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May 4, 2010
10:05 PM
Wheezer
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I've been having an issue with the computer at the fire hall and would like to get opinions from folks here about what I've been told.

While on the phone with tech support for the company that sells the program we use to make IDs for department members, the computer froze. Nothing worked, not even CTRL-ALT-DELETE.

I ended up turning the computer off with the power button. When I turned it on again, I got a message in the upper left corner of the screen saying that there was an error loading windows and that I should restart the computer. The rest of the screen was black.

That same thing happened when I restarted again, and then finally started windows on the third try.

While all that stopping and starting was going on the tech guy on the phone was asking questions about how the computer has been running.

I explained that we had an issue back in December that caused the computer to lock up for an unknown reason, and when I restarted it then, everything was gone. All we had was the flashing cursor on the screen. No matter how many times I restarted it, that's all I ever got.

I told him we took it to a local computer shop. They looked at it and said there was nothing wrong with it. When I hooked it up back at the fire hall, it worked fine and all our files and settings were exactly like they were before the problem had occurred.

I also told him that in the last two weeks this lock-up problem had begun and that it happens at least three or four times every day that I use it. There also isn't a pattern of when it happens. I can't cause it to happen to isolate the issue, it just happens when it wants to.

The tech guy asked some more questions and then said that it sounds like the hard drive is about to fail sometime soon.

Does that sound like it makes sense? I know that I haven't provided a lot of info, but who wants to read the whole long dragged out story. If you have a question you need answered to form an opinion, ask, I'll be happy to answer.

By the way, the computer is an HP desktop, about 4 years old. It doesn't get used with any regularity. Maybe once or twice a month normally, with streaks thrown in where it's used every day for a week or so. It runs XP Home.

Thank you for your comments.

                       wheezertech.forumotion.com
May 4, 2010
10:40 PM
Locutus
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Run chkdsk /r.  Tell us what you get.

 

(This will check for bad sectors.)

 

Screenshots would be helpful, cause no human can disect the proper information except for Mr. Chk and Mrs. Dsk.

Oh, the site that was :(
May 4, 2010
10:51 PM
Wheezer
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Ok, I've got to go up there tomorrow evening for a couple hours. If I can remember how to run check disk I'll do it and save some screenshots to a thumbdrive so I can put them here once I'm back home.

Don't I have to just type "chkdsk /r" into the "run" box under the start button?

                       wheezertech.forumotion.com
May 4, 2010
11:17 PM
Locutus
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I would open up CMD from the Run box, then run chkdsk /r.  This is because while it works fine in the run box, it disappears when it finishes.

Oh, the site that was :(
May 5, 2010
12:21 AM
Adrian
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I would suggest following the tech guy's advice, copy out all of your data and replace the hard drive.

May 5, 2010
6:18 AM
Wheezer
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Adrian: Right now, that's our plan. Well, kind of. We were thinking that by the time we pay for the hard drive and for having it installed, it'll be close enough that we'd might as well just buy a new computer.

And now it turns out that one of the members has a desktop computer that he doesn't use and is willing to donate to the department.

The thing I'm concerned about now is that I don't want to trash the one currently in use and transfer all those files if it's not necessary. Especially if it's just a setting or something that got inadvertantly changed.

Thanks for posting your thoughts. That's what I want to hear/read. Smile

                       wheezertech.forumotion.com
May 5, 2010
1:44 PM
karen
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I agree with Adrian. Time for a new harddrive (or computer).

May 5, 2010
9:56 PM
Wheezer
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So, while at the fire hall tonight I did the CMD thing and then checkdisk. It took forever! When it finished, it flashed the results on screen for half a second, then restarted the computer. The results never came back.

Frustrated, I said f— it and headed for home.

The guy that said he'd donate his extra computer called to say that he'll drop it off tomorrow evening. So I'm thinking I'll just do the switch and kiss our current one good bye.

Anybody want to buy a used computer that is probably gonna have a fried hard drive very soon? Wink

                       wheezertech.forumotion.com
May 5, 2010
10:43 PM
Locutus
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How much?  What are the specs? What kind of hard drive (which one of these:

)

(;  <—a winking smilie

Oh, the site that was :(
May 6, 2010
3:45 AM
Wheezer
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Locutus said:

How much?  What are the specs? What kind of hard drive:


 

I've got no idea off hand. I said it more as a joke than anything, figuring nobody would want to buy it. But I forgot I'm on a site where plenty of people could easily fix it and end up with a perfectly good computer out of it.

I'll check into it for you Locutus. I doubt the fire chief would want much for it at all if anything, since right now the plan is to just trash it. I'd guess just enough to cover shipping.

I'll put Speccy or SIW on it and post some screen-shots here in the next couple days to answer your questions.

                       wheezertech.forumotion.com
May 6, 2010
8:26 AM
karen
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@Wheezer – if it's easy to crack open the case, just see if it has the fat, wide IDE cables or the small, thin ones. That will answer Locutus's question.

