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Real head scratcher

Discussion in 'PC/Windows/Linux' started by Pa, Mar 23, 2007.

  1. On Feb. 28 I discovered that the 2nd disk drive in my old Dell 530 machine no longer appeared under "My Computer". I rebooted and it still wasn't there. My conclusion was that it had died (it was only about 2 years old).

    Since then I have spent quite a few hours trying to restore the lost files from backups. I have almost completed that task.

    This morning, to my surprise, I find that drive is up and running again.

    Has anyone ever heard of that happening? Is there any possible explanation other than a hardware failure?

    Needless to say, I will make sure I have copied all of the files while I have this window of opportunity!
  2. Looks like a window of opportunity all right - take it!
  3. Hi Jim,

    I've seen this behaviour when the BIOS backup battery is dying.

  4. Thanks for the info, Ronnie.

    So what should I do? Is that battery replaceable?

    The computer is about 5 years old. Seems a bit soon for that battery to die.
  5. RaceTripper


    Jan 6, 2007
    St. Louis
    I just had a LaCie 80GB portable USB drive die this week with my pictures from race week at 12 Hours of Sebring (and I didn't have backups because my laptop had failed and I couldn't create DVDs). I gave it a good angry smack, it woke up, and I copied all the files. Now the drive is on it's way back to Best Buy. I now have 2 Western Digital 120 GB portable drives I got from Newegg.
  6. Gale


    Jan 26, 2005
    Viera Fl
    Yes the battery is replaceable
    When changing whatever you don't break the little metal prong that holds it in.
    I did that one time
    Had to rest the bios every time i rebooted.
  7. RaceTripper


    Jan 6, 2007
    St. Louis
    At least you didn't have to input the bootstrap code in binary. 01100101001010011001001010100101010101001
  8. Gale


    Jan 26, 2005
    Viera Fl
  9. As others have said it's replaceable. The ones I've replaced have just been the large flat disc type (like a coin) and it will be somewhere on the motherboard.

    Mine was less than 5 years old when I had to replace it.

  10. Thanks all.

    Looks like I will need to attend to that ASAP. I guess as long as I don't reboot the computer I should be safe, right?

    Coincidences do happen. I have been depending on the Carbonite online backup service, so when this happened I just got in touch with them by email for help in restoring those files. They were having some problems with buggy firmware in some of their new disk drives, and it took them about 10 days to figure it out so I could start the restore. In the end, I was able to restore all of my files but one folder which had about 60 pictures in it.

    I got an e-mail from David Friend today apologizing for the loss. It turns out that it only affected four of their customers - yep, I was one. Now even those few lost files are restored. :smile:

    Carbonite did refund my subscription fee.
  11. PJohnP


    Feb 5, 2005
    Jim :

    Two things, both addressed already, but I'll offer some added thoughts.

    The CMOS battery thing should be attended to ASAP. It's not not just the HDs, but a plethora of other BIOS related user defined settings that can be affected.

    Before you change the battery, see if you can find a utility for the computer than will print out all of the existing BIOS settings in case you lose information. This will (hopefully) allow you to get everything back to normal quickly.

    That hard drive ? Once the battery is replaced, run some low level tests on the HD (usually available from the HD manufacturer). If there's any question, toss it.

    I've had several drives progressively die over the years, and every single time I've been optimistic about the drive, it's dropped dead. With the costs of large drives falling every day, there's precious little reason to try and keep a dying drive running once the data's been offloaded.

    As a matter of fact, I'm playing with a simple design for a multi-hard drive enclosure for back-ups right now, where the drives would be in a computer case with massive (and relatively quiet) cooling and connected to my primary desktop through a USB-2 connection. Purely for back-up, set-up just to allow for sequenced operations as necessary, and a box to enclose all of the drives as safely as possible.

    You can buy these systems, but I want something that's much better in terms of cooling (the primary cause for drive failure, IMO, is running the drives hot), runs quietly (I cannot abide loud systems), and is very immediately repairable by me because I designed it to be simple and inexpensive from a component basis.

    I still have a few things I'm pondering with this, but once I get those items settled, I'll post the concept.

    John P.
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