I recently reformatted my main OS drive. I had copied all of my essential documents to a 1TB Samsung drive. Now that my main OS drive is back in business, I find that the second drive appears to be unformatted. Any time I attempt to access the D: drive, I am prompted to format it. When I boot to my Windows CD, the D: drive appears as a 138GB unformatted partition, with the rest unallocated.
Please, please tell me I have not lost the ability to retrieve all my photos, music, spreadsheets, etc. If I reformat the drive, will I be able to recover the files, using a file recovery app such as Recuva?
Don’t tell Newton: Ramming your hot rod full-speed into a concrete block, idling minivan, or in-game ad billboard in Burnout Paradise doesn’t really slow you down. The game is a steady, fuel-injected dose of momentum from spark plug to finish line. Pushing over Paradise City’s 20 square miles of pavement for just an hour means accumulating new cars, completing events, knocking over barriers to find shortcuts or spontaneous jumps, earning license upgrades, setting street-specific high scores, or just streaking a newfound scenic route with rubber.
The game combines the feel of impulsive, mission-based sandbox titles like Grand Theft Auto and Tony Hawk with loose, forgiving, driving mechanics—making for disposable, whimsical racing with a persistent career and surprisingly good online mode. Every major intersection in the city is a gateway to a racing event. Spin your wheels at a stoplight and you’ll activate a point-to-point race or one of four other variations on the standard sprint: Road-rage events have you side-swiping a set number of opponents within a time limit, stunt runs are all about racking up points with long drifts and high jumps, and in our favorite, “marked man,” you’ll try to escape a set of ominous black sedans before they can smear you into the median. There are vehicle-specific challenges, too, and as you spend more time in Paradise City, you can earn the keys to rival cars roaming the streets by pushing them off the road.
I bought an Intel Mini-ITX D201GLY2 mobo some months ago and finally got around to putting it all together. 1GB of Patriot DDR2 RAM (automatically underclocked to 533MHz), a 250W PSU, an LG SATA DVD/CD burner, and a 160GB SATA Seagate hard drive. Windows installed without any problems. But when I found the onboard graphics wouldn’t display widescreen video, I picked up an ATI Radeon 9250 videocard, thinking this would solve my problems, but it only created more. Before installing it, I went into the BIOS under Video settings and turned off the integrated graphics and switched over to PCI graphics, hit F10, and saved it. When the machine was powered down and unplugged, I hit the power button again to discharge any juice still left in the system before installing the videocard. Once it was installed, I plugged the VGA cable into the card, plugged the AC cable back into the PSU, and powered on the system. Nothing. Just a blank screen with the card installed. I know the card works fine because I have already installed it in another system to test it and had no issues with it. It’s only when the card’s installed in the mini machine that I get a blank screen. Have you run into this sort of problem before?
Fans of Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War might feel burned by the barely recognizable sequel to their old favorite, but going in without expecting it to be yet another typical real-time strategy game is extremely rewarding. That’s because DoW II is actually two excellent games in one. Both have outstanding graphics and animation, a complete lack of traditional RTS base-building, and strong tactical gameplay, but the single-player/co-op campaign mode and multiplayer experiences are very different.
In single-player, you command a group of four marine squads (or two each in two-player co-op) in a campaign to defend sub-sector Aurelia from invasion by Orks, Eldar, and Tyranid forces. Without the typical emphasis on base-building, the game feels more like an action RPG. For example, squad leaders level up and never die (they can be revived after their life is depleted). The squads can also be equipped with Wargear to make them more powerful.
Clickfree’s Transformer may look like an overweight USB key, but it is—forgive us, Optimus Prime—more than meets the eye.
Plug any generic external USB hard drive into the Transformer, then plug the Transformer into a USB port on your PC, and a backup app auto-launches and starts a countdown to begin an automatic file backup of common file extensions. You can interrupt the countdown and add more file extensions that the app doesn’t recognize by default. The document formats it grabs are fairly extensive, but if you want it to also copy that comic book archive in .cbr format, you’ll need to add the extension first.
