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Forget the monitor, I think my HDD is going! Help/opinions needed:

Ok, I got 3 BSOD's in the last 2 months---compared to 0 in the last 3 years or so. Seemed kinda random---once it was an Nvidia driver issue. But 2 have been in the last 2 weeks, 1 just 48 hours ago or so.

A week ago, XP wanted to "check for consistency" when it started. Found no errors.

This morning--no boot. Gets to the first 2 secs of the XP logo, then BSOD. "Unmountable boot volume". Several times in a row. Use backup PC to research online, it can't be any of the normal causes besides a corrupt boot partition etc.

Run chkdsk from XP install disc--comes back fine. Do more thorough chkdsk, found 1 error and fixed it. Used "fixboot" to make new boot--says things are fine, writes new boot anyways. Reboot PC---same BSOD.

Try fixboot again---says it's corrupted (the one presumably made only minutes ago). Run fixboot about 4 more times until it says "ok" 3 times in a row. Reboot into safe mode---ok. Backup recent files. Reboot again---wants to "check for consistency" again! That takes like an hour so I skip it. That's the boot that I'm writing this from.

So---is my HDD dying or what? It keeps finding no errors (except that one time) so I think it can't really detect them very well. I read that an "unmountable boot volume" can be from when Windows updates/upgrades itself, but I don't think this is it.

Strangely, the PC seems to be fine when it does boot--haven't noticed any odd behavior lately. (other than BSOD!)

Sigh, spent most of the day updating the old computer just to feel safe enough to go online.

PPS---HDD suggestions welcome. 500 gig or a bit more, quiet is definitely an issue. I will sacrifice a bit of speed for a lot of quiet. Current one is a Western Digital--have never used them before. If my HDD is dying, I plan to go back to Seagate.

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Forget the monitor, I think my HDD is going! Help/opinions needed:

...

It's normally a software problem. Usually a corrupt BOOT.ini file. It can be a bad cable, but that's not as common. Best thing to do is backup and reinstall the OS provided the fix doesn't work (and it looks like it didn't).

If you have another computer, you can use that to format the drive. This will probably tell you if there are any bad sectors on the hard drive. And don't do a quick format. A low-level format will probably cure bad sectors, unless there's physical errors. Formatting the drive will probably tell you whether or not you'll need a new hard drive.

As for a new hard drive, either Western Digital or a Seagate should be fine.

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Every test I've run so far (HD tune, Sandra) says the HDD is fine--and actually performing above average. It's a WD5000AAKS, which seems to be a popular model.

I really need to buy an external backup drive or something first, before I format this one---way too much stuff to burn to DVD's. (cough, Frontier, cough) What's the best method to do say, monthly/quarterly backups from an HDD? (as in, copy nearly everything that's on there)

Should I do a full XP repair install? It's been less than a year since the last, can't imagine it'd be too messed up.

I'll check all my cables later, but literally the computer hadn't been opened for 2 months or so prior to tonight.

::edit:: Reading more about "checking for consistency"----using fsutil query, I get "C: is dirty". Ok, and......?

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Ok, running Western Digital's own diagnostics---not good. Get "06-Quick Test on drive 1 did not complete! Status code = 07 (Failed read test element), Failure Checkpoint = 65 (Error Log Test) SMART self-test did not complete on drive 1!"

Every result I get from googling that is "imminent drive failure".

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I really need to buy an external backup drive or something first, before I format this one---way too much stuff to burn to DVD's. (cough, Frontier, cough) What's the best method to do say, monthly/quarterly backups from an HDD? (as in, copy nearly everything that's on there)

There's a quite a few free backup software out there that you can use to do backups. And they work just as well as the commercial stuff (schedule backups, do full or incremental, etc...)

Should I do a full XP repair install? It's been less than a year since the last, can't imagine it'd be too messed up.

Just reinstall. Start from scratch.

::edit:: Reading more about "checking for consistency"----using fsutil query, I get "C: is dirty". Ok, and......?

Well, either the OS files are corrupt or you have hardware failure.

Ok, running Western Digital's own diagnostics---not good. Get "06-Quick Test on drive 1 did not complete! Status code = 07 (Failed read test element), Failure Checkpoint = 65 (Error Log Test) SMART self-test did not complete on drive 1!"

Every result I get from googling that is "imminent drive failure".

Is SMART enabled on the system?

