)#*% computer!

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by McFortner, Nov 29, 2002.

  1. McFortner

    McFortner Member

    Our desktop computer was having some problems, so I flashed the bios thinking that would fix it. The flash program worked and I rebooted the computer. Guess what? It refuses to do anything now. :eek: :mad: :(

    Now I am deep #)%* with my spouse because her resume is on it while she is job hunting. Any idea what I can do? It was only a 233MHz P2, but it worked more than adequately for us.

    Now I am lliving in the doghouse and might have to sell some trains to fix this one or get another.....:( :( :( :( :( :(

  2. spitfire

    spitfire Active Member

    Hi McFortner

    Sounds like you're on a PC :(

    I'm a mac user myself (and ain't never hoida flashin' a bios) but I would reccommend the following steps:

    (1) find tech-savvy dude at computer service establishment who doesn't make you feel like a moron

    (2) explain that no matter what else happens you have to get the data off the hard drive

    (3) hint around that you're thinking of upgrading your system anyway, but that you have to get at least that resumé (see 2)

    (4) inform lovely wife that you're taking care of it

    (5) if data recovery successful, proceed. If data recovery unsuccessful, buy lovely wife new computer.

    Just remember - it's only money.
    Good luck!

    :p Val
  3. tomfassett

    tomfassett Member

    Can you boot from a floppy disk? You may have changed the settings in the bios to look for a different drive to boot from. You may have also "removed" the hard drive from the bios settings, which would mean the computer would no longer see it. If it is an older computer, it may not have an auto detect feature to recognize the hard drive.
    BTW, unless you re-formatted the hard drive, all the info should still be there and you may still be able to back it up before proceeding to get the operating system back up. See if you can boot from a floppy into DOS and then see if the C drive is still "installed" by typing in " DIR C:\ " If you see a list of files, the C drive is still formatted and you should be able to back up important files before you start monkeying around trying to fix the blasted thing...:p

    Tom F
  4. msh

    msh Member

    Tom's right on all points. Unless you've toasted the bios altogether, which means..... :mad: :eek:

    Do what Tom says - if you can get it to boot with a floppy and the drive isn't visible DON'T PANIC. Once you've been able to boot, shut down and open the case. You need to get a look at your hard drive itself since its label most likely shows the settings your machine's bios will need to know in order to allow it to work. Specifically, the number of heads, cylinders and sectors that make up the drive's structure. Since the PC is an older 233, your bios may not be able to auto-detect that information A "custom" or "user-defined" CMOS drive type may ask for a numerical value for the Write Precompensation cylinder and for the Landing Zone cylinder. Modern drives do not require Write Precomp or Landing Zone because they are auto-parking. A basic rule of thumb is to add 1 to the cylinder value being used. As an example, if cylinders equaled 640, then both Write Precomp and Landing Zone would be entered as 641. Some BIOS will convert this to 65535 or -1, which are functionally equivalent to "none (not used)".

    If your drive is larger than 8.4 Gb, you will have a disk that came with it that allows an older bios to see and use the drive. You may need to probably re-run that utility depending on the drive manufacturer.

    My final word - since you have access to a PC and if you know your manufacturer go to their website and search for answers specific to your machine. You never know.

    Good Luck!!!
  5. eightyeightfan1

    eightyeightfan1 Now I'm AMP'd

    O.K....Afer reading all that, Now I'm confused.....
    Once you get it fixed, or a new computer, a good word of advice. Never save important documents(such as resumes) to the hard drive. Just in case it happens again.
    Good luck............
  6. shamus

    shamus Registered Member

    Hi Michael,

    Could you let me know what part does not work anymore ?
    is it :-

    1) PC refuses to show any info on screen when you turn it on

    2) You get some info but the PC halts just before it starts to load Windows

    3) Windows stops loading half way through.


  7. TR-Flyer

    TR-Flyer Member

    Doncha jus' luv computas? The only good description i ever heard of them that truly fits is that they are "dumb f--k genius machines". This was explained to me as meaning, “they don't know nuthin, but they shore is smart!” I think grammatically this is backwards but you probably see the point.

