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Best way to replace a hard drive?
  #1  
Old 10-19-2019, 07:05 PM
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Eireann Eireann is offline
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Default Best way to replace a hard drive?

As you know, I fucked up my new-used computer royally not long ago when I tried to make a change to the RAM. Since then, the computer only crashes and restarts.

I downloaded the Windows 10 Clean Install file onto my old computer, and put it on a flash drive. Tonight, I plugged in the new computer, hit F10 as it started, and changed the boot order to USB.

It crashed and restarted.

I tried hitting F9 and changing the boot order.

It crashed and restarted.

Just to mix it up a bit, the fan started to run very loudly, almost as loudly as a small hair dryer, and the screen went black. I couldn't turn it off, so I had to unplug it.

I don't know what the hell is so wrong with that machine, but all I can think of, now, is to replace the hard drive. My old hard drive (about 10 years old) works just fine, as far as I can tell, but given its age, and especially given the fact that I've never done this before, has prevented me from trying.

First of all, would it work? I've put pictures here of the old hard drive in the old computer, and the hard drive in the new computer. The older drive is 1TB. The new one is 320GB. One photo shows the new one, the other two show the old one.

Should I try it, or just buy a new hard drive?

Also, the old computer is having problems with the graphics card. The motherboard bit it some years back, so I've been relying on a card. It's an AMD Radeon HD 6450. The driver seems to be out of whack, and I keep getting error messages saying that I need to update it, but according to the computer, the driver is updated. What should I do?

What an electronic mess.
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Last edited by Eireann; 10-19-2019 at 07:13 PM.
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  #2  
Old 10-19-2019, 11:35 PM
TheSHAD0W TheSHAD0W is offline
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If it's crashing after you replaced the RAM, then it's most likely something wrong with the RAM. You might even have inadvertently damaged or shorted one of the DIMM slots in the motherboard.

I think it's time you got an expert to take a good look at it.
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  #3  
Old 10-20-2019, 12:28 PM
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Eireann Eireann is offline
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It still worked after replacing the RAM, but it was running very slowly. I tried changing the amount of RAM used - and that's when the fuckup began.

Oddly, I tried using a flash drive to do a clean install of Windows 10 some time ago, not realizing that it didn't have the file on it. The computer couldn't boot from the flash drive, not surprisingly. When it finally occurred to me that the flash drive might need to have the clean install file loaded again, I did that - and this time, the computer didn't even try to boot from the flash drive. It did try on previous occasions, but not this time.

I removed the new RAM sticks, so I don't think that's the issue. Maybe I'll hand it over to an expert, as you suggested.
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Old 10-20-2019, 01:20 PM
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EricKei EricKei is offline
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On the RAM -- Are the RAM sticks identical pairs? While they need not all be the exact same one, most systems these days require dual-channel RAM, i.e., Slots X and Y both need to be exactly the same RAM stick, etc. Different sizes, speeds, or even model numbers will screw things up. Also, double-check to make sure they're seated properly, and that the boot-up sequence recognizes them all.
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Old 10-20-2019, 01:33 PM
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The RAM sticks I bought are identical, as are the sticks in the computer. I removed the new sticks (even though the computer worked just fine with them) and left the old ones as they were when I got the computer.

What gets me is, the computer was trying to boot up earlier, when I didn't realize I didn't have the correct file on the flash drive. Now, though, that the drive should work, it doesn't.
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Old 10-21-2019, 03:15 AM
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EricKei EricKei is offline
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Stupid question -- Have you tried resetting the CMOS or replaceing the battery (typically a CR2032 watch battery...??) -- Note that this will erase all custom BIOS settings either way.
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Old 10-21-2019, 03:36 PM
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Eireann Eireann is offline
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Quote:
Stupid question -- Have you tried resetting the CMOS or replaceing the battery (typically a CR2032 watch battery...??) -- Note that this will erase all custom BIOS settings either way.
Not stupid at all, particularly since I have no idea what you're talking about.

Really, my technological knowledge is not high. Someone on Microsoft Community suggesting unplugging (though not removing) the HDD and trying to boot off the flash drive. I tried it, and, wow - it didn't work. But the thing is, I got the same error message that time as I did all the other times I tried to boot off the flash drive when the HDD was plugged in.

So - what does that leave me? It seems that the error isn't in the HDD at all.

EDITED TO ADD: On earlier attempts to make the fucker run, I tried restoring factory defaults. It didn't work. After reading EricKei's latest response, I looked up CMOS and found out what that all means. So, I removed the battery, then put it back in. Since there's only so much I can take at any one time from that computer, I haven't tried turning it on yet.

Last edited by Eireann; 10-21-2019 at 04:58 PM.
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  #8  
Old 10-22-2019, 12:07 AM
Mental_Mouse Mental_Mouse is offline
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Here's the thing... with limited technical knowledge, there comes a point when you really need to call a professional. Offhand, what occurs to me is that while swapping RAM around, you might well have damaged "the motherboard", that is to say some random other chips on said board. (Quick question: Have you been using a ground strap for all such surgeries?) Motherboard damage causes really weird behavior (because various parts are having their expectations violated) that's often sporadic.
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Old 10-22-2019, 02:43 PM
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Eireann Eireann is offline
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Wow.

I took out the battery and put it back.

I plugged in the computer.

It showed a black screen, then a series of numbers in the upper-left corner. The numbers stopped at _3584 MB. At the bottom of the screen, the hot keys were listed: F9 for Boot Menu, F10 for whatever F10 does, F12 for Network.

I pressed all of them, at some point. Nothing.

Today, I tried plugging in the computer. I got a black screen with a blinking cursor in the upper-left corner.

I'm rather amazed at my ability to completely screw it up. It's almost awe-inspiring.
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