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Old 05-06-2008, 18:17   #1
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Thumbs up He's a Laptop Hero!

"He's a laptop Hero with stars in his eyes!"

Oh ok I know pretty lame play on the Foreigner song Jukebox Hero. But I have to tell you about a great little hard disk utility I found today. Maybe not news to everybody but this progam called "SpinRite 6.0" is a miracle worker!

How many of you have experienced what you thought was a hard drive failure? You know, the blue screen of death, nothing the black screen with the c:\ prompt? Well the kid had his laptop crash the other day which some precious recordings of his buddy (lead singer in their band) who passed away a month ago. Typical Winders XP systematic failure of the Operating System. Couldn't reboot into the OS. No safe mode, nuttin'. Well the kicker was it wasn't a tragic loss, couple of hours I could have rebuilt the system and reinstalled his programs but all of his data, music, videos, e-mail etc. would have been lost.

I contacted one of our techie gurus and he pointed me to SpinRite 6.0 as a likely solution. Apparently according to him only 1 in 5 hard drives are actually toast. Most suffer from data loss in areas of the hard drive, such as boot sectors, that the OS can't reach with its normal disk maintenance tools. This is where SpinRite 6.0 comes in. It works at isolating bad sectors of the hard drive and restoring lost data at the hard disk level bypassing the PC's operating system & computer hardware. I get kinda lost in the details and put my faith and $89 bucks down to find out.

It's a little cryptic to get used to the concept of navigating around the non-gui interface, anybody remember DOS? well it comes with its own free DOS OS to run the utility.

Back to the story, I ran SpinRite 6.0 on Daniel's computer. An 80GB hard drive, took about 45 mins. Bingo! On first reboot the computer started and loaded normally!!

SpinRite 6.0 can be purchased online and downloaded from GRC*|*Hard drive data recovery software** for $89 US. I think this would be great tool to have for anyone relying on PC based navigation systems. It works on Winders, Mac OS, Unix and a host of other OS's you'd normally find on laptop or desktop PC's. Can you imagine the time, effort and inconvenience this one little utility would save if you suffered a hard drive failure at sea.

You guys know me, I usually don't get too excited about anything (except drunk multi-hull boat owners just kidding!) but this is something I thought was well worth the small investment in time and money.

I'm not empolyed or receiving any compensation from GRC just a very happy customer! I've got a few old hard drives in the basement I might be able to recover the family photos from now!

I'll never leave home without it!
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Old 05-06-2008, 18:27   #2
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I'm not empolyed or receiving any compensation from GRC just a very happy customer!
<snip>
What you really are is a hero in your son's eyes, kb. Way to go!

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Old 05-06-2008, 20:38   #3
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Thanks for the tip - Too bad I didn't know about this a few months ago when the blue screen of death rocked my world.
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Old 05-06-2008, 20:47   #4
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Steve Gibson and his fine product have been around since the early DOS days. And unlike a lot of the other old names--he still does what he always did, in a most excellent manner. Good stuff.
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Old 06-06-2008, 06:47   #5
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The recovery program is a good one but everyone relying on computers onboard should also consider getting a hard drive compatible with the drive in their computer, putting it in an external enclosure and using a program such as Acronis True Image to keep a clone or image of their working hard drive. This will allow you to be up and running quickly if the problem is data corruption or a fried drive.

Bob Stewart
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Old 06-06-2008, 06:58   #6
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From what I've been reading this is what should be used as an on board computer. No hard drive, a flash drive which can be augmented with usb flash drives. 12v too and only $450.
HP Compaq t5735 Thin Client overview - HP Small & Medium Business products
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Old 06-06-2008, 07:16   #7
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Thanks for the tip KB:

I was on the verge of buying that software to see if it worked. I ended up mounting the harddrive from my laptop in a desk top and after getting the jumpers right I was able to recover my data but lost the OS. I transferred the info best I could. Then I did what W32 suggested. I now have my harddrive set up with an external HDD and the program Acronis True Image. It runs in the backround and I don't even know it is there.
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Old 06-06-2008, 07:22   #8
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From what I've been reading this is what should be used as an on board computer. No hard drive, a flash drive which can be augmented with usb flash drives. 12v too and only $450.
HP Compaq t5735 Thin Client overview - HP Small & Medium Business products

When I looked at the specs I saw that there was a universal 100/240 50 to 60 hz power supply but not the 12v. Did I miss something?
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Between us there was, as I have already said somewhere, the bond of the sea. Besides holding our hearts together through long periods of separation, it had the effect of making us tolerant of each other's yarns -- and even convictions. Heart of Darkness
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Old 06-06-2008, 07:22   #9
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From what I've been reading this is what should be used as an on board computer. No hard drive, a flash drive which can be augmented with usb flash drives. 12v too and only $450.
HP Compaq t5735 Thin Client overview - HP Small & Medium Business products

Thin clients are great for their intended purpose, and while you may be able to use them for certian ship board functions, they really are intended to be a user interface device, not a processing device. The processing takes place on a back end system with the thin client allowing the users a way to see and interact with the back end.

I have not used the Linux based ones but the XPe ones do have quite a few limitations on the softwre you can load (size) and successfully run (limited OS and memory concerns).
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Old 06-06-2008, 08:18   #10
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I think we had a thread awhile ago on external USB drives and movies. Can't seem to put my finger on it at the moment. I'm kinda leaning towards a 1 Terabyte USB drive for backups. I can stick it on our wireless router and back everything up to it. I like the idea of using the external H/D's as a media delivery center, you can get something like this....

- 424 two-hour DVD-quality movies or
- 1500 hours of VHS-quality video or
- 880 days of around-the-clock MP3 audio or
- 373,500 vivid digital photos or
- 2132 action-packed games!

I use MS Synctoy all the time to backup/mirror my document files to a USB thumb drive. I'd think this would be just as easy.
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Old 06-06-2008, 08:23   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vasco View Post
From what I've been reading this is what should be used as an on board computer. No hard drive, a flash drive which can be augmented with usb flash drives. 12v too and only $450.
HP Compaq t5735 Thin Client overview - HP Small & Medium Business
products
How about the new EEE PC's

ASUS | Eee PC

I just got a 4g version with windows. Will begin looking for small footprint charting software for back up nav.
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Old 06-06-2008, 10:06   #12
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All,

As we posted on the Eee PC thread above, we have 2 aboard. Each Eee has an SD card slot. I bought a few 8 Gb SD cards and put 1 in each Eee. I then downloaded a copy of "Portable Apps" ( PortableApps.com - Portable software for USB drives ) and put it on the SD card in the Eee.

Now I can use a universal card reader to back up the SD any time I want and have a full backup of ALL my data!

Another GREAT thing is that I can do a backup to a USB thumb drive and take just that thumb drive to an internet cafe with ALL of my programs (except nav) and data!

Greg
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Old 07-06-2008, 14:35   #13
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I think we had a thread awhile ago on external USB drives and movies. Can't seem to put my finger on it at the moment.
You guys have left me way behind, but do either of these ring a bell?

Video Storage DVD player

Laptop / Entertainment
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