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Re: Crashed my darned computer again!

8/24/2004 2:28 PM
Re: Crashed my darned computer again!
I really am not satisifed with the performamce of any Windows systems, they are all full of bugs.  
I think we know how some bugs are proprietary, and there are a number of reasons for this, but I am not one of those to demand better.  
I usually just tell myself this is not bad considering it came from a dumpster.  
My main purpose for concentrating on Windows so far is primarily to recycle discarded hardware, and scrap Windows PC's are so ubiquitous.  
In my case the bug may be a proprietary one in the hard drive itself. There is a possibility that this is one of the early ones (it can't be that early, heck its 364Megs :)) where they didn't actually record the MBR magnetically but instead stored it on a chip, then the firmware directed the mainboard bios to the chip when it was looking for the mbr to boot to the drive. Supposed to be more reliable and also has a backup copy of the mbr which is accessed automatically if needed. Too bad it sucks. But I wouldn't expect modern drives to last a decade, they can't afford to make them as well as they did in the '90's. Not only is the chance of corruption due to lightning stikes a lot greater, but the mainboard itself can screw up the mbr if you have the HDD geometry wrong (which happens with some mainboards in AUTO IDE). All of this is precipitated by age, there might also be an electrolytic cap to maintain the mbr and it *may* be expiring as we speak. There may have also been a dependence on the mainboard battery, when that first gave out the mainboard reverted back to defaults and that was one of the false panics.  
Backup boys. I keep my important data off of C: but I do put the apps there along with the OS. This adds up to about 200MB :) Doesn't take long to format and xxcopy the full uncompressed 200mb back onto the C: drive when I need to.  
Plus when you need to write zeros to the whole drive, then fdisk, then format, then scandisk thoroughly before replacing a corrupt C: with the virgin files, you really begin to appreciate the advantage of a 364meg drive compared to those big ones like 1gig ;)  
Maybe this would be good advice for modern computing enthusiasts; treat your drives like they are all 10years old and about to crater at any moment.  
I do like the new large drives for storage, just need smaller ones for OS. Just this weekend I was able to access the whole 80GB of a Maxtor using W95b. Had to fdisk it with the Wme startup floppy, then partition it into 30gb-or-smaller volumes. Partition Magic 7 can be helpful if you want to be able to boot to the first few partitions, the bootable partitions should all start below the 8gb boundary. You can only put on 4 primary partitions but with PM7 any or all of them can be made bootable. Or for really big drives make the first 3 primary then the last (over 30gb) partition is extended. Then you can divide the extended into a number of additional <30gb volumes.