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Possibly stupid question, but is there a "higher level" of enabling SMART, other than getting the readings that various programs report?

1 "pending sector" on the HDD. Also (and I may just be paranoid here) but I do think some of my largest folders have been acting slower lately.

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I actually like Samsung hard drives. Though recently I just had one fail, that same one where I had files disappear on me although they're "physically" there.

Possibly stupid question, but is there a "higher level" of enabling SMART, other than getting the readings that various programs report?

1 "pending sector" on the HDD. Also (and I may just be paranoid here) but I do think some of my largest folders have been acting slower lately.

Didn't realize that WD's "pending sector" is another name for bad sector. If it's only one, the spare sectors should take care of it. Though if you still see that error popping up, maybe it's time for you to retire it.

I don't know if you can actually get a more detailed report from SMART, but from what I read, if the drive fails SMART, that's never a good sign.

btw, Samsung 24" monitor for $160 from Dell, if you're still in need of a monitor.

http://slickdeals.net/forums/showthread.php?t=2251873

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Still need new monitor, but 24in is too big. I'm really looking at the 20in range currently.

Anyways--running new HDD, went with WD 6400AAKS. Quiet, slightly faster than previous one. (IMHO there is no "good" HDD company at the moment, they've all gone downhill it seems) (it's not too hard to guess what to buy for PC components--I live and breathe by silentpcreview.com)

Have a question/issue:

When I download a large file, it takes FOREVER for the file to transfer from the "XNSHTK" etc temp folder MSIE always holds downloads in, to the location I actually asked it to save to. 2 times ago, it took MINUTES. Anyone know why? It never did this before. And/or is there a way to force a file to *actually download to where I ask it to*, and not "download to a temp location then transfer itself over"? I kind of thought it might be some aspect of scanning for a virus, but it sure doesn't take MINUTES to go over a 1.3 gig file. (I mean, it always did the transferring thing, it just did it as fast as any other copy/move operation)

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When I download a large file, it takes FOREVER for the file to transfer from the "XNSHTK" etc temp folder MSIE always holds downloads in, to the location I actually asked it to save to. 2 times ago, it took MINUTES. Anyone know why? It never did this before. And/or is there a way to force a file to *actually download to where I ask it to*, and not "download to a temp location then transfer itself over"? I kind of thought it might be some aspect of scanning for a virus, but it sure doesn't take MINUTES to go over a 1.3 gig file. (I mean, it always did the transferring thing, it just did it as fast as any other copy/move operation)

Use Chrome or Firefox? :lol:

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Quick/easy photo editing question:

I have ~200 .bmp files I need to convert to jpg so I can email them. Quick/easy way to do so---a macro or program where I can just select a bunch of files and say "make them jpgs" and not have to convert them manually 1 by 1? (as in, a free one)

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I just got my replacement hard drive from Samsung today. I read that a lot of people have had suffered headaches concerning Samsung's customer support. I just went through their website (albeit, a bit tricky) and filed an online RMA. Instantly got my RMA number, properly packed the hard drive and sent it in the next day via UPS. Took nearly a week before there was any update though. No clue why Samsung created a separate site just for hard drives while providing no apparent link from the main site--Not to mention, the site's pretty crappy for such a huge company like Samsung...

btw David. With Black Friday coming soon, do you think your monitor could hold out till then?

Edited by shiroikaze
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It took me a month of phone calls and back-and-forth emailing to get my issue with Samsung (mostly) resolved (to their credit, they came through as best they could in the end). I had a Samsung laptop which died after 6 weeks of relatively light use. They wanted to send me a refurb for a laptop less than 2 months old, which (while I know refurbs are standard policy these days) I thought was kind of ridiculous for a 6 week old laptop. After some complaining, they eventually sent a new one. That said, they wiped my old HD as soon as it got to the depot, which was annoying... it cost me one of my Office 2k7 license keys. There was nothing wrong with the HD, it was the GPU that failed, so I'm not sure why they did that. I had a similar experience with a Compaq laptop, but at least HP went out of their way to try and protect my data.