At five inches high, 6.14 inches square at the top, and weighing a few ounces shy of two pounds, the Thermaltake BigTyp 14 Pro is among the biggest and heaviest coolers we’ve tested—although it’s not as big as Cooler Master’s V10, reviewed last month.
The BigTyp 14 Pro contains six heat pipes routed through aluminum fins mounted perpendicular to the motherboard and is topped with a plastic shroud and 14cm variable-speed fan, which blows hot air straight down instead of through the back of the case, like with most performance coolers. Two retention clips screw into the base and are fastened with nuts on the underside of the motherboard, just like with the Cooler Master V10. Installing the BigTyp 14 Pro is easier than the V10—it’s smaller and lighter, it won’t bump up against crucial components like RAM, and the nuts can be screwed in with a Phillips screwdriver as opposed to a hex wrench. But there’s no room for a 12cm rear fan with the BigTyp installed.
I recently started playing COD4, and at my favorite server, I get a ping of 50–60ms on a 5Mb/s connection. I wanted to get my ping down a bit more, so I upped the connection first to 10Mb/s and then to 16Mb/s, but alas, still no difference. My modem is an older Linksys BEFCMU10, but the router is a newer D-Link 4100 GamerLounge. I’m considering a purchase of a Bigfoot Networks Killer NIC M1 but hate to throw more money at the problem, only to have little or no results. Is there anything I can do to lower my ping? Please help me, Doctor!
Last month, we reviewed Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 295, a dual-GPU GT200-based board that benefited from a die-shrink from 65 nanometers to 55 nanometers. This month, we’re testing the GTX 285, which uses the same silicon as the GTX 295, in a clocked-up single-GPU design. Unfortunately, the paltry clock-speed improvements that the die shrink allowed don’t deliver enough of a performance boost to make this board worth recommending, especially for folks who already own a GTX 280 board.
When you compare the GTX 285 to the GTX 280, you can see what the problem is. The GTX 285’s GT200 core is clocked at 648MHz, up from 602MHz for a stock GTX 280. The 1GB of GDDR3 memory runs at just 621MHz on a 512-bit bus—the GTX 280’s memory runs at 550MHz. The upshot is that this new card delivers less than a 10 percent performance increase over the GTX 280 parts in most benchmarks. The only big gains over the 280 are at lower resolutions with very high antialiasing and anisotropic filtering levels. The big gain is in power consumption. The 285 features a TDP of about 183W, while the 280 drew a massive 236W. That means that the 285 will actually run in a system that’s equipped with just a pair of 6-pin PCI-E video connectors—you don’t need the 6-pin and 8-pin combo that’s been de rigueur for the last few months.
I’m having a blue-screen problem on a T42p ThinkPad with 2GB of RAM running Windows XP Pro SP2. This is a corporate laptop issued to me as a mobile employee, so I have admin rights to it.
Every time I plug a USB device into either of the laptop’s two USB ports, it blue-screens. As long as the device is plugged in, the laptop loops through a boot process to a blue screen. Once I unplug the USB device, it behaves. Exceptions: If I put a USB power cable into the ports in the laptop for power only, there is no problem. I have a PCMCIA USB adapter too, and anything I plug into these USB ports works fine.
This PCMCIA USB adapter has a USB power cable, which I plug into the USB port in the laptop without incident. I have the PCMCIA USB adapter plugged into the PCMCIA slot, with a seven-port USB hub plugged into it running a printer, a wireless mouse, a keyboard, and a hard drive. I have a second hard drive’s data cable plugged into the USB hub, while its power cord is plugged into the laptop’s USB port, with no problem.
When I called the corporate help desk, they assumed I had a bad motherboard and sent me a replacement laptop. Same problem but worse. The new laptop, which was a 1GB machine, did not recover when the USB port was unplugged. I had to do disc recovery involving file and index cleanup to get it to behave. I went through this several times.
I used the same boot drive, which I had to transfer back and forth, on both laptops.
Fortunately, when I returned the hard drive to the old laptop, it worked the same as it had originally. I have returned the “new” replacement laptop since it did me no good, keeping the original laptop.
I’m to the point of reinstalling the OS, but I don’t have access to the corporate image without driving 90 miles, and at this point, I’m leery of just installing a different OS copy, with a different serial number.