Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Update: What I Learned

You guys sent me a ton of good information when my system was puking.

So, let me pass some of that information along. I received more suggestions than I can even compile, but I appreciate everything that was sent to me.

Here's what I learned.
1. Check the simple things first.
I already knew this, but man, it got pounded into my head again. Check connections. Try different cables. Very simple to do, but it's crucial to rule out the easy causes first. I didn't do that, so don't be stupid like me.

2. If you're having drive problems, SpinRite kicks ass.
SpinRite is a data recovery and drive maintenance utility. It's amazing. Norton didn't find an unrecoverable sector on my hard drive, but SpinRite did (using a level 4 diagnostic, which took almost four hours to run). And once it did, and successfully flagged that sector, my problems ended.
3. True Image also kicks ass.
It's backup software that's very flexible and very easy to use. My problem with most utility programs is that they tend to be cryptic, but True Image is very simple to use.

4. The repair install option for Windows XP does not appear from the Windows Recovery Console.
I didn't have to attempt a repair install from the XP CD, but if you need to, Fredrik Skarstedt sent me a link to an excellent, detailed article about what to do. It's incredibly thorough, going screen-by-screen, and you can find it here.

So now I have a full drive backup as well as an extra .pst backup for Outlook. And the system's running great at this point--15-20 hours later. I just need to make it to mid-January, when I'll build the new system.

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