Computer problems have returned… grrrrr

Right in the middle of a 2000 word article, my computer crashed again and I can’t, again, reboot it so far.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Patrick J. says:

    This is that time, time to “refresh” your beloved computer. How?

    What OS are you using. If XP, you can do a repair installation of XP,

    which claims that you not need to reinstall programs. I think that is not 100% correct, but YMMV.

    OR, probably better, and more insurance that things indeed will be better at the end, get a new hard drive, fresh install XP, use your current drive as a secondary, i.e., “D” or “E” or “F” drive. Open your computer case, remove the Power plug to the current drive, mount and connect your new physical drive, (SATA or IDE depending on what you have currently, don’t mix, SATA is the smallish connector while the IDE is the older wide ribbon) and have windows install loaded in the DVD/CD drive, and just follow the install prompts. About a half hour later, you have virtually a new computer. Now re-connect the power connector to the old drive and it will come back “on line” – the computer will find it – and you have all your old files available as well on a secondary hard drive. You will need to re-install most programs.

    I would think Vista would be a similar procedure.

  2. Eric says:

    St. Joseph’s occupation is translated as “carpenter” in most bibles.
    I think the original Greek word is “Tekton” meaning skilled worker.
    The root of tekton is where we get our word technology.

    When I have computer problems, I pray to St. Joseph for his intercession. To me he is the original “techie.”

  3. Roland de Chanson says:

    Lest we incardinate St. Joseph into the geek squad, I feel etymologically if not theologically obliged to point out that “technology” is from “techne” meaning know-how, skill, art, etc. The “ch” represents the Greek “chi” as in the chi-rho.

    “Tekton” (with an omega) means a builder, carpenter, joiner, framer, i.e. one who makes buildings. Its related words all have to do with the building trade.

    At which point, Fr. Z. is probably muttering to his computer, “kai su, teknon”.

  4. Roland de Chanson says:

    Just a test of unicode greek:

    ?????, ??????, ??? ??, ??????

    It appears in the preview correctly, but in the combox?

  5. chironomo says:

    I had this happen in the middle of a book project with about 50 pages of completed text…HD crashed and I hadn’t yet backed up the chapter to an external drive. I now rely on cloud-based backup… every 5 minutes when writing.

    I don’t know who to pray to for this…when it happened, the references to God I uttered were not exactly in the form of prayers.

  6. Okay, I had to go through the process of a system restore.

  7. Father Z,

    I feel your angst. I wiped out a new WP blog site yesterday. I’m about to spend today rebuilding it.


  8. Animadversor says:


    Can you transliterate? Maybe I can get the Greek letters to make it all the way to the other end of the wire. ευξαριστω
    (That’s with HTML entities; don’t see a way to get breathings and accents using entities, though.

  9. Animadversor says:

    Oops! ευχαριστω

  10. Patrick J. says:

    System restore is good and it can fix a lot of things.

    Do you regularly use “Spybot,” (free, donate) and Lavasoft’s “Adaware” (has a very good free version). Use these regularly, maybe every couple of weeks. What one doesn’t find, the other seems to.

    When you try to boot and a file is not found, thus cannot boot, that can very often be sectors on the hard drive going bad — hence the admonition to do a fresh install on a new drive. I would consider myself fortunate if this were the case and I still had a chance to fix it before the drive goes down completely. This is the very best advice I can give. A fresh install and reinstalling programs will take the better part of an evening, but the alternate, where you perhaps lose important files, and still have to do a fresh install is much worse.

  11. Jack Hughes says:

    st ilsodore is the person to pray to for computer problems

  12. wmeyer says:

    Father Z, the system restore is your friend. But… if you find it goes south on you again, before doing another restore, try to recall a date before the troubles began, and restore to that date or earlier. And if it goes wrong yet again, then back up everything you consider important, reformat the drive, and reinstall Windows, as well as your applications. Or what may be a more palatable process, make the existing hard drive the secondary, install a new primary, and install Windows on that. Then your apps. Then copy from the secondary all the data to the primary.

    It is not impossible that the drive is what is failing.

  13. DominiSumus says:

    I’ve been there, usually while I am writing my term paper for school. I hope you are able to at least get your article out of the hard drive.

