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Damaged CPU/hard drive?

By Rachie2013 ยท 14 replies
Jun 19, 2013
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  1. Hi I am new and have to say not too great with computer hardware so please bear with me and apologies if I'm posting this in the wrong part of the forum.

    Basically my problem is-I had a computer technician come to look at my windows xp computer, it was running a little slow and making a bit of noise but nothing else at all wrong with it, I just wanted him to speed it up a bit and make it a little quieter. Really wish I'd not bothered as when I came to switch it on the next day after he'd been I got a disk error message and it just wouldn't load windows at all. Of course I immediately knew it wasn't anything I'd done as I had only used it as normal so it was either the technician or sheer weird coincidence. Anyway, he stated he restarted (or rebooted is that what you guys call it?) the computer after clearing some files and some other stuff but then went on to clean the CPU cooler presumably whilst it was still on? (I didn't watch him do anything, I stupidly left him to get on with it as I don't know anything about what he'd be doing round the back of the computer anyway). Then he left it to defragment-he did not restart/reboot the computer again to check it restarted.

    When I got the error message the only screen I could get up was a technical screen which didn't mean much to me but I do remember it saying "CPU fan speed-0." The computer did work for the afternoon and evening after he left but it had not been restarted. When I switched it on the following day it was wrecked. Had to have the hard drive replaced and basically the whole computer reset to factory settings (by another company) and it was expensive. All I wanted was for it to be a bit faster and less noisy didn't expect it to get ruined! Now I know not to fix something if it ain't broke.

    What I want to know is if this guy was at fault by cleaning the CPU with the computer still on (he's claiming he wasn't as it was working when he left but he had not checked if it restarted ok) and if so how come we needed a new hard drive as opposed to a new CPU which he was cleaning and I think he wrecked-is the hard drive next to the CPU? (yes I know nothing about hardware!) Or do you think it's just a coincidence the hard drive was wrecked?

    Thank you very much.
  2. bazz2004

    bazz2004 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,378   +222

    You're never going to know the answers for sure. Hindsight is a wonderful thing and you'd have been better putting the money towards a replacement for what is an old computer. I'm trying to compile a list of tradesmen I can trust to do a decent job. It's not that easy. We've had double glazing from a firm where they couldn't use a tape measure accurately and a bathroom from a specialist company whose installation skills seemed not to include plumbing. I suppose word of mouth is the best recommendation. I have so far fixed any computer problems myself or with help from forums but otherwise I'd look out for reviews of local computer repair shops. I wouldn't advise calling anyone out to fix your computer. Better to know in advance what is being done and what it's going to cost.
  3. Rachie2013

    Rachie2013 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Didn't want to buy a new computer and pay out hundreds when there's still life in mine yet, should think there's enough things thrown in land fills as it is without throwing one away that can be fixed. Besides, the place we got it repaired at said it's now good as new as computers never really age as such you can just update them and they'll work like a new one. I wish I could fix things like that myself but unfortunately I know nothing at all about hardware- (can fix software issues fine). I could learn but it seems like a delicate thing to be messing around with and if a qualified technician can ruin the hard drive I'm sure I would if I started trying to take it apart.

    It's strange that the computer still worked for the afternoon and evening but maybe when the CPU/hard drive was damaged it ruined the start-up mechanism.

    He would have come back and looked at it but charged again and we were not prepared to pay him again for fixing it so took it elsewhere. He also seemed to have no idea what the issue could be or offer any advice (without coming up) whereas the company we had it fixed at knew what the problem most likely was from our description.
    I've had other problems with tradesmen as well, try not to use them now unless it's really necessary as they charge so much it's like money down the drain if they get it wrong.
  4. bazz2004

    bazz2004 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,378   +222

    It's not true that an old computer will keep going as good as new forever. For example, next year Microsoft will cease support for XP which will make the operating system less secure. Your internet security is vitally important so an upgrade to your operating system is advisable.

    If you know what you are doing you can squeeze extra life out of a computer but it pays to save towards a replacement. There's no end of folks on computer forums replacing motherboards, then power supplies and graphics cards in a desperate attempt to keep an old machine going. All good fun but not very economical.

    At least you have found a technician you trust. We've used a local washing machine repair company for years (not for the computer though). The last time our washing machine broke down the engineer came out, checked it over and said that he could repair it but that it made more sense to buy a new one. He refused any payment. If only more were like him.

    Regularly back up vital documents, photos etc. If your computer hard drive dies and you have no back up the loss of years of personal data can be extremely upsetting.
  5. Rachie2013

    Rachie2013 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Ah ok I see, thanks for the advice, if it goes wrong again I'll definitely be getting a new one.

    I was reading about "defragmenting" and that's to do with the hard drive. I'm wondering if defragmenting the computer wrecked it. I know that defragmenting is supposed to be a good thing but mine hadn't been done for over a year (and that's if they did it the last time I got it fixed last year). I have never defragmented as every time I went to do it I didn't have enough disk space (even though I didn't have much stuff on the computer). It seems to need loads of disk space to do that and I didn't realize how important it was to regularly do. So I'm thinking maybe because it was so bad it got damaged by doing that. I know I'll never know for sure what ruined it.
  6. bazz2004

    bazz2004 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,378   +222

    I've never filled a hard drive so I'm not certain about would happen. I suspect that things would slow down and that eventually there would be a warning screen. You do need extra space on a hard drive so that a defrag has room to move files around and rearrange them. It takes a fair amount of time to defrag. My computer takes hours. In a workshop I would expect it to be left going to complete a defrag for hours while other jobs were completed. Your mobile technician wouldn't want to hang about and watch paint dry so that was part of the problem.

