Thursday, September 22, 2011

Hard Drive Crashed or has Errors-Now What?!?

Hard drive failures are more common than you may believe. Anyone who has experienced one can attest to how annoying they are.
Recovery can be an arduous or relatively simple task. Lets assume run through a couple common scenarios:
Your PC or laptop is non bootable. Meaning it blue screens, gives you some arcane disk error message, etc. It just wont boot.
Call ME. Call Someone you trust. Stop trying to reboot it over and over, as you are probably doing more damage to the drive. Believe me.
You can get to Windows and login, and you are getting some error messages from the Acronis Disk utility(see my previous blog post), Seatools)can be dowloaded here or some other warning(your drive access is slow, it clicks). Do the following:
A. Click the Start button(Windows Icon) and type cmd in the search box.
B. Open the cmd.exe application that opens
C. You will get a command prompt(black screen), type the following: chkdsk /f
D. You will get the following message:
The type of the file system is NTFS.
Cannot lock current drive.
Chkdsk cannot run because the volume is in use by another
process.  Would you like to schedule this volume to be
checked the next time the system restarts? (Y/N)
E. Hit Y
F. Reboot
Windows will try to repair the disk when rebooting. It may take some time. This method cannot fix physical issues, but works well at stabalizing a disk that had some bad spots on it. I am not going to try to explain what the output from running it means. You can email me with your log and I'll take a look at it.
Happy Computing
ZeoRizk Technologies

Monday, September 12, 2011

Hard drives-simple steps to identify and alleviate disaster

Most of us will deal with a hard drive crash(or 2) at some point in our computer use. This generally involves a lot of downtime and worry about lost files, photos, etc.

A fact: Mechanical failures account for about 60% of all drive failures. While the eventual failure may be catastrophic, most mechanical failures result from gradual wear and there are usually certain indications that failure is imminent. These may include increased heat output, increased noise level, problems with reading and writing of data, an increase in the number of damaged disk sectors(re: bad spots on the drive).

First, lets identify a few telltale signs that you may have a physical drive issue:

1. You try to copy files to or from the drive and it fails.
2. Your computer tries to run chkdsk when you start it up from power off.(tip..let it run)
3. Your computer is running a lot slower than normal
4. Your computer is making ticking noises.

This list is by no means exhaustive, but it covers the common bases.

Lets assume all is running well and you just want something to monitor your system: Acronis Drive Monitor is a great solution. Acronis requires you to register to get it, so I put it here: SOFTWARE    for everyone to download. Just click the link and install. Its a next-next next and finish type install

It leverages SMART technology that is built into nearly every drive made today.

You are interested in the disks portion of the utility. There is a tab that outlines your backup software, and they may try to sell you this. Just ignore it and pay attention to any possible negative information in the disks section.

By the way, don't ignore the warnings. We deal with  a lot of drive failures that could have been a simple copy and replacement, but turn into an expensive recovery job because the warnings were ignored.

How expensive? Our average price is  $120 for a hard drive swap for Windows/MAC. 
This included imaging the old drive and installing the new.

The average cost for just the recovery portion of a failed hard drive is $300. It can scale to $1000+.

Next article will assist with what to do in case of a failure.

Happy Computing


Monday, September 5, 2011

Inexpensive Laptop Deal

If you need a simple laptop for email and basic web surfing this is for you. EMachines are made by Acer, and are not usually the best quality. But for $229 bucks, it is well worth it as a sleeper bargain. Here is a link: Laptop

A recommendation after buying and booting up for the first time: Go to EMachines website and download new drivers for the wireless adapter. They can be found here: drivers .

Choose notebook-e series-e443-confirm. It will help with the wireless connection.

Stay tuned to my new post on what do when setting up a new machine.

Happy buying

Tech Guru