    I just went through a hard drive meltdown at work. The best advise i can give everyone, is buy a CD-read/write drive and burn a copy of your important stuff on a RW disk each week. If it's your business machine do it every day. This is something IT managers have told us to do for years and I’m sure you’ve all been told this as well. But I hadn’t done it for the past 6 months or so, “too busy”, so of course I lost 6 months of email, handy forms, spreadsheets, letters and etceteras when my drive went down. The irony is that the drive died while our computer geek was trying to make a mirror of it prior to reformatting. I didn’t make a backup of it the night before because I knew he was going to do one the following day before he did anything else……….sigh…..who knew?

    Well, the gods of PC mania knew! So, back your stuff up boys and girls.

    On a more helpful note, if you REALLY need the information on the drive, I have the address of a place in California that recovers information off of dead hard drives. They are currently batting .667 on drives that we have sent them over the years. I’ll be happy to send it to you on Monday when I go back to the office, just let me know.

    Oh, one bright spot from my current downcycle in the ol’ yin/yang o’ life. I’ve been using a PDA for about 8 months and I sync it with both my work and home computers each day. Didn’t loose any of my 1224 addresses, task lists or calendar information. If only I could get my favorites list to properly transfer! Have to rebuild that from scratch.

    Good luck,
  8. rockislandmike

    rockislandmike Active Member

    All of my train files (and resume too) are on both my work computer and home computer. I also periodically back all my personal documents at home onto a CD. I've been around computers long around to know that I don't trust them farther than I can throw them. And I can't throw them very far, they're kinda bulky.
  9. davidstrains

    davidstrains Active Member

    Ted, and all,

    I wholehearted agree on the cd backup routine. And even if you don't use a cd there are the standard 1.44mb floppies and Zip disks that can make life much less traumatic when that computer does crap out (and it will!!!).

    CD-RW drives are getting less expensive and the CD's themselves are cheap too. And if one goes bad you can use it as a small manual turntable:D

    All kidding aside, for as long as there have been computers, there has been a need for the proper back up of important, critical files. That will never change regardless of the technology. A weekly backup should be the rule for most users, and as Ted described above at least DAILY for a business user.

    Good luck on your restoral effort, Michael.
  10. McFortner

    McFortner Member

    It is #1. Nothing happens at all. The drives try to spin up, but apparently the bios sees nothing. I can't boot off of the floppy either. Fortuantely, I can remove the hd, but it was formatted in NTFS while my sons computer is an old(er) Win 98 machine.

    Things are not looking good for me I guess.... :(

    At least the data is still there. But my CD-RW is on that machine. And I thought my wife had already backed up her latest resume. *grumble* That is what I get for thinking.... ;)

  11. Topo

    Topo Member

    Hello, Michael

    Probably you already have done this, but only asking: Have you intented to enter the BIOS setup (hitting the "del" key) when the computer try to boot?

    Sometimes, whith failing bootings and the screen don't showing any message, you still can enter 'blind' to the BIOS setup and try to fix the things up (if there are any thing to fix).
  12. McFortner

    McFortner Member

    Yep, I've tried holding down the delete key when I turn it on and nothing happens. I think I may have fried the little puppy this time.... :eek: :eek: :( :( :(

    Now how am I gonna afford a new(er) computer? (see my first post ref $ situation.)

  13. TR-Flyer

    TR-Flyer Member

    Hi Michael:
    Don't slip the gearbox into dispair yet. You may yet be able to drive ‘er out o’ the ditch.

    NTFS is used on PCs running XT and NT (maybe other op systems as well but i know both of these use it) Take your hard drive to a buddy that is running either of these. Lots of new home computers use XT and lots of businesses use NT. Our business has used NT since '98 because it is a relatively stabile platform upon which to run AutoCad and my wife’s newest PC came with XT, she claims it’s a mixed blessing but anything has got to be better than ’98, which is what this ‘puter uses. Anyway, you can plug your HD into their computer and try to recover the info. Then, find a local store that upgrades computers with, as Spitfire said earlier " a tech-savvy …. who doesn't make you feel like a moron". The big chain stores will not typically have this person. There, you may find the help you need to reboot the box and find out what’s causing the trouble.

