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jethro's picture

A real bad day...

I did a really dumb thing.

Yesterday my backup failed, because of a device I/O error. I assumed (really badly) that the error was on the backup drive, and so proceeded to reformat it - losing all my backups in the process. My logic was that after I had reformated it I would try and run a fresh backup and if it failed again I would replace the disk.
It failed again, but this time I realised it was not the backup drive that was at fault, but one of the drives it was trying to backup.
I realised this because it was the drive that had all our music on it, and I was having trouble playing music, followed by even more trouble browsing the drive.
I should have been a bit smarter. This was the last of three disks that I bought all in one go from one shipment, same size and model, all 500GB Western Digital drives (I know, I know - WD are crap). The other two had failed within the last 3 months and been replaced. I just hadn't gotten around to transferring the data off this disk.

jethro's picture

Why I need a quad core PC

I am constantly running  a lot of applications, and am using the quad core and 2GB RAM that Vista will let me use (out of the 4GB installed) pretty heavily. I frequently see the cores drop into 80-90% use. RAM usage is often over 90%.

Right now I have running:


File Management


Windows Explorer (2 instances)


Internet Explorer 2 open tabs

Firefox 89 open tabs

Java game Settlers of Catan (playing a game with Judith and Miranda while eating lunch and working and writing this)

Particls - newsticker scrolling



MSN MEssenger - 2 conversation windows open

Yahoo Messenger



Lena's picture

Back up your data

Even novices know that you have to save your files so that they aren't lost and can be easily found. But what if you don't back up your files and all of a sudden your computer decides to go on strike. Windows Vista comes with a cool feature called the Backup and Restore Centre, which you'll find in the Start menu. The Backup and Restore Centre simplifies the whole process for you, with easy to follow prompts and allows you to decide whether to backup the whole computer or specific files.

It's a good idea t backup your computer when you first set it up that way if the computer ever stops completely you can potentially restore it using the initial entire computer backup.

For the rest of the time to back up the files that you use regularly follow these steps:

Lena's picture

The Search Machine - Registry Software Key Retrieval

You've got a legal copy, installed and activated. Then your machine goes and blows up on you and you have to install it again. Where's the product key? If your anything like me it probably went out in the rubbish some time ago.
The Magical Jelly Bean Keyfinder is a freeware utility that retrieves your Product Key (cd key) used to install windows from your registry. It has the options to copy the key to clipboard, save it to a text file, or print it for safekeeping. It works on Windows 95, 98, ME, 2000, XP, Server 2003, Windows Vista, Office XP, Office 2003, and Office 2007.

Source, Doug Klippert