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Rest in Peace, but Not Yet…please

Yesterday my laptop started making the sound of a somewhat rattly jet engine just before take-off. I’ve heard this sound before when my dad’s computer died, and after it started that computer only had a few hours left to live before it started melting crucial components. So I immediately turned everything off so that I could save those few unmelty hours for file transfer later. But at this point I’ve heard all but the death rattle. That computer is dead. It just doesn’t know it yet.

So this morning I ordered a new computer. Looks like I’ll be getting a Vista upgrade way sooner than I’d planned… No time for letting Microsoft work out the kinks. No time for hearing about track records. No time to learn from people who’ve gone that route. On the plus side, I just had to upgrade to 2 gigs of RAM in order to kick into a really good discount and save myself about a hundred bucks. Suweet! And what I’ll do with the 120 gigs of hard disk space, I don’t know (though I’m guessing that about 100 of that will be taken up just with Vista…). Maybe now I’ll even be able to get onto Second Life and see what all the fuss is about.

Now I just hope that I can keep old blue going long enough to cough up all my files before I consign it to the recycling kit that’s coming with my new laptop.

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4 thoughts on “Rest in Peace, but Not Yet…please

  1. *removes hat*

    It may be premature to talk about organ donation, but if the death rattle isn’t coming from the hard drive, you might want to see if it is worth removing the drive and having it put in a case with a USB connection. That’s what we did when we killed the old PowerMac, and it saves a lot of file transfer headaches.

    Of course if the drive is shot, this is terrible advice.

  2. As far as I could tell (from still being able to move around as I was closing things and shutting them down) the drive it still at least minimally functional. I hadn’t thought of USBing the drive, but that sounds like a really good idea. How does one go about doing such a thing?

  3. Ouch… sorry to hear about your system. If it’s just the drive that’s going, I’d be willing to take it off your hands… I could always use another system to play with… :P

    I have a difficult time parting with old computers (and components). I have an eleven-year-old system, heavily upgraded, that has been a doorstop for the past three years. The power supply died, and it wasn’t worth replacing. And then there’s my old laptop (purchased used about 3.5 years ago) that has a broken PC card slot (which I’ve tried replacing twice with zero permanent success) and a “custom” power connector. (Any time you have to take a soldering iron to such a delicate thing as a laptop motherboard, it has to be scary at best. Surgery didn’t kill the patient, and it still runs.) I replaced that laptop with another before it could start to break down more. I could always give my mom some of my spare parts… her computer collection is almost as big as mine.

    You asked about USB external enclosures… here might be a good place to start. I’m not an expert on this, but that’s the kind of device you are likely looking for. Like with a thumb drive, your computer will recognize the external device as a storage medium when you plug it in. Just hope that your hard drive isn’t already dead…

    [begin geekery]

    One tip… I would recommend that you not let the hard drive on your old system out of your sight unless you can ensure that it has been (or will be) either been completely physically destroyed or properly re-formatted (all contents “erased,” and then replaced with “garbage” data). If you do neither, then the data is technically still there. Whenever you delete a file from a hard drive, or even re-format the drive, what you are really doing is deleting the file’s entry in the partition’s table of contents. The blocks that make up the file (four kilobytes each on an NTFS partition, IIRC) remain intact until they are overwritten. The blocks that make up a given file are not necessarily in consecutive order on the disk (something that regular de-fragmenting can help to fix), so it may take a very long time for all of the blocks representing a former file to be overwritten.

    [end geekery]

  4. I don’t *think* the problem with my (4-year-old)laptop is the drive. Yet. I’m pretty sure the problem with the cooling system, but that’s just a slightly-educated guess. But if you want it, we should talk. I have to see if any of the geekier side of my family wants it, but if they don’t I could bring it with me to CIL.

    And thanks for the tip about the hard drive. It’s one of those things that I’d heard before but forgotten about.

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