Alienware 17 R4 2017 review
Mild panic last evening when the lights flickered and my windows XP computer shut itself off. When it rebooted it said 'Disk Boot Failure - insert system disk and reboot' (or something like that).
Luckily it started normally an hour or two later BUT I realised that I do not know what to do if this happens again. Does it mean that one of the two HDs is 'going' ? I have a surge-protector in the system, so why did it turn itself off?
Can I make a reboot system disk?
I have a Mesh Computers Recovery CD, but am not sure what to do with it. If I tried to use it might I lose data ie would it mean reinstalling everything, including SP2 and all the programs?
Any advice much appreciated.
As has been said many times on this forum, make a 'Backup' before this happens again. If you have impotant data on your system it is really worth spending money on an external hard drive and a copy of Acronis!
Many thanks, Spargo and Brundle. I don't think that there is anything wrong with either hard-drive, but I *have* resolved to back up more often onto my Seagate external drive - my last one was two weeks ago, which is OK with my normal useage, but I had been putting in a lot of data over the last week or two. I use Handy Backup (click here or click here)which backs up data daily onto the second hard drive. But if the whole system goes down it could affect the backup.
Why didn't the surge protector stop the surge?
Can I make a boot disk with windows XP - I think not?
I'll do a system check now.
The standard surge protector sold for use with computers is designed to remove fast high voltage spikes which sometimes appear on the mains eg from distant lightning strikes. If these get through the PSU they can burn out (ie destroy) sensitive electronic components, so surge protectors are well worth having.
But I believe what happened in your case was that the mains voltage actually fell as a result of a problem in the mains distribution system, probably while a back-up system was being switched in to cover a fault. This occurrence, known (I think) as a 'brown-out', is too slow to be removed by a surge protector. Computers contain some circuitry to detect accidental interruptions to the power supply, from someone tripping over the mains cable, for example (!), and attempt to close the machine down without causing any damage. It will stay off until the mains 'on' switch is pressed again.
So generally it is not a computer fault and you would be unlucky if damage occurred. The error message you got, however, means that it is sensible to run a few checks as suggested, particularly on the hard disk. If it happens more than infrequently, you can use a UPS (uninterruptible power supply) which contains batteries to provide power during brown-outs; if there is a power cut it will warn you and provide a few extra minutes of operation for you to save your work and close the machine down.
Having said that, in my opinion most domestic users should have a surge protector, but few need a UPS.
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