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Author Topic: power cut conundrum  (Read 6859 times)

tuftedduck

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power cut conundrum
« on: September 03, 2008, 11:23:53 AM »

Morning, I wonder if some kind soul can advise.

Yesterday afternoon we had a good going thunder and lightning storm, with very heavy rain.

After that went over, I booted up the PC and was happily reading away at this site when we had a sudden power cut, and of course the PC was switched off in a "wrong" manner.

When the power came back, I rebooted expecting to get the warning message that "Windows had shut down in a wrong manner" ( or whatever the correct wording is ) and being presented with the options to "start normally", "last known good configuration" etc etc.

But, Windows started normally of it's own accord and the only sign of the previous trauma was a pop up from my browser asking if I wanted to resume my last session or start afresh.

My question is............why did Windows start up normally and correctly ? I had always thought that after an uncontrolled shutdown, Windows went into a huff and was reluctant to play again without some coaxing.

Not complaining, just curious.
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dave.m

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Re: power cut conundrum
« Reply #1 on: September 03, 2008, 11:35:29 AM »

TD,
Not sure of the true answer . . . . but . . . as you were only browsing, you were probably not using any Windows files and folders so none were 'open' when it suddenly shut down. As such, it would not have any 'cleaning up' to do and so just opened as normal.

dave
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tuftedduck

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Re: power cut conundrum
« Reply #2 on: September 03, 2008, 07:09:22 PM »

Thank you for your comments, which are probably correct.
Won't worry about it any more.
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dave.m

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Re: power cut conundrum
« Reply #3 on: September 03, 2008, 07:15:02 PM »

TD,
It has happened to me a couple of times when the 'Manager' has unplugged my extension lead to put the hoover in.
Each time I was using Firefox and after rebooting normally when I wrestled my plug back, all that happened was Firefox asked if I wanted a return and when I clicked OK it reopened with all the tabs and sites still there.
I think it is just XP getting touchy if it is doing something and gets interupted.
Never had a problem afterwards when it occured so don't let it worry you.
dave
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Floydoid

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Re: power cut conundrum
« Reply #4 on: September 03, 2008, 07:17:51 PM »

The only time I've had a problem is when windows has failed to load properly, then on rebooting it asks what you want to do (start normally, start in safe mode, etc).  As I recall 98SE used to be far more touchy after a crash/power cut.
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"A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools." - Douglas Adams, Mostly Harmless

oldfogy

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Re: power cut conundrum
« Reply #5 on: September 03, 2008, 09:23:17 PM »

TD,
Not sure of the true answer . . . . but . . . as you were only browsing, you were probably not using any Windows files and folders so none were 'open' when it suddenly shut down. As such, it would not have any 'cleaning up' to do and so just opened as normal.

dave
OK, so I'm a bit late answering, but I too was going to say the same as Dave when first reading your post, but he got there first. :sleep:
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tuftedduck

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Re: power cut conundrum
« Reply #6 on: September 04, 2008, 10:01:29 AM »

Thank you, OF, for the further comments.

The odd thing is that whilst that which I was expecting yesterday did not occur, and the PC booted normally, it did occur when I booted today.

I am in despair with this machine, and am not getting any sleep nor enjoying my days wondering and worrying about what is going to go wrong next.

If it were not my only means of communications with my family abroad, it would go in the dustbin.

I'm too old for this (eighty-seven years too old) and cannot take any more......don't know what to do. If only I still had my hearing, I could use the phone instead.
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oldfogy

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Re: power cut conundrum
« Reply #7 on: September 04, 2008, 12:24:57 PM »


The odd thing is that whilst that which I was expecting yesterday did not occur, and the PC booted normally, it did occur when I booted today.

I think the problem is "thats computers for you"

When this type of problem occurs, I think the best thing to do is always re-start the PC a couple of times before getting down to any type of work.

But seriously, since I stopped tinkering to "try" and improve things my PC has been behaving quite normal.
(if there is such a thing as normal).

Don't get me wrong, I do still load various bits of software and tinker to follow suggestion/s, but as soon as I have finished, my PC is usually re-ghosted back to the way it was previously.
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soms

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Re: power cut conundrum
« Reply #8 on: September 04, 2008, 01:00:26 PM »

Sounds like you were quite fortunate there TD.

