I may have mentioned how many personal computers I have in my house at one time or another. I always say two but that isn’t correct. The netbook I had stashed away is also a laptop computer – a mini notebook computer. It even says notebook (not netbook) on the front of it. Well, the laptop computer I used daily died on me on Friday morning, the 30th of October. It didn’t actually die but it might as well have because the hard drive stopped working.
That was back in September, when I wrote about the hard disk repair. Hard disk, hard drive, whatever. Most people say hard drive. It doesn’t matter because it isn’t a solid-state drive.
I revived the hard drive with SpinRite, a piece of software I’ve had since at least 2007 (and I’m only guessing because my mind, it’s going, I can feel it). I knew it would eventually quit working again, but this time it was totally unexpected. The last time, the laptop computer started acting strange before it wouldn’t reboot. This time, it tried to reboot but couldn’t (again). I’ve run SpinRite on it for two days and it has barely made it past the first 15 heads. It’s probably a goner, but I made a stupid mistake and I want some files on it.
You see, I have all of my work going into my Google Drive folder. Oops, Google Drive was turned off for some reason. I don’t want to reconstruct the last four or five files I worked on but that’s probably what I’ll have to do. There are a couple of files I wanted to back up (other than those) and I thought I had, but I hadn’t. If, by some miracle I’m able to revive the hard drive, the first order of business is to get those files and back them up. I hope to replace the hard drive with a solid-state drive if I can afford one.
I’m now using my backup laptop computer, which is older than the one I was using before it died. I also revived an MSI Wind U100 mini laptop computer. I replaced the old, dead battery pack with a new and improved version in 2013 and I fixed a stuck key (the “6” key). I then updated the Windows XP on it with Windows XP SP4 Unofficial Final. I uninstalled most of the applications on it, leaving only what was necessary to use it as an audio jukebox. The first partition, with Windows XP on it, is only 20 gigabytes. The second partition is more than 100 gigabytes of free space, minus the 15-20 gigabytes of MP3 files on it. It can still connect to the net but I’ll only do that if I need to use it for something else.
So, I have two working computers and two dead ones. The laptop computer I’m using and the netbook are working. The other laptop computer and an old desktop computer are not. I haven’t touched the desktop computer since it started flaking out on me in 2013 and I can’t use the hard drive in it for anything but an external drive and I really don’t feel like messing with it.
I can still use the dead laptop computer if I boot up Linux Mint with a USB stick (I did that when I tried to reach the hard drive and failed) but I don’t need to use it since I have this one available.
I tried to install three different Linux distributions on the netbook, but the installs kept failing. I could run Puppy Linux from the USB stick but I prefer an installed operating system. In the end, I just made sure the Windows XP that came with it was as up-to-date as possible. I won’t be using that laptop computer for Internet-related activities unless it’s a last resort.
What a way to end October!
SpinRite worked its magic and I was able to boot into Windows again. I got the files I needed. I know the hard drive will crap out again, so I won’t be using that laptop computer until I replace the hard drive with either another hard drive or a solid-state drive. Again, that depends on what I can afford.
By: RT Cunningham
October 31, 2015
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