The dreaded blue screen of death...

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The dreaded blue screen of death...

Post  Scorp on Fri Oct 16, 2009 8:09 pm

...has now befallen me. Evil or Very Mad

Desktop was being incredibly slow and just wasn't doing anything, so I chose to reboot by pressing the off button. Usually that isn't a problem, but this time it means when I load the machine, I don't get into Windows because of the blue screen of death, which tells me I have some kind of error:

***STOP: 0 x 00000024 (0 x 00190203, 0 x 86F6128, 0 x C0000102, 0 x 00000000).

I gather that basically Windows is having difficulties loading because of some hard drive error, but I'm clueless as how to resolve this. Hoping to get the repair man in asap, but does anyone have any ideas as to what this is and how easily resolvable it is?

PLEASE tell me that the solution won't involve wiping the hard drive because I haven't backed up my files since July. If I lose the files, then it's bye bye to a lot of files, in particular some really important ones in my giant Phantom folder which somehow managed to increase hugely in size over the summer... Crying or Very sad

I promise I'll back up more regularly next time if my desktop just starts behaving again! Work again, that's all I ask of yooooooooooooouuuuuuu...... Neutral

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Re: The dreaded blue screen of death...

Post  Mandrake on Fri Oct 16, 2009 9:02 pm

I've had that a few times.

It's probably the case that you wont be able to boot off that drive any more, but what you will very likely be able to do is to access the data on it if you can connect it to another computer.

One way to do this is to buy an "HDD External Caddy", which can externally house your drive and plugs into a USB port, letting you use it like a USB stick. It's pretty easy to get the HDD out of even a laptop- they are usually behind a single-screw panel on the bottom, or sometimes they can even slide straight out. Look for something like 3 concentric circles.

A Caddy is £30-40 from Maplins, PC World, etc in the UK. Make sure you get the right size/ type- might be best to take your HDD out first and take it with you. For laptop, you'll need 2.5" caddy, for desktop probably 3.5". Also, try to get one that supports both older IDE (PATA) and newer (SATA) formats- unless you know which kind of drive you have. Very likely SATA if it's a new computer.

You can use that to get the data off... It's probably not worth trying to repair the old disk, as they are so cheap to replace and failing once often means likely to fail again...

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Re: The dreaded blue screen of death...

Post  Paula74 on Fri Oct 16, 2009 9:39 pm

Mandrake, thanks for that tip. My old laptop no longer boots. I had back up *most* of my work, but there were a few things that were rather important that hadn't been backed up yet when the laptop died. I might look into getting one of those caddies to see if I can retrieve those files.

Scorp - best of luck!

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Re: The dreaded blue screen of death...

Post  Scorp on Sat Oct 17, 2009 11:04 am

Not looking good... it seems the hard disk (it's a desktop) is unreadable and corruptable. Surely there MUST be a way of getting the data off it somehow?

I won't die if I lose it all, but it's bye bye to a lot of important Leroux research I was doing over the summer if I do have to let it go. Damn it, and I was thinking of backing up last week and then didn't bother... Crying or Very sad Crying or Very sad

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Re: The dreaded blue screen of death...

Post  Mandrake on Sat Oct 17, 2009 3:04 pm

If a Caddy doesn't work, it probably means there's something mechanically wrong with the disk (but do try a Caddy if you haven't yet)- I wouldn't automatically trust the opinion of a support engineer as these guys tend to be pathologically averse to admitting ignorance and will generally present their opinions as facts as an alternative.

The next step would be to send the disk away to a recovery agency (like http://www.rapid-data.net/ or google "Data Recovery")... But this can be an expensive process. They claim prices "starting" from £97, but they do offer a free quote. I guess you'd be looking at £100-200 for actual recovery, so depends how much you want the data back!

As I say, it's highly unlikely that the entire disk is corrupt- probably only a tiny (but crucial) part, like boot sector.

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Re: The dreaded blue screen of death...