    Find the My Computer screen where all your drives are shown. Left click on your C drive to highlight it and then right click. Select Properties and you will get a pie chart of how much free space there remains on the computer. If you are running out of room and you cannot delete stuff because it's vital you can buy a new larger hard drive and clone your old one to it. There's a number of ways that can be done. The result is that you gain more storage space and still have the original hard drive. It's cheap and easy to fit the original drive into an enclosure which can be read via a USB cable.
  7. Rachie2013

    Rachie2013 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks for the tip. Currently I have absolutely loads of room since everything was wiped off it but if it ever gets bad again I'll follow your advice.
  8. bazz2004

    bazz2004 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,378   +222

    General maintenance for a desktop computer is easy to do and will make problems much less likely to arise. On the hardware side you need to check inside and blow dust and dirt off with an air duster can. Don't touch anything inside because static will do serious damage. That's all taken care of now and you can relax for say a year.

    Software wise it's easy. Go to Start, All Programs and find Accessories then System Tools. You have two useful programs there. Disk Cleanup will reclaim wasted space and help to keep things running smoothly. The other one you may be a bit shy of - Disk Defragmentation. It will need doing now and again and you must leave it to complete without interruption. There's a test option that will tell you if the hard drive needs a defrag.

    Make sure that all necessary Windows updates are installed. XP is now on Service Pack 3 and there have been loads of updates since then. If the people who put things right did a good job all that is done. Oh,and never interrupt a Windows Update when it's under way or you won't have a working computer.

    A good free anti-virus program like Avast, Comodo or Windows Security Essentials will maintain your security so long as you keep it updated daily. Only install one such program because they tend not to get on with each other. Keep away from any "cure-all" tune up or computer maintenance programs too.

    Older computers came with an installation disk for Windows XP. Locate that and keep it safe. If Windows does corrupt and become unusable you can reinstall it yourself. It doesn't require a technician but it would take a very long time because after XP is installed there are the Service Packs and more recent updates.

    Go to My Computer, View System Information and check that it says "Service Pack 3" under System. I'm sure it will but it's worth taking a look for peace of mind. Best of luck.
  9. Rachie2013

    Rachie2013 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Yes I have done disk cleanup before. Will defrag in a couple of months.

    Last year I had to have the computer fixed because I forced it to switch off whilst it was installing updates (I'd shut it down and it was taking absolutely ages to switch off because of all the updates and I got impatient) needless to say I have never done that since!

    The last couple of years I've had Kaspersky anti-virus. The company that fixed our computer put one on-it was a free one, can't remember what it was called but it was apparently from Germany (maybe it was Avast?). They said it's one of the best but I deleted it because I was a bit wary of it since it was free and thought it'd probably conflict with Kaspersky (a previous computer company always sold us Kaspersky saying it was one of the best. Tough to know who to listen to!)

    I don't think my comp came with an installation disk, I was looking for one when it broke and couldn't find one and I don't remember ever having one with it unfortunately.

    It actually says "Service Pack 2" on mine.

    Thanks for your help.
  10. bazz2004

    bazz2004 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,378   +222

    More bad news I'm afraid. The folks who last worked on the computer haven't completed the job. SP2 won't do and you need SP3 (Service Pack 3) installed to keep your computer secure. That was a big download and you could obtain it on CD from Microsoft but they are keen to migrate people to more recent OS's now so it may not be so easy to locate. If you are really stuck on this try posting in the Windows section for advice on obtaining and installing SP3 for XP. You've a large number of Windows Updates that need to be installed.

    One more thing. It really is worth learning a bit about the available anti-virus programs. You'll find some pretty intensive debates about what to use but I'd say free programs are fine and for an older less powerful computer like yours they may well be the best option. I tried Kaspersky once with an old system and it slowed to a crawl. You can trust Microsoft with Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE). It's light on resources and will do the job fine.
  11. Rachie2013

    Rachie2013 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Oh dear more research to be done! I'm just thinking of doing everything myself now but there seems like so much to learn and I'm not really "technically" minded.

    Kaspersky has been ok for me except when I had this extra credit card security thing with it. Even though it was meant to be extra protection when buying stuff online I had to delete it because it made everything so slow.

    Anyway really appreciate all the help will try and see if I can get Service Pack 3 now.
  12. bazz2004

    bazz2004 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,378   +222

  13. Rachie2013

    Rachie2013 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks very much have got link and will download.
  14. bazz2004

    bazz2004 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,378   +222

    If you struggled with this or decided against installing SP3 I recommend that you study the alternatives to a PC. There's a widening range of internet devices on the market. Apple's iPad is a thing of beauty, is amazingly easy to use and will do just about anything you need a computer for. There are Google Chromebooks too where the OS and all those things that the user needs to worry about with Windows are taken care of on the Web. Android tablets are also growing popular as a cheaper solution but I've not yet tried one.
  15. Rachie2013

    Rachie2013 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Yes I will probably at some point get an iPad, my sister has one of those and they are pretty cool.

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