What the hell just happened?

Discussion in 'hardware' started by m00nbl00d, Jun 25, 2011.

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  1. m00nbl00d

    m00nbl00d Registered Member

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    I don't know if this the most appropriate place to expose this problem I'm having, since I got no bloody idea about what happened. If it's software related or hardware related.

    Background info:

    Moments ago, I was searching some forum (from a former Wilderssecurity forum user ssj100) and all of a sudden my system stopped responding. Just a black screen and nothing else.

    I was running Chromium inside Sandboxie.

    I'm not saying visiting that user's forum is what made it happen, I'm just reviewing all of my steps.

    I forced a reboot... But, it won't boot, at all. I went to the BIOS and there's no information about the HDD.

    I cannot use DVD player as it stopped functioning sometime ago.

    I'm going to try to use a Linux CD and store it in a USB disk and recover what's in the HDD... if I get to save anything. :mad:

    Do you guys have any ideas to try to make the HDD be recognized again? WTF happened?

    It's an Acer Aspire 5220 laptop. Did the HDD simply break? Just like that? I've never had such an experience before!

    Just now that I was going to buy a new external HDD to save what I had in that HDD. Fudge!! :eek:

    I'm using another system now.

    By the way, which Linux flavor would you suggest? I'm not that much into Linux, unfortunately. :(

    I appreciate any feedback you can give!


    Thanks
     
  2. Cudni

    Cudni Global Moderator

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    As simple as that. If it can't be recognised in Bios, only a specialised shop can access it
     
  3. Sully

    Sully Registered Member

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    Truly, they can die that quick. Usually you can hear excess platter/head chatter if you listen for it, but "poof!" can happen.

    If it is not recognized, it might be cabling. I have seen this before - loose cables. Also, it could be the cable itself gone bad. I have seen that before too. I seen it most frequently in ATA cables that were "split" and then wrapped into roundish sleeves. Always worth a look anyway.

    One trick that actually does work is to put the hdd in a couple ziplock bags and put it in the freezer overnight, then try it. I have tried it twice, and once it worked, once it did not. Get the data off as fast as possible. Not something I enjoyed doing, but I thought what the heck, lets see if it is a myth. It was not a myth, strange as that is ;)

    The best thing to do is put the hdd in another machine. That is what I would do to see if it died.

    Sul.
     
  4. m00nbl00d

    m00nbl00d Registered Member

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    Yes, it seems to be the viable option. But, I'd have either to take it a computer shop or accessing the HDD with a docking station/etc. Otherwise, I wouldn't have a way to do it, because this system I'm now is also a laptop. Old laptop, I should add. lol

    Well...

    But, I could still try to use Linux in a USB disk and recover the data, if possible. I'd need to get my external HDD disk, though. That means I can't wait any longer and buy the Western Digital My Book Essential 1 TB 3,5", and can't afford to look for better alternatives.
     
  5. Scoobs72

    Scoobs72 Registered Member

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    Unfortunately they can just break like that. It's rare, but does happen. First try re-seating it in the existing laptop. If that doesn't work, try it in another laptop as Sully suggests.
     
  6. m00nbl00d

    m00nbl00d Registered Member

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    Yes... but that will have to be done a computer shop. I can't personally do it, as I don't have the means. If I take the hdd from this old laptop, with my luck it may never work again either. LOL

    A relative knows someone who owns a computer shop and will take it there. My only concern is to recover my documents, which I still hadn't backed up, due to lack of external HDD. I do hope I can recover them, because although not important stuff, are documents that took me quite some time to come across them, like security related stuff and all that. :(
     
  7. Scoobs72

    Scoobs72 Registered Member

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    It's all recoverable for a $$$ price...but hopefully you won't have to go to those lengths.
     
  8. m00nbl00d

    m00nbl00d Registered Member

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    Hopefully, by Monday, I'll have the external HDD to recover my docs. If they're recoverable using Linux, it would be great. But, I won't waste any money to recover such docs. Sure, they're valuable, because it took me quite some time to gather all the documentation, but I won't cry over it and spend money to recover them.

    I'm looking at some Linux info, like Trinity Rescue Kit. It seems to have the needed tools for the task.

    I've seen some mentions to Ubuntu as well. I guess other variants would also allow me to do it. But, I think for a fast task Trinity Rescue Kit would be the viable solution, perhaps.

