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Thread: Is it really dead?

  1. #1

    Default Is it really dead?

    My nice Windows 10 gaming PC won’t boot up. The hard drive clicks for a while, and then nothing. An acquaintance who works for a hardware vendor says that the hard drive is dead, and so is all the data on it.

    Does anyone here have any ideas? Words of wisdom? A good joke?

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Eltham, Australia.
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    generally yes, I hope you have backups.
    Cheers
    Derek

  3. #3
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    It's dead. Had a 2TB drive go belly up in the same manner.

    Robert

  4. #4
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    Nov 1999
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    When you reboot the PC, do you still get the black picture that says on DOS: "Missing operating system" ? If yes, then your HD is gone. Its the most common problem, and thats what backups are for. I have lost everything countless times back then, so I decided to get a backup drive and transfer everything there.

    Most hard drives can live up to 3-4 years, Prolonged life like 5 plus years gives you a warning to back it up since the next day like you stated, its gone. When I have a dead drive, sometimes you can be lucky, first, buy a new drive... Then try to switch the dead drive into a Slave drive, few times I got lucky, as I have recovered few files from secondary locations. The main file (the C) is usually harder to recover.

    All I can say is good luck!
    Dave Edwards


  5. #5

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    Won't help you now, but based on decades of dealling with PC's and servers experience. If you don't have your PC, monitor, main switch, etc. on a battery backup (not just a surge protector) you're leaving yourself open to sudden disk death syndrome (sp?). The event most likely to 'kill' a hard disk is an electric line event of some sort. Battery backups are not that expensive anymore and worth the money. Also good for protecting TV's, sound systems, and home security systems. Good backup scheme is an excellant plan,too, so do that once you've recovered.

  6. #6

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    Oh yes it really was dead. I'm now the proud owner of a nice new SSD. And to the extent that items were backed up, those will be okay. However, owing to the previous failure of an external hard drive which had years worth of stuff backed up on it, there's quite a bit of stuff that cannot be brought back. All of our important non-simulator stuff (photo albums, videos, etc.) was fully recovered, so we're happy.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2010
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    Pacific Time
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmferguson View Post
    Won't help you now, but based on decades of dealling with PC's and servers experience. If you don't have your PC, monitor, main switch, etc. on a battery backup (not just a surge protector) you're leaving yourself open to sudden disk death syndrome (sp?). The event most likely to 'kill' a hard disk is an electric line event of some sort. Battery backups are not that expensive anymore and worth the money. Also good for protecting TV's, sound systems, and home security systems. Good backup scheme is an excellant plan,too, so do that once you've recovered.
    Agree: if the computer is a desktop and is used for stuff more important than a casual hallway internet surfing station, make a UPS part of your system budget.

    Don't ignore the possibility of used. A well-built UPS from a reputable company (like APC) that somebody has abandoned because it stopped working probably just needs a new battery. Plug it in, turn it on, do a smoke test (smell anything?). Put a load on it (old desktop, stereo receiver, TV, etc.) and try the smoke test again (smell anything? did a circuit breaker blow?). If clear, and all that's wrong is that the change battery light is on, you can buy replacement batteries for $40-80 from Amazon (depending on capacity; the one I got was at the high end, for a APC 1500VA unit, also did a Cyberpower to back up my AT&T gateway, 900VA, for about $25). That's half or less what a new UPS of similar capacity would cost, even at Amazon. High end UPS from APC and the like typically last for decades with battery changes every 3-5 years.

    Note: laptops don't benefit much from a UPS - they have one of their own built in! Still, do a full safe shutdown before carrying it around a lot, especially if it's old enough to have a Real Hard Disk.

    UPS is usually sized to run the load for at least 10 minutes or so, giving you time after the lights go out to safely shut everything down. My rig in the days that it pulled 300 watts (Pentium-D and CRT monitor) could get 8-15 minutes from a 900VA UPS. Current rig (normally 100-150 watts, including monitor) is rated by the APC monitoring software for about 1/2 hour on the 1500VA UPS. The old 900VA is now running the network/internet gateway, which pulls <50 watts; that should last an hour or more, which is longer than I can expect AT&T itself to stay up (UVerse). Power in my area seldom is out for more than a blink to a few minutes; overvoltage spikes are a bigger problem; UPS can protected against both under- and over-voltage.

    N.B.: UPS are rated in Volt-Amps. Nominally, under ideal conditions, that's watts. But actual wattage capacity is always lower - perhaps as little as half the VA rating. It depends on many things including the power factor of the load and the quality of internal UPS components. Also, the UPS might not be able to serve the load from all outlets at once. As always Read the Fine* Manual.

    Edit: a warning though about using computer UPS with audio, TV, etc. - most UPS intended for computer use put out modified (i.e. really bad waveforms) square waves instead of sine waves when running on the battery. The switching power supplies used in computers can handle that. Sound and video equipment really don't like that, and motors can be fried by it (if they don't overload the UPS itself and shut it down). If you're going to use a UPS with AV gear (other than briefly as a test load see above), get one that's designed for that purpose, that generates a fair approximation of a sine wave. Be warned: they're expensive.

    *Substitute your favorite rendering of the acronym; may be NSFW.
    Last edited by mikeebb; 01-23-2019 at 12:56 AM. Reason: non-computer UPS use

  8. #8

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    Total agreement with mikeebb, with additional thoughts.
    The house we recently bought came with a whole house wired NG backup generator (not a gasoline plug-in that lives in garage). What I needed to have was a UPS that acted as a bridge for the 30 seconds or so before the generator kicked in. The square waves vs sine waves was not so much of an issue with the UPS I've got on TV and sound system as the exposure would be very limited. What usually kills any electronic device is the sudden spike or drop in power (lightening strike, very ragged power failure). A surge strip is okay for light bulbs, clocks, etc., but not enough for anything with percision spinning things (disks) or sophisticated electonics (mother, sound, video boards, and such). As mikeebb noted UPS makers like APC do offer backups that approximate sine wave out if you have to keep AV/TV equipment up for more that a few minutes.

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