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Old 09-25-2019, 05:48 AM   #1
The_Doc_Man
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Distractions, Distractions, Distractions

I have been limiting my activity on the forum for a while due to an unfortunate series of events. (Say, I could write a novel with that title...) But a few days ago, things boiled over.

The machine I normally use to access the forum had started crashing on me. It is possible to run diagnostics at boot-up on this machine so I did that and it called out the HD with a specific error code.

After bunches of on-line research using my older XP clunker (which still works so far), I was able to apply a temporary fix. The error was indicative of having had a head-touch event and running afoul of some bad blocks. The drive timed out on me. So I scheduled a CHKDSK with the bad-block recovery option. Things worked OK for a while.

Then the same thing happened again and I had to apply the fix a second time. The system came back again, but when a hard drive starts acting up, it is not long for this world. It is strictly a guess on my part, but if the problem really was a head touch, then the platter was damaged but so was the head. It is only a matter of time before the head literally bounces around inside the disk shell and nothing will bring that back.

So while my disk data can still be read, I'm getting a new system disk to replace the old one. I lack the tools to do a drive "ghost" copy so I took it to a shop I have used before. They can do an image copy for me. But this time I'm getting the HD replaced by an SSD of the same size. While I'm at it, I will have them replace some older, slower memory chips with some newer, faster, larger ones, effectively doubling physical memory while speeding it up. It was bought as a game machine, so it had Intel i-7 CPUs (4-CPU/8-core) and a fast internal bus. Plus a good video card. When it comes back, it ought to run everything faster, and things that were typically disk-dependent will be a LOT faster.

At the moment, though, that means I have to use my old XP, which I use only for certain old games. It still works but when it gives up its ghost, that will be the end of it. I won't try to replace it because it cannot ever go past 4 GB of RAM. Too old a bus structure for extended memory. Win10 might run, perhaps, but nothing else would fit. So while I'm waiting for the big beast to come home, I'm stuck on the clunker.

Which leaves me with only two distractions remaining. Last night the flexible spray handle on our kitchen sink disconnected and we had "cleanup on aisle 1" to handle. The plumber has been called on that one because the hose won't stay in place. I think there is a clamp that broke or died or something and I don't have a replacement. Nor do I know what to call it, much less where to get one on short notice.

The other annoyance is that my big-screen TV is dying and will have to be replaced soon. My sweetie and I have been out shopping around to see what is available and what it will cost. The current beast is an LCD, which has a particular "aging death" mode in which pixels will be stuck in the "on" condition. I have a positive constellation of blue dots that show up during dark scenes. They tell me the old beast is dying. Time to get a new one.

If there is any purpose to this post, it is that I can rant a little about how stuff comes at you in threes. For me, it was a dying computer, a dying TV, and the kitchen sink! In the USA, when we talk about things piling on, we say "everything BUT the kitchen sink" but today that exception doesn't apply.

Perhaps if anyone is having computer problems with their hard drive, my tale of woe can be helpful in that:

a. A hard drive that crashes a lot and forces reboots is trying to tell you something. Act sooner rather than later because if it still works well enough, you can do backups and even have the drive re-imaged. If that happens, you have protected your data investment. This is a good thing.

b. Prices on solid-state drives have dropped like a rock, as we say in the USA. A 1 TB SSD now costs about $150 in US dollars. I'll pay more than that for the labor to install and re-image, but the point is that you can get some impressive storage devices these days for less cost than an external TB spinning "backup" disk used to cost. If you were thinking about it, use my article to think some more.

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Old 09-25-2019, 05:53 AM   #2
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Re: Distractions, Distractions, Distractions

I wish you the best in your PC upgrade, TV searching and kitchen repairs.
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Old 09-25-2019, 06:09 AM   #3
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Re: Distractions, Distractions, Distractions

Have not dabbled with SSD yet. I prefer space over the increase in speed.
This laptop only runs win10 32 and so the 4GB is enough, and the laptop cannot take anymore anyway.

Easus would have cloned to a new disk easy enough


I was under the impression that an SSD would be good for system a partition and not data partitions due to the write limits?

