[Nottingham] Poorly PC

Martin martin at ml1.co.uk
Wed Dec 8 13:43:05 UTC 2010

On 08/12/10 13:03, Barry Allen wrote:
> Hi Guys,
> I'm starting to think it may be a hardware problem too. Does the live

That is suggestive if the machine has been running fine for some time
and it now starts giving random reboot problems...

> CD create a temp file on the hard disk to use a bit like swap space?

LiveCDs run entirely in system RAM and don't write to the HDD.

They will access your HDD to *read* what partitions are on there and to
give you a list of what is accessible. Usually, you will have read-only
access unless you actively instruct otherwise.

Some LiveCDs may search for any Linux swap partitions to then use them
as swap space for virtual memory. There's usually no problem for that,
and it can greatly help how well the LiveCD works.

> I noticed my hard disk light was running when I tried to boot from
> the live CD. Could be just checking what hardware is available but
> noticed it was on during the startup until it shutdown again.

Oh dear... That shouldn't be the case. Looks like there's a motherboard
or HDD fault. The HDD light should go out once the motherboard hardware
is initialised.

I have seen cases where the HDD LED lead was plugged onto the wrong pins
on the motherboard...

> I got hold of a copy of the new knoppix 6.4 by buying a linux mag
> (linux user I think) but no joy same as Ubuntu 8.04. it is a double
> sided DVD and has fedora 14 on the other side so will give it a try
> too.

The safest bet to retrieve your HDD data is to physically remove the HDD
from your suspect PC and connect it instead to a known good PC to then
copy your data somewhere safe...

(We have a certain very expert expert for that, but I'm sure he's far
too busy recovering other data! ;-) )

There's various diagnostics that can be run but that's a lot of typing
to explain... More realistic is to bring your poorly PC to one of the
group meets. Or find someone local to you. (Note this is a public
maillist - so no personal details! Email direct only.)

How old is your PC?

Does it need dust and dirt cleaning out of it? Computers need to be
clean and cool with a clean airflow to work reliably. Are all the fans

Hope that gives some clues,


Martin Lomas
martin at ml1.co.uk

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