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Subject: AAARGH my (other) computer crashed! rss

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Any techies here wanna lend me and my family a hand? Our nine year old Dell computer crashed toady, and before we take it to to repair guys, I thought it might be interesting to see what you guys had to recommend.

Here is the breakdown of what happened:

While we were watching a DVD on our computer (using PowerDVD, which we always use), the DVD playback just stopped mid-frame, like if someone had paused it. After waiting a couple of minutes, we popped the DVD out and check it for scratches. Not only was the DVD free of scratches, but when we popped the disc out, the frame that the DVD had stopped in stayed up on the screen. We waited a couple more minutes, then tried Ctrl+Alt+Delete, to no avail. We finally had to resort to manually turning the computer off with the silver power button located on the computer tower.
After leaving the blamed thing off for a five minutes, we turned it on again. Everything seemed to be fine...and then the computer presented us with a black and white screen, with the following message on it, "No boot device detected. Please insert system disc and press F1 to continue, or F2 to setup menu".
We tried hitting F1, even though we don't have a system disc (should we? And what ARE they, anyways?), and the computer just took us back to the same message. We tried F2, and it took us to a really scary looking amalgamation of a interface, which has to be manipulated with the keyboard. We decided to leave F2 alone, and turned the computer off.

So, do any of you guys (and gals) have any idea what happened? If so, would you mind enlightening me?

Thanks!
Euen
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Tom Johnson
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Unfortunately it sounds like the hard disk crashed. Actually nine years is a couple lifetimes for one. The important question is how long since your last backup.
If there isn't anything too critical on it, then I would let the machine rest in peace. A shop would probably charge at least a couple hundred to recover and replace the drive and you can get a whole new computer for a little more.

BTW when the computer asked for a system disk, it meant that it didn't recognize any drive on the computer with an operating system.
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Oh...Actually, there was some important stuff on there. Like, 100 pages worth of various papers I have written. I didn't back 'em up because the computer was running fine, till now that is. We got a new hard disk/drive installed about 2 years ago, when it crashed due to one of my family (who shall go un-named) ran a vacuum a little to close to the back of the tower, causing the cooling fan to move so fast that it created tons of static electricity, which in turn destroyed some essential bits of the hard drive. Thankfully, we recovered all the files that were on it.

We did have a stroke of luck since posting this; one of our close family members runs a small communications company, and they will be able to hook us up with their computer maintenance guy/techno wiz, for free. So hopefully he will be able to recover the information for us, and we can get it all put into a new hard drive in a new computer.



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Rob Robinson
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braveheart101 wrote:
We tried F2, and it took us to a really scary looking amalgamation of a interface, which has to be manipulated with the keyboard.


Sounds like the BIOS.

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True Blue Jon
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Just sounds like a bad boot sector. Hopefully, you'll be able to read the drive fine in another computer (or the same one if you put in another hard disk and install an Operating System on it).
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J
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braveheart101 wrote:
I didn't back 'em up because the computer was running fine, till now that is.

I just died a little bit inside. soblue

You should backup regularly, preferably automated, when things are running smoothly so that when things are not going well, you can get back your data with ease.
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Pieter
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Yeah, sounds like the hard disk. It is likely that most of the data is still recoverable. Try booting from a USB stick.
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The neutral evil villain known as
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Last time this happened to me, I was able to put a norton utilities disk in and boot from that to salvage some files... is that a possibility? I don't think they even make it for macs anymore, but they do for PC.

Once, I took a laptop HD out and put it in a firewire housing to access it that way...

Just spitballing here.
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jmilum wrote:
braveheart101 wrote:
I didn't back 'em up because the computer was running fine, till now that is.

I just died a little bit inside. soblue

You should back up regularly, preferably automated, when things are running smoothly so that when things are not going well, you can get back your data with ease.


It seems that's something that can only be learned through hard experience. I now use a backup program weekly to back up my data on an external drive. I started doing that after losing everything on my computer a few years ago, including a lot of irreplaceable family pictures.
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Yeah, the computer that crashed didn't have an internet connection, and hasn't for a long time, so all backing up has to be done via a 2GB Sandisk flash drive.
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RoyN
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Is it possible the BIOS lost the setting to check the hard drive (say it got changed to only check the DVD)? In that case, all he would have to do is use the setup to change it back?
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