I can’t get my beloved desktop computer to boot up successfully!
It suddenly crashed in the middle of running Windows (version ME) normally. Suddenly lock up, then the Evil Blue Screen of Death.
Reboot, say I.
Spoke the computer: Error loading Windows Driver WMD32.VXD or something.
Reboot with system installation disc and onto ye olde DOS Prompt. Check the C: drive directory.
Zounds, I am cursed! Retry.
Holy Graphical User Interface! The sudden death knell of my beloved data! My shrine to Jennifer Love Hewitt, my short stories! My unfinished screenplays! My research for a detailed account of a Second World Two convoy! AAAGGHH!!! I NEVER BACKED UP MY DAMN FILES!!
What can I do? Is the data lost forever or can I salvage some of it? Please help me, I am abstracted by the loss, which is lessened only by my possession of a laptop which I using now.
Slave the drive to a system with a known good drive. If the drive will not come up as readable you can.
1: Try a disk fix it utility like Norton’s 2003. The risk here is that half the time (or more) the recovery procedure will not pull out any useful data and will scramble the drive structure beyond recovery
2: Data recovery services can usually recover most of the data on the drive if it has not been processed by Nortons etc. 500 - 1000 is a typical cost these days.
When I had catastrophic HD failure, I hooked the bad drive up to a working computer and moved my important files over, wiped the drive and reinstalled the OS and copied the files back, and all was well. Also once I took it to a computer repair person and they fixed it too, charged about $160 for that but it wasn’t a permament fix (that’s what I get for trying to upgrade OS rather than a clean reinstall). If the HD is so bad that not only can you not boot, but you can’t access files, you may have to contact a data recovery company. They can charge a lot but if you really need those files I bet they can get them.
Is the Win ME original to the system or is it an upgrade?
Weird as it sounds - I have had drives that my BIOS didn’t even detect on boot (and weren’t visible in windows) that were perfectly readable in Linux. If a friend has an alternate OS, you might be able to haul your HDD over there and give it a try.
There is also a recovery program called Tiramisu that my brother once used to retrieve files after a virus screwed his harddrive over.
Sounds totally bizzarre, but I’ve seen before that non-booting drives can be often successfully revived just long enough to read off the data by freezing them for a couple hours. A couple freeze/recover cycles may be needed.
Another trick that sounds like it shouldn;t make a difference is hooking it up as “slave” on another PC. (As opposed to plugging it in as master on the seoncdary (non-booting) IDE channel.)
Something similar happened to me. I just popped in my Windows XP boot CD and reinstalled XP. Once I had a clean install in (it didn’t mess up most of my directories), I swore and made backups that instant.
Just one “Hail Mary” I have used when all else seems to fail. Turn the system off for a few hours, power down, unplug it, the whole works. Sometimes it’s just a heat or static “thing”. If you didn’t hear any sounds like a shrieking little animal coming out of your system, the disk is probably OK, try some of the other excellent suggestions made in this thread.
I have XP Pro on my laptop. I am amazed at the stability of XP. After growing up with ALL the previous versions of Winders, I was getting used to rebooting my system every couple hours.
And finally, the horrifying old MS-DOS question: “Abort, Retry, Fail?”. I saw that prompt so many times that it eventually automatically triggered my hand to reach for the reboot button. I knew I was in a deadly embrace with MS-DOS and that no matter what I entered I would get the same reply: “Abort, Retry, Fail?”. I vowed one day to find the source code that generated that message and prove to myself once and for all the logic of that routine was:
It depends on your important files. Text and document files are still easy to burn onto CD. Savegame files are tiny. Email folders aren’t too horrendous. Usually crucially required files are the config files, which are conveniently tiny and easy to locate to backup.
Also, DVD burning is more common, that’s potentially 4Gb of space to put some of the mightier stuff on, like mp3s or videoclips.
You just have to take stock of what is really important to keep, and what is recoverable (with a bit of effort) without need of backup.
Well, my sincerest apologies to Gaudere, I guess her name just sounds, I dunno, masculine or something. My coworker was also expressing some concern over my gender assignment in my post as he was pretty sure she was a she as well.
Unless you regularly make changes to many terabytes’ worth of data, it isn’t difficult. Once you’ve backed up infrequently used files, you only need to back up the frequently used files every so often thereafter.