Went to dinner last night and caught a movie. When I returned, the laptop was dead. (Battery completely drained). Normally I shut the lid when/if I won't be using it for a while. Could kick myself for letting it run unattended.
Was able to restore a/c power by jiggling the cable, but the laptop still wouldn't boot. What a horrible feeling (as you know). None of my tricks worked. Even after the battery was fully charged (and I crossed my fingers and said a prayer) » no dice.
Last Known Good config was » no good. Couldn't even boot into safe mode. That's when I knew it was bad.
Still don't know what went wrong. I mean, a dead battery shouldn't prevent your laptop from booting (once power is restored).
But I could load drivers in safe mode (before it would blue-screen and auto-reboot), so I knew the drive itself was accessible (sign of hope) .. cuz I thought I heard it making funny noises earlier.
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The error message identified a vague problem and suggested I insert my Windows CD and press 'R' to access the Repair/Recovery console .. which I did, but couldn't make heads-nor-tails of it, cuz it simply presented a command prompt [»C:/Windows:_], and none of the commands (accessed via the HELP command) seemed applicable. [CHKDSK was no help.]
So I went to sleep. Woke up at 3AM and tried it again. Presed the button » nada. One last time in the morning » nothing. Dang.
My last resort was to try and restore an image (stored on an external USB drive). If the problem was software-related, that should fix it. If not, it meant the problem was hardware-related. (Time for a new laptop.)
I started sweating bullets when I couldn't find the Ghost Recovery CD. "Where the heck did I *put* that thing?" I asked myself. If I couldn't find it, that would introduce a serious headache.
Tore the place apart .. before realizing it was stashed right under my nose. I booted with the Ghost 12 Recovery CD. No problemo there. First I ran a virus scan, which turned up clean.
Regulars may recall how I resisted the idea of depending on a Windows-based imaging solution (for reasons detailed » HERE). But Ghost 12 restored my back-up image just fine. And it worked quite slickly, too, I might add.
I found the Restore interface very intuitive (idiot-proof). Whoever designed it deserves kudos. I especially like how each back-up image (now called a Recovery Point) was labeled with it age. My most recent back-up (for example) was 20 days old and listed at the top. I didn't even have to do the math to figure out how old the image was. Now I am catching up on 20-days worth of updates.
Folks unfamilair with how a back-up cloning/imaging utility works often cite Windows Restore as their (dependable) ace-in-the-hole. But Windows Restore will do nothing for a dead drive (because Windows stores the files used to restore the drive on the same drive, which all Rad Warriors know is BAD). That's why you need an imaging utility (such as Norton Ghost).
No doubt you've heard the adage (by Ben Franklin) » an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Nowhere is this maxim more true than when it applies to a hard drive imaging/cloning program. Word to the wise.
For more along these lines, here's a Google search preconfigured for the query » restore norton ghost 12 hard drive backup image recovery point