I have some out of town clients, which always presents a problem in that you never know if you have all the necessary tools with you when you work on a fairly distant computer, and in this case there was no Fry’s nearby to bail me out if I did not have something needed. Also in this case the clients can sometimes can be difficult to work for, and that is who’s hard drive was beginning to fail. When sectors on a hard drive become bad, Windows moves the data to an unused sector of the drive and marks the bad sector as such in a table that keeps track of the data. When that happens too many times, the drive is labeled as bad, even though the computer may still work. This is what happened to this client, every time they turned on their computer, they received an ominous message similar to this one just after the Dell splash screen, “Notice – HD self monitoring system has reported that a parameter has exceeded its normal operating range. Dell recommends that you back up your data regularly. A parameter out of range may or may not indicate a potential Hard Drive Crash …Press F1 to continue , F2 to enter setup”. I ran a program called Crystal Disk Info and it too reported that there were problems with the disk. I decided to replace the disk, but that entails a new set of issues. Most computer manufacturers today do not furnish Windows operating system CD’s or DVD’s, but have a partition on the hard drive with similar functionality. But if that drive itself is the issue, then that doesn’t help with a hard drive going bad, since you would have no CD to reinstall the operating system on a new hard drive. I decided to try and clone the old drive to a new hard drive, and see what happens. I was afraid that the cloning would just copy the bad sectors to the new drive, and not solve the problem. I purchased a new Western Digital Hard Drive, 1 terabyte in size , which was twice the size of the old one, and used a copy of Acronis True Image for Western Digital to do the cloning. I did have to purchase a new data cable, but there was already an extra power connector for the new one. (Note to Dell: if you have extra power connectors you should also have extra data connectors since you have to use both). I connected the new drive, booted up the computer to the optical drive and Acronis True Image and it’s operating system, and ran the cloning program. It seemed to run without issues. I disconnected the old drive only, leaving the new one connected and rebooted. The computer booted fine, no error message, and Crystal Disk Info did not report any issues with the new drive. All programs seemed to work fine, and my clients were happy, which made me happy too. Oh, by the way, those clients are my parents.
After much prodding from others I have finally decided to update the site, and will be adding content as quickly as I can. Please check back at your convenience as I try to make the site more interactive and meaningful to all.