Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Repair Your Own PC when Disaster Comes

What do you do when your expensive computer suddenly seems possessed? Whether it’s satanic software or a hard drive from hell, there are hundreds of vexing problems that can make it devilishly difficult to get anything done. Don’t call for an exorcist just yet guys. I’ll show you how to solve your computer that without explanation suddenly possessed, sickening slowdowns, and even revive a dead hard drive by popping it into a freezer. With a pinch of luck and a bit of skills. You can send those digital demons back to the abyss.

Possessed PC
Your PC has a will of its own: The cursor grows and shrinks; letters appear and disappear; and graphics look psychedelic.

Fix: When I see strange screen behavior, I immediately suspect the driver (a small program that works with Windows to control hardware) for my graphics card.
To isolate or eliminate your graphics driver as the culprit (my pal Steve will be happy to know that I'm about to give another software fix), install the Windows VGA graphics driver. Right-click the desktop and choose Properties, Settings, Advanced, Adapter.
If that cures the on-screen ills, download the latest version of your graphics card's driver from the vendor's Web site. If you can't find it, call the company's technical support staff.

Folder Freak-Out
Trouble: Some files and folders look like they've been translated into a Russian or any languages that unknown to you. Worse, one folder seems to have disappeared.

Fix: These trouble signs make my blood run cold, because they're indications of a dying hard disk. First, rescue critical data that hasn't been backed up by copying everything to another hard disk, a CD-RW disc, a Zip disk, or some other storage medium.
Then I recommend that you run the Windows Scandisk utility. Double-click My computer icon select Drive: C or D whatever drive you want to check. Right-click on the drive icon, select properties go to tool tab, look for Error checking label and finally click the “Check Now button”. By clicking the start button it will checks the hard disk for physical damage.
The hard disk may be approaching the end of its life and may need to be replaced.
If you can't back up your files--and it looks like more files are disappearing--you'll need to turn off the computer, remove the hard drive, and take it to data recovery service software if you have. If you don’t have a data recovery tool you can download it into the net.

Running on Empty Memory
Trouble: All of a sudden your system is running unusually slowly (oh! I hate that), crashing, and issuing Low Memory errors.

Fix: My first thought was: Invest in a new CPU and/or RAM upgrade. But don’t buy a new memory yet the idea of opening up a PC when there may be a less drastic way to fix things. For this problem, I agree. Windows XP users should have at least 128 MB of memory. If you run multiple applications at once, anything less than 128 MB will feel like computing in quicksand. If you already have plenty of RAM, then you have two other options: Beef up your PC's virtual memory and look for a memory leak. Virtual memory is a special file on the hard disk--often called a swap file--where the PC stores overflowing data that won't fit in RAM. Windows adjusts the size of the swap file as memory needs grow and shrink. But if the hard disk starts to run out of free space, the swap file may not be able to grow to the size it needs, and the machine will run sluggishly as a result. Either delete or remove files to make room on the hard drive. Or move the swap file to a partition or an additional hard disk that has available space. For Windows XP users, select Advanced, Performance Options, Settings. Then select “Let windows choose what’s best for my computer. The other option is to check for a memory leak. Sometimes software--because it's damaged or poorly designed--won't let go of its assigned memory when it's done using it. If you keep opening and closing the application, it gobbles up more memory until the system has no available RAM. Rebooting the machine can temporarily fix the problem by resetting your memory to its normal settings.

Water Rescue
There’s a typhoon and your computer caught in the flood and sinking like a sub underwater. It’s time to kiss your hardware goodbye. Or is it?

Fix: For desktop PCs caught in the flood, being plugged in and even with no more power-is enough to fry the motherboard the good news is many floods are accompanied by power outages that could spare your system. Open the device and expose the interior, remove the peripherals and gently shake out the water. Use a soft rag to clean off dirt or mud. Use distilled water—a gallon or more for PC, to thoroughly rinse components, particularly metallic leads and wired connectors. Distilled waters clean salts and minerals that slow down good connections. Use soft cloth to wipe the device dry and set it out for 24 hours in a dry, warm place. Apply electrical contact cleaner solution to clean the device and reconnect them. Replace power supply if it got soak and install a new CMOS battery. Also plan to replace spinning media drives if they got wet, they’ll probably fail soon.

Pesky Virus Attack
Trouble: Your PC might have a virus--and you're not running an antivirus utility.

Fix: Start panicking. (You'll do it even though there's no need yet; I always do the same.) Once you're calm and you have access to your browser and the Internet. Download a virus scanner utility. After downloading a copy of this small program onto your PC, anti-virus scans your computer's hard drive, finding and removing pesky viruses.
The best advice? Preventive maintenance "Keep Your PC Neat and Tidy" Always scan e-mail attachments and new downloads, back up your data at least weekly, and update your virus program often.

Get Files Back From the Dead
Trouble: You deleted a file and just realized that you need it for something.

Fix: Now you've done it. You were so sure you didn't want that file that you bypassed the Recycle Bin and permanently erased it by holding down the Shift key when you deleted it. Solution? Download a data recovery programs, it bring deleted files back from the dead--even if you've already formatted your drive.

Hard disk CPR
Your expensive drive died and went to heaven. How in the world can you retrieve your files?

Fix: You can download a Data recovery software on the internet to retrieve you files. It will just cost you some bucks. Though pricey but it’s effective. Another trick for copying data from a drive that won’t spin or read. Place in a Ziploc freezer bag and pop it into the freezer for an hour. Yah! Seriously. Cooling the disk can change the geometry of the head and platters. Use another hard disk and mirroring software like virtual ghost ready to make one shot transfer of your data contents. Still no luck? Here’s your final solution. Use a torx driver ( a screwdriver with a star shaped head) and remove the cover of your hard drive and then give the drive heads a nice gentle tap. Hook the drive to your system (of course with top off) and see if you can access the disk.