This is “cool” (well not as hot as it used to be).

The screen on my LG LW70 laptop is slowly degrading. Every week I get a new vertical line on it as the pixels die.

I’ve got an extended warranty on it, so I could return it to get a new screen, but I run my life and my business on my laptop, so I’d rather buy a new one than let it out of my sight for more than a few hours.

I noticed that it was pumping out a lot of heat from the heatsink on the left hand side of the unit, and thought that was normal for laptops. But when the next vertical line started flickering on my screen I got desperate and googled “lg lw70 laptop temperature” and discovered a new utility.

Speedfan ( is a clever utility that monitors the temperature of a PC at several different points (HDD, CPU, Video) and lets you configure responses to certain events if the heat gets too high.

To my horror, when I ran it on my laptop, I discovered that it was running at 66 Celsius, which is pretty hot.

I racked my brain trying to figure out a way to reduce the temperature and came up with two ideas:

  • I put the laptop on a U-shaped metal tray. The U-Shape meant that air could get underneath it, and the metal tray conducted the excessive heat away from the laptop.
  • I made the windows power schemes the same whether the laptop is running on batteries or not. So the HDD spins down after 5 minutes, and the Laptop tries to conserve as much power (i.e. produce as little heat) as possible.

The results were drastic. The laptop temperature dropped from 66C down to 44C in about 2 hours.

It won’t undo the heat damage that’s already been done to my screen, but at least the screen won’t sustain any more damage.

Now all I have to do is figure out how to live without my laptop for a week so I can get it repaired 🙂

I’d recommend speedfan for any machine that has a decent bios and allows monitoring of temperatures.

Crash recovery – a litany of errors

Here’s how NOT to recover from a faulty hard drive.

I turned on my laptop and got an error while booting about a faulty NTLDR.SYS file – or some name like that. The error said to insert the Windows CD and select option “R” to recover.

My Acer laptop didn’t come with a Windows CD, it came with a “Recovery CD”. So I inserted that CD, booted from it, and the damned thing started formatting my hard drive. Yes there was some vague warnings in broken English about backing up data, but I was expecting to see a Windows message, and got something totally different.

“Ah!!!!” I screamed as I saw what was happening, and turned my machine off in the middle of the format.

Now the disk drive was partially formatted, and had no directory info on it.

So I plugged in my trusty USB drive backup, and went about getting the machine ready to Ghost the backup drive back to the original drive.

Getting a laptop to boot from a CD and run Ghost is an effort in itself and took me about 2 hours to figure out. If you want to try it yourself, get Ghost to burn a bootable floppy that does the same thing, and use something like UBCD to convert the floppy to a CD.

So I ghosted the backup drive back to the laptop, booted the laptop and…. NOTHING. The USB drive was faulty, and the backup drive was unreadable.

“Ah!!!!” I screamed again in a Homer Simpsonesque panic.

I ran Spinrite on the USB drive in a vain attempt to fix it. But the back up drive was faulty (remember, Neil?) and so it just made things worse – and I lost the partition table on the backup drive.

So I threw the USB drive caddy out the window, and connected te Backup drive to a spare IDE port on my desktop computer. Still no joy.

So I tried a thing called “Diskpatch” which is supposed to fix partition tables. It said a few encouraging words, and did absolutely nothing.

Finally, I tried a thing caled “iRecover”. It was able to see stuff on the drive. Most of it was scrambled, but I used it to pump as much corrupted data from the drive as I could.

It has been running for about 7 days, and has almost finished pumping everything from the 60GB backup drive. about 75% of the stuff is rubbish. I was able to recover one or two snippets that were some use to me.

Bottom line – I lost about 6 months worth of work – but was able to scrounge a lot of it back from other sources.

I NEVER EVER want to go through this again. It’s bad for my health, my marriage and my business. Here’s what I will do in future:

1. Backup more regularly to multiple locations.
2. Use something like NTI to create a bootable backup DVD of my drive.
3. Get a new Laptop – the Acer Travelmate is rubbish.
4. Never try to run windows repair on a faulty drive until I’ve pumped it for all the information I can.
5. Never trust a USB drive. Especially one that runs hot.
6. Backup more regularly to multiple locations.
7. Buy high quality equipment

The other thing with Laptops – don’t move them around until you’ve put the machine in standby mode. If you do, the diskdrive is still spinning, and there’s a good chance you’ll stuff the drive up.

You will have one of your disks crash on you sometime in the next few years. It’s happened to me 4 times in the last 12 months on 2 different machines. Make sure you can recover from it. Do something about it today.

iRecover is available from

It works, but it is damned slow.