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hard drive failure imminent

nutpantz

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en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S.M.A.R.T.

if you have the option to enable "smart" in your bios.turn it on.it might save your data. It works on my 2003 IBM thinkcenter I use as a home server, saved my butt.

I've never had a virus so I can't comment of virus spoofing error messages.
 


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Scotty J.

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Jim, see if you can pickup an XP Pro CD, do what's called a Parallel install. This will allow you to dual boot on either XP or Vista. Your profile stuff of course won't be available in the XP build, but you should be able to boot in enhanced mode and get to your files. You may be able to do a restore point in Vista (the only saving grace I found for that operating system).

If not, try a Windows Se7en update, it may fix your problem, cost about $80.00 and you don't have to format your drive. However, the great part of Se7en is, if it works and you get everything off, you can then do a reinstall and tell it to format the drive for a clean build.
 

Scotty J.

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Or, you could download SuperAntiSpyWare from another machine, burn it to a CD to preserve to help eliminate cross contamination and install it on your Vista machine.
 
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nutpantz

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If you think your laptop is virus infested I would not do a windows 7 update, it's cheaper to buy another laptop.lol. Seriously with out your vista instal w7 will not instal clean to a new drive.(it will only update)
You can boot from a Ubuntu/Linux live disk (not instal)and copy anything you want to a pen drive. And test everything while you are at it. You can also clone your drive and a bunch of other things. But it's a steep learning curve. Good side you are unlikely to ever see a virus or trojan.ever.
"hirens boot disk" also is freely download able. And has a ton of tools on it. From virus scanners to drive tests.to clone software. Even a semi usable bootable winXP.
 

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Actually, a dual boot is a good idea...but you may need to get a copy of something like Partition Magic or similar program that can create another drive on the disk and then install a second Operating System...

Which reminds me...lol...I meant to try that on my computer but have been busy with other things...hmmmmmm....where did I put that CD with all my tools on it...
 

nutpantz

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Actually, a dual boot is a good idea...but you may need to get a copy of something like Partition Magic or similar program that can create another drive on the disk and then install a second Operating System...

Which reminds me...lol...I meant to try that on my computer but have been busy with other things...hmmmmmm....where did I put that CD with all my tools on it...
You can boot more than one OS with out partitioning. Different windows directory 's on the same position. I prefer separate partitions but it's not required.
I have 3 OS's booting from separate partitions on my desktop.
 

cvar

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If the HDD really is failing, then installing Win7 or Linux or dual-boot onto it is a VERY BAD idea. That stuff may be OK for a healthy machine, AFTER you save your data, and after you cleanse away viruses. Otherwise, reading & writing massive amounts of more new stuff onto the HDD will only stress it out, likely to beyond the point of being able to save anything.

Your #1 priority is save existing data (eg, clone ASAP). The #2 priority is HDD fitness testing to discover whether the HDD is worth using (or is trash). If it tests OK, then #3 priority is virus cleanse. If not, the #3 priority is replace HDD. All that other O/S crap is pointless w.r.t. saving your laptop, and therefore it has much lower priority.

Win7 is just repackaged Vista with different eye-candy. It's not gonna fix your problems. If a virus has corrupted Windows (as is most likely), then a Windows UPDATE is a bad idea, cuz no guarantees that the update will replace all of the corrupted file(s). So then it's far better to format the HDD and reinstall Windows (any flavor will do) from scratch, either from CD or from factory restore.
 

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All this is Making my head spin.

Before I got the imminent fail message, I had gotten a message that it had to do some check disk. Idk. The imminent message came after spending hours waiting for it to export my email. I went to check progress and the screen was black. Moved the mouse to get the screen back on and checked back because it's slow. That's when I had the full black screen and imminent failure message.

I tried backing up files to a flashdrive today. Took a few hours to do what normally takes a few minutes.

Tried to print off some emails. It won't print anything. No printer. Can't reinstall it. I get an error something isn't running. Went to upload some backups to a server, but my ftp program reverted to an old version that doesn't have the proper server settings setup.

But as far as the imminent error message, it's not a popup.
 

Mark_88

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Being a pop up would mean virus...but if it was one of those pixelated DOS type windows showing some attention is required it could be an actual system error...I've never seen one but that doesn't mean they don't exist...

However, trying to do something in a corrupted OS can be nearly impossible...that's a good time to try something like partition a drive and install a second OS...if the computer seems to function properly under those conditions then it is probably fine...it's when a simple task like formatting a partition becomes sluggish that would indicate a true HDD malfunction...

How you go about that is really a matter of what resources you have available now...if you have partition tools or can get them it would tell you pretty much if the system will function without hardware swaps...if you don't have the resources and there is nobody near that can provide them I'd have to recommend taking the laptop to someone who can...

There must be someone from TRS close by that that has a partition program...I have one somewhere and would gladly ship it off to you when I find it...but that could take a week or so...
 

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Why in heck do you need to re-partition? Why install another O/S? That makes no sense. Only computer geeks would benefit from that added complexity and extra complication. A regular user would not, and would be just totally confused by it. Keep it simple.