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I'm looking for a beefy new system that will last a few years and do decently playing a few games, editing photos, and might even work if I ever have the time to get into some 3D design. So, I went to Cyberpower and built this PC from their "Mega Special IV":

*BASE_PRICE: [+1189]

CAS: Apevia X-Dreamer 3 Mid-Tower Gaming Case w/ Side-Panel Window & Temperature Display (Black Color with Black Ring & Blue LED Fan)

CD: Asus BR-04B2T 4X Blu-Ray Player [+44] (BLACK COLOR)

CD2: 24X Double Layer Dual Format DVD+-R/+-RW + CD-R/RW Drive [+21] (BLACK COLOR)

CPU: [special] Intel® Core™ i7-950 3.06 GHz 8M Intel Smart Cache LGA1366

CS_FAN: Maximum 120MM Case Cooling Fans for your selected case [+9]

FAN: NZXT Liquid Cooling System 120MM Radiator & Fan (Enhanced Cooling Performance + Extreme Silent at 20dBA)

FLASHMEDIA: INTERNAL 12in1 Flash Media Reader/Writer (BLACK COLOR)

HDD: 1TB SATA-III 6.0Gb/s 64MB Cache 7200RPM HDD (Single Hard Drive)

MEMORY: 6GB (2GBx3) DDR3/1600MHz Triple Channel Memory Module (A Data) +27

MOTHERBOARD: * (3-Way SLI Support) GigaByte GA-X58A-UD3R Intel X58 Chipset SLI/CrossFireX Ultra Durable™3 Triple-Channel DDR3/1600 ATX Mainboard w/ 7.1 Dolby Audio, eSATA, GbLAN, USB3.0, 2 x SATA-III RAID, IEEE1394a, 4 Gen2 PCIe, 2 PCIe X1 & 1

PCI NETWORK: Onboard Gigabit LAN Network

OS: Microsoft® Windows® 7 Home Premium [+104] (64-bit Edition)

POWERSUPPLY: * 800 Watts - XtremeGear Gaming Power Supply - Quad SLI Ready SERVICE: STANDARD WARRANTY: 3-YEAR LIMITED WARRANTY PLUS LIFE-TIME TECHNICAL SUPPORT

SOUND: HIGH DEFINITION ON-BOARD 7.1 AUDIO USB: Built-in USB 2.0 Ports

VIDEO: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 465 1GB 16X PCIe Video Card (Major Brand Powered by NVIDIA) _PRICE: (+1441)

That seems like a pretty good bruiser but I've read bad things about Cyberpower. I've added another $19 for "pro wiring" because I've heard otherwise they connect your system very poorly. Anyway, they have a B+ with the BBB so I think it's a case where the complainers are much louder than the happy people. I also read a review that Cyberpower will let you build a PC with incompatible parts and will ship it to you without caring and I'm not sure of myself enough to think I nailed it (although I varied only very slightly from a stock set up they offer).

The other choice is the Gateway FX6803-35 which is almost the same price, has a better video card and more memory (9gigs @ 1333) and slightly slower CPU (2.8). I have no idea if there is a difference between the FX6803-25 and the -35 so if anyone knows of one I'd like to hear it.

Yes, I know I'd be world's better off building my own system... but that's just not in the cards. As I said, I'm not slick with hardware and I'm only good with the software I use regularly. Any opinions about the computer rig would be great to hear -

EDIT - lots of errors are fixed now :)

Edited by jenius
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...

POWERSUPPLY: * 800 Watts - XtremeGear Gaming Power Supply - Quad SLI Ready SERVICE: STANDARD WARRANTY: 3-YEAR LIMITED WARRANTY PLUS LIFE-TIME TECHNICAL SUPPORT

VIDEO: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 465 1GB 16X PCIe Video Card (Major Brand Powered by NVIDIA) _PRICE: (+1441)

...

FYI, the GTX 460 is practically on par with the GTX 465 in terms of performance. However, the 460 runs cooler, quieter, and is much more energy efficient than the 465. Are you getting three of them?

Also, I would not get that power supply. When it comes to power supplies, you gotta go for name brands. From their choices, a Corsair.

Edited by shiroikaze
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Thanks for the video card input, valid points and I'm sure I probably wouldn't even notice any slight dip in processing power.

Yeah, the power supply made me a little nervous and I guess the rule of thumb with power supplies shoudl be to never be a little nervous about them. I'm not going with the multiple video cards off the bat... I figure that will be my form of scalability. This time next year I may add a second card and hope to keep up with technology a little bit.

Right now I think I'm actually leaning toward that Gateway. It has a few specs that are a little less desirable but I'm just not sure I trust Cyberpower.

