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Not always your hard drive that goes bad
Old 07-17-2010, 10:11 AM   #1
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Not always your hard drive that goes bad

5 year old HP desktop, would not boot windows. I of course go into a panic since about 6000 pictures and some important docs not backed up.
Tried running recovery console, no dice, it would also crash when trying to save user files. Tried to slave to older computer but could not slave SATA drive to old mother board. CHKDSK says drive hopeless and then crash, in process of trying to restore, also lost a windows dll file which stopped windows from even trying to boot. Ran PC doc picked up all kinds of HD errors and even some memory errors when I could run early on in crash process. I kept trying to run recovery console, and finally tried pullling memory boards, pulled the first one, no change, put back and pulled the second 512K board and now restore started to work.
Backed up all files and restored windows, computer now runs like new even with 512k less memory. Of course had to re-install programs,printers,download a million microsoft security updates. Have now backed up all files to laptop.
Moral of the story, it is not always the harddrive that is crashing, this problem was a bad memory board that made the computer do strange things, buy an external hard drive for backup, but that may even be not good enough. My son in law has two external drives and one failed.
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Old 07-17-2010, 10:41 AM   #2
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This same thing happened to DW's Laptop a couple of years ago. I believe I used Memtest to identify what had happened.

A most interesting thing happened this week to my Laptop. When I booted it up in the morning, the following message kept repeating:

PXE-E61: Media Test Failure, Check Cabling.
PXE-M0F: Exiting PXE ROM.

I took the "C" drive out and connected it to the Desktop machine and found it was readable and copied all (not that many actually) the files that had not been backed-up on to the Desktop machine. I, then, put the drive back into the Laptop... No joy.

While booting up I noticed that the F12 key would let me select the boot device. I clicked on that and noticed that my "C" drive was fifth on the list and the "D" drive was first. I told it to boot to the "C" drive and the machine booted up as expected. For some reason the BIOS was changed, switching the boot sequence -- I had never heard of such a thing.

The Error Message, BTW, was telling me that the Machine could not find the Network Boot Device, which was third on the list after the CD/DVD drive.

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Old 07-17-2010, 10:53 AM   #3
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I might have told this story before.

A software that I wrote for a part-time w*rk contract kept crashing after running for a few hours (this is a scientific piece of software doing batch processing that takes several days to complete). Drove me nuts!

Ran all kinds of tests, including Memtest. Found nothing. Somehow, suspected motherboard problem. Specifically, memory banking/interleaving that was only in play with two RAM sticks installed. So, I yanked one stick out for testing. Software ran fine.

As 1G of RAM was plenty for me, I was happy on my way to finish that project, and forgot all about the problem.

Many months later, happened to see that extra RAM stick sitting there. For lack of better things to do, I decided to re-install it. Whoa! Now, the computer could not even boot up with that RAM in there.

So, that RAM was flaky earlier, but has now failed solid just sitting there for a few months. I just happened to yank the right one out of the MB earlier. The failure had nothing to do with the memory banking scheme of the motherboard that I suspected.
"Old age is the most unexpected of all things that can happen to a man" -- Leo Tolstoy
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