    :argh:
     
  9. Spooony

    Spooony Registered Member

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  10. Osaban

    Osaban Registered Member

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    Amazing how things happen when you least expected them or rather your sixth sense was warning you by prompting to buy an external HD. As it is a laptop, I would take it to a computer shop, they have a lot of equipment to test the machine.
     
  11. m00nbl00d

    m00nbl00d Registered Member

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    True! Some times, life can just become way too o_O !

    And, yes I'll take the laptop to a computer shop. Hopefully, if I buy the external HD there, that's all I would have to pay for them to fix it.

    The owner of a computer shop is a friend of a relative of mine, so hopefully the guy will be nice and only get the money for external HD and nothing else. Otherwise, I'll buy the HD elsewhere, get Hiren Boot CD (Thanks for the tip Spooony :thumb: I would never have thought about it, I mus admit!).

    I'm guessing this will also be a great time to finish downloading Linux Mint and boot it from an USB MP4, and start using Linux. :D The MP4 sound is broken and the device out of warranty, so I've formatted it for things like this. :D I also cannot use the CD drive in the laptop in question, because it too broke some time ago. How lucky am I? :argh: I just hope USB ports won't break a well!!!
     
  12. Sully

    Sully Registered Member

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    First you must get the drive to be seen by the BIOS. If that doesn't happen, then odds are you are done. I haven't seen anything work if the BIOS does not detect it.

    The advice to use SpinRite is good advice. I have revived a few drives that were corrupting data by using it. There is another app, I think it is called MHDD, that will also do this. I used it a few times, but pretty archaic for me.

    If it were me, I would be checking cables first. Then I would put it in another box and see if it is picked up in BIOS. If neither of these work, then I would put it in the freezer and try that. If that still doesn't work, you might be out of luck.

    Can you hear the platter spin up? or is it just silent..If it spins, there might be hope. It it does not, you should start writing new documents.

    It is a tough situation, having data you would like to keep on a hdd. Buying an external is better than nothing if you want to keep data there, but it could just as easily lead you to the same end scenario. I would personally either store data on a data redundant raid array, or on a flash drive if I were not going to put it on optical media. I simply do not trust a single hdd at all with anything I really want to keep.

    Sul.
     
  13. DVD+R

    DVD+R Registered Member

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    Cant see where you say you did, So seing your system CD/DVD is knackered, If you have access to a USB CD/DVD drive insert windows CD and boot from it, then choose repair my computer.
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2011
  14. m00nbl00d

    m00nbl00d Registered Member

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    I thought about that as well, and yesterday night I did create a bootable Windows 7 USB flash drive, but while creating it I touched the MP4 USB cable unintentionally, and I just thought I could proceed with the process from where it got interrupted. Obviously, I was wrong... lol

    I'll have to rebuild it today. And, will try that approach. :thumb:
     
  15. DVD+R

    DVD+R Registered Member

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  16. m00nbl00d

    m00nbl00d Registered Member

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    I usually don't save any documents in external HDDs. I use flash drives for that. But, the 8GB one I bought recently is full... :argh:

    But, if we take a look at it, it all ends up breaking. I mean, I used to have a lot of information in another flash drive and all it took was to plug it in a computer with a malfunctioning USB port (I didn't know, obviously. :D). I was able to recover some of my files, but not all of them, back then.

    It all comes down to malfunctioning gear and bad luck. :argh: Some times we're hit by both factors. :eek:

    These are times that make me wonder if I should start looking at saving non-private, non-confidential and non-compromising :rolleyes: files in some "cloud" service... just in case.
     
  17. m00nbl00d

    m00nbl00d Registered Member

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    OK... I'm this close to retire myself from the computer world. Seriously.

    Now, my MP4 isn't working either. It was working. I had just finished creating a bootable Windows 7 in it. I plugged it to the laptop in question. Not recognized.

    I plugged to the laptop I'm using now... not recognized either.

    So, from one moment to the other it stopped working... WTF? Seriously? What else is going to happen? The laptop I'm using now will stop working? o_O

    Are these simply warning that something bigger and bad is going to happen? o_O :blink: :ouch:
     
  18. m00nbl00d

    m00nbl00d Registered Member

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    Well, at least some great news... I think. :D

    I've finally found an online store selling the Thermaltake BlacX Duet 5G (http://www.thermaltakeusa.com/Product.aspx?S=1268&ID=2047) at a very reasonable price. I have to order online, but I get to pay for it only at the moment of delivery. That's a plus, I guess. No credit card info required and all that. Just the name and address.

