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Old September 5th, 2002, 07:24 AM   #1
PLucas
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Off topic - personal rant!!

I was asked the question “Do you have the program for this PLC?”

Answer “Yes, on one of my laptops”

Scene – Laptops being plugged in and booted up, I bugger off to get a cup of tea to drink while I search for this program.

I come back with my cup of tea and sit at my desk and start searching

After 30 minutes of frantically searching both laptop hard drives, deliver the answer “well I have not got the program on either of my laptops, but I should have it on my backup machine”. (Note: I went through the stages of religiously backing up all data twice a week, well at least I used to!)

Turn backup PC on, wait for BIOS to load then get the following message:

‘DISK BOOT FAILURE, INSERT SYSTEM DISK AND PRESS ENTER’

Oh Sh**, one hard drive gone to hard drive heaven and the bloody thing took all my data with it!!

Why oh why did we have to invent the bloody computer and PLC’s, things were much easier with relay logic (or were they?)

I feel a bit better now that I have got that off my chest.

So the question is when do we stop backing up back ups to prevent this sort of thing happening again!

Paul
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Old September 5th, 2002, 07:40 AM   #2
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Did you try inserting a bootable disk in drive A: and rebooting the machine. Your boot sector may be trashed but the information may still all be there. Just a thought. Good luck!
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Old September 5th, 2002, 07:45 AM   #3
PLucas
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fdasilva

yep! tried all that, tried auto searching for the drive in the bios, no joy, tried telling the bios what drive it is, still no joy!

I got to face up to the fact that I have a busy couple of weeks ahead of me re-backing up every bit of data that I can think of!

one major problem though, my back up PC was also my CAD terminal, so I have lost all my drawings!

Still to qoute those comic genius's 'Monty Python' 'always look on the bright side of life!'

Paul
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Old September 5th, 2002, 08:06 AM   #4
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I wouldnt give up the drive yet, I have a program that as long as the drive can physcially run...ie the motor/electronics are good then the data can be recovered...sometimes the boot sector repaired, depends.

The program I have is called Rescue 911, I bought it several years ago for many hundreds of dollars, these things are cheaper now. That program still is effective so I have not looked at other programs but they are out there.

Checkout http://www.download.com for had drive recovery software
Example: http://download.com.com/3000-2094-6730657.html

Wont hurt to try.
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Old September 5th, 2002, 08:11 AM   #5
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Thanks for that Ron,

But there might be a light at the end of the tunnel

I have just fitted a new hard drive into the PC and I was in the process of formatting the drive when the PC failed to read the CD rom, same EIDE controller as the dead drive, so I am hoping that means that the motherboard is on its way to motherboard heaven. I will know soon as I am just fitting a new motherboard as we speak, or write.

Paul
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Old September 5th, 2002, 09:25 AM   #6
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Don't know if you may have already tried this, but it sounds like you might have a loose cable (the one connecting from the motherboard to hard drive and usually CD).

If you've already checked this, sorry, and good luck!
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Old September 5th, 2002, 09:49 AM   #7
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Rob D

Yes I have checked all that.

I can now say for definate that it is a perished motherboard. I changed the motherboard for another that I happened to have in one of the drawers in my filing cabinet and as luck would have it that motherboard was totalled as well.

I eventually found a motherboard that works (hurray! heres to having plenty of spares lying around) Fitted the hard drive and low and behold.....

It would not boot up!!

Not a major problem, it's just Bill Gates (Non)operating system that is stuffed, I can read my data in DOS.

I have learnt a valuable lesson from this:-

Always back up your data, then back it up again, then again, then again...... Until you have so many back ups you are ready for any failure! (hard drive, CD writer, Zip drive, Tape drive, network server etc, etc)

Paul
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Old September 5th, 2002, 10:45 AM   #8
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In the days when most PC box's sat on your desk sideways (as of now, where most are under it) I once lost my temper playing a game and smote the desk very hard. In that one smack, I trashed the hard-drive.
That was an expensive mistake, both financially and in time restoring the data. I learned to back up on a media other than the PC that day too.
(FYI; I had nothing to lose as the hard drive would not work, so I opened the harddrive case and found one of the reading heads stuck in the middle island, like the old record players, I moved it with my hand back to the outer edge and it booted. It kept sticking and crashing, but bit by bit I got my data back and then threw the HD away)
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Old September 7th, 2002, 11:10 AM   #9
Terry Woods
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I have no confidence, what-so-ever, in this answer, but...

(This assumes that the problem really resides on the problem computer.)

It occurs to me that, if the hard-drive works at all, it might be possible to simply remove the hard-drive from the problem system and then simply install it into a known good system. The original drive on the known good system would still be the boot-drive. Once the good system boots then you could try to access files on the problem-drive.


My kids used to swap games with their friends all the time by bringing a hard-drive from one machine to the other and then moving files between the two drives.

I think... (working without tools here!) that the system automatically assigns a new drive letter to the added drive. This would mean that you probably could not run anything from the added drive... the added drive would still think of itself as Drive-C. Double-clicking on an executable on the added drive would make calls to Drive-C. The applications on the added system think that they reside on Drive-C, but of course, that would not be so.

There's also some stuff about Master/Slave to contend with. The Master/Slave relationship is configured by jumpers on the back of the hard-drive.

Any comments on this, Ron?
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Old September 8th, 2002, 12:40 PM   #10
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To prevent such a pain and because our facility has over 120
PLC's, every program is backed up in at least three locations and also
there is a printed copy in the "Program Library". The three locations are also in different buildings in case of fire. Quaterly we make a
copy of all the programs on CD and date the CD to be archived in case we need to look back at how we used to do it before those screwed up changes were made. Another swell idea is to keep a complete copy on CD-RW in your computer case. You can do an update once a month just in case someone made changes to a program that you didn't know about.
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Old September 8th, 2002, 02:00 PM   #11
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Quote:
I think... (working without tools here!) that the system automatically assigns a new drive letter to the added drive. This would mean that you probably could not run anything from the added drive... the added drive would still think of itself as Drive-C. Double-clicking on an executable on the added drive would make calls to Drive-C. The applications on the added system think that they reside on Drive-C, but of course, that would not be so.

There's also some stuff about Master/Slave to contend with. The Master/Slave relationship is configured by jumpers on the back of the hard-drive.

Any comments on this, Ron?
I missed this earlier but as an FYI you are close.

The computer (via bios) establishes what is installed, the boot drive normally by default will be C: and is normally the drive at the end of cable on the Primary IDE controller, but the rules are changing a little with newer technology. Now the hard drive can be in any position and be the boot drive IF there is no hard drive in front of it in the IDE sequence...ie Primary master..primary slave..secondary master...secondary slave. NOTE tho that DOS/Windows will always assign the drive that BOOTS as C: by default...A, B, C, are reserved for that purpose, any other drives attached can be assigned any drive letter.

This gets a little unique when dual booting with WinNT (2k or XP or Linux) because they can be on another drive BUT even tho they load from another drive the PRIMARY drive usually is the actual boot drive. Linux is another ballgame, you can use a floppy to boot it and/or set it to reside/boot from about anywhere. In windows you can change drive letters

Yes when using more than one drive on an IDE Channel they have to be configured to share the channel...ie Master/Slave or Cable select.

As far as games/applications go it depends on the software, some have to install files in windows...therefore if you were to move a drive from one computer to another then the program(s) may or may not work.

I have a tendency to duplicate computers when possible...ie make my laptop and home desktop look the same with the same programs. Naturally my wife and kids have things (games, music etc) that I have no need for but otherwise they are duplicates..every so often I sychronize them. That way my retained documents, email, updated or new programs etc are usually available. This is besides keeping floppies/CD, and hard copies of things like PLC code...ie work files.

I recently had the same problem with my home PC (actually its my kids), it wouldnt boot...motherboard bad. Got new board but still had issues...bought new (bigger) hard drive, didnt help (but wife is music freak so needed the bigger drive). The old system was in need of faster cpu so bought one, would not work at all...new motherboard was bad. CompUSA couldnt replace that board exact, so I got an ASUS that is wayyyyyy better. So now the system is clicking along at 1.3ghz with 1 gig ram and close to 100 gig of hard drive. Nothing fancy but serves my purpose.

At work I am setting up a desktop that I will coordinate/duplicate with the laptop I got from work. I will have 2 hard drives that will be exact copies in the desktop, have ordered a second drive for new laptop that I will duplicate. In this day with the drives being so large, its hard to make enough floppies/CD/even DVD disks orgranized to cover it all. This way I can use the desktop to sychronize/update BOTH laptop drives. Once setup the updates etc are simple/easy. The main issue is working with the activation files for some brands.

Another FYI: Things to consider about handling drives, if its dropped, bumped, hit with static, or near a magnet...you may have problems. Hard drives are still sensitive devices, so I would consider buying a cd burner or dvd burner if needed for the kids to do the game trade thing. I bought an external cd burner not too long ago for i think $129, internals you can find as low as $39. There are also digital tape drives that allow large amounts of data to be stored and the device acts like a drive...ie drag and drop capabilities.

OK I am done rambling.
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Old September 9th, 2002, 08:25 PM   #12
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I can't help you much getting out of your current situation but I once worked on a program all day and just as I was about to save it and go home the power goes out and I lose it all. I learned my lesson that day and I guess you learned yours. In similar manner to JDW's post here's how I get track of programs I'm responsible for: I keep a spreadsheet with each machine, program, version number and date. I keep three copies of each program, one on a laptop and two on diskettes, using winzip for the larger programs. I also have a plastic plate inside the cabinet of each machine inscribed with "This machine is running program: version: date: " and a grease pencil to write it down. Any program change, even a simple timer value change, is given a new version number, backup copies are made and a brief description of the change is recorded on the spreadsheet. There's never any question as to what program version is running and I think I'm more likely to get struck by lighting than lose all three program copies. I keep only the latest version on the laptop and put the diskettes in an archive cabinet when new versions are made. I know it takes a little more time to document things but in my mind it's well worth it.
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