Thursday, February 12, 2009

What do you do if your computer crashes?!

What do you do if your computer crashes?! Here is the easiest process.

You could diagnose the problem, but you have probably already done that to some extent. If you are down to either replacing the hard drive and/or reloading the operating system then here are some things try before opening up your computer case.

There is something called a livecd that you need to get your hands on. It does not need a hard drive to run on, just a cd player on your pc. With a livecd you can do essentially anything, including check your drive for issues, get online and basically any and all computer work. Most livecd’s are free, simply costing the price of a cd. I’ve used computers for years that only use a livecd and have nothing installed.

How do you get your hands on a livecd? Ask a friend of yours to burn one to a cd. They would be burning an iso image file to a cd, so it isn’t exactly the same as just putting data on a cd, but it is very similar. First, download the iso image of your choice (whatever you are downloading would have the ending .iso). Then just look for iso/image burning option on your cd burning software. For example, using Nero (one of the more common cd burning software, although not free) it would be under the option of “Copy ISO image to cd.”

Or you can order one. Most of these types of cd’s are very, very inexpensive, usually only a few dollars, essentially the cost of just the cd itself plus shipping.

What type of livecd should you get? This one runs and operates basically the same as Windows. Want to try a different option, try this one. It uses the Fluxbox window manager so everything is via the right-click. It happens to be one I put together from various sources. Hate both of those? There are hundreds of other options out there.

Once you have your livecd, you have to make certain your computer will boot (that means “start up” or “run from”) a cd. The easiest way to try this is to start your computer and put the disk in as quick as you can. If it didn’t work, then reboot the computer leaving the disk in and see if it was ‘cause you didn’t get the disk in fast enough. If it still wouldn’t boot then you have to set your BIOS to boot using the cd player.

This is very easy to do. As your computer is starting it usually says something like “Hit F2 to enter Setup.” So, hit F2 and you are now in the BIOS.

Look for something called boot options or something similar. You want the boot order to be the cd player first, then the hard drive. Save it, then close the BIOS leaving the cd in the cd player.

Once the livecd is up and running it will give you certain options. READ THEM. Pick which options you want or don’t. Usually the default settings are ok, but everyone should be in the habit of reading what is posted; that’s why it’s posted. ;-)

Now that you are running your computer, do what you will! Surf, fix your computer, surf to figure out how to fix your computer, whatever. You have a whole new world of options with your livecd. Enjoy!