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Need computer help
Old 10-28-2012, 01:08 PM   #1
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Need computer help

I have a computer using Windows 7 that recently crashed. I attempted to do a system restore to a previous point and got a message that an unexpected error occurred during system restore. I did the computer check up and it passed. I also ran the start-up repair tool and got a message that said that it cannot repair this computer automatically. I am backing up all my files. So the next step (I guess) is to do a system recovery which will lose all my programs. Is there other step I can take to try to re-boot before I do this? Also, when I do the back-up, will it copy the files I have downloaded, such as Adobe and iTunes? I know I will have to reinstall, but are the setup files saved? Also, if I do the system recovery, will my FIOS work or do I need to re-load anything?
Even though it is out of warranty, I would consider having someone come look at it, but not sure if that would be worth it. Any advice is appreciated. Thanks.
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Old 10-28-2012, 01:38 PM   #2
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A friend recently went through this, and it turned out to be a bad hard drive. Took it to a local computer geek shop and they were able to recover practically everything for her. Cost was about $75 and well worth it.
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Old 10-28-2012, 01:50 PM   #3
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I agree with the HD being the culprit and that you should take it to the "shop." Futhermore, I would stop messing with it... unless you know what you are doing, it will most likely damage it further.

BTW, System Restore is probably the most unfortunately named application (and it has much competion for this title) because all it "restores" is some Registry Settings and very little else.
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Old 10-28-2012, 03:06 PM   #4
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A friend recently went through this, and it turned out to be a bad hard drive. Took it to a local computer geek shop and they were able to recover practically everything for her. Cost was about $75 and well worth it.
+1...especially when one considers the hours one has to spend attempting this.
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Old 10-28-2012, 03:56 PM   #5
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The windows 7 backup is improved over the vista version. you can select individual files and folders to backup.

If this is branded PC, like a DELL, it should a diagnostic menu. For DELL press F12 during the bootup, then there is disk diagnostic tool to test the HD. If you know HD brand, the are diagnostic tools that can be downloaded, burned to CD and test HD.

You can try something like driveimagexml to make an image of the drive then reload the new one.
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Old 10-28-2012, 07:44 PM   #6
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If your data can be backed up you will have cleared the biggest hurdle. Yes, it can be a pain to reinstall your programs, but having your data is what counts. My HD with Windows 7 crashed and burned and I could not access anything. I run three HDs in my computer. I try to store the data on a different drive than the operating system.

I had to replace the HD, install Windows 7 and reinstall my programs. My biggest problem was with Itunes. I was fortunate that I had all my content on my Ipod. I did have to buy a program to transfer it back to Itunes. I also at that time used Mozy to backup my drives so any data I did have on the failed drive I could recover.

I now use Carbonite and they offer a service for an image backup of your drive which should allow you to recover everything.
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Old 10-28-2012, 10:02 PM   #7
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Everyone, get a program that can 'clone' your OS drive. 'DriveImageXML' is one. Make an image 'every so often'. When your OS drive fails (it's a matter of when, not if) you can reproduce it quickly. Hopefully, you backup your data more frequently. Makes it easy to survive the HD crash.
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Old 10-28-2012, 10:39 PM   #8
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Everyone, get a program that can 'clone' your OS drive. 'DriveImageXML' is one. Make an image 'every so often'. When your OS drive fails (it's a matter of when, not if) you can reproduce it quickly. Hopefully, you backup your data more frequently. Makes it easy to survive the HD crash.
I use Acronis True Image to (in addition to regular backups) create a clone on a separate HD. That way in case of HD failure all I have to do is swap it out for the Clone. This has only happened once in about five years but I can sleep at nights. I have five computers and over 20 TB of HD space going at all times... well, DW and I.
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+1 for Drive Imanging
Old 10-29-2012, 10:17 AM   #9
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+1 for Drive Imanging

I have been using Clonezilla for years, originally from a CD and now mostly from a USB stick. This has proven priceless not only when I have had a hard drive fail but more often when I have destroyed my Windows system by installing badly behaved software. Now, I just need to get in the habit of cloning my drives more often and backing up my data even more frequently.

I actually lost two systems, many years apart, before I started imaging my drives. You can go for years without issue; but, eventually, almost everyone will encounter drive problems.


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Old 10-29-2012, 12:21 PM   #10
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I use Acronis True Image to (in addition to regular backups) create a clone on a separate HD. ... .
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Originally Posted by CoolChange View Post
I have been using Clonezilla for years, originally from a CD and now mostly from a USB stick. ...
Cloning/imaging is good. With Windows, don't you have problems moving it to a different drive though? Doesn't it yell at you as a suspected pirate? Do you need to call MS to register it or something?

