Windows grief

The SSD that I installed in my desktop PC a couple of months ago has been working fine. Up until yesterday.

I got a random blue screen error yesterday, while working on the PC. I’ll leave out most of the details, but things went downhill from there. I tried a bunch of stuff, including a chkdsk /f (which didn’t help and probably didn’t finish), SpinRite (which crashed), and various Windows 10 recovery options. Nothing worked.

And I’d recently reformatted the old drive that the SSD replaced, since the SSD was working fine. And I had deleted the old backup of that old drive, so I could make room to do a full backup of the SSD. Which I tried, but couldn’t complete. So I don’t really have a good, full, backup.

This morning, I pulled the new SSD from the desktop computer and mounted it externally on my ThinkPad. It’s been working fine there, and I’ve been copying stuff off it with no problems. Of course, the ThinkPad drive is 500GB and is about half full, while the desktop drive is 1TB and there’s about 400 GB of stuff I need to copy off of it. So I’m shuffling around some old drives so I can copy the files off of the SSD. Copying everything might take up most of the day today.

Since it looks like the drive isn’t actually dead, that probably means that either: (1) the drive cable in the PC is bad, or (2) there’s something wrong on the motherboard of the PC. It’s also possible that there’s some other weird problem that I can maybe fix by doing a full reformat of the drive and reinstall of Windows 10. But I don’t think it’s a Windows problem; if it was, SpinRite likely wouldn’t have crashed, since that’s running from a boot CD. If it’s the drive cable, that’s an easy problem to fix. If it’s a hardware problem on the motherboard, then I need to figure out if I want to try to repair an out-of-warranty Dell desktop PC or just punt and buy a new one.

So my next step, after making sure I’ve got a good copy of all the data off the drive, is to mount it back in the desktop PC, with a new drive cable, and see what happens. If it works, I’ll probably try another chkdsk /f and, if that works, then I’ll breather a sigh of relief and get on with my life, I guess.

If it doesn’t work with the new drive cable, then I’m not sure what I’m going to do. I’ll try a few hardware troubleshooting ideas, and maybe I’ll get lucky. If it’s just a bad SATA port on the motherboard, then I can just use a different one. But if I can’t figure it out, I might decide to buy myself an Intel NUC kit, and transfer the drive and (maybe) memory to it. If I do that, I’ll have to buy a Windows 10 license too, I guess, but overall it should still be more affordable than buying a whole new PC.

Blog posts like this one might not communicate a lot of useful information to anyone, by the way, but I find them to be worth writing, since they allow me to organize my thoughts more than I would otherwise do. I was listening to a podcast yesterday that mentioned rubber ducking, and I guess that’s what I’m doing here, basically. So I don’t know if this post will ever help anyone else, but it helped me.

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