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Old 09-25-2019, 06:27 AM   #4
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Re: Distractions, Distractions, Distractions

Good luck Doc!
I have had good luck with SSD. Converted an old(2007 retirement gift) Dell 1501 (Vista) from 120Gb HD to 240 Gb SSD in 2014. Have recently put WIN10 and Linux Mint 19 on a 120Gb SSD on the Dell-more of a "wonder if this will work" rather than need - and removed the 240 Gb drive for use as backup.
I have a Lenovo Z710(I7 Win 10) that had a 1 TB HD that gave a few warnings about 2 years ago (while in Florida). I took it to a shop and had a 500 Gb SSD installed.
I have just retired my old working AMD(2002) desktop still running XP. (my wife suggested I move it before she did)
All that to say I'm very happy with the SSDs ---AData, Crucial and Kingston. I have some cables(USB-SATA3) and enclosures and use the SSDs for backups, file transfers, temp storage, etc.
Sorry to hear about your 3 high priority issues, but I'm sure your revitalized machine will
make things right again.
Good luck.
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Old 09-25-2019, 06:40 AM   #5
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Re: Distractions, Distractions, Distractions

I use a SSD with i7 cpu - boots from switch on in about 3 seconds, login takes another 1 or 2, most apps open instantly. It's a dramatic difference.

My SSD is only 250Gb so I only keep all apps and current stuff on it, photo's and archive material goes to a backup HD. Typically it has around 200Gb of files, so 25% surplus capacity.

Only thing I have to watch is clients may not have similar spec machines so something I've developed which whizzes along on my machine is significantly slower on theirs. My rule of thumb is any operation on my machine needs to be around five times faster than what would be considered acceptable performance.

Have thought about backing up to the cloud, but not sure I'm ready to put my trust in the cloud yet - plus there is a monthly cost v a one off purchase cost. In total I have around 1.5Tb in backup although to be fair an extremely large chunk of it is rubbish or so out of date even the Romans can't use it. I'm now in the same situation as going through boxes of photos and deciding which ones to keep and which to bin.
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Old 09-25-2019, 09:10 AM   #6
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Re: Distractions, Distractions, Distractions

Use the SSD for booting to the operating system only, install your apps on an internal (old) hard drive.

Windows 10 can make images, below is from windows 10.

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Old 09-25-2019, 11:17 AM   #7
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Re: Distractions, Distractions, Distractions

And now round 2...

The PC shop called. My HDD is too wonky for them to make an image. They can install an O/S but I will have to restore stuff. Fortunately, the night before I brought it in, I made backups of my Outlook folders and my project folders. Everything else is games for which I can re-install from the distribution disks. Pain in the toches, but the drive was dying.

But apparently life hasn't heard that stuff only comes in threes. Wife's car started emitting a burnt-rubber smell and some steam or smoke is coming from the back of the engine. So she is borrowing my clunker to do her errands and I'm stuck here still waiting for the plumber to call. Even if I wanted to drive somewhere, I can't. Tomorrow morning, I will have to let her take the car to the dealership and leave it. I'll pick her up and relinquish my wheels to her for a little while longer, with a really bad feeling about the wonderful week of game reloading that I will have to do. To say that I am overjoyed doesn't even come close to cutting it.

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Old 09-25-2019, 11:23 AM   #8
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Re: Distractions, Distractions, Distractions

Stay at home...beware of ladders, black cats....
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Old 09-25-2019, 11:31 AM   #9
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Re: Distractions, Distractions, Distractions

Just because I'm not paranoid doesn't mean someone isn't out to get me.
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Old 09-25-2019, 12:54 PM   #10
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Re: Distractions, Distractions, Distractions

Doc,

I took you to be a person who backed up regularly?
Even I backup to a second hard disk in the laptop each night and the same to a NAS drive.

OK, if the house burns down I have lost the lot, but I'll cross that bridge if I come to it.

I use AlwaySync but have used this FreeFileSync as well in the past and found it excellent using it with Task scheduler.


Quote:
Originally Posted by The_Doc_Man View Post
And now round 2...

The PC shop called. My HDD is too wonky for them to make an image. They can install an O/S but I will have to restore stuff. Fortunately, the night before I brought it in, I made backups of my Outlook folders and my project folders. Everything else is games for which I can re-install from the distribution disks. Pain in the toches, but the drive was dying.