May 6, 2010
11:38 AM
bem
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Any number of things can corrupt a Windows installation, not the least of which is net access on an unsupervised machine accessible to bored volunteers between emergencies.

Before you trash it (or let Locutus assimilate it Surprised) give a try at resurection.  Once you have all your data off the hard drive try wiping the C: drive (NOT the whole hard drive).  HP machines have a partition with everything that came with the machine ready for reinstall.  Once you reload, put it through some trials to see if it holds up.  If if does, I'll bet you can come up with a use for it.  If nothing else, make it the designated web-surfer and forbid recreational use of the other machines.  If you have a local network, do NOT connect it.

Just my HO…

 

bem

May 6, 2010
12:37 PM
Wheezer
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Thanks bem, that's good food for thought. I may try your suggestion.

Our computer is password protected to keep it from being, as you said so well: "accessible to bored volunteers between emergencies." There is only 1 other member that knows the password, and he doesn't know anything about computers so stays as far away from them as possible.

Whether or not I try your suggestion will mostly depend on my frustration level when I'm at the hall next. Which should be a couple hours from now. I've decided I'm going to finish making IDs for the members before I do anything about the computer. That won't take too long tho (I hope), I've only got 4 or 5 left to make. The template and pictures are in the computer and I really don't want to have to start over again and try to recreate the layout.

So I'm going to sit there and "tough it out." Good thing there aren't any neighbors real close. If there were they'd probably hear my swearing at the computer when it locks up. Wink

Karen: What's a IDE cable look like? Embarassed    See why I figure Speccy might be the way to go. Confused

                       wheezertech.forumotion.com
May 6, 2010
1:13 PM
bem
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I agree with you about Speccy.  Less room for error.  For what its worth,  IDE (Integrated Development Environment) is the original cable for connecting the actual computer (motherboard) with all the important hardware, like hard drives, floppies, cd-roms and such.  It's that 3" wide ribbon that loops from drive to drive and then to the motherboard.  If your HP is factory stock it almost certainly has IDE drives and connectors. 

SATA (Serial AT Attachment) is the newer standard (actually, SATA II) that connects each drive directly to the motherboard without the master/slave problems of IDE, allowing much faster I/O speeds.  Easily distinguished visibly by the fact that the cable is about the size of a flat appliance cord attached to the hard drive instead of the wad of wide and unruly ribbon cable of the IDE.

Enough of that for one day…

Good luck with the ID's.  Hope it doesn't crash on you, for the neighbors' sake.

Passing thought: disable every last startup item that didn't come with windows or the programs you need and see if will hold up for the task.  Especially antivirus and firewall if you don't have to be online.  SysInternals' Autoruns makes it real easy.

Later…

May 6, 2010
3:33 PM
karen
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Well, I was going to answer, but @bem did Avery thorough job.

May 6, 2010
7:59 PM
Wheezer
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Ok, I'm home again and the neighbors didn't have to call the cops because of a crazy swearing male in the fire hall. Laugh

It locked up on me a few times, but then I thought about this thead, particularly bem's comment about hoping it doen'st crash for the neighbor's sake and laughed instead of getting ticked off.

I didn't dig inside the case, I was in a hurry and just didn't want to spend that much time there. I did do some other stuff tho, so here comes the screenshots and pics…

 

 

 

Locutus or anyone else that might like to add this to their list of things to fix: Send me a PM and I'll tell you what the Fire Chief said about selling it.

                       wheezertech.forumotion.com
May 6, 2010
8:31 PM
calebstein
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Best solution: dump Windows for Linux, or preferably, BSD.  This is not a joke, I'm dead serious.

It's me
May 6, 2010
9:17 PM
Locutus
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@Wheezer:  I too was joking about buying it.  But all those specs are important to know.  (and if this reply is like wayyyy late, it's because I'm submitting this comment from a cached version of the page.  I read this and had to run!)

Oh, the site that was :(
May 6, 2010
9:36 PM
Wheezer
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Locutus said:

@Wheezer:  I too was joking about buying it.


 

You put me thru all that work for a joke?!!! Oh man, you owe me now! And I want a free license for TuneUp Utilities 2010. So you'd better get to work on a giveaway or drawing for it, that I'm guaranteed to win, for Cogizio.

Geeze, you didn't even put a winking smilie on your post or anything.

Bad form Locutus. Bad form…

                       wheezertech.forumotion.com
May 6, 2010
9:43 PM
Locutus
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Wink<— there's your winking smilie. 

 

Also, sorry about all the trouble.  EmbarassedEmbarassed  I'd get you a license to TU10 but ya know I kinda don't have one…Surprised

I'm going to go and hide in that dark alleyway over there now.

SurprisedSurprisedSurprisedSurprisedSurprised

Oh, the site that was :(
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