Cloning was/is a breeze on OSX. Clone, and reboot into the clone to test it. Couldn't be easier.

I still haven't found a method I really like for Linux. Yes, you can clone it to an external drive, but then it has the same disk UUIDs as the internal, causing a conflict, and you have to remove that internal to boot the external to test it. Or copy back to the internal, but then if your clone is bad, you just wiped out everything. You can get in and update the UUIDs, but it's complicated. Plus, a lot of that cloning SW requires that the destination drive be as big as the source drive. I want to back up just the 'used' size, or just the system, since I back up data separately. I was experimenting with a system of doing a fresh installation of Linux to an external, and then syncing them - that gets around the UUID problem. I need to look into that again.

-ERD50
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Old 10-29-2012, 12:31 PM   #11
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I have two HDs for my data. The C drive and also a D drive which I sync from my C drive. Have had times when the data on C gets messed up and had to bring back from the D drive. Also, if my system goes down, then I have data on a different drive than where the system is.

For cloning, when I'm happy with a good system to clone, I use both DriveImageXML and Pargaon Backup and Restore. I use different programs as an extra measure of safety in case the restore doesn't work on one of them.
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Old 10-29-2012, 01:12 PM   #12
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ERD50, I simply use a Nexstar Hard Drive Dock to make an exact duplicate (clone) of the C:\ drive. I can, then, change the bios to boot from that drive to verify that everything went as planned or simply swap out the drives (the preferred method) keeping the old as a backup. (This "swapping" is particularly easy on a laptop but it is a good idea to open up a desktop periodically if only to blow the dust out.

Anyway, I use this particular device because it handles both 3.5" and 2.5" HDs in a simple "plug it in" move.

FWIW, all of the above mentioned backup/cloning programs are excellent choices.
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Old 10-29-2012, 02:27 PM   #13
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Cloning/imaging is good. With Windows, don't you have problems moving it to a different drive though? Doesn't it yell at you as a suspected pirate? Do you need to call MS to register it or something?

Cloning was/is a breeze on OSX. Clone, and reboot into the clone to test it. Couldn't be easier.

I still haven't found a method I really like for Linux. Yes, you can clone it to an external drive, but then it has the same disk UUIDs as the internal, causing a conflict, and you have to remove that internal to boot the external to test it. Or copy back to the internal, but then if your clone is bad, you just wiped out everything. You can get in and update the UUIDs, but it's complicated. Plus, a lot of that cloning SW requires that the destination drive be as big as the source drive. I want to back up just the 'used' size, or just the system, since I back up data separately. I was experimenting with a system of doing a fresh installation of Linux to an external, and then syncing them - that gets around the UUID problem. I need to look into that again.

-ERD50
For windows that is usually a problem with the retail version. If the hardware is reasonably close it should be fine, changing just the HD should not trigger the registration. Some of the cloners have a option to restore to different hardware, usually needed to load different
hardware drivers. Using the OEM like loading a DELL to a DELL should be fine also.

I don't like the UUIDs. I think they went to this because in theory some BIOSs might reorder the device names if external drives were unplugged or moved. Haven't run into that. There is switch in GRUB to turn of the UUID and use the named value like always /dev/sda . That was easy to edit and change it to /dev/sdc or whatever
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Old 10-29-2012, 03:29 PM   #14
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Cloning/imaging is good. With Windows, don't you have problems moving it to a different drive though? Doesn't it yell at you as a suspected pirate? Do you need to call MS to register it or something?
...
-ERD50
My experience in restoring cloned drives is a bit limited, not in occurrences but rather in configurations.

I have several ThinkPads, all but one quite old, all but one within a single model number of each other (T60's and T61's). I have used Clonezilla to restore images from one of these to another as well as to a new hard drive on one of these. WindowsXP Pro on all; no hiccups encountered.

I believe I could restore an image to a non-system partition on another machine and access all of the data without any Windows complaints; but, I have not tried this. (I am sure that I can access this data via Linux should the need arise; this is good enough for me.)
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Old 10-31-2012, 06:10 AM   #15
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I have not read the other suggestions you got but here is mine.

I am not too sure why do you want to save setup files of iTunes and Adobe programs. iTunes (updated) is always available online and if you have purchased Adobe programs, you should have a CD or DVD. Almost everything is available on the internet unless you are using absolutely obscure program that is not developed anymore.

