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Personal Tech Updates

I've had two technical issues of late, and in both cases I turned to the readership of Wizbang for help. I thought folks might like a little news on how that worked out.

1) Browser woes.

I've switched almost exclusively to Firefox, and have had no problems. Once I got all the extensions and plug-ins I needed, it's been fine. (I particularly like having my Google toolbar and the IE Tab ones, and Adblock and NoScript have quickly become essential.) I am not the hard-core raving fan that many disciples of Firefox are, but it does what I want and -- more importantly -- DOESN'T do what I don't want it to do.

2) Hard drive issues.

EasyRecovery pulled a LOT of files off the defective drive, but I'm afraid it didn't do much good. It gave every file it pulled off a generic name and what appears to be a random extension, meaning I can't tell if they're any good or not. I'm going to pull the drive out of the Frankenputer (so named because I started out with one machine and, piece by piece, gradually replaced every single component) and fight with it in a spare PC -- probably one of those intended for my friend's home schooling project. I also plan on getting another hard drive of at least equal capacity and Ghosting the buggered one on to it -- just in case.

Again, my thanks to all who offered suggestions, advice, and commiserations. I have neither the financial resources nor level of commitment to actually seek professional help with this problem (or several personal issues that could probably use it, for that matter), but with luck I'll get back a good chunk of those files. The drive in quesiton was my "media" drive, so nothing essential was on it -- just a lot of pictures, video, and audio.

But that reminds me... I probably should do some kind of backup on the IMPORTANT stuff, especially since I got that 100 spindle of DVDs so cheap last week...

Comments (8)

SpinRite 6.0 is about $90 a... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

SpinRite 6.0 is about $90 and would give you a good chance of getting your files back. It's a quick download. Run on a Windows machine to create it's own boot disk. Use that boot disk to start the machine your broken drive is on and then let SpinRite go to work. It may run for a day, but whatever data is there it will recover. Often you can put the fixed drive back in service like nothing happened.


SpinRite = Less work with better results.

Mac:I vote that we... (Below threshold)


I vote that we take up a collection and buy a copy of SpinRite for Jay. I still think that's the best option, even if he puts the drive into a spare computer to fix it (that's what I did with my last one).

Scott: Spiffy idea...could ... (Below threshold)
Old Coot:

Scott: Spiffy idea...could someone setup and post an address for PayPal targeted to this idea?

J,I'm glad to see ... (Below threshold)


I'm glad to see you're enjoying Firefox. I remember I was weary about the change at first. However, after an hour of solid use, I was hooked.

"I probably should do some ... (Below threshold)

"I probably should do some kind of backup on the IMPORTANT stuff"

Gee, ya think?

Um... modesty forbids my op... (Below threshold)

Um... modesty forbids my openly taking advantage of Scott and Old Coot's wonderful idea, but I strongly suspect that if such actions were taken towards the "Donate" button on the left, with a clarifying note to Kevin attached, it would not be refused...


You may want to check out S... (Below threshold)

You may want to check out SyncBack (from http://www.2brightsparks.com/freeware/freeware-hub.html)

It's a free download, and runs scripted backups. I use it to back up important files every night, less important files each week, etc.

You can do backups by FTP, over your local network, or copy everything into a giant zip. You can run programs before and after a backup, and send yourself email logs when it's done- and a ton of other stuff.

It's like flossing; you know you have to do it, and you know you never do it- a tool like this means you only have to set it up once and you won't lose too much stuff when the inevitable happens.

One last, last chance sugge... (Below threshold)

One last, last chance suggestion. Once you've pulled all the files possible off the drive with software, power down.

Pull the drive, with the cable attached; IOW pull the cable from the motherboard end. Once out, you can power back up.

Put the drive in a plastic zip-lock bag and seal it with the cable out. Use paper spring-clips to seal around the cable as best as you can.

Put the drive in your freezer overnight; 24 hours maximum.

Power down the computer. Cut a 1/2 inch slice in the bag over the power-plug. Reconnect the cable and reconnect the power plug; make sure both are aligned right.

Power up. If the malfunction is heat-related the drive will be recognized until it warms up. If it is, grab them files!

Plusses? 20% chance you can get a lot of intact files. Minuses? Lost 20 minutes messing with a dead drive.






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