Thursday, July 22, 2010

Your PC Crashed: Now What?

"How to Rescue a Crashed PC"
PCWorld (June 18, 2010)

"There's crashed... and then there's crashed. Here's the gamut of solutions for recovering your data and, perhaps, your whole system before it's too late.

"Not all crashed PCs are the same. Typically, there's no one pat reason or cause. In other words, it can be many things. Sometimes it's a string of error messages. Of course, there are the dreaded blue screens of death (BSoD). And then, there's the eternally maddening "nothing happens" crash when you try to turn the computer on.

"We understand your frustration. That's why we've put together a rundown of the solutions for these issues, from basic fixes to tackling the dire straits of a totally dead hard drive. No matter what your PC's crashed condition, be it a soft or hard crash, we hope to get you back to a working state, or, at the very least, recover some important data...."

I was impressed that this how-2 started with the obvious - but necessary - "is the unit plugged in?" Actually, their section starts with "Check Your Connections." Same principle, though.

They go on through "Safe Mode," "Last Known Good Configuration," "System Restore," "Recovery Console/System Recovery Options," and more.

The article seems to assume that you've got Windows Vista or Windows 7. I'm using Windows XP, and will stick with it while I can. Nothing against the newer versions: but I prefer to use my time productively: not tweaking a new operating system.

There's more, about "Boot Disks," "Antivirus Rescue CDs," and moving the hard drive to another computer - on the assumption that the drive may be okay.

The last sections are "Data Recovery Software," "Freeze the Drive" and "Recovery Service."

"Freeze the Drive" starts almost poetically: "Sometimes you just know your hard drive is hosed. You can usually tell by the noise it makes. Instead of spinning up smoothly, it either does nothing (check the power cable), or it makes more clicks than angry squirrels snapping twigs...." Then the article says that some folks put defunct drives in the freezer. Who knows? It might work.

The last section, "Recovery Service" involves paying technicians to digitally dissect your drive. You may get your data back - all the files - but without the file structure. The article ends with: "...Imagine 30,000 picture files without their names or folder structure. Yes, this translates into extra work for you, but you kinda deserve it for not backing up that data in the first place. (Sorry, someone had to say it.)"

Particularly if you've got a more contemporary Windows operating system, this looks like a good resource.

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