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Is my laptop about to croak?
Old 04-09-2011, 12:19 AM   #1
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Is my laptop about to croak?

I just bought and installed a new records tracking program so I can organize my genealogy notes. I started it up again just now and for the second time this week it gave an error message of "one of your disks needs to be checked" and went through about five minutes of some sort of rigmarole before starting up. Once running it seems to work fine. I hardly ever go online with the laptop and haven't done for quite some time, so I don't think it's a virus. Do these error messages mean my hard disk is on its last legs or could it be a problem with the new software? The computer is several years old but little-used. It's a lease-return that I bought at the Dell online outlet store.
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Old 04-09-2011, 12:30 AM   #2
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Probably not, check the disk space, make sure you have sufficient space available on the drive. Run a defrag, run a disk error check on the drive too. You may have bad sectors on your hard drive. At some point, you may need to get a new hard drive.
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Old 04-09-2011, 09:04 AM   #3
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Does the drive report something called "S.M.A.R.T." status? This will report on some problems. I'm not sure where you access it in Windows, maybe someone else can help if you can't find out how to do that, but probably in some disk analyzer or something.

-ERD50
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Old 04-09-2011, 01:36 PM   #4
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You didn't say if you are regularly backing up. Each time you end a "computing" session, you should assume that the computer will never be functional again, and be prepared for that. Always back up your data.
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Old 04-09-2011, 01:41 PM   #5
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Did the system automatically do the chkdsk before booting up? My guess is perhaps the system is a bit unstable and not a hardware issue. I'd had computers which over time of use does the need to check disk thing. But after I restored the OS from a clean image or reinstalled the OS from scratch...the check disk thing stopped.
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Old 04-09-2011, 01:57 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rustward View Post
You didn't say if you are regularly backing up. Each time you end a "computing" session, you should assume that the computer will never be functional again, and be prepared for that. Always back up your data.
+1. And, particularly for a laptop, you should include in that consideration the fact that the PC might be stolen or dropped on the floor.

The OP's question is similar to "Is the pilot on my next commercial flight going to have a heart attack?". The answer is "Almost certainly not, but you're still glad that there's someone else who can fly the plane."
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Old 04-09-2011, 02:03 PM   #7
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I have a Dell Inspiron E1505, and in the past I would get a "disk error" (don't remember the message) when I would depress the power on button for less than 1-2 seconds.

Now since I ensure that the power button is depressed for a longer period of time, it has yet to give me the message.

Why? I have no idea. Just to pass on another strange situation, if it is of any help.
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Old 04-09-2011, 05:59 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kyounge1956 View Post
I just bought and installed a new records tracking program so I can organize my genealogy notes. I started it up again just now and for the second time this week it gave an error message of "one of your disks needs to be checked" and went through about five minutes of some sort of rigmarole before starting up. Once running it seems to work fine. I hardly ever go online with the laptop and haven't done for quite some time, so I don't think it's a virus. Do these error messages mean my hard disk is on its last legs or could it be a problem with the new software? The computer is several years old but little-used. It's a lease-return that I bought at the Dell online outlet store.
What is reported back to you after this happens?
All disks fail eventually. Remember, there are two types of computer users: those that have lost data, and those that will lose data.
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Old 04-09-2011, 06:07 PM   #9
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You didn't say if you are regularly backing up. Each time you end a "computing" session, you should assume that the computer will never be functional again, and be prepared for that. Always back up your data.
Another +1

While I'm sometimes a bit lax on this (considering my last j*b was in IT security), when I 'donated' my laptop to some 'poor person' in PV, I did have a full backup taken the day before we left. That made the next paragraph possible.

Our place was burglarized and all the electronics stolen (2 laptops, 2 digital cameras and 1 cellphone). After all the red-tape was done and we were sitting around destroying another bottle of tequila wine, we realized we weren't as mad as we should be. Why not? They ignored a few hundred in US$ and C$ and we get to buy new stuff. In vino veritas.
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