All the stuff you didn't know (Part 1)

5/5/2012 9:12:19 AM

We patiently tend another crop of your technical questions, before mercilessly scything them down.

The six categories of all human misery key

IUTWANID: It Used To Work And Now It Doesn't.

IGAEM: I Get An Error Message.

IMRTIUTB: It's More Rubbish Than It used To Be.

RATH:       Randomly, A Thing Happens.

ICDNT: I Can't Do the New Thing.

IKBTL:      I Know Better Than Luis.


ICDNT - Five Fish for Lunch


Is there any way I can use a PCI graphics card in an AGP slot - maybe something like a converter? And can you please tell me why I can't seem to load Windows XP on a hard drive? It sets up but loads all files, says reboot in 15 seconds and takes forever. Plez help!

I can’t begin to tell you how unlikely you are to get your question answered if you use words like‘plez'. Well, actually, since I have just begun to tell you, I guess it wasn’t as hard as I thought. I see 'plez' but I read 'idiot' and my hand is dragging your email to the trash without any conscious volition. That I took pity on you BO minutes later, dragged your email out and smoothed out the digital crumples, is nothing short of a miracle. This is a problem because it means that you have already used up your miracle for this month and plugging a PCI graphics card (let alone a PCIe card) into an AGP slot would require at least another miracle. They are different slots and need different cards. There is an adaptor: it's called an AGPgraphics card.

For your third and final miracle, you want me to tell you why XP won't install, based on no more information than the fact that it won't install. It could be because the master boot record on your hard disk is corrupted, or there's a problem detecting some of your hardware. But it's probably whatever graphics card you are trying to replace with a PCI one. Try a different one or use the onboard graphics chip if you have one.

And no, I am not turning that water into wine, or anything else.

Description: How to get into IT - take break it, fix it and eat

How to get into IT - take break it, fix it and eat


RATH - Driving Into Fog

I have two SATA drives that keep on disappearing. I have three drives in my PC: a 1TB Samsung for Windows (C:), a 1TB Samsung for Steam, Origin and other games (H:) and a 500GB Samsung for storage (D:). While in-game the screen will freeze and I have to use Task Manager to end the game. If I check My Computer, the H: drive doesn't show. It also happens when Steam or Origin are updating. I usually get an error message stating the programs have stopped working. If I try to copy to or from drive D:, the window shows calculations but nothing happens. Sometimes D: also will not show in My Computer. I have read on the forums that the order you connect your drives to the motherboard is important. I have C: in SATA 0, E: (DVD drive) in SATA 1 and the other drives in SATA 2 and B. I have tried moving H: to the 6GB/s SATA port but the same happens. I have also swapped SATA cables. Strangely nothing seems to happen to C: Is it the drives or do I need a new motherboard?

Normally, having the same symptoms in two different drives would be enough to rule out a fault in the drives themselves.

I don’t like unexplained coincidences and try to limit myself to no more than three a day. But I have a hunch that it is worth making an exception here. Modern drives are equipped with SMART, which is supposed to check for emerging hard disk faults and report them to the operating system, but the message is often lost or ignored. That's because it is generated by the drive controller electronics, many layers below the hardware abstraction level of the Windows user interface. Small incompatibilities in your motherboard hardware or BIOS firmware can disrupt SMART reporting and for some reason, it seems to be more common with SATA drives than it was with IDE. Or maybe I just notice it more now.

Anyway, both your disappearing drives are Samsung, and presumably the same age, so a common fault isn’t inconceivable. You need to download the latest version of the diagnostic tool from Samsung's website and use that to query the SMART status of your disk. But, since I'm pretty sure that this will tell you that your drives are headed for the bin, make sure you back them up first.

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