... are never a good mix, especially without any surge protection.
Unfortunately, my brother did just that, and came home to a BSOD.

I went over to check it out. Powered it up; the machine startup did the
normal memory check, and I put it into the BIOS setup mode. Everything
looked fine there, with the "funny" exception that the IDE Primary Master
had the HP printer listed as the device. Took the hard drive out,
disconnected and reconnected the cables. Powered up again, no change.
Didn't look good, but I figured I'd burn a copy of UBCD (Ultimate Boot CD)
and see if I could run some diags on it.

So, I go back on Monday, power up and quickly insert the UBCD in the hope
that it would get "ready" before the search for boot devices started. (BTW,
the BIOS setup had the CD ahead of the hard drive in the bootup device
sequence.) It was a good thing I wasn't so lucky, as Windows booted up with
nary a hiccup. I did get a "Windows encountered a problem" dialog, for
which I allowed the data to be sent, and Microsoft reported back that it was
related to problems with the hard drive. But everything worked fine. I did
a few things to "exercise" the drive: I updated his Norton Antivirus and
did a quick scan, did a disk cleanup, did a CHKDSK /F, which required a
reboot to run dedicated and which turned up no errors. Did some web
surfing. After several reboots, the thing was still working fine. I go
home, my brother's all happy, but I warn him that he should be prepared to
replace the drive. (BTW, he claims there was nothing he couldn't afford to
lose on that drive. Of course, you only start "missing" stuff once you
realize it's gone.)

Sure enough, next morning he calls me and says the PC won't startup. Last
night, I got to use the UBCD without much success in diagnosing anything.
If anything, though, it proved that the rest of the PC appears to be working
fine. I took the hard drive out and brought it home with me, where I hooked
it up to my "USB to IDE" adapter kit and the external power supply. No
spin. Not even a hum.

So, it is strange that it was dead, then alive, and now dead again. Any
ideas for resurrecting this drive temporarily just to pull some files off?
Based on the information I gave above, I doubt it's the "stiction" kind of
problem that freezing the drive might solve (among others). But I dunno,
given the dead, alive, and dead again scenario, there might be some way to
pull the juice through. Any ideas would be appreciated!

It's only a 40GB drive, and MicroCenter's got a 100GB replacement for $40
(OEM Maxtor, I think.) The PC is a Dell with a Pentium 4 1.80 GHz, but only
256MB of RAM, and it runs XP Home. My brother and his wife have no "need
for speed" (obviously), so they're content with the way their PC works (or
"worked", before the thunderstorm). I think $40 to get them back up and
running is a reasonable price to pay. Yes / No???


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