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Your Questions About How To Discover New Hard Drive

Maria asks…

Why is my computer slow after a fresh format?

I had something corrupted on my harddrive and couldn’t install most software, including any anti-virus programs. I finally found a trial version online that would install, and discovered I had 26 viruses–after nearly a year without protection, it was no surprise. I still couldn’t install hardly anything, so I saved all my pictures and files to my webpage, and reformatted the computer. I then installed Norton Antivirus, Microsoft office, and the usual games I’ve had on the last 3 computers I’ve owned. I installed all the Microsoft updates, and waited a month before downloading my pictures and files. I waited another month before I felt “safe”. Its been almost 4 months now, and my computer is terribly slow. I have to reboot sometimes 3 times before it will run fast enough to open Explorer in less that 60 seconds. Then the speed is erratic. Sometimes it will be too slow to use in the evening, and then run ok in the morning without a reboot.

New Niche Finder answers:

Ahhh … Where to begin? Well unfortunately as with most questions of this nature, we simply don’t have enough facts to give the panacea that’s so sought after. That being said, a few things come to mind … A freshly formatted system shouldn’t consume an abnormal amount of resources. Do you have a multi-function printer? (i.e., scanner – fax – printer) These are unbelievable CPU consumers. Previous mentions of pictures stored on the hard drive and defragmentation are unlikely culprits … Especially on a freshly formatted system. Spyware and viruses should be ruled out as well – for the same reason. These can’t survive a drive reformat. It’s entirely likely that your system may be too old to support what’s being asked of it. What is the operating system? What is the CPU speed? How much RAM is there? Is your anti-virus running a start-up scan in background? Running Windows XP on any machine slower than 1GHz and less than 256MB of RAM is just asking for trouble. Even though Microsoft minimum recommendations are stated less this – they don’t say that it will work but work slowwwwwwwwwwwly. Without more specifics, it’s just too difficult to give an adequate recommendation. Good luck …

Lisa asks…

Is 35 pass enough to securely delete already deleted data?

I am going to be giving my laptop away, as I have sold it online to an unknown buyer. However, I do recall deleting personal information that were stored in documents, such as passwords and bank account information, and then deleting them from the recycle bin. I have only recently discovered that they actually remain on a computer’s hard drive until overwritten. Is a 35 pass wipe of the free space (this is all I am wiping for now) enough to securely remove it so that it is unrecoverable?

New Niche Finder answers:

As proven by numerous university and government studies, one pass – meaning one over-write – is sufficient to render data irrecoverable from modern high density media such as HDDs. Anything more than one single pass, one single over-write is generally considered a pointless waste of time.

…but first of all, if you wipe the hard drive you will lose the operating system files… So how do you plan on putting that back once it’s been wiped?

I don’t feel like typing much but look up a few things that can help you… Look up ATA secure erase and ATA enhanced secure erase… Also lookup DBAN (free) and other such programs that aren’t free…DBAN ignores bad sectors so it isn’t always 100%….

Sorry, don’t feel like typing anymore right now. Good luck.

Just a side note… The 35 pass method was invented for a time long long ago.. And A LOT has changed since then…. Magnetic media like hard drives are MUCH MUCH denser these days…35 passes is an INSANE waste of time and electricity.

George asks…

Is it possible to have 2 hard drives hooked to 1 computer?

Can this be done without damaging my computer? If it can, Would I beable to save files from one hard drive to the other? If I can, How do I do it? Thank you for your help.

New Niche Finder answers:

Yes it is. I don’t know the limit to how many you can have in one computer but I have 3 hard drives. I only had two at first but I discovered that you don’t have two use the cables at the top of your computer for DVD or CDROM if you don’t want to. Make sure that if you are using extra hard drives that they are set as slave drives. Hook the extra hard drive to the extra cable that you have inside your computer (should be next to the one that you have installed alreadY) it should have the word slave on it. Anyways, hook that extra cable to your hard drive and make sure that the connection goes into the slot next to where your original hard drive is. Before you plug the power supply in, make sure that you follow the directions (usually on the top of the hard drive) for assigning your hard drives role (slave, master or cable select) and set the jumpers according to that. Plug the power supply cord into the hard drive and start your computer. When Windows is booted, go into my computer and you should see the extra drive there. Another way to add an extra drive is to disconnect the wires from your cd rom or DVD and connect them to your hard drive. Make sure that the jumper settings are set for a slave drive and boot your computer. I only added my 3rd drive that way because I had an extra CD ROM on my computer(I have a DVD Rom). Hope this works!!!

Susan asks…

How do i save music files from a right-protected cd?

I have a legitimate music cd and I am trying to copy paste the files onto my harddrive and it is saying that it is right protected. How can I save the files onto my harddrive?

