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Worry Update!

Canned air works wonders; it now works near-perfectly.

Given the minor errors I'd been having with it over the past several months, I thought it prudent to back up the most important directories. Since I can barely afford to replace the hard drive, I'll keep using it for the time being--but if it fails now, there won't be lost data that I would anguish over since it's backed up.

I'll try to keep it backed up, too. And the case sprayed out. And shut it down now and then to let memory leaks plug and caches clear.
Viewed: 27 times
Added: 7 years, 8 months ago
7 years, 8 months ago
7 years, 8 months ago
7 years, 8 months ago
This, oddly, does not surprise me much. It seems like most of my worst computer problems have been solved by jaw-droppingly simple means. I had a problem once with the computer randomly turning off and then not being turn-onnable for hours afterward, and this persisted for months. Misbah eventually fixed this by removing the zip drive. Problem gone completely. <shrug>
7 years, 8 months ago
One of the biggest problems with technology these days is that there are so many interacting systems, from so many different manufacturers with different standards and different programmers never knowing of one another... even for someone who's well-versed in how things interact, unless you have EXTENSIVE real-world experience with fixing computers, and probably a few dozen friends who also have such experience to swap stories with, much of what you can do to fix computers might as well be voodoo. In RETROSPECT, dust clogging up the case could easily have been responsible for all of the problems I was experiencing--but my panic last night was mostly because it could also have been a virus, or a failing hard drive. Or just Fallout: New Vegas's crash. Problem being, there's so many different ways things can work or not work. I'm not sure where I was really going with this. Religious people yammer on about how people treat science like a religion... I think they should be more worried about how we treat our own technology like a religion. If civilization collapses like in Fallout, where some of the tech still works, "programmer" will be synonymous with "priest".
7 years, 8 months ago
Interesting line of thought there!

>much of what you can do to fix computers might as well be voodoo.

Totally agreed. It's precicely because of the mind-boggling complexity of computers that I've found it's often useful to forego rationality completely when dealing with them. Misbah gets upset at this, insisting there's always an understandable solution to any problem, but he's only half-right. In your case, 'dust in hard drive' is understandable. In plenty of mine, the only person who could understand it is someone with technological experience far beyond mine. Which I'm not. So when fixing unknown problems, I usually go the Sherlock route and just try absolutely everything, no matter how contrary to logic it sounds. A lot of times, shit will work that, rationally, shouldn't. But it's because we're misapplying the idea of what's rational. It may be rational for a car or something else mechanical to act that way, but not a computer.
7 years, 8 months ago
You want to be careful with solving problems that way. For a while, the only way I could start my (ancient Mac Plus running System 7) computer a long, long time ago, was by thumping it on the side while it started up. In retrospect, it was probably a loose or dust-caked connection that was causing the problem, and if Macs weren't atrociously hard to get into and perform maintenance on yourself back in those days, I might've found and fixed the problem with yet another can of air.

But I was lucky in that that particular computer had an external hard drive only, so my smacking around wasn't potentially causing the drive needles to scratch the plates, ruining the entire drive. Just because something works for a while, doesn't mean it might not cause greater damage later. Another example of that is what I've heard sometimes works for dysfunctional drives: freezing them. I can see how thermal expansion and contracting might provide a temporary fix in some cases--but only long enough to transfer essential files elsewhere.

Long story short, if the voodoo don' work, joo be goin' to see a houngan, he hook ya up wit' da loa, mon. Er, I mean, if waving a dead chicken over your computer doesn't help, ask someone like me or Misbah and/or consult online technical expertise.
7 years, 8 months ago
Oh, I know. And I'm talking about permanent solutions; I've had thumping-on-the-side problems before, but anyone knows that's not actually fixing the problem.
7 years, 8 months ago
Ah good. :3
7 years, 8 months ago
I do apologize for the wall of text. I'm not sure why it happened.
7 years, 8 months ago
Ah, the ole' canned air trick...

I wish my last computer glitch was as easy to fix. The heat sink fell off my graphics card. :/

I should really keep some thermal cement stuff around.
7 years, 8 months ago
video card heat synk.... umm is there a way to post normle picturs in here... i'll show you an anoying heatsynk problem

nearly 1 month without my primary pc after exstinsive upgrades to it's video and power systems.

cause of failure to launch .....

a pice of plastic that holds the CPU heatsynk on .. Well one to start now two second removle caused one to come apart .

good thing is i test test test during any kind of upgrade or anytime i pull a heatsynk and saw the cpu ramping up in heat..

amazing how one half a cpu can be cool and one hot when one pin isnt pulling

Thermal take T1 or 1T hard to read the lable.
cpu Core 2 quad Q6600 series
why did i pull heat synk ...
i was replacing the system power supply
Why was i replacing the supply.
i had replaced the video cards with new high end ones. .... Verry high end ones.... GTX 470's old power supply wouldnt even run one stable...
oh and all this started when one of my videocards...... over  ... h .... e   .... a   ... t ..... e ....d   (one of the old ones) fan died second card so didnt know it was having a problem till i ran a SLI entinsive game and the screen was half jamed up. :(


New video cards (yay) new power supply (yay) 1.8x larger than needed or is that 0.8x... whatever i got overhead room
way yay

cash for new clips for the heatsynk comming with next ssi check. yay only a few days off.
now watch something else happen...
7 years, 8 months ago
just how hot is the inside of tghat case anyway if it indeed is a heat failure.

hdd's can take some real heat befor they go pop!

Allso since i'm a computer guy what kind of HDD is it name/modle/size so i can add it to my list of possible lemon drives to avoide

err takes alot more than one entry to triger avoide status but i need info anyway :p and i'm just curious.
7 years, 8 months ago
I don't know how hot it got; mostly the problem was that the fans were clogged. I let things go WAY too long without dusting around here. :P

I THINK it's a Seagate drive, it's 1TB. And I got it over two years ago; I remember getting my newer drive 1 and a half years ago when I rebuilt my computer. I wouldn't blame the brand but more the fact that it's a bit on the old side and I wasn't taking very good care of it.
7 years, 8 months ago
before ya write it off for dead backup then run some drive tests on it (after making dam sure youve dusted it good and dusted the motherboard good)

Dust can cause a fail state in a system without heating it at all.

Dust + humid day = signal bleed in the system.
that causes the controller to think it's shorted or garble the serial stream coming from the drive.

with the drive dust can effect the minute single coming from the armature making the drive act like it's got a bad opamp
or let enough current bleed in that it goes into fail-safe (powers off or shuts a subsection down)

testing the drive (writing zeros and doing a surface test (write zeros first or week data can read as bad sectors) will up date the s.m.a.r.t record revitelise and tell you if you need a new drive ..

these drives should have no problems lasting well into there teens under perfect condition and well into the 7 or 8 year range in the field
5 to 6 years in harsh invirens providing the mechanism is kept clean ish.

{Time based on continuous operation}
5 to 6 year estimate based on experience in a repair shop in relation to damage seen as physical damage electrical damage and data corruption on a drives that live in some pretty bad places.

Dust fail is not unheard of but rare and takes more than a few months to happen. normely
examples of dust damage to physical circuitry are.
Open diodes
shorted or open resisters
shorted or open caps
moister damage to pcb and or surrounding surface mounted components do to electrolysis excel-orated corrosion
lifted or shorted leg pins on IC chips and or failure of an IC do to VCC intrusion on a data line. EG shorted out chip.

The last one would be if the sed dust had a lot of metal shavings in it or was preticulerlelelllelelelery conductive with moister and salts
7 years, 8 months ago
Problem with backing up: It's my biggest drive, with more on it than the rest put together. So either way I will need an extra drive, if for nothing else than to copy everything over to it to test the old drive.

And hey, if cleaning everything and testing shows it to be still good, I'll have that much more space to work with!
7 years, 8 months ago
Every couple of months, I turn off my computer, unplug it, take it outside, and blast out the dust with a high quality air compressor.  Then I put the keyboard in the dishwasher, windex the front of the monitor, vacuum the back of the monitor, scrub the mouse, and finally clean and scrub my desk.  This process does wonders for the performance and aesthetics of the computer.

As for backing up stuff, how about burning it all to DVD?  I think Nero has a back up option which will fill each disc with as much data as it can hold splitting a file if it's too big and putting that on the next disc.  Then to put it back on the computer, you run the load back up option.

If that's not an option, what about asking a really close friend to hold a copy for you.  I did this for a friend who was in the same situation: knew the HDD was dying, but couldn't afford a new HDD.

Crazy option: I go to thrift stores and often find computers for $10-50, and in those computers there is usually a HDD, most commonly, 80GB PATA.  Maybe look for one?
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