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Every video card ever massively over-estimates the power requirements--they assume (rightly so) that many people will use cheap gigawatt PSUs, and so to actually get 300 watts of quality power they list an 800+ watt requirement figuring that a cheap one of that power may actually get half its rating.

Buy QUALITY power supplies, not "high-power" ones.

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'kay... thanks to a bit of recent sleuthing on the part of some other Firefox users, the culprit behind the slow on-download virus scans and files vanishing after closing the browser window has been identified. It's actually not Firefox, but some weird interaction between Firefox 3.x and Norton. The specific culprit appears to be the Microsoft Office Automatic Scan setting in the Norton options. It causes no problems on Windows XP machines, but if enabled on Windows Vista or Windows 7, it slows down virus scanning during file downloads in Firefox dramatically and can cause downloaded files to vanish once the Firefox window is closed. Prior to figuring this out, the only fix was going into about:config and setting the scanwhendone parameter to false manually.

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Norton is evil, period.

Prior to this, I don't think I've ever had anything I could honestly call a technical problem with Norton. I've had a few beefs with the UI over the years, and have stuck to using Norton Antivirus after being completely put off by what a paranoid nagging nursemaid Norton Internet Security was back around '06, but other than that I've never really had cause for complaint... especially not with the newer, less resource-heavy versions of NAV. This recent spate of problems caused by Microsoft Office Automatic Scan is annoying and inconvenient, but not enough to put me off using it entirely. IMO, it's still better than McAfee and don't even get me started on TrendMicro and AVG.:rolleyes:

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Don't like Norton and McAfee, however I have been hearing more positive comments concerning Norton's latest releases. Trendmicro's okay in my book too.

Currently using Microsoft's Security Essentials, it's lightweight (hopefully stays that way) and it does its job quite well.

Edited by shiroikaze
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We push Norton pretty heavily at work. Symantec's definitely improved it, and I figure it's probably the best of the paid commercial antivirus programs out there. McAfee is probably the worst. Most of the computers I do virus removals on have McAfee.

I'm not comfortable with the idea that you have to pay an annual subscription just to take a Windows PC online, though, so even though I can get Norton for free through work I won't use it. I started off back in the day with Avira, switched to AVG based one the positive comments, dumped it when the interface became to cluttered with ads for the paid version for Avast!, which I in turn dumped because of the craptastic interface and alarming number of false positives. Today I use Microsoft Security Essentials, which is very lightweight, solid interface, and some of the best reviews for free antivirus software, combined with the occasional Malwarebytes Anti-Malware scan.

Re: MS security essentials. I don't know if it's good or bad, having your anti-virus by the same company who makes the programs (and holes) which most viruses tend to exploit.

I don't know if it'll be good or bad in the long run. Maybe good, since you can get security updates and definition updates through Windows Update? All I know is that MSE has got mostly good reviews, and has been recommended by a number of respectable tech publications (either as their top free pick or second after Panda Cloud).

Edited by mikeszekely
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I have a Conundrum I'm down to my last Compact Florescence Light Bulb but I need it for a Three way lamp and the Bulb is marked "Not for use in luminaries controlled by a Dimmer" does the Three way fixture count as a Dimmer I had a CFL in there before and their was no problem?

Is it safe?

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Isn't Norton still SUPER resource heavy and not so user friendly as far as pop ups and allowances are concerned?

Not really. It's a lot lighter (at least, Norton AV and Norton IS are, Norton 360's a little chunky). Pop ups are relatively on par with other AV software, and mostly what you'd expect, although their firewall is a bit more strict than Windows'.

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I have a Conundrum I'm down to my last Compact Florescence Light Bulb but I need it for a Three way lamp and the Bulb is marked "Not for use in luminaries controlled by a Dimmer" does the Three way fixture count as a Dimmer I had a CFL in there before and their was no problem?

Is it safe?

You should really be asking someone at a home repair store.

CFLs are not recommended in dimmers because of the way florescent light bulbs work, i.e. regulating the power via the tube. When you put it in a dimmer, you attempt to dim a CFL, it will start flickering and eventually go out. By doing so, you're cutting the life span of a CFL. You can use CFL in a dimmer as long as you are only setting the dimmer to the brightest setting or off. Anything in the middle will cause you problems if not now then soon.

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