the drive in the freezer with a long ribbon and power cable passed through the soft seal at the edge of the freezer door?

    I might try that if my drive goes squeal.

    I'll just have to bolt the pc on to the side of the freezer.

  11. #11
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    How did this go from a sick computer, likely RAM issue to needing to freeze the bloody computer to recover lost data. It isn't that bad!!

  12. #12
    ABW Ambassador Radegast's Avatar
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    LOL techies can get a bit carried away sometimes...
    I guess the obvious thing is to take out the new RAM and see if the system runs stably without it, (if the problems started after installing the RAM).
    Otherwise, not enough info to suggest anything sensible ~

    (Have you considered freezing your hard drive, by the way?)

  13. #13
    ABW Adviser Panel Dynamoo's Avatar
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    Well actually.. you *could* place the whole PC in the refrigerator (I'd hesitate before freezing the whole lot though).

    I'll tell you a true story that happened to me.. I once worked in the IT department of an outfit in a 6 storey building, and we were on the top floor. We had a user on the 3rd floor complain that her PC kept locking up, so we brought it up to our floor to test it. It was fine. So we put it back, and then the user rang up and said that it had locked up again. So we brought it back up, tested it thoroughly for hours, couldn't find a problem and took it back. Of course, the user rang up again because it had locked up.

    We eventually nailed this down to temperature - because the boiler was way down at the bottom of the building and the ventilation system was ancient, there was a temperature difference of a few degrees between our floors, and the hardware was sensitive to this variation.

    The moral of this story is that PCs work better when cool.. and just possibly cooling a faulty component might coax it temporarily back into life.

    Or you could just swap your memory back
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  14. #14
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    Remnds me off a time I was visiting one of my client sback in the old days when I used to write Windows keyboard drivers.

    The receptionist was complaining about how her computer screen would go wonky frequently during the day. Their computer "experts" had been in to replace the screen - no change. Replaced the sys unit - no change. I sat watching it and had the answer in five minutes. Her desk was next to the elevator shaft and whenever the elevator went past, it upset the magnetic field around the screen and everything shifted sideways for a moment. I moved her computer to the other end of her desk and it was cured. She worshipped me after that.

  15. #15
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>The moral of this story is that PCs work better when cool.. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Computers should ALWAYS be stored in cool temperatures. They will tell you that in the installation instructions too. When I was working for the union as an electrician in NYC, the first room that would usually get air conditioned would be the computer room before anything else.

    Also, make sure that little fan in your tower is working. You will be amazed how well it works keeping the insides cool when working properly, assuming it's in a cool room itself.

  16. #16
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> Also, make sure that little fan in your tower is working. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    I'll ditto that! When my CPU fan died, it only took a few minutes before the computer shut itself down due to "thermal fault." I would expect similar effects if the case fan had died. (The "thermal fault" notice didn't stay showing too long before the machine went off, but I read fast enough to catch it...)

    When I replaced the fan, the computer not only started working fine again, it was FAST again! I'm talking about a speed difference that anyone could spot, not a tiny one that takes a measurement device to detect. I figure that the old fan must have been getting slower and slower for a long time before it failed outright. With the intended cooling restored, it sped up almost as much as if I had given it a RAM upgrade!

    Now if I heard any kind of unseemly racket coming from any computer or tower fan, I'd replace that fan immediately instead of waiting until it totally died like I did the last time.
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