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Old 04-08-2009, 06:18 PM   #1
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Even techies have shitty computers

So I'm on vacation in Alabama, and my computer is totally kaput. First it got really slow. Then, I was trying to import pictures into my photo editing app and it kept getting stuck and crashing on this one photo, so I tried to browse to the photo and windows explorer would crash. I did a hard shut down b/c then it "dirties" the disk and asks if I want to run a checkdisk, which I did. Except it never turned back on. It blue screens looking for my registry, yikes! So I spent all day using someone else's computer to download my Windows XP file, went to the store and bought a blank disk, burned a bootable disk, only for it to repeatedly tell me it doesn't recognize a hard drive. Now the hard drive is in the freezer - my last ditch effort. I'm mainly pissed b/c I loaded a ton of movies on my external drive and now can't watch them, and I have no way to upload, edit, and Flickr my photos which I'd been doing at the end of each day. Poo!

So you guys, even the techie people who fix laptops all day for a living have crappy laptops that they can't fix! Warranty peoples, here I come...if there weren't half a dozen other things already wrong with my computer (that I've been too lazy to fix) I'd just buy a new drive here and be back in business but I've got a scroll list of things I want fixed under warranty.
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Old 04-09-2009, 07:17 PM   #2
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Good luck Liesje. I've always followed your advice (that I could understand )
Wish I could return the favor.
Where in Alabama are you?
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Old 04-09-2009, 07:20 PM   #3
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So I'm on vacation in Alabama

Problem #1
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Old 04-12-2009, 10:13 PM   #4
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Gulf Shores, got back last night. I've taken over DH's old laptop and just ordered my new hard drive.
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Old 04-17-2009, 08:13 PM   #5
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My hard drive just crapped out on me this week, too.

Remember all the various problems I was having last summer with the pointer being all weird and then freezing on me? I still had them, but they were bearable. The end of last week, I kept getting blue screens, and it wouldn't boot. I've never been able to make recovery disks because once it got done burning the first disk, it'd never recognize the second one, so I couldn't continue. So, after pressing F-10 50 times to restore from the hard drive, that finally worked for me. It ran okay for another week, and then crashed again last night. I thought everything pointed to RAM, so I went out today and got 2 gigs to replace my 1 gig (running Vista). Came home and installed it, thinking I was quite clever, but then, it still wouldn't boot, all I got were more blue screens. Took everything back to the computer place, and they ran a diagnostic, and then called me over to look, and the monitor was all "Hard disk FAIL."

So, $99 for a 160 gig hard drive, which is sort of good because mine was only 80, and it was running out of space, and $90 for them to install it, put XP on it (goodbye Vista!) and reinstall the drivers, etc.

I had a lot of time to talk to the guy while he was running the diagnostic, and he confirmed what you told me, that as far as laptops go, Lenovo is the way to go. He said that Acers have the worst failure rate, Toshibas aren't far behind (said they used to make decent computers, but they're just shit now), HPs aren't far behind that (although he said that higher end HPs are slightly better than the low end), and that as far as sales go, all they sell is Lenovo. He said that they've sold around 300 over the past year or so, and of all those, only one has come back with a hardware issue, and that was just with a battery problem. So, I know what my next laptop will be. And, they start at $799, so that's not much more than you'd pay for a piece of unreliable crap made by Acer, Toshiba or HP.

And of course all this would happen at the end of the week, so now I'm stuck using my dinosaur desktop till Monday.
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Old 04-17-2009, 10:53 PM   #6
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So, I know what my next laptop will be.
*cough*Macbook*cough*
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Old 04-18-2009, 11:29 PM   #7
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I don't know, I've done plenty of Mac hard drive crashes as well.

Lenovo is good but their support is absolute shite. Takes forever to get anything done. That's what our school used to purchase and now we are using Dell Latitudes. We order and they ship same day, plus we don't have to talk to someone for 3 hours in broken English just to get a replacement keyboard or whatever.

My new drive never came so I checked the website and the order was voided for some reason. I also realized that my backup of my music must not have completed b/c I'm missing a huge chunk on my external so now I will have fun extracting that from the HP's dead hard drive.
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Old 04-19-2009, 02:27 PM   #8
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*cough*Macbook*cough*
Ha, I'm not quite ready to drink the koolaid yet, if I can get quality at half the price of a Mac, I'll take it.

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I don't know, I've done plenty of Mac hard drive crashes as well.

Lenovo is good but their support is absolute shite. Takes forever to get anything done. That's what our school used to purchase and now we are using Dell Latitudes. We order and they ship same day, plus we don't have to talk to someone for 3 hours in broken English just to get a replacement keyboard or whatever.

My new drive never came so I checked the website and the order was voided for some reason. I also realized that my backup of my music must not have completed b/c I'm missing a huge chunk on my external so now I will have fun extracting that from the HP's dead hard drive.
Huh. Another story the guy told me about a second repair that went through them for Lenovo was when a guy dropped the computer with the optical drive open, and it broke. He said that they sent it back, and Lenovo still fixed it free under the warranty. That sounded like going above and beyond to me. He didn't really say much about Dells, but from the little he said, I got the impression that, in his opinion, they were better than Acer/Toshiba/HP, but not quite as good as Lenovo.

Sorry you're having so much trouble with getting your part and recovering the data. Your order being voided for no reason reminds me of the hell we went through with my daughter's Toshiba, when they put our part on hold because they said we had to pay for the casing that the first warranty tech broke!

