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I admit. I have old PCs hanging around. I know it’s hoarding, but you may need something from it, some day! Like the one with Windows 2000. I recently decided to get rid of it. But, I wanted to move the programs and data from the hard disk to a new one, so I can use it in a machine. The drive was an old Maxtor 80GB hard drive. It had old Windows 2000, so I didn’t bother with the OS files. I just wanted to copy the documents and other files (may be even some programs I wrote) to my new computer. This drive used the old PATA technology.
I normally get a external hard drive enclosure, so I could attach it as an external USB drive and copy files from it. This time I got a little adventurous (cheap?) and went for a SATA/PATA hard drive adapter, something like this. Essentially, it’s open ended cable with SATA or PATA pins available to plugin the hard drive. There is no safeguard compared to a hard disk enclosure.
I got my PATA drive hooked up to my computer via USB using this adapter. Everything was going well. Except, it is not hot-swappable – meaning you can’t plug and unplug while the thing was on. I did that and the next thing I know, the inevitable happened! I smelled smoke and surely, the drive was fried.
I thought it was gone. I researched a bit about data recovery and all. Sounded so expensive. Then I landed on this site called PCB Solutions. According to this site, apparently when you smell smoke on a hard drive, chances are it’s only the PCB circuit that sits on tops that’s fried, not the disk or the platter. So, in theory, if you can replace this PCB board, you can salvage any drive. Really? I’ve worked with SCSI hard drives for a while, when I worked for a SCSI software company in the past. Never knew those things came off like that.
It’s the L-shaped circuit board (in green with chips) that comes off the top of the drive.
The site offers really good service. First the identifying/matching service. Lets you enter a few codes/numbers and matches the PCB needed for your drive. Once you pay and order it, it arrived within a week or so. The package comes with a kit – a small screw driver included. So, anyone can remove the old plate and replace it with the new one. Voila!! That worked!
It was that simple. I’ve done some hardware stuff, but I can’t claim to be an expert in that area. I was able to do this easily. Great service, great support. I highly recommend this for anyone at a loss of their precious hard drive. This service can save you 100’s if not thousands. You just need some patience and some caution. (Like don’t touch the circuit part, not to zap it by accident etc).
I’ve been having issue with the router on and off. It’s a decent router: Netgear WNDR3400. It used to work fine with Charter earlier. Since we recently moved and started using Time Warner cable service, we have had a strange issue.
The computer would connect to Internet fine, if I connected it directly to Modem. The moment I connect it through the router, it couldn’t connect to the Internet. It could connect to the local area network, but not beyond that. Few times, I was able to reset the router after everything is connected but even that failed many times.
When I called Time Warner, the technician said, he could see my modem fine, but there was a hiccup while connecting through router. He was very helpful, but didn’t give me a permanent solution. After patiently getting me connect/disconnect modem and router several times, he was able to get me connected. Only to be kicked out a few weeks later… I was on the verge of buying a new router, then decided to give it one last go. This time I set out to find a more permanent solution with the help from trusty Google.
To troubleshoot and change any settings for a Netgear router, you can use routerlogin.net in the browser. This normally opens up the settings page for the router. Unfortunately, when I had the issue, I was not able to connect to it in the browser. But, I was able to ping to it, proving there was a local connection. Then it occurred to me, may be the it wasn’t able to resolve the named address for some reason. I tried 192.168.1.1 (the default gateway) in browser and it worked!!
After researching a bit, I found the solution. It’s the MAC address used by the router. Since the ISP was able to see my machine, but not the router, decided to change the settings for the router to use Computer’s MAC address instead of it’s own. I logged into Routerlogin.net (or the ip address) in browser and changed the router settings. In Basic settings I found the option called “Router MAC address”. This had 3 choices:
- Use Default Address
- Use Computer MAC Address
- Use This MAC Address (hard coded)
By default, it was set to “Use Default Address”. I changed this to “Use Computer MAC Address”. Voila!! It worked!!! Seems they tied it to my computer’s mac address for some reason!! May be, the technician that installed it, set it up that way.
Then I read on this page that this may not be a good thing, security wise. The router actually acts as a shield blocking any intruders come into our PCs directly. I will research some more on this and post back. But, to reduce the risk, always change the default password for your router. This link is for linksys routers, but I think it applies to any router in general.
My neighbor brought his computer to me about a month ago! First, I thought it was just the video card. So, I bought one through e-bay. Nop. Then I am on to CPU. I refuse to accept it may be the motherboard! This particular model doesn’t have a model #. Only a serial #. Compaq/HP online support was so good. He was able to find out the details of the machine. From there I learned more and more about it.
I gathered it was 1.1 GHz celeron processor. So, I set out to work. I ordered, again on ebay, a CPU that looked similar. Least I knew, not all 1.1 GHZ celeron processors were the same. They looked the same (green top and all), but since I had not looked into the CPU before, I assumed all were alike.
The new CPU arrived last week. I finally removed the clip on the heat sink. This was interesting. I hit the mother board a few times with the screwdriver. I hope I didn’t damage it. The clip was to be pushed down and twisted to pull it out the plastic tab holding it.
So, I set out to go Fry’s electronics yesterday. I bought a few things:
1. Anti static arm band
2. Antistatic gloves
3. thermal grease remover, cleaner
4. thermal paste, anatec silver
This is becoming an expensive affair.
The following websites were really useful in finding out more about celeron cpu’s in general and about removing/replacing cpu/heat sink or fan.
Celeron models: There are differences!!!
Removing and applying thermal paste:
And there is even names for these Pentium 3/Celeron sockets:
coppermine (PGA ) and Tualatin (PGA2)
There is even a socket to put the new chip in the old socket!!
This video was helpful too: