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Leaving computer with service department

Posted on 2013-12-19
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Last Modified: 2013-12-19
When I turn on my computer it makes a mild screeching sound; which subsides once it's up to speed.  I have also noticed that, sometimes, there is a kind of cyclic whirring sound that coming from my computer.  It's beginning to feel like CRASH.

This is a two part question.

1. Should I consider replacing the HDD with an SSD?  Are they less likely to wear out or crash?

2. What should I do to protect my data; before I take it in and leave it with strangers?

I know I can move all my files from My Documents; that's easy, but what about the data in  "appdate"; where, for example, my Outlook data files, reside, and what about those other, out of the way, places? I'm even wondering how really secure my RoboForm data files from the prying of a trained technician.
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Question by:mikecox_
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6 Comments
 

Author Comment

by:mikecox_
ID: 39729447
http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2404258,00.asp

Ok, I found the answer to the first question.  That should simply things (-:
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LVL 98

Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 39729483
Since it is likely the hard drive itself, you will need to return it. Ask the vendor if you can format it first.  I suggest you format the disk to remove data (after recovering what you can) and then delete all the partitions.

... Thinkpads_User
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LVL 31

Accepted Solution

by:
Frosty555 earned 1600 total points
ID: 39729489
Where exactly is the wirring / screeching coming from?  Are you sure it's the hard drive?

By the time a hard drive starts "screeching", like that, it's absolutely dead and toast, there's no way you'd be using it right now. You'd be sending the hard drive in to a data recovery company to recover your data.

The most likely "other" source of the sound is probably a buzzing fan in your power supply, cpu fan, or chassis fan. Those can be easily replaced for pretty cheap.

Really, you'd have to ask the technician to tell you what's actually going on. We can't really help you here because we can't see the physical computer.

Regarding your other questions:

1) SSDs are a lot more expensive per GB, and have a much smaller capacity. They are also fantastically fast, and do not have moving parts so they can handle bumps and shocks better than an HDD. However SSDs have their own "wearing" issues where enough writes to the NAND memory causes it to wear out (although they've gotten much better in recent years), IMHO they're on par with HDDs as far as reliability goes. I wouldn't get an SSD specifically for reliability reasons. Get it for the superior performance, assuming you have a sufficiently small amount of data that you can fit it all on an affordable SSD.

2) Realistically, you can't do anything short of deleting all the data from the computer. A trained technician can get into anything they want to on your PC and you have to trust the people you're leaving your PC with.

You can deal with this problem in a couple of more "social" ways - legally, you could draft up and ask them to sign a confidentiality agreement before giving them the computer, giving you some legal recourse if they do decide to "pry" into your computer in a way that you can prove.

Alternatively, you could pay for a technician to provide onsite service for you, which will allow you to hover over their shoulder the whole time to make sure they don't do anything "sneaky".

If your problem is definitely a hardware issue and not a software issue, you can physically remove the hard drive before giving it to the technician. This is a bit annoying for the technician since they have to use live CDs or recovery CDs to test the functionality of your computer, but could be appropriate for a hardware repair where there's no reason to look at the software at all - for example a cracked LCD screen on a laptop.

... but really, a technician, and IT Administrators in general are granted an enormous amount of power and access, and a high level of trust. If you don't trust the technician servicing your computer, you shouldn't be using them.
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Assisted Solution

by:mcj2006
mcj2006 earned 400 total points
ID: 39729501
Screeching and whirring sound more like a fan going out. Have you tried opening up the side and spraying canned air on your CPU fan or video card fan?
You already found out the answer to 1. but an SSD is less likely to crash.
2. You could password protect your account and create a non-administrator account for the service dept. Make sure anything you want private is in the c:\users\youraccount .

or backup your private information onto an external drive or different computer and remove it from your service bound computer.
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LVL 10

Expert Comment

by:remmett70
ID: 39729504
Have you verified that it is the Hard drive making the noise and not one of cooling fans.

I would make sure that a complete backup of the drive is created before taking anywhere for service.  The cost of an external drive for backup is well worth it.
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Author Closing Comment

by:mikecox_
ID: 39730597
Pulled my computer out from under my desk, removed the covers and blew it out.  When I hooked it back up again it was purring like a kitten!  

What a relief!!!

Thanks (-:
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This article is written by John Gates, CISSP. Gates, the SNUG President-Elect, currently holds the position of Manager of Information Systems at Lake Park High School in Roselle, Illinois.
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