TECH # 19

My home computer had a stroke this week. No kidding. What I mean is, the hard drive developed bad areas. It’s hard to determine if bad areas on the hard drive are some sort of stealth, or hidden virus, or simply a worn out piece of hardware. Either will make files all over the place just up and disappear. Whatever the source of the problem, the solution begins with re-formatting the drive.

The biggest lesson to be shared with you is a theme I’ve covered here before. That is, backup! Part two of that concept is to be prepared. Before you try and re-format have some computer knowledgeable friends standing right behind you. Beside all the data you already have backed up you need what’s called an emergency boot disk. This must contain files needed by the computer to allow you to boot from the disk instead of your soon-to-be-empty hard drive. I learned the hard way, forgetting the file that tells the computer how to read the CD-rom. Of course since that was AFTER the re-format, I had to find it on another computer.

After a little common sense precaution, don’t be afraid to go forward. My wish is that you never have to see this on your screen: WARNING, ALL DATA ON NON-REMOVABLE DISK DRIVE C: WILL BE LOST. PROCEED WITH FORMAT(Y/N)? But if you do, remember that the first time is the hardest, and if I can do it you can too!

By the way, it was no virus. In the end the bad sectors reappeared. The hard drive is worn out, and needs to be replaced. Another time.