Growth depends on desire. You cannot grow without desiring it and then acting on that desire.
Posts Tagged ‘tech’
One of the most dreadful feelings that you can have is having a pc computer or laptop die that hadn’t been backed up recently; especially if you have valuable pictures, music, videos, documents or other files on it.
In this Tech Tip we’ll take a look at how to recover your valuable pictures from a dead computer.
Where to start
Computers are complex machines and when they work right, they are fun to use – but when something goes drastically wrong, it can feel as if your world crashed down around you. If your hard drive is still in working order, there is a very good chance that you’ll be able to recover your pictures, music, videos and valuable documents (and other data) simply with another computer; a specialized cable, a screwdriver; and a little time.
To start off, your best bet it to get a specialized USB cable that can plug directly into your hard drive that you’ll recover from the dead computer. There are several types, and I’d recommend getting one that can handle both PATA (IDE) and SATA hard drives (the two most common used in consumer computers) as well as 2.5” (laptop) and 3.5” (desktop) hard drives (Geeks.com sells several that run in the $13-16 range). You can also use a hard drive dock or external drive cases as well – but personally I find the specialized USB cable to be the easiest and most flexible option.
Next, remove the hard drive from the dead computer. On desktops it is usually held in with four Philips screwdrivers and on laptops it is usually under an access panel on the bottom of the computer. Remove any cables and caddies that the drive may have – all you need is the bare drive. Then plug in the USB cable into the hard drive (and a power cable if it is a desktop drive – also provided with the USB cable kit) and then plug the other end of the USB cable into a working computer. The computer will then set up the drive ad an external storage device and voilà! you’ll now have access to the files on that drive (provided that the drive is not encrypted or using some type of security feature).
Where to look
OK, so the drive is now plugged into your computer and seen as an external drive, now what? You have several options. One option is to simply look for the files on the drive from the dead computer that you plugged into the USB port and copy them onto the working computer. This is my preferred method personally. I like to “brute force” my way through the drive with Windows Explorer (or a similar file browsing tool) and manually copy/paste the data from one computer to the other. Another option is to follow a Windows dialog box (that usually pops up when you plug in an external drive) and have it help you copy your data from one computer to the other. If you are manually choosing to “brute force it” personal data is usually stored by default in the computers operating systems “home directory” for users.
for home directories (where <root> takes the place of the drive letter):
- Microsoft Windows 95-Me <root>My Documents
- Microsoft Windows 2000/XP/2003 <root>Documents and Settings<username>
- Microsoft Windows Vista / Windows 7 <root>Users<username>
Other “What ifs”
What if the files on the drives are erased? If they are, you can use a free recovery program such as Piriform’s Recuva to look for and (hopefully) restore the files. This simple, easy-to-use tool is terrific for recovering pictures from a camera’s memory card that have accidentally been erased as well!
What if the hard drive is the reason that the computer died (actual hardware failure)? If the hard drive is the part that caused the computer failure, then you may be out of luck. Yes, there are specialty recovery services that will pull apart the drives data platters and attempt to recover data (and they are usually successful – such services were used, for example, to recover data from the hard drives that were used on computers from the space shuttle Columbia after it broke apart in 2003) but such services are usually very expensive.
A word to the wise
Backup, backup, backup! Whether using one of the Internet based cloud services or a separate external hard drive – if you make it a habit of backing up regularly, chances are good that you’ll keep the loss of such a failure to a minimum if a computer fails. Of course one of the benefits of using cloud-based backup services is that you can have access to your pictures anywhere you have Internet access.
Summing it up
A computer that dies can be a loss – but don’t lose hope that your valuable pictures (and other stuff) are gone forever. With a little work, you can retrieve your data off the hard drives from a dead computer!
Oftentimes, users of Excel find they’d like to be able to import data from an external source such as a web page, this is particularly true of web sites that list stock information. What many people don’t know is that Excel does have a facility for doing just this.
