Sunday, December 19, 2010

Time to Replace the Dying Hard Drive, or More F. U. FPL

It seems that that power spike that I had hit me the other day did some lasting damage.  Now it is time to spend money that I don't really have to spare on a new hard drive. 

What happened was that the other day, the laptop just "quit".  No warning ... just on one second, dead the next.  There were various appliances that were blinking, flickering, and coming back on line so it wasn't just the laptop going strange.

It's an old beast, about 5 years old, and it can only take so many power surges. 

Yesterday I went after some files and found that they had been corrupted.  Windows 7 just could not read them.

So here's the drill in case you're in the same place.

First, on Windows you need to run a "Check Disc".  Back in the old days you'd be in DOS and type in CHKDSK C: /R and walk away and it would create some more files out of the bad sectors, mark the old ones and you'd be good for a while.   Now you basically do the same thing.  Open a command prompt (you know that old window that you never really need any more) and type that string in.  It will argue with you and say hey dummy you're using the machine how about I do this on the next restart.  Ok, I'm a dummy, I'll do it that way. 

Close any programs, windows or other "stuff" you have running.  You will want full control over your machine.

Click Start, All Programs (Or Program Files), Accessories, Right Click on Command Prompt and come down the list and select "Run In Administrator Mode".

If you got an access denied message, you forgot to run the program in Administrator mode.

Your screen will go blank and ask you if you really want to run this (User Access Control window) so click yes.

Now type that in again... and you'll get the restart message.  Type "y" and hit enter.

If you have a hidden partition on your disc drive, and many do, you can do the same on that one.  Since mine is the "E" Drive, I type in "CHKDSK e: /R" and hit enter and it happily went on it's way.

Ok, now you have a hidden partition checking, and a scheduled check for your C drive.  If you have a data partition on this drive, you probably are too advanced for this exercise but thanks for reading - you know you'll want to do this on all of your hard discs, so select them one after another.

Second, when your checks are done, and you have done your data back up to another computer, it is time to restart the computer with the problem drive.  Go make some coffee, tea, or bake some bread because this will take a lot of time.   When the computer comes back up, a program will start and begin to take you through the five steps of a proper Chkdsk.  You may have errors, you may not, but it will take time.  It easily could take hours. 

This is something that you really should do once in a while, on a regular basis.  I'm going to be doing it today once I do an orderly shut down... You see, my backup last night failed on a file that was corrupt.  I'm lucky that that one and another were two small files that will not be a problem if I lose....

Wish me luck!  I'll be out at the computer store today or tomorrow pricing hard discs.  Ugh... I already know what newegg wants for it.  500GB SATA 7200rpm 16mb cache laptop drive at $70 per.

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