New Niche Finder answers:

This guide explains how to copy music CDs that are copy-protected with ‘copy control technology.’ You need a PC with Windows XP and a CD writer. The guide also discusses why you would want to do this and whether it is legal or not.

This approach has worked on all of the (relatively few) copy-protected music CDs that I have tried. However, there are different types of copy protection, and I don’t know if it works on all of them. It will only work on music CDs and not on (for example) game CDs. I have only used this approach with Windows XP, but there’s a good chance it will work with other versions of Windows also.

Using this guide is intended to be pretty straightforward, but if you’re having problems, there’s a section on troubleshooting at the end. There’s also some thoughts on what to do about this problem in the long term, and a section with links to online resources that you might find helpful.
Step 0: Is This Legal?

In short, I don’t know if it’s legal or not, but consider the following. After buying a music CD called 80s Alternative: The Darker Side of the Decade for €9.99 in Tower Records in Dublin, I discovered that it only played in two of the four CD players I use on a regular basis:

* A Discman from Sony [the CD worked fine on this]
* A Wall-Mounted CD Player from Muji [the CD worked fine on this]
* A DP-470 DVD Player from KiSS Technology [the CD didn’t work on this]
* My Linux box from Dell [the CD did not work on this either]

It turned out the CD contained ‘copy control technology,’ which prevented it from working on the players listed above. In all fairness, the CD was clearly marked ‘COPY CONTROLLED’ but I failed to notice this when I picked it up. I buy CDs quite often but I find they are actually quite resistant to scratches, so I rarely make copies. However, it was a problem that the 80s Alternative CD only worked in two of the four players. Also, the songs couldn’t be MP3-encoded.

To solve this problem, I created a copy of the CD as described here. The copy plays in all of the four players listed above, and will also allow the songs to be MP3-encoded. In short, the copy is a completely normal audio CD. Since creating the copy, I haven’t taken the original out of its case, except to write this guide.

Removing Copy Protection on CDs

Because I don’t usually copy CDs, I found it a little ironic that the ‘copy control technology’ required me to make a copy of the album in order to use it. Since my experience with the 80s Alternative album, I have bought many other CDs, and the ones with copy control technology are the only ones I have copied. To figure out whether this was legal or not, I wrote an open letter to EMI, who are the publishers of the 80s Alternative album. In the letter, I pointed out this paradoxical situation and asked EMI if they would consider what I had done fair use of the album. I also sent the letter to a couple of newspapers, but I don’t think they published it. All of this was in March 2004. As of February 2008, I have still to hear from EMI, but I will update this page with details as soon as they get back to me.

In the meantime, I hope this guide will help people who are in a similar situation. Until I hear from EMI, I suggest you make up your own mind about whether you think following these instructions is legal or not.
Step 1: Download IsoBuster

The first step is to download and install IsoBuster, a program used to salvage data from damaged CDs and DVDs. IsoBuster is a commercial program, but you can run it in freeware mode, where it has limited functionality, which is fine for our purposes. I used IsoBuster 1.6 for this guide.
Step 2: Create a Folder for the Audio Tracks

The idea is to use IsoBuster to extract the hidden audio tracks from the protected CD and burn them to a normal CD, so the first thing to do is create a folder somewhere to store the audio tracks. I suggest your Windows desktop.
Step 3: Open the Copy-Protected CD with IsoBuster

First, start up IsoBuster and hold down your shift key while inserting your copy-protected CD.

I recommend that you hold down the shift key because it blocks the Windows ‘autorun’ feature, i.e., prevents the CD from launching programs automatically. The reason this is necessary is that some copy-protected CDs (for example Contraband by Velvet Revolver) automatically install suspicious Windows drivers, which people have reported cause problems when you later want to play normal CDs. If you don’t want to hold down the shift key every time you insert a copy-protected CD, there is also a way to disable autorun altogether.

After inserting the CD, you should now see something like the following:

IsoBuster Screenshot #1

As you can see, the CD has two sessions, unlike a normal audio CD, which only has one. The actual audio tracks are stored in session 1. Session 2 contains files, which are used when you insert the CD into a Windows box or a Macintosh. For our pu

Richard asks…

What is the punishment for mild gamesaving on Xbox 360?

I gamesaved (put gamesaves on my hard drive that have all the achievements on them) to get all the achievements in Crackdown and Assassin’s Creed. For only doing this, if someone finds out, what will I get as a punishment? Ban? GS Reset? Suspended? Thanks.

New Niche Finder answers:

If you are discovered, your Gamerscore will be reset to 0, you won’t be able to get any of the achievements you have again, and your Gamercard will label you as a cheater.

Here’s a blog entry from Major Nelson (Xbox Live Director of Programming) detailing the punishment: http://majornelson.com/archive/2008/03/25/gamerscore-correction.aspx

Here’s what a cheater looks like: http://live.xbox.com/en-US/profile/profile.aspx?pp=0&GamerTag=StripClubDj

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