    It's actually a handy gear, isn't it? You want to test a hard drive, well just plug it and see what happens. Perfect for the situation that just happened.

    By the way, the online store where I found it goes by the name of Pixmania and apparently it's present in 26 European countries.

    Has anyone ever bought something from this online store?
     
  19. Sully

    Sully Registered Member

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    USB is flaky. Plug something into a port one day, the next it is not recognized in same port. Plug it into another port, one day that port stops recognizing it too. Soon all ports don't recognize it. Has been doing this since I remember using USB products, maybe 95/98.

    Go into device manager, show hidden/unconnected devices. Remove the devices. Then devices will be recognized again, assuming they work.

    Sul.
     
  20. m00nbl00d

    m00nbl00d Registered Member

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    It turns out the online store I talked about - Pixmania - also has a physical shop in the city where I live. I'm going to send them an e-mail and ask if they got it there. If they do, it's great and I can get it sooner than later.

    @ Sully

    I thought about that and I haven't done it, yet. But, that won't work with the system where the hard drive "died". :D Or, am I missing something? :doubt:
     
  21. SweX

    SweX Registered Member

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    I haven't purchased anything from them. But I have read "reviews" about Pixmania, and usually they seem to do fine. Though some say that they have received wrong products, and sometimes the shipping can take a long time. :doubt:

    But if you visit the local store in your area then i'm pretty sure about that you will walk out with the right product anyway :)
     
  22. Osaban

    Osaban Registered Member

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    Well you've said it "a single HDD" is better than nothing, having several with the same data in them, virtually makes it impossible to have a total disaster.
    In 10 years I only had 1 HDD dying all of a sudden (it was 3 years old); I've noticed that notebooks are particularly prone to this sort of accident due to inevitable vibrations when carried around in full operation.

    Flash drives are practical, but with large memory are still very expensive. I think the best support for important data are good quality CDs and DVDs.
     
  23. m00nbl00d

    m00nbl00d Registered Member

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    I tend to follow that approach. Use smaller flash drives and also backup in CDs/DVDs.

    I also looked at some flash drives... and some with 16GB are really expensive. We mostly pay for the brand itself... :(
     
  24. m00nbl00d

    m00nbl00d Registered Member

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    By the way, I'd like to ask something.

    Docking station aside, between a Western Digital My Book Essential 3.5" 1TB USB 3.0 and a Seagate Freeagent GoFlex 3,5" 1TB, which one would you go for?

    I'm asking in case my relative's friend (owner of a computer shop) sells either one of them, and only takes that money to also recover my data... A special discount... :D Hopefully... :D

    These two brands seem to be the most common ones around here. I found a computer shop selling the Seagate HDD nearly half the price of the Western Digital. I could always argue about the price with the computer shop owner. Who knowns if he's a nice person. :argh:

    I guess I could end up buying the HDD and the docking station. I searched for reviews on both HDDs and I couldn't find a pessimist one for any of them. Overall, both are great, so it seems.
     
  25. Sully

    Sully Registered Member

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    I have had or had to fix many drives that have died, some less than a year old, most about 3-4 years, still good with the 5 year warranty. But I also have some that are really ancient, like 600mb that are still churning along, circa 1995 or so. Brand doesn't seem to matter although my experience has been that Samsung has died the fewest times in my experience. I use WD drives these days FWIW.

    Notebook hardware dies becuase of excessive heat IMO moreso than vibration, although I have no doubt vibration/shock plays a role as well. I have a few laptops, but have only bought 1 new because I think for what I do they are a waste of my money, and I like the modular aspect of a desktop. If I traveled a lot I would probably use them, but I don't, so...

    Over the years I have burned modestly over 1000 optical discs with data of some kind. I have thrown many of them away, but kept many as well. I burn things I want to keep forever (relatively forever). If it is important, it goes there. I store most of my stuff on a mirrored raid NAS box, but pictures and other "can't replace" stuff I put on a WD Passport USB hdd and take offsite, and I create dual/single layer dvds, depending.

    I don't think there is a "wrong" way to store your data. There is only one way, and that is the "safe" way, whatever that might be for each person. I prefer though to not rely on a hdd for this. Some do, and many never have issues. But as m00nbl00d is finding out, sometimes you can't fight destiny ;)

    Sul.
     
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