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New Drive Failing

Ask the Doctor LogoSo I just recently diagnosed my hard drive as having bad sectors and replaced it with a 750GB WD Caviar Black a few days ago. However, occasionally, as with my old hard drive, my system will lock up. When I reboot I get the following error: “Disk boot failure, please insert system disc and press enter.” Sometimes after a restart I will receive the same error, other times the hard drive will boot but my keyboard receives no power. I haven’t figured out why, but everything seems to sort itself out eventually.

One note: I have an old IDE drive that I was using once my old SATA drive became completely unusable. This hard drive never crashes or gives errors, and the keyboard never loses power.

I’m puzzled, and am running out of time to RMA this hard drive if I happened to get a bad one. Please help!

—Jesse Dresselhaus

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Windows 7 Fails Where XP Succeeds?

Ask the Doctor LogoI have Windows 7 Home Edition 64-bit. When I download pictures from the Internet, I want to save them to a specific folder—let’s call it ABC. I right-click the picture and select Save Picture As. Then Windows Explorer sends me to Libraries\Picture Library. I then navigate to ABC folder and click it, then click Save. I right-click the second picture, but I’m sent back to the pictures library! The save dialog in Windows XP would open right at the last directory I saved photos to, so I didn’t have to click back to the ABC folder every time. Why won’t Windows 7 do the same?

—Glenn

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Delete EVERYTHING!

Ask the Doctor LogoI’d like a program that can safely and effectively clean my hard drive so that no deleted files can be recovered. Can you recommend something? I see a bunch of stuff out there but it’s for permanently deleting files, not for already-deleted files. And I don’t know which programs are clean—free of malware or other crap. It must be good enough that I can feel safe about giving an old PC to someone else and not worry about identity theft. Also: What would you recommend to minimize any data being stolen from a hard drive if your PC was stolen? I am presently using Splash ID to store my passwords and sensitive data but would feel better if the entire hard drive was protected.

—Norm Shaver
 
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New Machine Won't Boot

Ask the Doctor LogoDoc, I just built a new system with a 2.66GHz Core i7-920, Asus P6X58D Premium, 3GB of Corsair DDR3/1600, two GeForce 8800 GTs in SLI, two 250GB Barracudas, and an 850W Corsair PSU in an Antec 1200 case. It’s all stock-clocked and the GPUs, HDDs, and PSU were from an older machine and functioned fine.

My problem is that my new rig doesn’t work. I power on, but no boot. No POST, nothing on the screen, no beeps. The MEM_OK LED is on and it is red. The manual says that means the RAM is not properly installed.

So, I check to see if they are all in the correct slots, and they are. I pull them all out and put them in, one at a time, and none of them work. I took a stick from a working computer and it doesn’t work. I try it on every slot, same. I take my Corsair RAM and try it in the working computer, and it all works. I power on the system with no RAM installed, and same thing; no boot, no POST, nothing on screen.

After all that, I put the Corsair RAM in and took out the videocards. I then put a 9800 GT from a working computer in and the problem is the same.

So, any thoughts? Aside from assuming that the board is defective, I don’t know what else to try troubleshooting. I have heard that Asus has had some problems recently with RAM slots not working. I may have fallen victim to that. Maybe a jumper I don’t know about? As far as I can see, the only jumpers on the board are related to OC’ing, and I didn’t change any of them. Let me know what you think.

—K. Diaz
 
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Radiator Fans: Removable?

Ask the Doctor LogoI’m debating switching to water-cooling. I was initially worried about maintenance or the unit leaking, but those issues seem to be a thing of the past. What happens, however, if the fan stops working on the radiator? Is the fan difficult to replace? Would you have to replace the entire unit? Anytime I see reviews or ads, they never specify whether the fan is replaceable or permanently attached to the radiator unit.

—Joe C.

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BIOS Fear

Ask the Doctor LogoAre there any benefits to flashing or updating a PC’s BIOS? Are there any dangers to my machine by doing this?

—Andrew Wilson

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Alcohol and Nude Parts

Ask the Doctor LogoIs it OK to use alcohol to wipe clean an Athlon CPU without a heat spreader?

—Avery Sio

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Upgrading Advice

Ask the Doctor LogoI’m trying to decide whether to upgrade from Windows XP Professional to Windows 7 Professional. While I’m no hardcore techie, I can follow directions well and I built my own system a couple of years ago with the thought of having a system ready for a future OS upgrade. My system is an Asus P5E Deluxe, an Intel Core 2 Quad Q6700 at 2.66GHz, and 4GB of DDR3. I have Windows XP installed on a 150GB Western Digital Raptor, as well as a 500GB secondary drive.

Although I have some programs installed on the C: drive (ones I can reinstall), most of my programs have been installed on the secondary drive.

I have plenty of room on the C: drive to partition and install Win7, but I’m thinking about buying an SSD to install Windows 7 on. I use Adobe Photoshop CS4 and Painter 11, as well as Adobe Premiere Elements 8, and I think I would benefit from installing 64-bit Windows 7 and adding 4GB to 8GB more RAM.

I’m really unsure as to how to go about this and not sure I really want to—I’ve read a number of posts on different forums and it seems to me there are mixed feelings about the upgrade.

Also, since my programs are installed on a drive other than my OS drive, if I make a change by partitioning or installing Win7 on a new separate OS drive, would I be able to use the programs already installed on the D: drive without reinstalling them?

—Tom Helinski

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Do I Have a Bigger Issue Here?

Ask the Doctor LogoMy PC has an Intel 2.4GHz Core 2 Quad Q6600, an EVGA 750i FTW motherboard, and two sticks of GSkill DDR2 with timings of 5-5-5-15 2T at 1,066MHz. Two weeks ago, I started getting random lockups and blue screens. After a lot of work, it turns out to be the RAM, which is producing errors in Memtest. However, in testing it I have found that I am getting errors in unlinked mode, at 800MHz, undervolting, overvolting, and moving the RAM around. The only time I don’t get errors is when I run just one stick of RAM. Is this actually a RAM problem or do I have a bigger issue?

—Tyler Cook

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Which Port?

Ask the Doctor LogoThanks to Maximum PC’s past advice, I have a new rig with an ATI Radeon HD 5870 graphics card. It has dual DVI, HDMI, and DisplayPort connections. I use my rig for photography and video editing. I have a 24-inch Dell monitor with all of the above ports. Which is the best one to use and why?

—Preetham Grandhi

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