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Rushed Computer Upgrade in Progress

After yet another HDD failure, I sent the shop an e-mail detailing the service history and asking what can be done. I was considering asking for another model as replacement, but waited for a reply before going that far, so I didn’t at first. However, instead of replying to my message, they apparently tracked down the last service request made for that account and called dad, as his number was listed on that. They didn’t even e-mail after he didn’t answer at first, obviously not knowing what it was about, so after I told him we sort of took it back and forth, with them telling him what can be worked out, him saying he’ll think about it and telling me what they said, me at first telling him what I’m thinking should be done next, then just panicking and not knowing what to do or say anymore, making things even more confused…
In the end, they offered the money back for this HDD if I’ll take it back and buy a replacement from them instead, suggesting the 1 Tb Western Digital Black for a mere 4 RON, so less than €1, after the discount, and saying it will also be possible to get the new one first and hand the failed one in a few days later, if I want to make sure all data is saved, assuming it’ll hold long enough for that. However, I have nothing to do with the 500 Gb I have, much less with 1 Tb, and I also saw a small but worrying number of complaints about repeated failures of the 1 Tb model, while for the 500 Gb one I didn’t see any failure mentioned or listed, though a couple of people said they ended up with some that were dead on arrival, probably after being damaged during shipping, since they don’t come in any sort of case or box. So it was left hanging once again, with me looking into other options and dad asking why don’t I just order everything I meant to order a few months from now and get it over with.

With that in mind and after various panic attacks generated by the situation changing and me needing to make decisions quickly while at the same time worrying about losing data in case I’ll be so unlucky that this old HDD I’m using as backup will decide it had enough as well, I settled on that 500 Gb Western Digital Black as the new backup HDD, a 250 Gb Western Digital VelociRaptor as the new primary HDD at least for the time being, a Noctua NF-P12 PWM and a regular NF-P12 as the new case fans, plus a legal Windows 7 Ultimate, as strange it is to have your operating system legally purchased around here. With the direction Microsoft has chosen for the development of Windows now, considering Windows 8, I reckon that, once I’ll get used to it, I’ll be sticking to that one the same way many others are still sticking to XP.
Of course, I did look for an SSD, but what I wanted, namely a 240 Gb, or at least 180 Gb, Intel 520, was unavailable here, so I had to give up and, as I said, for the time being stick to the Raptor as primary, leaving the SSD for next year, when I want to upgrade the other components as well, if they’ll still last that long, seeing as they’re almost five years old already. At the same time, getting that regular NF-P12 was obviously a mistake, seeing as the PWM version can be plugged into a 3-pin connector as well, but I didn’t see that being specified anywhere and seeing as I never got case fans separately before, I just got what matched what I have on my motherboard, namely one with a 3-pin connector and one with a 4-pin one.

While the Raptor and the Windows should be coming on Tuesday, I got the Black and the fans last evening. Opened the case, put in the HDD, then started struggling with the fans, not to mention getting annoyed when I noticed I should have gotten two of the better kind after all. Eventually had to ask dad to help me take the old fans out and put the new ones in, which had little to do with IT and a lot to do with being stronger and more stubborn than certain screws and parts of the case that refused to cooperate in any way, and then also had to figure out a way to make room for all the cables with a third HDD added for the time being, especially seeing as one of them is IDE and takes up a lot of space.
We struggled with that for hours, eventually putting everything back together after midnight, but that was only the beginning, as what I got when I turned the computer back on was continuous beeping and an apparent freeze while trying to detect the new HDD. I crashed completely, asked dad to come back and he started going bit by bit, asking what this or that is and what may be wrong while I basically just curled in a ball on the floor, repeating that I ruin everything, shouldn’t have gotten anything and that I’ll be left without a computer. Also found myself crying a little, likely thanks to the fact that I wasn’t alone, so I guess I’m thankful for that at least, knowing that it’s next to impossible for me to cry when alone.
After regaining some shred of control, I started working it out bit by bit, trying to figure out the reasons while dad was available to get his hands in there and do things if I couldn’t get myself to touch anything anymore. We realize that the beeping is caused by the fans not starting, so I gave up on my attempt to use the Y-cable the PWM one comes with to plug both into the 4-pin connector and, after the next couple of attempts to connect them in a more proper way also resulted in failures, gave in and plugged the PWM one into the 3-pin connector and the regular one into the 4-pin one. Seems the wrongest possible way, but it makes them work just fine, so I’ll leave them like that now.
That still did nothing about the new HDD, and various attempts to change BIOS settings didn’t help either, but after disconnecting it I could check that everything else was still fine, so left it like that and called it quits for the night, verifying that the backup was correct by comparing directly with what was on this IDE one. Hadn’t done that before, simply turning the failing drive off after the problems started and hoping it’ll still work enough to be able to make this comparison after I’ll copy everything to the new one, but I got it done then, just to be sure.

Today, after waking up, getting some things done on-line and deciding on a course of action while I wasn’t quite as panicked yet, I pulled out all the cables again, to make room, switched the ones that went into the new HDD and the failing one, also changed some BIOS settings, and managed to put in the jumper that makes the new HDD work in SATA 2 mode. I had checked that before and saw plenty of people saying that, even though it normally works in SATA 3 mode, they did not have to put a jumper on pins 5 and 6 and activate compatibility mode in order to get it to work on a motherboard that only supports SATA 2, so I didn’t do it either, but apparently that was the problem, because after I did that it worked. Of course, it wasn’t the only thing I did, but had tried those BIOS changes last night as well, and the connection was clearly not the problem, seeing as it continued to see the failing drive after switching the cables. The problem now is that the Raptor is SATA 3 as well and, if it’ll be like this one and not come with any jumpers of its own, I’ll have to look and see where can I find or, if it comes to it, how can I make one, because I only had this one available, which came with the failing HDD.

Unfortunately, after copying the data from this IDE HDD, which I’ll be giving to dad after this, to the new one and thoroughly checking it, the failing one decided it had too much and stopped being detected while I was trying to delete things from it. Also wanted to overwrite it before sending it in, but was just deleting the files, as a first step, when it simply vanished, not even letting me finish that. Now it may be a way for it to protect itself from further damage, so may be possible to “revive” it enough to try again, but if not, I guess that’s that. It is a rather uncomfortable prospect, sending it in with data still on it, but I guess there’s very little real risk if it can’t normally be read anymore.


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