My personal experience of power failures is that the NT based systems are quite resilient and will boot up OK and perhaps produce the "serious system failure" message or whatever it is. However Windows 9x PCs sometimes fair a little worse and I have had one where Windows needed to be reinstalled.

Something I do on the XP PCs here at home is to disable Write-behind caching on the hard drives.

Write-behind caching is a Windows performance feature wherby it will delay/queue disk operations to improve system performance.  This can be a problem when you say modify or a save either consciously or the system may be doing something and the operation is stored in RAM and delayed as oppsoed to committing it straight to the hard disk in real time.

The idea is that this improves Windows performance, as it will spread the work load on the hard drive using this method. However, if the power fails before the changes have been fully committed then data loss and corruption may occur which can be problematic depending on what the system/user has been up to.

Obviously this isn't such an issue on a laptop where a battery will instantly take over if the mains fails, but on a modern PC you are better to disable it with the hope of trying to safe guard your data and you will not see any real performance loss.

Of course, if the power fails whilst the disk is being used, data loss and corruption may still occur and if your really unlucky drive damage/failure is possible where the mechanics simply grind to a halt.

I welcome other peoples view on the issue but I would recommend disabling write-behind caching if your PC performs fairly well.

It can be disabled  (Windows 2000/XP) in System Properties > Hardware > Device Manager > Disk Drives > [your hard disk] > Properties > Policies and you will see a check box for Write caching.
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Floydoid

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Re: power cut conundrum
« Reply #9 on: September 04, 2008, 01:19:03 PM »

I've found that enabling write-behind caching seems to improve the overall system performance.

Other performance tips can be found in these excellent tweak guides:

http://www.tweakguides.com/TGTC.html
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"A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools." - Douglas Adams, Mostly Harmless

soms

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Re: power cut conundrum
« Reply #10 on: September 04, 2008, 01:44:04 PM »

I've found that enabling write-behind caching seems to improve the overall system performance.

Other performance tips can be found in these excellent tweak guides:

http://www.tweakguides.com/TGTC.html

If you find it helps then you might as well use it...

It was just I saw little benefit and feel I have a little more peace of mind.

Out of interest Floydoid what is your HDD interface? I suspect it makes more of a difference on IDE disks where the interface rate is more of a bottleneck than SATA-II disks.

(Not meaning to drag the thread off topic btw)
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Floydoid

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Re: power cut conundrum
« Reply #11 on: September 04, 2008, 03:41:14 PM »

I have two IDE drives, both on the same cable.
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"A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools." - Douglas Adams, Mostly Harmless

tuftedduck

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Re: power cut conundrum
« Reply #12 on: September 04, 2008, 03:48:00 PM »

Thank you all for your further comments and advices, my apologies for the delay in responding.

I suppose the safest way to go, in terms of power outages, is to have an UPS unit, but I believe they can be fiddly to set up and configure and that there are complications in choosing the right one to match with the PSU etc.

Disabling write-behind caching may be an option, especially as I do have old steam driven IDE drives but, and in referance to OF's comment above, I don't like to do too much fiddling and tweaking..............not expert enough to understand the consequences of doing such a thing.

Will see how things go with this machine, if it goes wrong again I will be going back to the quill and ink.
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oldfogy

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Re: power cut conundrum
« Reply #13 on: September 04, 2008, 04:12:45 PM »


1. I suppose the safest way to go, in terms of power outages, is to have an UPS unit,
2. but I believe they can be fiddly to set up
3. and configure
4. and that there are complications in choosing the right one to match with the PSU etc.


1. Yes
2. No,
3. No,
4. No.

I use Belkin UPS, just plug the UPS into the mains and plug the PC into the UPS. (job done)
I don't use any of the software that "can" be used.

Although they can be configured to use various aspects, you do not need to.

All you need is one that is strong enough to run your PC, "say 300 watts"
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tuftedduck

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Re: power cut conundrum
« Reply #14 on: September 04, 2008, 04:22:43 PM »

Aha, simple as that.  ;D

Ok well worth parting with some pennies for that, thank you.
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