To see how it works, open Excel to a new blank document, then click somewhere in your sheet to make it your current document, then click on the Data tab on the main ribbon
10.) Defrag the right way!
Defragmenting your hard drive the proper way can speed up your PC in addition to organizing your files. Some programs like Puran Defrag not only defrags your hard drive(s), it also defrags your boot files so your Windows start-ups are quicker. In addition, there are comprehensive programs like Raxco Perfect Disk that optimize the placement of data for maximum performance depending on the settings you choose.
While there are many ways to speed up your computer, the goal for these 10 speed tips are simplicity and ease of use. Yes, you can tinker with your Windows Registry files but if you make a mistake, you can crash Windows just like that! The most important thing to keep in mind is remembering to perform the above cleaning tasks every now and then. (At least once a month) Just like proactively keeping your car in good running condition (ahem, Skyline GT-R!) with timely maintenance, running these applications from time to time keeps your computer running in peak performance. Regardless of whether you have a dual-core, triple-core or quad-core CPU computer, you did pay for your computer’s performance so it makes sense to able to utilize all of it.
9.) Remove unnecessary programs in Windows
If you buy a computer from an OEM such as Dell or HP, it’s most-likely filled with “bloatware”, the programs that are usually trial but are installed with the OEM’s copy of Windows. While these programs are harmless, they get annoying because they slow your computer down considerably. You can either manually uninstall each program from CONTROL PANEL – ADD/REMOVE PROGRAMS, or you can download and install PC Decrapifier. This program searches your computer, targets the programs that are considered bloatware such as “Auto Backup – Free Trial!”, “McAfee 90-day Trial”, and “eMusic” and un-installs them to not only free up hard drive space, but also increase performance.
5.) Utilize Anti-Virus, Anti-Spyware and Anti-Malware programs
It’s not rocket science that if your computer is infected with a Trojan, botnet or other type of malicious infection, it can slow down your computer considerably. (And possibly compromise your IT security) Pick up a good anti-virus program like MS Security Essentials or AVG Antivirus if you fancy free versions. If you don’t want to have your system hijacked by a Trojan, pick up Malwarebytes’ Antimalware which can find and quickly eliminate programs such as “Avira AV” which auto-install and trick the unsuspecting victim that he/she is infected. (Then it will try to collect payment from “product activation” but it’s really just a hijacking program) Bottom line, your computer will run faster and much more efficient without these kinds of infections.
4.) More Computer Memory (RAM) Scotty!
Now is the time to buy RAM/Memory if your computer was built within the last 5 years. The prices of DDR2 and DDR3 RAM have gone down significantly so it would be in your best interest to pick up at least 1-2 GB on top of what you have now. More RAM means that the computer can do a better of job of booting up programs, delegating tasks and increase overall system performance. Check with your respective PC manufacturer to determine how much RAM you computer can accommodate.
3.) Upgrade your computers hard drive to a new/bigger/faster one!
Hard drives are getting faster, cheaper and bigger so pick up a new one! Whether your current one is old, sputtering on its last spindle rotation, or almost at full capacity, you can purchase a 500GB, 750GB or 1 Terabyte drive that has much more buffer cache, faster spindle speeds and can even consume less power! (eco-green models) Even if your current drive is working fine, a second hard drive is handy as a large dumping ground for files or can serve as a place to store back-up images of your current hard drive. If you don’t feel like cracking open your case, you can opt for an external hard drive and dump your archive files there to free up space. The reason is because as a hard drive gets full, its performance decreases because it has to work harder to access files.
2.) Use a free cleaning utility to clean out your system.
Free programs like C Cleaner delete old junk files, cached pages, temporary files and other unimportant data from your computer, thus freeing up your hard drive. If you’re looking for an all-in-one solution, Tune Up Utilities is an excellent program that can tackle all things cleaning-related so you don’t have to use multiple programs to clean your computer. C Cleaner also has a Windows Registry cleaning feature that can help clean out your registry for increased performance.