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Old 11-12-2009, 06:08 AM   #1 (permalink)
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when it comes to computers i am lost and the other night, my laptop froze and after selecting my computer to look for files it was not responding. i turned off the laptop and turned it bak on again .. BUT.. after turning back on all seemed fine, lights came on start up page began then halfway through loading the start page it froze and went to a completely black creen with just a flashing white dash in the top right corner!?!.. i tried again and again to turn on and off but still no joy the only thing it shows when starting is the option to press F9 OR F10 for boot something or other (like i said i am totally lacking in knowledge when it comes to computers ).. its also making whirring nosies and a ticking noise like the cd drive is whiring and griding? please help i am a uni student and all my work is on ther to be handed in in a week..
ps please talk in non computer terms asd i will struggle to understand sorry for inconviniance.. a panicked student!

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Old 11-12-2009, 07:29 AM   #2 (permalink)
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That being said...
Download ubuntu, burn it to a CD, put the CD in your laptop and press F9 or F10 (whichever it says at POST). You should see a list of bootable devices, change the one at the top to your CD drive and allow it to boot.


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Old 11-12-2009, 08:50 AM   #3 (permalink)
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For gods sake man, burn a CD of your documents once a month at least! You "normal users" and your lack of backups! I have a RAID 10 server storing all my files, redundancy!
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Old 11-12-2009, 10:15 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Sounds like your hard drive may be suffering from mechanical failure, or logical failure (data corruption for example). As suggested, one way to attempt to gain access to your data (on your laptop) is by booting into a different operating system (that is, an operating system not located on your dying hard drive). As kmote mentioned, you can boot into Ubuntu from an Ubuntu setup disc and try to access and backup your files there - instructions here: . It's fairly straightforward.

Another solution, would be to remove your hard drive from your laptop and connect it to another computer using a USB external 2.5" hard drive enclosure. This requires you to purchase or get hold of an external enclosure.

Yet another (but arguably unrecommended) solution you could try is to check for and repair any errors on the disk. This will fix any logical errors on the hard drive (data integrity for example) but it won't do anything for mechanical hard drive errors. The reason why this isn't recommended is because if mechanical failure exists on your hard drive, then checking the disk for logical errors may worsen it's condition, perhaps to the point where it fails completely. Nonetheless, you can can fix any errors on the disk by using a command line tool call CHKDSK. This can be done if you have a Windows XP setup disc at hand. On the disc is a recovery console you can boot into, and from there, you can run the command CHKDSK X: /R where X: is the volume letter for your Windows partition.

If you have Windows Vista installed, and have a Vista setup disc at hand, by booting into it you can try running 'Startup Repair' to scan for and fix certain problems on the system. Similarly with Windows XP, you can also run the CHKDSK X: /R command to check and repair errors on the disk (by entering 'Command Prompt' in the system recovery options on the Vista setup disc).

Some further advice. Most Universities will have student IT support. Check to see if your University has one. They may be able to assist you in gaining access to your data. Also consider submitting an extenuating circumstances form if you think this snafu has or will affect your ability to hand in your work on time, or contact your lecturer / personal tutor. As a last resort, you might also consider going to a computer repair shop to recover your data.

Whatever you do, remember that your main objective is to try and backup any important data from your hard drive. Don't let anyone bother with attempting to perform a non-destructive system recovery / system restore (i.e. re-installing the operating system files while keeping personal data on the hard drive intact) until you have managed to backup your data from the hard drive, because in the case of mechanical hard drive failure, it may worsen the condition. To add, non-destructive system recovery sometimes ends up deleting important data (hence why it's always advised to backup personal data beforehand, even on a healthy system).

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