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Thursday, July 15, 2010

Hard Disk Drives, Part 2

The laptop is dead. I complained about the problem with copying entire directories under Windows to my friend Jack and he recommended I use the Windows backup program ntbackup, which supposedly comes with WinXP. Well, it didn't come with my machine, but it's available for download. Usually when I download something I go to the source, less chance of getting some kind of malware. In this case it's Microsoft. Microsoft wants to validate my system before it will let me download the file. My system is legit, so I should be able to pass their validation. On the other hand, who knows what kind of rathole clicking on the Validate Now button will open up, how many more screens will I have to wade through, or what other BS awaits me once on I click on this innocuous looking button. I download a copy from another site. It installs OK and runs fine, makes one big file out an entire hard drive. More importantly, I can extract the files I want. The user interface is a little clunky, but the program is ancient for a Windows program, so I can excuse it. It seems to work, and that's what counts.

The shop charged $30 to tell me the laptop was not worth repairing. It needed a new motherboard which would cost $450 and and the hard drive had a bunch of errors indicative of its' coming demise. I am not pleased with HP, again. Five years sitting on a desktop and it fails. It hasn't so much as been carried out of the house. I wrote a check to the shop and put it in the mail. I had asked them to check it out and they did. No sense quibbling over trifles like $30. Only I after I mailed the check did I realize I really could use the hard drive, but I didn't want to go to the shop and ask for the hard drive and give them some lame line like "the check's in the mail", so I have waited till I am reasonably sure the check has been delivered, so they won't think I'm a jerk.

Of course the problem here is we don't really know what the problem is. There could have been some easily fixed problem and the shop saw an opportunity to sell this valuable laptop out the back door and make a hunert bucks. Okay, now you're being silly/paranoid.

The problem with the computer could probably be easily fixed, if it could be located, and that's the real problem. There are so many circuits so tightly packed that tracking down the problem could take hours if not days, and that's only if you had a map (a schematic and a layout diagram). Without those it could take months or even years. And since a comparable laptop probably sells for about $500, you would have to be a real masochist to attempt to track it down.

The hard drive I ordered from Newegg arrived the other day, so now I'm trying to get another computer going. I have one of my son's old gaming computers, one he discarded a couple of years ago while he was on his quest for the ultimate gaming system. So I hooked up the hard drive and attempted to install Windows on it from some CD. The installation goes fine, until it comes time to reboot and now it wants part 2. Part 2? What Part 2? Bah.

But wait, I have another old computer, this one a Dell. It's older, but it's the same vintage as mine, so it should do fine, and I have the original, official Dell Windows installation disks. I can use this. Actually this computer is still functional, it's just that the hard drive makes this ugly whining sound. Seems nobody bothered to tick the "shut down the disk drives when sleeping" button when it was new, so it ran continuously for about five years. So we replace the disk and start the installation. Now it's time to go check on it, see how it's getting on.

It's still formatting the drive, and now it's lunchtime. More later.

1 comment:

javieth said...

I had a problem with my hard disc few time ago, how ever i could solve the problem and now my computer is really nice. after that i could see costa rica homes for sale and i loved too much because i always have been interested in visit this beautiful country.