As of 04/02/2020
  Indus: 21,413 +469.93 +2.2%  
  Trans: 7,446 +93.13 +1.3%  
  Utils: 729 +21.32 +3.0%  
  Nasdaq: 7,487 +126.73 +1.7%  
  S&P 500: 2,527 +46.40 +1.9%  
YTD
-25.0%  
-31.7%  
-17.0%  
-16.6%  
-21.8%  
  Targets    Overview: 03/15/2020  
  Down arrow19,000 or 25,600 by 04/15/2020
  Down arrow6,700 or 9,000 by 04/15/2020
  Down arrow600 or 800 by 04/15/2020
  Down arrow7,000 or 8,400 by 04/15/2020
  Down arrow2,300 or 2,900 by 04/15/2020
CPI (updated daily): Arrows on 4/1/20
As of 04/02/2020
  Indus: 21,413 +469.93 +2.2%  
  Trans: 7,446 +93.13 +1.3%  
  Utils: 729 +21.32 +3.0%  
  Nasdaq: 7,487 +126.73 +1.7%  
  S&P 500: 2,527 +46.40 +1.9%  
YTD
-25.0%  
-31.7%  
-17.0%  
-16.6%  
-21.8%  
  Targets    Overview: 03/15/2020  
  Down arrow19,000 or 25,600 by 04/15/2020
  Down arrow6,700 or 9,000 by 04/15/2020
  Down arrow600 or 800 by 04/15/2020
  Down arrow7,000 or 8,400 by 04/15/2020
  Down arrow2,300 or 2,900 by 04/15/2020
CPI (updated daily): Arrows on 4/1/20

Bulkowski on Computer Crash

 

3/17/2020. I wrote the below article several years ago. Some of this information is dated. One of the things I do when my Windows XP machine crashes (which it does about once a year), is remove the memory chips and clean the contacts with a pencil erasure. After reinstalling, it fixes the problem. This happened recently when they repaved the road in front of my house. When the steamroller went by, it was like a small earthquake. I worried that stuff would fall from the shelves. A few days later, my computer started crashing. I cleaned the memory chips, made sure other chips and cables were seated, and it hasn't failed since.

This article discusses precautions you can take now, before your computer crashes, and what you can do after the crash to get it up and running.

 

Computer Crash: Introduction

When I powered up my Internet computer, it kept rebooting, unable to finish loading the operating system for some mysterious reason. How did I get it working and what steps can you take now to prepare for a computer crash? This page answers those questions. The following tips pertain to Windows XP and not Vista, but maybe they will work there, too, and with other versions of the Windows operating system.

Computer Crash: Steps to Take Before the Crash

First, let's discuss the various things you should do now, before the crash.

  1. Have a system backup available.

    I know, you have heard this a million times before. Backing up your system (I do it weekly) is easy. Go to Wal-Mart and buy yourself an external hard drive. For newer computers, it plugs into the USB port and the drive costs about $1 a gigabyte. Make sure that the drive is at least as large as the drive in your computer, otherwise, the information won't fit onto the new drive. The drive should have a firewire or USB cable to connect to your computer, and make sure your computer has one of those ports (firewire or USB) available.

    The drive should come with some type of backup software to run the thing. Both of my Seagate drives (80 GB and 120 GB) came with Bounceback Express. The Bounceback software will store your information onto the backup drive but you won't be able to boot up from it. Think of Bounceback Express as the amateur's variety of backup software. For the real stuff, you need to upgrade to Bounceback Pro or another version and buy their Rescue CD.

    The Rescue CD is suppose to copy the hard drive image from the external drive onto the internal drive. I say supposed to because when I needed it about a year ago, the $%^* thing did not work. I spent a week on the phone with the Bounceback people trying to figure out my problem, without luck. I finally just reformatted the hard drive and reinstalled the software. That process took a day, including the numerous patches applied to the Windows software.

    What I like about weekly backups and an external drive, is you disconnect them from the system and put them somewhere else in your house. Thus, if your computer catches fire, you still have a backup with your data ready to go. And the software will remind you to perform the weekly backup. If you need to look at a file you deleted or changed, then you can just plug in your backup drive, access the old version, and away you go. I've needed to do that many times. It is worth having even if you cannot boot from it or even if you cannot restore a dead drive from it.

  2. Google Docs

    Google.com has a free service (called Google Docs or Documents) where you can upload many different file types for sharing with others or not. In a pinch, it can serve as storage for your files. I have not used the service, but one who did said the only flaw is you can upload just one file at a time. Since the service is meant as a file sharing medium, it will not handle all file types, and I question the security of placing your documents on the web in such a manner.

  3. Norton Ghost

    A few readers of this information wrote and said that they use Norton Ghost as their backup software. According to the Symantec website that makes Norton products, it does everything that you would expect from backup software.

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  5. Scan your hard drive for errors or a corrupt operating system.

    Depending on the size and number of hard drives, this could take a long time (1/2 hour or longer for my 40gb drive).

    The system will check to see if your drive needs to be defragmented or not. Defrag it if necessary. Fragmentation occurs when the file you are saving is larger than the space available. The operating system splits the file into smaller pieces and saves the information where it can on your drive. Defragmenting the file glues the pieces back together and lays them down in space large enough to contain the entire file without splitting it up. After defragmenting, you may notice a quicker response time.

