My tale of computer woes: why not to be fancy when your hardware is failing

As I indicated in a recent thread, my hard drive was dying. So I did some research and got a new one today. I had already backed up all of my important files (saves, documents, videos, music).

So obviously I just install the OS from my OEM disk, install programs as I use them, and copy things from the backup as they come up, right?

Not so fast, bucko! I did a clean OS install not two months ago! I don’t feel like going through all that “reinstall” crap again! So what do I do? I decide to use clonezilla to create a replica of my failing hard drive on my new one, that way I can get right back into it with no fuss! Fuck yeah!

So I run clonezilla and go out to the store to get food while it’s running. Come back, watch a few videos, and… oh, error splat. A sector is dead, clonezilla says it’s probably physical damage (well, at least I’m sure that hard drive was failing now), it says if I run it with -rescue enabled I can save it. Sure, let’s do it!

Well, I run it with -rescue, it takes about an hour and a half. Out of 800 million some odd blocks of data, only 6 were unreadable, score! I remove the old hard drive (well, it’s still in the bay, it’s just not connected to anything), boot it up. Yay! There’s a splash screen that says “loading windows” hellz yeah, no muss no fuss!

Wait… why did the computer shut down? Well, it turns out that after it clears the loading Windows screen it shuts down, if I try safe mode? It gets to after loading cbvd.sys and shuts down. Won’t even start startup recovery.

Okay, fine. I take out my OS disc and just wipe the disc and install Windows from scratch.

No, just kidding, that would be smart. Instead I run startup repair, I was thinking of just loading a recovery point (since they were on the old hard disk and worked fine), but it can’t find any. Well, okay, what does the great auto-repair say? Can’t repair? Corrupt registry? Well, fine, whatever, I use CCleaner, I have a backup. I figure out you cna launch regedit from the fix disc and import the old registry. Boot up, it runs checkdisk. Hurrah, just a little more and I’ll be fine.

Well, it runs for about an hour, for some reason most of the orphaned files were from Sins of a Solar Empire, I figured that’s as good a thing to lose as any, just a quick reinstall. Restart, splash screen… CRASH. Exact same as before.

No giving up! I have physics to do so I need my desktop because… well, I COULD use my laptop… but that’s no fun! Overall, there are several problems consecutively I won’t bore you with (first it decides that there’s no OS, fix that with searching the internet, no master boot record, fix that).

Corrupt registry, again, this time it’s more resilient, no matter what I do I can’t fix it. So I get an idea – I KNOW there were recovery points on my old hard drive, so I unplug my data hard drive and plug in the old hard drive along with the new one. Boot the recovery CD, use startup repair on the new drive and… it finds a recovery point on the old one and asks if it should use it. Yes!

Well, I do, and it boots! Not like, to the splash screen and crash, but I can get past the login screen to my desktop and everything. Yay! My background is the same. Yay! Steam works. Yay! Yahoo works. Hey, my display drivers are still functioning too! Curse couldn’t launch, nor could my remote backup service… oh well, some collateral damage is expected, I’ll just reinstall.

To make sure, I test some random videos and programs. Well, it looks like all my .AVIs act like they’re in fast forward no matter what player I use. Microsoft word gives an out of memory error (despite the task manager knowing I have about 10 free gigs of ram and My Computer knowing I have about 700GB free on the hard drive). Oh… kay.

Before I get to doing important things, I check to make sure at least the program I wanted to avoid re-downloading is working. Oh… nope. Hmm… well, it looks like a large random number of my Steam games fail. It will take forever to figure out what all I need to reinstall, it would be less guesswork and probably less time with…

a fresh…

OS install…


All in all, I’m installing Windows 7 now. Y’know, what I should have just done in the first place since all my data was backed up.

So yeah, I really should have chosen a time when my hardware WASN’T about to fail in the middle of midterms week to try and be fancy. But what’s the fun in that? That was 9 hours well spent learning a valuable lesson about the comparative painlessness of fresh installs.

Edit: Time wise and difficulty wise, this probably isn’t the WORST computer problem I’ve had, but it was probably by far the most annoying and stressful.

Congrats on fixing it eventually, though. At least you finally saw the light! :stuck_out_tongue:

I remember one time my primary monitor (I had 2 at the time) fubared, and I didn’t know the keyboard shortcuts to move windows to the other desktop (I do now, though–alt-spacebar ftw). I couldn’t get my task manager onto the visible monitor in order to change the monitor layout, so I couldn’t do anything (all of my windows popped up on the primary monitor, and my taskbar was over there too). What a nightmare for someone who’s tech-deficient!

my computer crashed right after i finished typing a huge paper…