FYI, Windows has a built-in partition program. But re-partitioning a failing HDD will not help, at all. Like asking a laborer: "Having trouble carrying that heavy load, well here's another 100 pounds for you to carry at the same time; hope that helps". Yeah right.
 

nutpantz

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First off don't instal another operating system.
Second what is the mail program you are using? Windows mail? Or outlook? Or something else.

You can boot off a Ubuntu live CD.you do not need to instal Ubuntu just run it from the CD/DVD/USB stick. It will only use your hard drive a tiny bit when running. You can make the CD/DVD/USB stick on another computer.
Then when you have a full working operating system you can use (not the corrupted crippled windows vista) you can find and back up the files you need to.

Google the mail program you are using and hopefully there is a way to back up your info like a previous user mentioned.(copying outlooks .pst file)

When you have done all you can to back up your info then you can go back to using your corrupt vista and try to fix it or check if the hd is really ready for Kevorkian to visit.
Trying to use a corrupted windows instal from safe mode if like trying to 4x4 with half the spark plugs and only every other gear.
It can be done but who wants to?

Our if you don't want to mess with a boot disk, just pull your hard drive out if the laptop, go to a computer store buy a USB case (should be less than 30$ for just a case)for it.plug it into a desktop and copy all the files to back then up.

Then research your mail program and hope you can get your mail off the back up. It might take some super nerd powers..but it should be doable.
At least your data will be backed up.
And do all your fiddling with a back up of your back up just incase you destroy the file you are working with.
If your screen is all black like it is when you first start the computer (before windows loads) when you get the error about the drive.it should be the bios telling you the drive is pooched, not windows. So it should not be a virus.
Running a bunch of disk checking stuff on your drive will just shorten it's life. Back it up while you can.then try to fix it.
 
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Mark_88

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Why in heck do you need to re-partition? Why install another O/S? That makes no sense. Only computer geeks would benefit from that added complexity and extra complication. A regular user would not, and would be just totally confused by it. Keep it simple.

FYI, Windows has a built-in partition program. But re-partitioning a failing HDD will not help, at all. Like asking a laborer: "Having trouble carrying that heavy load, well here's another 100 pounds for you to carry at the same time; hope that helps". Yeah right.
The point is quite simple...to test to see if the hdd is failing...that is all...

Jim has stated, several times, that he cannot do simple functions and is not sure at this point, whether it is a virus or an actual HDD failure. Testing the drive is what I was getting at...he does NOT have to, nor would he actually need to, install another OS. Although I would recommend a dual boot system that would allow him to access information from another system in anything short of a complete HDD failure.

It is a simple test. I haven't seen any suggestions that would actually test that. If that fails then Jim would have a couple of options...

Trying to recover data from a failing HDD or a system that is hindered by viruses will NOT work...I've tried it and got nowhere with intact data...and is more frustrating than attacking a problem from a different angle.:icon_thumby:

Edit: And even if his OS has a built in partition (which I was not aware of and it doesn't matter) will he be able to access it? Will it function if the OS is corrupt? Who knows...
 
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cvar

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I agree with nutpantz.

And, FWIW, I did already suggest the following:

To test the health of your physical hard drive, download freebie Hitachi "Drive Fitness Test" (DFT), burn it to CD, then boot to that CD, and let it thoroughly test your hard drive for errors. It does testing offline (self-boot) and not while that HDD is in use by Windows).

https://www1.hgst.com/hdd/technolo/dft/dftnew.htm
BTW, download "DFT" (the CD image) & burn it to CD using a DIFFERENT (healthy) computer, then stick that CD into your failing laptop, and boot with it. Notice this kind of boot to CD will keep your laptop's HDD offline (not in use). DFT is a dinky little single-purpose (stand-alone) program for HDD hardware testing, not an O/S. It doesn't even care whether your HDD is formatted. It doesn't care if any actual files might exist on your HDD, but any of those will remain intact. It only tests the health of the HDD, to see if it's failing. That's all it does, nothing else. Hitachi wrote DFT to decide whether or not a HDD was a real candidate for servicing/returns. Very handy!
 
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Mark_88

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I agree with nutpantz.

And, FWIW, I did already suggest the following:
Yeah, I saw that...but we don't know if Jim tried that or if he is still working on trying to get it to save his files...just one of the problems with trying to help someone without being there or constant contact...

And I'd agree with nutpantz if it weren't for the fact that many people don't want to get near Ubuntu or any other OS...not that they are not good but it is another learning curve...and I was thinking along the lines of "What does he have at his disposal to try to test this..."

I'm pretty sure Vanessa has a computer he could use to download the tools you suggested...but, again, who knows?

And thanks for that link to the HDD test...I used to have many tools but have been trying to rebuild the repertoire...

EDIT: I just read the site and there are limitations that may or may not apply...

Notes
  • Ultrastar 10K300, Ultrastar 15K73 and DK32XX users, do not use DFT — Use the OGT Diagnostic Tool.
  • Does not support Microdrive Digital Media products.
  • Supports all Travelstar HDDs, except 8E, 10E and C4K series.
  • Does not support Endurastar products.
  • Does not support external USB or Firewire attached drives.
  • Compatible only with x86-based processors.
  • Does not support the PC which loads Intel ICH9M chipset. HitachiGST are working to fix this situation.
 
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