Bad day (not Enterprise)

I'm having a bad computer day.

On Friday, SWMBO's work laptop (Dell D600, just like mine) started reporting "Primary Hard disk not found". Naturally, this is the system where we've been keeping a lot of our personal data while she's been on leave, and it's the one she's been using to surf the web all day... So I'm going to try to (hopefully) recover some of the data off it.

So I went out to Microcenter, bought a USB-IDE adapter (cable, really cool) and am trying to get it working. Nope. Just a little clicking sound, and the drive doesn't spin up. Damn it.

The other problem is with the home PC upstairs... Since I don't have a network cable run there, I figured it'd work to use the wireless network. I've had a D-Link DWL-122 USB wireless (802.1g) adapter (bought it a while ago for this purpose) but when I leave it plugged in, the system locks up solid. No mouse movement, no keyboard, nothing. If I don't have the wireless adapter plugged in, the system'll be fine for days. There're some net references to USB-related lockups with AMD processors and Via chipsets, some of which may be resolved by switching out the USB controller for a PCI one.

So while I'm at Microcenter, I figured I'll get a 2-port USB card to see if this'll fix the problem (assuming that I won't be able to get SWMBO's HDD back to life) so that she can be online during the day. But just as I walked in, there's a sale on PCI 802.1g wireless cards, so I pick one of those up too. I figure if the USB thing doesn't work out, the PCI card should work.

Nope. When I installed the USB card, it was recognized fine, but the DWL-122 "Cannot start. code 10". And that's the case any time it's plugged into the new card, but it works fine with the onboard ports. After a couple of retry, refresh, reinstall, reboot, reboot, reboot, reboot, I gave up. Of course the PCI card will work...

Or maybe not. About 1 minute after the I installed the card & booted, the damn thing locked up again.

And SWMBO's HDD still won't spin up.


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