Post  Scorp on Sun Oct 18, 2009 9:48 am

Mandrake wrote:If a Caddy doesn't work, it probably means there's something mechanically wrong with the disk (but do try a Caddy if you haven't yet)

Mr Repairman removed the hard drive and we connected it to the USB port of my laptop to see if I could transfer the files -- I presume that this is what you're talking about? Alas, this didn't work -- I couldn't read the hard drive because I just got an error message saying it was corrupted and unnreadable.

Mandrake wrote:I wouldn't automatically trust the opinion of a support engineer as these guys tend to be pathologically averse to admitting ignorance and will generally present their opinions as facts as an alternative.

Yeah, I was thinking that too. It's just someone I got from the Yellow Pages. There surely must be a way... It's so random though because that comp was working fine for 3 and 1/2 years and then it suddenly decides to go all blue screeny. scratch

Mandrake wrote:The next step would be to send the disk away to a recovery agency (like http://www.rapid-data.net/ or google "Data Recovery")... But this can be an expensive process. They claim prices "starting" from £97, but they do offer a free quote. I guess you'd be looking at £100-200 for actual recovery, so depends how much you want the data back!

It would save me a lot of time and effort if I could get all the data back rather than trying to rebuild it all. I've only lost stuff that I put on the comp between July and now, but that includes a lot of things that are really worth having, inc. all my notes about a 'lost' chapter from Leroux's novel that I found in the manuscript and which, because I haven't had time to go through them, I can't remember anything of. I can't find out what's in that missing chapter without those or without going back to the BnF and doing it all again (which I suppose isn't too hard to do, my research card there is still valid I guess). I'm willing to pay to be honest to get it all back. Would they charge even if it's impossible? Or is there no such thing as "impossible", given that it's not as if I set the hard drive on fire or beat it up with a hammer or anything...

Mandrake wrote:As I say, it's highly unlikely that the entire disk is corrupt- probably only a tiny (but crucial) part, like boot sector.

Comforting words, thank you! My face yesterday was literally as a pale as death yesterday when the repairman gave up! What a Face

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Re: The dreaded blue screen of death...

Post  Mandrake on Mon Oct 19, 2009 10:04 pm

Yes... Unless something incredibly bad as happened, such as a spindle head breaking off and scratching around the platters of the disk (even then you wouldnt lose everything), all the data will still be there.

Since the Caddy hasn't worked (assuming the repair guy tried it correctly) you can probably assume there's something mechanically or electronically wrong with the non-data hardware inside the drive (such as the actuator arm that skims over the platters of the disk, or one of the control chips has fried, etc).

I've never actually had to use a company like http://www.rapid-data.net/ before (the Caddy always worked for me, many times) but according to their front page they will give you a free and fixed quote, a free list of all the recoverable data (e.g. files) on the disk and will recover all the data they promised to recover or there'll be no charge. They'll also tell you what went wrong with the disk too... So seems like it would be free to at least find out if your data can be recovered and you'll get a fixed quote for the recovery if you choose to go ahead.

They say it costs around £97; but that looks like something just to catch the eye. I'd imagine something between £100- £150 all in. About the price of a return on Eurostar to Paris but not quite so much fun!

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Re: The dreaded blue screen of death...

Post  operafantomet on Thu Oct 22, 2009 8:46 am

I have nothing to add, except I hope it'll turn out well! I don't want you to loose important research. Sad

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Re: The dreaded blue screen of death...

Post  Paula74 on Sat Nov 21, 2009 3:14 am

I just want to say a massive THANK YOU for the caddy suggestion - though they're called enclosures over here.

My laptop had a major failure last night. It can be repaired, but tech support said they'd only back up certain types of files before sending it back to the company. I was freaked out that I'd lost a lot of really important files...well, I insisted on taking a day or two to try an enclosure for my hard drive so I could see if my files were still there and move them to my partner's laptop or a storage drive until the laptop is repaired...and it's worked. I've been able to save everything.

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Re: The dreaded blue screen of death...

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