So, my Wonder Woman’s lil personal notebook began exhibiting some serious problems.
The “Black screen after login” issue
When video regained, extremely slow non-response (click, wait several minutes, whatever was invoked finally displays, etc.).
Hard drive light on, solid. Task Manager (again, problems loading TM) showed 100% hard drive usage, almost constantly.
So, I knew what the problem was, generally, but thought to meself, “Self, approach this as a moderately intelligent non-techie would approach it,” and searched the web on those behaviors. Sure enough, failing hard drive was the consensus among views.
Now, I could have dragged out some serious tools, but decided again to limit myself to the above parameters and just used whatever hard drive repair tools are built into Windows 10, invoking a hard drive scan and repair the easy way by shutting the computer down mid-boot a few times (it was taking almost 10 minutes to get to the login screen anyway,
so I just emulated the behavior of a frustrated non-techie, to wit:
“Maybe if I shut it down and restart it. . . ” *heh*).
Windows checked the drive, found errors, and said it fixed them. Wrong, of course, but that’s another gripe.
Booted through to Windows, this time taking only about 15 minutes to display the desktop.
Yeh, hard drive failure.
So, ordered a couple of new hard drives, one internal and one external.
Looked around for what the “moderately intelligent non-techie” might find on the web, and settled on some software that looked easy-peasy to use for cloning the drive (meanwhile holding a fresh install of Win10 in my own back pocket, just in case–but I was betting the system itself was OK). Found the usual suspects, including the one I have used for years for cloning Windows drives (Acronis TrueImage–good stuff, Maynard), but decided to limit myself to freebie software, and since Toshiba doesn’t make a version of ATI available for its drives, as do some manufacturers, no TI for this one.
I finally narrowed the software selection down to one that’s new to me: AOEMI Backupper. Yeh, stupid name, and the website and documentation is all by someone whose English is. . . weird. But it looked like it’d be simple to use (a major criterion for my postulated non-techie), and had good reviews, including YouTube reviews demonstrating doing exactly what I planned to do, so that was my selection.
When the drives came, it was not without trepidation and much practice of non-existent patience that I booted Windows 10 on the bummed out lil notebook, installed AOEMI Bakupper and imaged the system partition onto the new external drive.1
I then burned a WinPE-based boot disk for AOEMI Backupper (specifying UEFI boot)), powered down the lil notebook, and switched the old drive out for the new one.
I made sure the external drive with the image of the system partition was connected, booted the notebook from the WinPE boot disk, told AOEMI Backupper to restore the image, and let it run.
15 Minutes later, I booted the notebook to the new drive. Ran a few diags and turned it back to my Wonder Woman. Fortunately, I was right, and the OS was fine; the drive failing had not compromised her Windows 10 installation.
It was an interesting exercise. I will admit that I should have already had an image of her drive/partition handy, but sometimes the shoemaker’s children are the last to benefit from the last, eh? *sigh*
Now, I am not sure this proves that a moderately intelligent non-techie could have done this, but at least it encourages me to think so, and I’m happy with that fantasy.
1 Note: my original plan, as my postulated non-techie, was to simply click on the “Clone” button and follow the prompts after putting the new internal drive into an external case, but Toshiba had decided to partition the original drive into SEVEN partitions, five of which really had uses only for Toshiba techies. Seven was five more partitions than the freebie version of AOEMI Backupper could handle, and though I could easily have simply deleted the unnecessary partitions and ended up with the system partition and the original (now also useless, because Win 8.1) recovery partition, I decided my postulated non-techie, though also postulated as moderately intelligent, might balk at that, so I went the direction noted above.