Solutions and strategies for the most urgent
Hard drive dead or dying
Sometimes you get a warning about this and
sometimes you don't.
If you are hearing strange noises
emanating from your computer especially the hard drive area and
especially if you are receiving some disk reading or writing errors,
your disk is on the way out and should be replaced fast. (However, if
you are using a USB 2 hard drive on a USB 1 port, the problem is
probably not the hard drive).
If you boot up, and the computer cannot
find the C: drive, that's a big hint. The problem may not be
the hard drive but it is prudent to contact the computer manufacturer
or do some troubleshooting
of computer problems
at this time.
It is dangerous to attempt any writes to
the hard drive while you suspect that damage
has occurred. Don't even accept a suggestion that you do any serious
writing from a technical support agent of your manufacturer without
being absolutely sure that they know what they are talking about
especially if you are not up to date on your backups. Many of the
agents are amateurs. If you have any doubts ask for a higher level
You can very often save
the disk yourself by running a program from a CD of utilities
called the Ultimate Boot CD.
This program actually fixes hardware
failures in place and recovers data which seemed to be lost. You create
a bootable CD or flash drive and run the utilities from there. You need
to be a bit technical to take advantage of this tool. However, you can
get a lot of help online if you have another computer available.
used to suggest using HDD Regenerator. However, I
mixed experiences with it. It helped me save one crashed hard drive.
However, on another it started but said the disk was offline after
doing a small portion of the drive. I also tried to create a bootable
flash drive but got errors. It is basically a good program with decent
support but the jury is still out. In any case, UBCD is free and HDD
Regenerator is not.
Although, using these utilities can
get you going, it is prudent to get another hard drive which can be put
into a USB case and use disk imaging software such as Acronis True
Image to clone the failing hard drive.
Get 10% off on Acronis True Image Home 2010
with Coupon Code NDJATIH2010
The clone can
then replace the
bad drive (See Fix
for more information about this). If the
disk restore succeeded, the original drive can be used as an extra
drive. You should do this even if your hard disk doesn't seem
have many errors because the drive can die totally in very short order.
As a backup drive, you are not in as bad shape as you would be if your
main drive died.
If this failed and you don't have a backup, you
can try a local repair outlet that you have strong recommendations
for. Avoid the chain outlets.
In the worst case, there are professional
data recovery services but these can be expensive. OnTrack
Data Recovery is one that I have heard recommendations for.
The infamous BSOD (blue screen of death) problem
At any time a completely blue screen with a few
lines of error messages appears at the top of your screen and the
system is basically dead.
If your computer is at least partially functional
or you have access to another computer, do a search for the
error message on the Internet. It will indicate the likely
cause of the problem and the suggested correction. If the problem is
that your RAM memory is going bad, replacing the memory chips is
described in the fix
computer problems article.
The computer spontaneously reboots or turn itself
Most of the time this is caused by a hardware
problem. Some trivial solutions are to make sure that the plugs are not
loose and check that the fan is not being blocked causing the system to
overheat. Otherwise, the power supply may be going bad and some
troubleshooting is in order.
Sometimes this problem can be caused by a virus.
Make sure that your computer
internet security software is up to speed.
Nothing happens when you turn on the computer
You don't hear a peep and it's as if it's not
First, check the obvious. Make sure that all plugs
are connected securely. You may want to test the socket or power source
to see if it is generating power. Otherwise, it is probably a power
supply, cmos battery (a small battery that allows your motherboard to
retain certain important settings) or motherboard problem. Contact your
vendor or checkout other troubleshooting
options in my troubleshooting
computer problems article. For the do it
yourselfers among you, the fix
computer problems article has links to installing these parts
The system seems to power on but nothing appears
on your monitor.
This may be caused by either a bad monitor or some
recent software change that doesn't allow your computer to boot into
Try rebooting and keep pressing the f8 key. If
different boot type choices appear on your screen something in your
system has become corrupted.
It could either be a bad driver or something
messed up in that complicated internal system database known as the
registry. You have a good chance of getting your system back to the way
it was before the problem by doing a Windows system restore. This
article indicates how to do a system restore from safe mode.
If nothing appears, your monitor may have died or
become disconnected. Make sure it is powered up, turned on and securely
connected to your computer. If this doesn't help and you have another
monitor, try it. Otherwise, follow the troubleshooting
steps in my troubleshooting
computer problems article .
For more details on some of these problems refer
to this article 4 common pc problems
you can fix yourself
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