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Archives for : PC ER

PC ER: Downgrading Windows on an ASUS U47A

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It’s worse than I thought.

The new ASUS U47A comes with a whole host of “security” features to prevent downgrading of the operating system, Windows 8.

This particular U47A system was purchased in preparation for a federal criminal trial in Las Vegas in which I will be relying heavily on the system to serve up dense amounts of information. I learned my lesson from my last case to not rely on Windows 8 (more on that later), so, downgrading was part of the plan all along. ASUS’ position that “No,downgrading from Windows 8 to Windows 7 is not an option,” was unacceptable for me.

 

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PC ER: Recovering a Corrupted Partition with GetDataBack (Review)

Imagine you’re trying to merge two partitions together using a utility like GParted from a live CD and everything is humming along nicely until the power gets cut. Once the power permanently interrupted the merge, Windows would no longer boot, and all of the important data on the drive was inaccessible. At the time I was performing this recovery, I was short on time and had to relocate. I had a quick flash of what had to occur in order to be able to recover every last bit of data from the laptop. I would need an SATA/IDE to USB adapter; a screwdriver; a few bootable CDs (such as Acronis Disk Director bootable disc); and a large external HDD to store the data that would be recovered.

This time around, I decided I’d go with Runtime Software’s GetDataBack (NTFS) because I have had such dismal results with other recovery suites such as Stellar Phoenix Windows Data Recovery and a few others that I probably shouldn’t mention. After futzing around with trying to set up a remote connection using GetDataBack’s HDHost, I realized it wouldn’t work since I couldn’t even boot into even the most basic of Windows, nor would I want to, since it could conceivably corrupt the data on the disc even further. So I did it the old fashioned way, as I mentioned in my post entitled, How to Recover Data From Old Laptops, I took the drive out using my toolkit and plugged it directly into my spare laptop.

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PC ER: Blue Flash Followed by Restart in Endless Loop

Symptoms:

System attempts to load the Windows XP operating system, cuts to black and very quickly flashes a blue screen full of text and reboots in an endless loop. Due to the brief stint of the blue screen, no specific identifiable error messages are retrievable.

Hypothesis:

The system is attempting to display a “stop” error message, commonly referred to as a BSOD (“Blue Screen Of Death”) due to the frequent occurrances of them in the legacy versions of Microsoft Windows. However, because there is a setting in WindowsXP which allows it to “automatically restart” after a catastrophic error, it becomes impossible to read the “stop” error. The BIOS may need updating (as indicated by other issues, such as the need to “start” the computer twice. The hard disk may have a corrupted cluster/sector in a critical area containing Windows system information. If the hard disk checks out fine, then the system memory may have a corrupted area causing a data mismatch and thus needs to be checked.

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PC ER: How-To Recover Data from a Damaged SD Card

Situation:

2GB SD card no longer registers as ‘visible’ to the digital camera and is barely readable within the Vista OS.

Potential Loss:

~1.5GB worth of photos and videos of Hong Kong.

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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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