Now to backing up your files, do you have another computer where you could surf the web, burn a CD? If not, can you visit friend's place to do this job? If yes, download Ubuntu desktop and burn the iso file on a CD (You can use CDBurnerXP, a freeware). You can use this guide to copy your files off your disabled machine to a external HDD. Do you know how much is your data and if its very sensitive? Ubuntu offers online storage for free (limited of course) but you could copy the files on the web too (But I would always take 2 back ups on different HDDs, depending on your data)

Once you copy all the files and make sure that you have copied everything, restore the machine to factory setting. Update to current status with windows update. Download all the necessary programs you need and install them. Update them. Once your machine is ready for the use, take a backup using Clonezilla / Acronis True Image / Cobian Backup or using in-built windows backup.

It does not need a lot of technical knowledge to do this but have another computer /phone/tablet handy to surf the web when you are doing this stuff. Every machine is configured differently and poses different headache. Post question if something is not clear.

If you don't want to wreak your head, take it to the corner computer repair store.

I can not figure out what the crash was about so I can not suggest any way to boot your machine temporarily but when you start the machine, if it shows Windows logo then as soon as you push power button, keep pressing F5 or F8, depending on your machine and get into boot menu and try to start machine in safe mode. If that works, makes your life very easy to copy files off the machine.

Next time you post such question, please provide as much information as possible about your machine, make, model, year etc.
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Old 10-31-2012, 08:39 AM   #16
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I use Windows 7 backup which produces an image on a removable hard drive. In addition I just copy critical data areas for easy individual file retrieval. I do this weekly.

Are there any issues with restoring from the Windows 7 backups? Never had to restore yet.

BTW, just bought a Seagate 1TB hard drive which is on sale right now for $80 :Amazon.com: Seagate Backup Plus 1 TB USB 3.0 Portable External Hard Drive STBU1000100 (Black): Computers & Accessories
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Old 10-31-2012, 08:53 AM   #17
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I am not too sure why do you want to save setup files of iTunes and Adobe programs. iTunes (updated) is always available online and if you have purchased Adobe programs, you should have a CD or DVD. Almost everything is available on the internet unless you are using absolutely obscure program that is not developed anymore. ...
To each their own, but I find cloning soooooo much more convenient than re-installing all those apps. Not only the time to install them all, to remember what you had, and locate it and download it - but then you have to deal with any customization you have done (I do a lot).

Our Megacorp IT guys would solve every problem with a 're-image' of the drive. Then I'd have to remember all those customization I did to each program to make it usable for me. If you did it once, a year ago, it's pretty hard to recall that you dig down into preferences, options, or whatever, go to some oddly named tab, scroll down to some oddly named section, hit advanced, and then make that selection that you need. Now multiply that times a bunch of programs.

No thanks - cloning is the answer for me.


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Old 10-31-2012, 08:54 AM   #18
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I use Windows 7 backup which produces an image on a removable hard drive. In addition I just copy critical data areas for easy individual file retrieval. I do this weekly.

Are there any issues with restoring from the Windows 7 backups? Never had to restore yet.
This was first brought to the table in Windows Vista. I believe, it is only available in certain versions of Windows 7.

I did use it twice with Vista... with no problems. I have not had opportunity with Windows 7. I still have it set to backup nightly on the Vista machine (used solely to run SageTV)... in addition to my earlier mentioned Acronis True Image.

I believe, Windows 8 has a similar function but I have only had a couple days to work with this OS so cannot confirm.

In any event, it is most likely a workable method of CYA but I find it hard (in my old age) to rely on a single form of backup -- "Blessed are the Pessimsts for they make backups."
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Old 10-31-2012, 08:57 AM   #19
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[QUOTE=ERD50;1244517]No thanks - cloning is the answer for me./QUOTE]

A big +1
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Old 10-31-2012, 09:07 AM   #20
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I use Windows 7 backup which produces an image on a removable hard drive. In addition I just copy critical data areas for easy individual file retrieval. I do this weekly.

Are there any issues with restoring from the Windows 7 backups? Never had to restore yet.
I always tell people - if you have not restored from and verified your backup, you are not backed up.

I know people who thought they were backed up, some even paid 'professionals' to do the backup for them. Diligently doing things that made whirring sounds (and probably bogged down the system) every week. But when that big crash happened... oh, the backup files are corrupted, or there was some kind of error that didn't get reported, or the tape was full, or, or, or, .... At work, I used to occasionally copy an older file to external, then tell IT I accidentally deleted it, could they recover it? You might be surprised that sometimes they couldn't do it. Backup-schmackup.

Backup, then verify your backup. It's really the only way. And don't just look at a directory. I'm pretty sure the directory is the first thing that gets written, it is possible to have a perfect looking directory, pointing to empty/corrupt files. You need to load some and check around a bit.


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In any event, it is most likely a workable method of CYA but I find it hard (in my old age) to rely on a single form of backup -- "Blessed are the Pessimists for they make backups."
Amen, Brother!

-ERD50
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