  14. Roland de Chanson says:


    Good idea about the html entities. I had pasted in utf-8. There must be some filter that is stripping the non-ascii stuff. This comment box and the preview are clear.

    For the breathings and accents, perhaps typing the unicode as ‘&’#xnnnn; will work. Cumbersome though.

  15. Animadversor says:

    Roland, you can go here and see the result of some of my experimentation. I don’t want to take up any more of this entry with this rabbit hole. This experiment only involved copying and pasting; I think composing might be rather different. In any case, encoding, character sets and fonts are, I think, some of the most Byzantine aspects of computing, and then when you throw in HTML…. Now what was it that you were trying to render in Greek?

  16. patrick_f says:

    Not sure if anyone has suggested this,

    I would run a Chkdsk /f , either with recovery console, or from another PC lookup and create A “Bart PE” disk.

    I wouldnt put it past yourself that your actualy hard drive might have a cluster out of wack, especially since this has been happening since the power outage. Keep in mind a drive is constantly writing/reading something, so who knows what miniscule particule of data, even outside the OS (like in your MBR , master boot record)

    Definately do yourself the favor and run the check disk first. Then if your install is still corrupted, then try the suggestion of the reinstall that I believe the first poster made

  17. Geremia says:

    I wonder if Fr. Z’s Missale Romanum is a laptop? Hopefully not! ?

  18. Gabriella says:

    You lot are all so well versed in this ‘tekton’ stuff!
    I just live day by day hoping that mine doesn’t crash in on me :) and, of course, praying to St. Joseph, St. Isidore, St. Clare, etc.

  19. Roland de Chanson says:


    Just a test: τέχνη, τέκτων, τέκνον

  20. Tom in NY says:

    ??? ??? ?? ?????? ????? ?????????? ????????? (???? ???. ? 15¨53)
    Cf. 1 Cor. 15:53
    Hope the transcription worked.
    Salutationes omnibus.

  21. Mary Ann says:

    These are probably suggestions that you already do or have been given to you before…

    I’m not very tech savvy. But I have been dragged into learning some things by necessity. Here are a few things that have helped me over time.

    I use software that cleans up my registry (regularly) and accomplishes other tasks. As I am using paid software, I won’t mention it by name in this posting. But good freeware or shareware is probably available.

    Yes, using sys restore, definitely…

    Frequent disk clean up…malware/spyware usage…and regular disk defrag are helpful if not outright necessary. I learn recently that there are some free disk defrag programs that accomplish much more than the built in Windows program for doing this. There are other ways also to specifically optimize Windows or Internet Explorer, tweak memory, limit programs that load on start up or assist in identifying and uninstalling unnecessary programs—but I’m not certain what is available as freeware.

    Opening Windows Task Manager by doing a simultaneous ‘Crtl + Alt + delete’, then clicking the Applications tab to find what specifically is frozen does allow you to end just problem task or tasks. Note that if you end any one progam in Internet Explorer, all windows using it will close too. You can also end programs, including those running in the background, on Processes tab—but the listings there are often cryptic to me so I don’t close things very often from that tab. But you can see from there what is eating up CPU usage, by percentage, in real time. Over all performance can be seen on the Processes tab. Emergency shut down is available on the top area of the task manager window in a drop down menu. If you can’t bring up the task manager and you do need to do an emergency shut down you can press in and hold down the power button on your tower (5 seconds or so) until it starts a shut down.

    Lastly, are you certain all your peripherals are working correctly? I jumped through many, many hoops in the past six weeks to improve my aged computer that was balking at many turns. Turns out that my keyboard was at fault, including making booting and rebooting an adventure (the electronic buzzing that came directly from the tower was certainly disconcerting!). The only hint that I had that there might be something wrong with the keyboard was the (very rare) appearance of a specific extra keystroke. I didn’t find anything regarding diagnostics that hinted there was a difficultly here (although maybe I just didn’t know how to look for it). In the past, I have had peripherals dying or dead of which I was unaware because I couldn’t fully boot up at all. Any given piece of hardware that is not essential can be unplugged from the tower and a reboot tried. Keyboard, monitor or mouse testing might present more of a problem though. I remember once borrowing a mouse from a neighbor just to test my theory that it might have been the problem. Yup, it was the problem and a new mouse remedied the situation.

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