Louis downloaded something and now he can't do anything when he boots up. Leo believes that the computer's hard drive is failing and that's what is causing the computer to stall on boot up. Especially considering it's an old XP machine. Given the issues Louis is having, it's unlikely from something that Louis installed. Leo says it's not really worth fixing.
Stana is having issues with her old Compaq Presario freezing frequently. She tried cooling it, and it helped for awhile, but it's freezing again. She updated her drivers, and when that didn't work, she uninstalled them. Now she can't even boot into Windows because it says it failed to install an update, and it's trying to revert back.
Alan inherited an IT job and the previous person didn't leave documentation on how to access the hard drives. He tried a password recovery tool, but it didn't help. Is there a way?
Leo says that passwords are crackable if he has physical access to the machine. LophtCrack is one such utility. PogoStick is a popular one with the chatroom. There's also KON-Boot, which is a Windows bypass tool.
Richard wants to know what the "meantime between failures" means. Leo says that it's the time that a hard drive will live, or the average life span of a hard drive. But Leo says it's pretty much a made up number. They take 1,000 hard drives and run them until a handful die. Then they extrapolate how long the hard drives could last. It's mostly meaningless. Google and Rackspace have both released studies and 98% will last about 2 years, 2% die in the first year, and then they die at about 4% per year. That's just based on their experience.
Frank has a Dell E520 with SATA hard drives running Windows 7. But his son has PC games that only run on XP. Leo says he'll need Windows 7 Ultimate or Pro to run them in XP mode. But he may be able to run in compatibility mode.
Dale is having issues with his Windows Vista PC where programs will just stop running. He gets a time out message that the program is not responding. Leo has a hunch that the program is just running really, really slow and it's likely the hard drive is getting flakey. Leo advises backing up the data and replacing the drive. Leo recommends going with a solid state hard drive. They're getting less expensive now and it'll be far faster. Then he can use a spinning drive for his data.
Chris needs a good external hard drive. Which one is best? Leo says it really doesn't matter. They've all been acquired. Western Digital, Seagate, it's all the same. Hard drives are a commodity. So Chris should get the one with the best price and features. Leo buys Western Digital, for what it's worth.
Tom is getting an error message on his Windows computer that his hard drive may be starting to die. Should be believe it? He just bought it. Leo says to always keep his hard drive backed up, but Leo says that over-relying on Windows can be a mistake. Most hard drives have a technology called SMART which can warn him of some errors. So yes, he should be concerned and always have a backup just in case.
William and his Dad built their own computer together. Leo says that's a great project to do together! But his hard drive crashed. He rebooted it and now he can't do anything with the OS. Leo says that it's best to wait. Don't reset because that'll cause the hard drive to spew data across the disk. That could cause the hard drive to become corrupt. Fortunately, William has a backup. So Leo recommends doing a deep, low level format and reinstall Windows. He could try running SpinRite, but that won't solve the corruption of the file system.