But apparently life hasn't heard that stuff only comes in threes. Wife's car started emitting a burnt-rubber smell and some steam or smoke is coming from the back of the engine. So she is borrowing my clunker to do her errands and I'm stuck here still waiting for the plumber to call. Even if I wanted to drive somewhere, I can't. Tomorrow morning, I will have to let her take the car to the dealership and leave it. I'll pick her up and relinquish my wheels to her for a little while longer, with a really bad feeling about the wonderful week of game reloading that I will have to do. To say that I am overjoyed doesn't even come close to cutting it.
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Old 09-25-2019, 02:04 PM   #11
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Re: Distractions, Distractions, Distractions

Good luck. Recently, as perhaps one year ago by now, my hard disk started throwing bad sector errors. I used Clonezilla to make an image of my disk. (So you may not need to go to your local computer store.) I bought a new disk and reinstalled the image. Everything worked again.
Twenty years ago, give or take a few years. My wife turned on the vacuum in our house. I immediately herd the disks on my two computers start making loud clickety-clank complaining noises. Well one disk was toast, the other was salvaged.

Good luck. I hope that you find your new computer system a pleasure to work with.
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Old 09-25-2019, 07:15 PM   #12
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Re: Distractions, Distractions, Distractions

Hmm, this is one of the reason I have replace my machines every couple of years. The first time my hard drive crashed on me (it gave me warnings I ignored them) I lost a week of work. That was not pretty. After that I vowed to never let that happen again. And so far, knocking on wood, my replacement strategy has been working for me.

Can't help with the other stuff except to say *been there* and decided the universe was not happy with me that week.
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Old 09-25-2019, 08:36 PM   #13
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Re: Distractions, Distractions, Distractions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gasman
I took you to be a person who backed up regularly?
Actually, I DO backup regularly. However, since this was a known and anticipated service occasion, I did an out-of-sequence manual backup of the folders I considered critical. And maybe I should have done a full-drive backup but I was trying to pay down some other things first and had not invested in an external TB disk.

As they say, "you pays your money and you takes your chances."

Thanks for that article about SSD lifespan. To be honest, and this might sound fatalistic, but if I'm still playing games on that same beast 10 years from now, it would be hard for me to complain about service life.

At least the plumber came by and fixed the kitchen sink, so my lovely wife is happy again. We learned an expensive lesson, but the plumber was kind enough to tell us where we would most likely be able to go to get the part in question if it ever does this again. And it WAS something I could have fixed if I knew where to get the part. The only problem is that the manufacturer uses proprietary designs so not every hardware store carries the type of clip we needed. Oh, well ... it is said that the lessons you remember the most are the ones that cost the most. I'll remember this one.

Gina, I knew the universe wasn't happy with me when it even threw in the kitchen sink. What standard of extreme bad luck is worse than that?
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Old 09-25-2019, 08:57 PM   #14
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Re: Distractions, Distractions, Distractions

Quote:
Originally Posted by The_Doc_Man View Post
Gina, I knew the universe wasn't happy with me when it even threw in the kitchen sink. What standard of extreme bad luck is worse than that?
Not as bad as asking hubby to fix the leak under the sink and end up flooding the kitchen! Yes, that happened. And all we could is laugh to keep from crying.
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Old 09-26-2019, 06:37 PM   #15
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Re: Distractions, Distractions, Distractions

I came close to doing that "flood the kitchen" trick myself.

At least for now, the end is in sight. I have the newly upgraded computer beast up and running, with my Anti-Virus suite loaded and licensed, Firefox is good to go, and the Outlook stuff seems to be working right as well. The rest of Office is there and responsive. I've got a few things left to check but it all seems quite cooperative. One of the changes was to upgrade the memory from 8 Gb to 16 Gb, which they did by using bigger but also newer and faster memories. So the "performance index" on the machine is now about 5-8% faster for everything except the SSD, which is a LOT more than 8% faster than the HDD.

Looks like I lost one folder that will be heck to replace, but I might be able to do something with it yet. It was a gaming folder, not a taxes folder, so if all I lost was a couple of specialized game files, it could be worse. I still have the bad drive and I might be able to install it in slot #2 to try and pick its brains. but right now I'm just going to start loading the games I know will get used.

Now we are still in suspense 'cause of wifey's car, but I am betting that will turn out to be a hose leaking on the back of the engine. Should be fixable with minimal work. I'd do it except I have no parts and don't have the required lift equipment to get to the underside of the car safely. So let the dealership do it. It's {sigh} only money.

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