    These places are typically less pricey than other options. Unless someone on this board can talk you through it. Also, try http://www.allexperts.com/ and see if someone there can get you up and running. There are other online boards as well with people more “in the know” than i.

    I wish I knew more to tell you but after I’ve had to learn APL, FORTRAN, CPM, MPM, Primos, Novell, DOS, Windows, Windows for Workgroups, windows 95, and NT over the last 20 years I’ve kinda fallen behind with ’98, ME, and XT. Mind you, I’m not even a computer programmer. I just want to design buildings and stuff.

    Ya know, I only had to learn to use a pencil one time….sigh.

    Good luck,
  14. justind

    justind Member

    Hello Michael, wish I could be of more help but the BIOS is not my field of study...

    Contact the original manufacturer of the BIOS if they are still around. Sometimes, such in the case of Packard Bell, the computer company is gone, but the company that wrote the BIOS is still supported. If you happened to have a Phoneix or Award BIOS, for example, their tech support could be a lot of help. If the BIOS is not fried, they could tell you how to reset it, if it is possible.

    Also, you can visit a local "hole in the wall" computer shop and sometimes they can give you free advice. If the BIOS is fried, you will have to replace the motherboard. If you are not interested in replacing the whole PC you should be able to pick up another board that will support an Intel P2 233mhz chip for cheap, especially somewhere like Ebay. Pulling the old board and dropping the new one in is probably not as complicated as people make it out to be...I would much rather build a PC from scratch than try and install a Decoder for instance.

    Anyway, drop the harddrive into a computer running NTFS as a slave drive (NT, 2000 or XP can do that) and copy off the files to get you out of the doghouse.:)
  15. Topo

    Topo Member


    As others have pointed, the safest way to recover the data would be to dismount the hard drive and install it in another computer running NT or XP.

    But maybe I have an slighty easier way: I have a DOS utility ("NTFSdos") that I have used in the past to read from DOS/Win31 partitions, another ones formatted with NTFS. I have never used it to access an slave hard drive, only partitions in the same drive, but I think that it would work.

    This way, you can try to install the NTFS hard drive in a plain DOS/Win31/Win95 computer and use NTFSdos from DOS for try to gain access to the NTFS drive. If yo give me your e-mail account, I can send you the 3 files of the utility compressed with WinZip (or without compression, at your will). It only 'weights' 35 Kb. compressed, and one of the three files is a readme.txt that will serve you as guidance to use the utility.

    Let me know if you want to give it a try.
  16. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    I would plug it into the 98 box as the only hard drive and see if it boots. If it won't boot, I would boot from an NT or XP boot floppy and try to do a copy command for the all important wife's gunna kill ya file. If you can copy the resume to a floppy, you can put the 98 box back together and read the floppy into it. Rotsa ruck.
  17. Freelancer

    Freelancer Member

    I think that someone else mentioned it, but all I can think of is to put the hard drive in some other computer, and make it the slave drive. The computer will boot up on its original drive and once in Windows you will be able to access the info from your other hard drive. Good luck, and be patient.
  18. McFortner

    McFortner Member


    Well, I found an inexpensive motherboard on ebay that the P2 would fit in, but unfortunately it is a Mini NLX motherboard and all I have is an ATX case.

    *sigh* :( :eek:

    So if anybody can help, please do so. My Spousal Overunit (S.O., aka wife) is getting antsy about getting her computer back up and running so she has something to do at home (I'm on my beat up laptop right now....)

  19. MCL_RDG

    MCL_RDG Member

    Perhaps the wrong spouse "flashed" the bios?

    I had this computer for quite a while. My friend mentions during a phone conversation that he's doing his "Windows Update". Well, I get the great idea to run "Windows Update". The 'puter runs slower, takes longer to boot, etc.

    Good luck with the new computer (when ya get one).

    Just a thought- perhaps the wrong spouse flashed the bios?:eek:

    Mark :)

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