Also, back in Feb about a week before my warranty ran out, I called Acer to see about getting mine looked at for the myriad small problems I was having. Right off the bat, the guy told me that I had to pay $25 to ship it to them (wtf??) that they'd automatically format my drive, and that it would be 2 - 3 weeks before I'd get it back. Great service guys, thanks! At the time I figured it was only a RAM issue, so I decided to deal with it on my own.
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Old 04-19-2009, 02:35 PM   #9
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Ha, I'm not quite ready to drink the koolaid yet, if I can get quality at half the price of a Mac, I'll take it.
I used to feel that way too. Then I liberated myself.

Honestly I threw out 2 cheap Toshibas when they crapped out and the repairs made no sense (who would spend $400 on a 2 year old laptop that only cost $700...). My Mom has always used IBMs/Lenovos now and they are sturdy but they are also built like bricks and I put a lot of premium on weight/size/battery life, which not a single PC on the market can compete with the Macbook on.
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Old 04-22-2009, 10:46 AM   #10
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I finally called the TAP warranty people. Since I can't fix my hard drive (worked on it all day yesterday, luckily got the missing music and my bookmarks) and the order for my new one was cancelled I figured I might as well just get it done for free even if it takes 10 days. It's already been 10 days so whatever. They're sending me the box. They want everything shipped back, so hopefully that means a new/refurb will be coming back to me. This computer has issues with the hard drive, keyboard, optical drive, battery, and screen, lol.
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Old 04-22-2009, 01:52 PM   #11
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Hey Lies I'm curious how did the freezer trick work? I've got a drive that's been sitting dormant b/c I keep procrastinating working on it...but it has a ton of family stuff I'd love to rescue. All the rescue programs I've tried map it out to a 2TB drive (and it's only 500GB) Incidentally, something happened to a harddrive I got to replace that one..it stopped being recognized by XP and also went into this "2TB" mode. I had a flash of insight and decided to restore my computer to a day before the new drive failed to be recognized and voila, back it came. Ran a chkdsk and defrag and since then no problems. So my line of attack on the old drive was going to be putting it in the freezer and then restoring temporarily to way back when the drive still worked...quick time copy over all the files to the new drive (fingers crossed of course) and then do some maint on the old one and see if it couldn't be rescued. Sound about right?
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Old 04-22-2009, 02:01 PM   #12
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I used to feel that way too. Then I liberated myself.
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Old 04-22-2009, 02:02 PM   #13
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It didn't work this time, but this drive is not really one that's a good candidate. In my experience, the freezer trick works for me when I can hear something out of place (the drive makes a rhythmic clicking sound or sounds like its playing ping pong inside). It's worked a few times for me in these cases, I guess the logic is that it shrinks the parts and they pull back, then when it thaws they expand back into the correct position.

Yesterday I removed the drive and connected it to my PC at work. It let me access my files and copy the ones I forgot to get on my last backup to my external (some newer music and my bookmarks.html file for FireFox). I tried to run a checkdisk and it got about halfway through and errored out. Then I could no longer access anything on the drive, it was reading it as a RAW format rather than NTFS. I tried to format it but that kept freezing windows explorer. By then I had what I needed and didn't care if the drive got replaced, so I connected it on my Mac, and did the erase with a zero out and 7-pass write over of the data.
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Old 04-22-2009, 03:05 PM   #14
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I used to feel that way too. Then I liberated myself.

Honestly I threw out 2 cheap Toshibas when they crapped out and the repairs made no sense (who would spend $400 on a 2 year old laptop that only cost $700...). My Mom has always used IBMs/Lenovos now and they are sturdy but they are also built like bricks and I put a lot of premium on weight/size/battery life, which not a single PC on the market can compete with the Macbook on.
I used to have a couple of old Thinkpads way back in the day, bought them both used, they were my first laptops, so I know what you mean about them being solid, to the point of being unwieldy. In fact, one of them is still around, and other than being verrry slow and incapable of connecting to the internet, it pretty much still works.

I finally got a call this morning that mine is done. Went in to pick it up Monday and I was told that they still needed to get the drivers, the site they usually use was down. Also, it turned out that the RAM they sold me on Friday was bad, so they needed to put another stick in, but they had run out and wouldn't be going to their supplier till yesterday. I called mid afternoon yesterday, and the guy said they were still waiting on the RAM. I was pissed by this time, and so decided to stop in just before they closed. The guy still wasn't back with the RAM, and he wouldn't be getting back till after they closed. They knew I was mad. They called first thing this morning to say it was done. I've been going to this place for years, and they're usually much more reliable than this, but their excuses this time seemed lame.

Like I said earlier, the guy showed me the results of the hard drive test he'd done, and it said FAIL in huge letters. I don't know that much about hard drive failure, but now I'm wondering if the HD was fine, and if the problem was their bad RAM all along. Is it possible that bad RAM can give you a false failure on a hard drive test? I've looked it up, and many of the issues that I was having seem to point to both RAM and hard drive problems.


I'm getting my old HD back, and I'm going to pop it into an enclosure I already have for the old HD of a previous laptop, and I'm going to see if I can recover anything from it. I may have to try the freezer trick, too.
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Old 04-22-2009, 04:27 PM   #15
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I don't see why a RAM would give a false failure on a hard drive test, but it is possible both were bad and the hard drive was going bad without you knowing it. I see that a lot, blocks start to go bad here or there, then one day a block goes bad that contains the registry, or your user profile, and kaboom. Similar to what happened with mine. Worked fine for 2.5 years and within 5 minutes it went from fine to a paper weight.
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