Archives for : December2008

PC ER: Operating system not found.

This is one of the worst kind of error messages you can receive. Typically, however, one can conclude that either the hard drive is not functioning properly, the BIOS cannot detect the hard drive — or — if you’re really lucky, it’s a simple, dumb mistake like leaving a USB flash drive in the computer and the BIOS is attempting to boot from it or the wrong HDD has the priority for boot. That can easily cause the operating system not found error message.

The system that we’re talking about here is an old Dell Dimension from the Windows98 era. This particular computer had been used by various people over the years as a gaming,, Internet and mostly email station. It had never been opened before, so it surely had tons of dust from the 90’s in there.

Because the system has functioned without any hardware failures over the past decade, I immediately assumed the hard drive had finally come to it’s natural end and crashed once and for all.

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DOS: Bypassing the Cyclic Redundancy Check (and other) Errors

I was terribly busy working on a case this week. Many of the documents in the case were scanned in .TIF (also known as TIFF, Tagged Image File Format) format. So, browsing through the documents in this manner proved terribly inefficient and I didn’t have enough time to look into third party programs that might help me look through .TIF files faster. So, my solution was simple: I would take the CD full of sequentially numbered .TIF files and create a PDF out of them.

As I begun adding blocks of .TIF files to Adobe Acrobat, near the end of the disc, in the 6000’s, Acrobat would freeze up and hang and eventually result in a crash unless I ejected the disc. My assumption, was that certain files on the disc were corrupted either due to scratches or aluminum erosion/decay (they are very old discs).

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How-To Transfer Data From Old Laptops

To be clear, this is really just a brief overview of how to take out a typical laptop HDD (hard disk drive) and then plug it into a desktop system in order to retrieve the contents. This happens frequently. Old laptops give out in one way or another, sometimes it’s the display, the PSU (power supply unit) or the motherboard. Whatever it is, after a certain number of years it typically costs less than the cost of a new computer altogether. Unfortunate and wasteful, yes, but that’s the reality.

When the laptop “dies” or doesn’t boot up, if you’re lucky, the HDD has suffered no mechanical failure and is just fine, even if somehow Windows won’t load (like an NTLDR missing error, for example). Chances are, your data will be just fine and the fastest possible way to get the data off is to simply take the drive out and deal with it at the source.

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