    After you reboot your computer, the system will begin scanning your drive. This is the same as running chkdsk /f in the old MSDOS days. Pay attention and look for errors. If you see back sectors appear as a warning message, then consider buying a new drive. You need not have to install it, but when errors appear, it has been my experience that the drive is about to stop working. You may have another 6 months before it dies completely

  6. Put down a system restore point.

    When you install new software, a restore point is automatically created. However, if your computer is working fine today, then you might want to note that with a restore point. If your computer runs into problems, you can restore your computer by selecting an earlier restore point. If you don't have a point to restore to, you're out of luck. So check to see if you have a recent restore point. This will be especially true if you use services.msc or msconfig.exe to turn off drivers. You may inadvertently turn off system restore.

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  8. Msconfig.exe and Services.msc
  9. These two programs do the same thing: they allow you to turn off software that you don't use. For example, if you have a computer without a printer, then why should you run the print spooler that controls printing? Turn it off. I don't use audio on my system, so I turned off Windows audio and only enable it when needed. About half the drivers that could be loaded on my system are turned off.

    How do you use the software tools? They are self explanatory but knowing which driver to turn off is complicated. Fortunately, there is a wonderful website that explains each driver: http://www.blackviper.com/. Click on the operating system and service configurations for your setup. He will tell you what services are needed and which are not.

    Make sure you write down your original settings before changing them. Otherwise, when you break something, you know what to turn back on. He also recommends that you do not use msconfig.exe because it can turn off all sorts of things. Use services.msc instead. I use msconfig.exe to check the startup sequence and to find out who is loading what. Adobe will put a driver that runs so it can check for updates. I don't care about their updates, so I turned it off using the Startup tab on msconfig. Want Java to run each time you power your computer even though it checks the website monthly? Kill it using msconfig. I only use msconfig to tweak the startup menu and not for services (another tab). I leave the other tabs alone, too. For services, I use services.msc. Before you turn off something, do an Internet search to find out what it is you're turning off (if it is not adequately covered by black viper or the unfriendly help message that appears when using the program and clicking on the service). Turning off DHCP Client on my machine takes down the Internet, for example. You can spend a day playing with services.msc, as I did, but it allows you to tune your system for performance. If you suspect that a program is running that should not be (like a virus), then use msconfig and look at the programs that load at startup. And DO be careful about what you turn off because you can really hose your system, according to black viper.

    Having said that, when my computer crashed, the help instructions said to use msconfig.exe to turn every service off. That surprised me. It made me wonder whether black viper really means services.msc instead of msconfig.exe. Services,msc has more services listed than does msconfig. You do not want to turn off all of the services using services.msc. Read and follow the help instructions for your computer.

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  10. Build your own rescue toolkit
  11. There is a free Linux based operating system that runs from CDROM. It can read and write to the Windows operating system, do a virus check, and get to the Internet as well as other utilities. When my Windows machine would not boot, I used it to get to the internet and check email. I downloaded the latest version today (Tuesday) and tried it. It works.

    The program is called Insert and you can find it at http://www.inside-security.de/insert_en.html but you will have to poke around for it. If you use this link, select the English files and download them. Those are INSERT-1.3.9b_en.iso and INSERT-1.3.9b_en.iso.md5. The en stands for English, so make sure you grab the right files. The files are about 60 mb total, so it can take a few minutes to download. Once you have them downloaded, double click on the INSERT-1.3.9b_en.iso file. When I did that, it started my CDROM burner program and burned the boot image onto the CDROM. Make sure you have a blank in the burner, ready to go...

    After burning the CDROM, if you want to use it, you need to change the boot sequence of your computer. On my Dell computer, I press F12 when instructed to. Then I select the CDROM drive. After that, the program loads with a "boot:" prompt. I just press enter and it starts configuring itself for your hardware. A page of instructions displays, giving you a brief overview.

    When you're done playing, you can right click on the background and you should be able to locate a stop/exit thingy somewhere (I am not sure about the sequence but you should be able to locate it easily enough. I found it in about 30 seconds). Select that and the system will unload, ask you to remove the CDROM and it will then turn the computer off. Be sure to change the boot sequence back to Normal or hard drive instead of the CDROM if you want to run Windows.

    I strongly recommend that you have this CDROM available. It allows you to access the Internet where maybe you can find answers to your boot problems. Since it allows you to burn CDROMS, you can save your data without loading Windows, too. How do you do that? I have no idea, so you will have to search for it.

  12. Keep your CDs in a fire safe.

    You can buy a fire safe at Wal-Mart for about $50 or so. Make sure it is rated to protect CDROMs. It probably will NOT protect your floppies, so consider burning any important floppy information onto a CD. Then put your safe in a safe place, away from your computers. And keep in mind that during a fire, the contents will get hot. If you have anything that will melt covering the CDs, that could damage them. For example, I had my CDs in plastic bags so I could keep the disks from my computers separate. I removed the plastic bags and now have paper covering the CDs along with rubber bands. If the rubber bands melt, it should not damage the disks...I hope.

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Computer Crash: After the Crash

When my computer crashed, I felt as if I was stranded alone on some road somewhere without a cell phone. I felt not panic, but helplessness. You have to push past the feeling and try to rescue your machine. Here are some things to try.

-- Thomas Bulkowski

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See Also

 

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