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Possible Fridays

My computer hung, so I forced it off. On repowering it, it only beeped forlornly at me, a small white light flashing, screen and hard drive unresponsive. It was already late, the others gone to sleep, so there was nothing for it but to do so myself. I lay in bed thinking about my computer.

Only two weeks ago, I'd done a full backup, thanks to the wonders of a speedy external hard drive. The data loss wasn't that bad. The only irreplaceable email I could remember, I'd printed off yesterday. The only irreplaceable file was a game one; I could live without it. Would I spend all of Friday reinstalling my system software? Could I rescue the additional data? Was my hard drive well-and-truly dead? The sentimentalist in me would miss all those graduation-related emails.

But I woke, to a friendly household of houseguests, irisbleu and lifegivingsword, and to a computer that complacently booted up as if nothing had happend the night before. Just in case, I'm going to back up again.

Edited a few minutes later from another machine: I spoke too soon. Same problem. If I can get it to reboot normally again, the first thing I'm doing is data salvage, not wishful thinking computer use. Still. Same data loss applies: not too bad.

Later still: No real progress. I backed up one file I cared about, then the OS hung again. Next time, if there is one, I go straight to the external hard drive for backups, not do it the slow way on the USB drive. I actually was using some form of logic when I started with the USB drive - my drive's less likely to overheat when using it due to slower access speeds, and faulty fan is a problem my laptop may have. But I'm just guessing. Until I can keep it up long enough to back up and then do diagnostics, I won't be able to tell.

Mid-afternoon: The machine is safely backed up, passed all the hardware tests, and has had a pram reset. It's been up and stable for fiftten minutes now. Will it last? Who knows. If I knew what had gone wrong in the first place, I would be more certain.

The next day: Based on its stability so far, I'm fairly certain my laptop is back in full working order. The problem was a loose RAM card - the intermittent connection caused the freezing.

Comments

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
purplecthulhu
Jun. 16th, 2006 11:04 am (UTC)
What kind of machine is it? If its a Mac you can start it up in 'target mode' (holding down the T key during reboot) and get the machine to work just as an external firewire hard drive. You can then copy off anything you want onto another machine that's attached to it. I've done this with macs whose motherboard is seriously ill, but it nevertheless worked.

If you haven't got a Mac, I'm afraid i don't know what to do - take out the hard drive and connect it to another machine perhaps...
owlfish
Jun. 16th, 2006 11:08 am (UTC)
Thank you for the advice. It is a Mac. I haven't despaired of getting it back into working order on my own yet, since there are basic things I haven't yet done - resetting the PRAM (I have the screwdrivers handy) being foremost among those. Also, since data retrieval is now my priority, I'll do that before diagnostics.

A complication is that now - based on two tries - I can't reboot immediately after forcing off. I just get the beep-of-death and no response. It needs some spin-down or cool-down time first, which means I have to take this all slowly.
purplecthulhu
Jun. 16th, 2006 11:16 am (UTC)
Do you have a spare Mac handy and a firewire cable, so that you can at least back your data up before going further?

You may want to try booting into target mode even without another machine being available just so that you can prove that you can, which will give a bit of extra confidence...
owlfish
Jun. 16th, 2006 11:36 am (UTC)
My data's all safely backed up now and the system hasn't hung again - yet. We'll see... I don't have another Mac in house - the other machine is linux, but at least I can work with that if necessary since it can handle HFS+.
pittenweem
Jun. 16th, 2006 01:16 pm (UTC)
Oh no! My bad luck with computers has spread to you. I'm so sorry!
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )