Use linux boot disk to repair a Windows NTFS disk fault

Yes, you can use a Linux boot CD to repair a Windows NTFS disk fault. Linux ships with a utility called badblocks. Badblocks is a Linux command in its own right that has several different modes to be able to detect bad sectors on our hard disk. Once found, it saves the references to these bad sectors in a text file so we can tell the operating system to avoid storing data on them.

For the explanation below though, I’ll be using the fsck command. Why’s that? Well fsck is a really powerful command that actually runs those relatively complicated badblocks commands for you, checking or repairing errors in your filesystem and doing all the leg work for you.

Geek fact – fsck stands for “File System Consistency checK” which you can amaze your friends down the pub with. Or not…

Let’s open a terminal window and fire up this bad boy then. You’ll need superuser/root permission to run each of these commands so I’ll add ‘sudo’ into them all. I like to start by running the parted command to list my drives:

sudo parted /dev/sda 'print'

This should output the installed drives to the screen so you can note down which one you want to work with.

Now let’s run fsck on the disk. Please note that this can take several hours depending on the speed of your system, the size and speed of your disk. If no filesystems are specified on the command line, and the -A option is not specified, fsck will default to checking filesystems in /etc/fstab serially.

IMPORTANT – We must unmount the disk first or data corruption may happen. To do this, open a terminal window and type:

sudo umount /dev/sda1

Replace “sda1” with the disk you need to repair. Now we can run the fsck command safely against the drive:

sudo fsck -mcfv /dev/sda1

This fsck command forces automatic bad block checking and it automatically marks all known bad sectors as bad too.

The switch options I often use are:

-m  I use this for safety because if the drive is mounted you won’t be able to scan (and corrupt) it this way.

-c   Displays completion/progress bars

-f   Force a check even if it is clean

-v  Verbose, because I like to see words!

If you’re booting back into Linux, make sure that smartmontools is installed and enabled:

sudo apt-get install smartmontools

Enable “SMART” in your BIOS if it isn’t already and run an extended offline test with:

sudo smartctl --test=long /dev/sda

To see a nice overall view of system health, type:

sudo smartctl -a /dev/sda

Have a look at the relevant manpages for more info:

man fsck
man smartmontools

 

In my repair shop I only use HDD Regenerator these days.  It’s a bootable software that can fix errors on all types of disk, formatted in all manner of filesystems as used by Linux, Mac, Windows and more. We have this loaded on our drive test rig and repair hard drives daily with it.

If you want to make it easy and have a USB/CD/DVD bootable tool that will work safely on all the drives it comes up against I’d suggest you look at my hdd regenerator review here or buy it direct from their website here

 


backup-restore-mac-osx-stickies-sticky-notes

Mac OS X dashboard lost stickies – where is the backup?

Lost your stickies on a Mac OS-X system?  Scenario: You wipe and reload your Mac OS X only to find that the Stickies you had in the dashboard view have disappeared. I have just reinstated these for a client remotely via Team Viewer and this is the procedure I used. We’ll presume you have either a copy of your library folder or a Time Machine backup.

Open Terminal from the Applications folder. The following is case-sensitive….

Type in

sudo -s

and press enter. This will prompt for the administrator password. Type in and press enter.

Now we need to “kill” the Dashboard as we can’t do much while it is live. For this, type in:

defaults write com.apple.dashboard mcx-disabled -boolean YES

Now we finish this with a

killall Dock

Keep the terminal window open.

Open Finder and navigate in your backup (eg Time Machine) to /YourUserFolder/Library/Preferences and find ALL files starting with “widget-com”, “com.apple.dashboard.plist” and “com.apple.dashboard.client.plist”.

Drag these files to /Library/Preferences, making sure you copy and not move. I like to have 2 Finder windows open to do this.

Back in Terminal, we use the ‘Up’ cursor to bring back our previous typed command and modify the first one to:

defaults write com.apple.dashboard mcx-disabled -boolean NO

Finish with a

killall Dock

This starts the dashboard again

Mac sticky notes reinstated from backup!

The dashboard should now be as it was before and your stickies should be reinstated.  You can try this now, it shouldn’t need a restart.

Interestingly, TeamViewer stayed connected all through for me, even when the dock was tampered with in Terminal.  It also was quite impressive that this was cross-operating system.

Lost stickies Mac OSX

Click for full size view

Here, a Windows 7 64-bit box was controlling a dual core iMac running OS X (Mac purists can throw up now), but a necessary evil as both our Mac rigs were occupied.  I had mounted my backup external drive image of the client’s PC using HFS Explorer, a simple, small and free Windows program that reads HFS partitions, in this case MAC extended journaled.  For real nerds, journaling accelerates the recovery time after any unexpected shutdown such as a power outage. A server automatically tracks file system operations and maintains a continuous record of these transactions in a separate file, called a journal.  The o/s can use the journal to return the file system to a known state after any failure.  Compare it to a Windows PC and the lengthy chkdsk /r command and it’s a much better system.

Click here to see how to restore the MAC OS X sticky note data. This is for the standard sticky notes, not the dashboard versions.


2 Terabytes of backup storage for life only $45

zools-lifetime-backup-2tb-offer-cheapest

It’s becoming increasingly difficult to keep up with the ever-changing world of physical information storage. New hard drives and flash drives are constantly hitting the market and obsolescence is inevitable. There has never been a better time to store your data in the cloud, and cloud security has also never been better.

Get 1TB of cloud storage for just $45!

Cloud services, however, can be costly or they just don’t offer enough storage. You need a service that’ll securely back you up for life, and you need a service that won’t cost you thousands a year because you need terabytes of storage. This is especially prudent in a business scenario where you may have to provide cloud storage to multiple employees.

Zoolz Cloud Storage offers an elegant solution. You can get 1TB of cloud storage for data you access regularly PLUS with 1TB of cold storage that lets you store those important files you can’t afford to lose. The Instant Vault is easy to use — just drag and drop files via a web browser. The cold storage will allow you to automatically back up two devices at one time.

Store all of your most important files in a secure cloud

You can get 1TB of highly secure cloud storage data for just $45. Zoolz typically charges $3,600 for a lifetime subscription, but you won’t pay anywhere near that much. Incredible but true, you can save an amazing 98% with this time limited offer and back up all your data now!

Choose your desired package


Accuranker review 2019

accuranker review coupon 2019 2020

 

Accuranker is a very impressive tool that helps you to accurately monitor keywords for your websites. We were that impressed that we now run this tool daily and wanted to put together a mini Accuranker review.

This tool is aimed at users with single websites, right up to agencies with hundreds of sites. You can see at a quick glance how your keywords are performing daily, and you don’t even need to run a report, you can see live data on the website or get scheduled reports sent through to you by email.

Initial Accuranker setup

Initial setup is simple, just choose Google or Bing (or both) and select desktop or mobile (or both) to see how your keywords perform on these devices. Your package will include a limited number of keywords and this is different for each subscription level. Note that if you have, for example, a site with 10 keywords tracked, then checking results for Google Desktop counts as 10 keywords. If you add Google mobile too, this would then count as 20 keywords. Add Bing desktop and mobile into the mix and you’ll be up to 40 keywords. It’s easy to forget this when ordering a package, so make sure you get the right one for you. Their keyword allowance is quite generous though, especially given that Accuranker check them daily by default.

Google analytics linking

Impressively, this tool links into your Google Analytics account to pull even more data for you. As you can see from their image below, you can integrate with many more services such as DataStudio, Sheets and more:

accuranker review discount

So with this tool you can now see your ranking in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). The graphing software on the site is impressive, allowing you to drill down into each keyword’s ranking history with a few clicks.

Accuranker updates, good or bad?

AccuRanker is maintained by some clever people and updates come through quite regularly adding new functionality. All the updates we have seen have been useful and have added more value to the tool. You can also take advantage of their 14-day free trial to see if it is the right SEO tool for your needs.

An SEO tool for agencies

Agencies will love the automatic monitoring and reporting features. You can even send a scheduled report out to your clients, a great bonus. Different data export formats will suit most agencies (and beginners too). If you’re still using Excel and CSV for your reporting or metrics then this is easily available for export.

Competitor Monitoring

One great SEO trick is checking how your keywords stack up against the same ones for other websites. Accuranker monitors keyword competition and lets you know who ranks higher than you, which is great for beating your competitors. Accuranker also uses “Share of Voice” which is a cool name for their trickest feature. This allows you to view who has more share of the search engine results for given keywords. It’s a great metric to quickly see if you are pushing your competitors further away or if they’re catching you up.

Verdict

All in all, the clear layout, the impressive charting and reporting make this package the best we have seen for SEO reporting. We now use it daily to monitor and track our keywords too.

With a 14-day free trial, clear navigation and simple yet effective reporting, AccuRanker is now the keyword tracking SEO tool to beat.

 

Test Accuranker now

 


Krystal hosting review 2019 – VPS, Shared and Dedicated packages

 

Krystal are a UK-based host that offers configurable VPS, Shared and Dedicated packages. There’s not much choice in the UK hosting market so consequently there are some pretty steep prices out there compared to their USA datacentre counterparts. That said, Krystal seem to have all bases covered, let’s take a look at their offerings…

Krystal’s 2019 standard hosting features and guarantees

All Krystal plans share a common set of features, like premium control panel and a longer-than-most money-back guarantee. They have been in business since 2002 so they are here to stay and with over 90% of their customers recommending their hosting, it’s a no brainer decision.

The Krystal difference

Their CEO, Simon Blackler, gives his reasons why they are different to other hosts:

In 2002, frustrated by poor service and bad business practices, I created Krystal to provide an “Honest, Reliable & Personal” alternative to the large faceless hosting corporations. We’re named Krystal because the company embodies values often associated with precious crystals, such as quality, rarity and transparency.

Over the last 15 years our unique approach to business has won us a reputation for excellence and a loyal following.
We’re now the largest independent UK web host and are rated the best web hosting company by popular review sites.

We’re in business because we’re passionate about technology and solving problems.
I hope that you’ll join us today and experience the Krystal difference for yourself.

Well, it’s true that many hosts have poor service and some even downright shady business practices, but judging on the reviews coming back from established sites such as Trust Pilot, Krystal are a force to be reckoned with.

 

At the time of writing, Krystal offer entry-level hosting for £3.99 monthly with these features:

  • FREE 256-bit SSL certificate
  • FREE website builder
  • 100% SSD cloud hosting
  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • Optimised for WordPress & more

There’s a configurable VPS from £9.99 monthly with these features:

  • 100% SSD cloud VPS
  • Full root access
  • Free DDoS protection
  • Free dedicated IP
  • No setup fee

For businesses requiring PCI compliance, £29.99 monthly gets you:

  • Fully PCI-DSS Compliant
  • FREE DDoS protection
  • FREE 256-bit SSL certificate
  • FREE backups every 6 hours
  • FREE domain name for life

The big plus is that you get a 60 day money back guarantee with everything, so a full refund can be had and you lose nothing (except your time testing their servers). In our experience you’ll probably stay with them as the ping times are as good as anything we have seen on the UK market and server configuration options are up there with the best.

Verdict

What we really like is the company’s transparency. They are trying to do things differently and succeeding – a refreshing thing in the murky world of hosting. They use green technology, which means 100% renewable energy at all of their sites, which we love because reducing the impact of these datacentres is a must.

With a more-than-standard offering, Krystal have certainly raised the bar. For the price-conscious, the VPS and dedicated prices are spot-on, being considerably cheaper than the opposition such as FastHosts, Rackspace, Ionos, 123-Reg and more (comparison reviews coming soon). There’s 24/7 ticket and email support, extremely friendly telephone support (10:00 to 17:00 UK time), cPanel, free migration assistance, automated backups, PHP (5.6 to current) and all the usual stuff like MySQL, PHPMyAdmin, SSH, and even the ubiquitous Softaculous. What isn’t there to like? Click the link below to get hosting from what we believe is the best available for UK hosts:

Try Krystal free for 60 days


Beautiful post snippets and auto resized images in WordPress

Beautiful post displays

I’m going to show you how to create a really nice post display page that automatically brings in your posts AND takes the first image, resizes it and pops it at the side of a ‘teaser’ of your article. This is a very neat approach and builds on the work you have already done in creating the post, then automates a slick output of your work. More importantly, you don’t have to create a thumbnail image as resizing is done ‘on the fly’.

First off, we need to add a small function to functions.php. Open it up and at the very end add this:

function pcrmbimagegrab() { //https:www.pcrepairmansblog.com //Grabs the first image from the post global $post, $posts; $first_img = ''; ob_start(); ob_end_clean(); $output = preg_match_all('/<img.+src=[\'"]([^\'"]+)[\'"].*>/i', $post->post_content, $matches); $first_img = $matches [1] [0]; //Get default image instead if(empty($first_img)){ $first_img = "/images/default.png"; }return $first_img;}

Make sure this is within a php call, ie

Now we need to create a category, eg “Articles”

Now go into the WP admin area and open the categories from the WP sidebar menu (under ‘Posts’). Hover your mouse over the new category and you’ll see the category number at the end of the link shown in Firefox/IE etc (at the bottom left of the browser window). This is what we need for our special new php page that we’ll create now.

Create a new page and call it category-15.php (where 15 is the number of your category above – modify accordingly!). Into this copy and paste the following:


<?php get_header(); ?> <div class="post-box"> <h1> <?php single_cat_title(); ?> </h1> <hr>	<?php get_template_part('loop', 'dvccategory'); ?>

Now open up your archive.php file and see where the differences lie. Your header may be different, your div ids will be too, but make this new category file look like archive.php in terms of header, footer, content divs etc. I have added a class of pcrmbcategory. Ensure this is a div class and not a div id as it is repeated for each post.

Go to your template’s stylesheet, normally style.css, and insert our new div class:

/* Fix category view by https://www.pcrepairmansblog.com */ .pcrmbcategory { float: left; width: 590px; margin: 0px; padding: 10px; display: inline; } .pcrmbcategory img { border: none; margin: 0px; height: 130px; }

Note, I have fixed just the height of the image to keep the aspect ratios proportionate. You can set a width but this won’t maintain the aspect ratio and some images may appear stretched. Fixing height and limiting the content maintains a nice even spacing on article posts. I have added a dotted line to separate posts but be creative, sky’s the limit here!

The 590px width is ideal for many single sidebar themes but experiment with this and validate your code. Test it in several browsers too. Don’t forget to create a default image to display when you don’t have one in your post. Drop this into the yourdomain.com/images folder. You can make this any size but ideally make it to the same height that is referenced in the code for quicker page loads. Good luck and give me some feedback if it works for you!


My new Smart TV doesn’t support Amazon Video

We have had an upturn in calls about linking Smart TVs to services such as Amazon Prime Video and Netflix.

Many new smart television sets aren’t actually that smart it seems. Some give you a very basic set of apps just so they can use the term ‘smart’ on their advertising it seems. Common offenders seem to be JVC, Sony, Panasonic and many more big names.

So let’s look at what you can do if you purchased one of these and can’t get your favourite service on there. I’ll use Amazon Video as an example but you can substitute Netflix or similar apps here too.

Search for the Amazon app on your TV

First off, go into the app section of your television and see if there is an area to install new apps. If so, use the search facility to find ‘Amazon’ and if you see their video app then install it. Now, streaming video should be a matter of opening the app and signing in (just once) with your Amazon credentials.

If your TV doesn’t allow you to install other apps or you can’t find the Amazon one, then you’ll need to buy an external device such as a Fire stick. Amazon Fire sticks are pretty cheap and work well providing you have half decent WiFi. Clicking the image below links to their best seller:

Amazon Fire app install on smart tv JVC Sony Netflix

Alternatively, you can look at the same Fire stick, but buy a 4K version to match your 4K television. If you have one of these, then your streamed video will be as good quality as you can get. They aren’t much more and are pretty future-proof. They are also compatible with any TV (4K or not). Click on the image below:

Amazon Fire stick 4k tv video streaming

Can I connect a Fire stick by Ethernet? 

If you have Ethernet cabling close by, then you can buy an optional adapter because later Fire sticks have micro Ethernet ports. Ethernet basically uses a cable that plugs into the back of your router. A cabled connection is always faster and more stable than a WiFi one. Here’s the adapter:

How can I connect multiple devices to one Ethernet cable?

Well, there is a caveat here and that’s because people generally have just one cable from the router that goes close to the TV (if any at all). This means that you can’t use the TV on the same cable for other Smart functions – it’s either the TV or the Amazon box, unless you use one of them over WiFi.

My favoured solution, and one that we install for many clients, is to use a cable from the back of the router into what is called a ‘switch’, generally located in your TV cabinet. A switch will allow multiple devices with cabled connections to transmit and receive data from the internet.  

Buy an 8-port Gigabit one which are cheap but have the capacity to deliver the best speeds. Something like this very low power consumption Netgear GS308:

You insert the cable from the router into one port and then you have 7 free ports to connect to other devices such as your TV, DVR, Fire stick, Xbox, Playstation etc. For that you’ll use a few patch cables. We use
Cat 6 patch cables which are more than capable of supporting Gigabit speeds and can be had very cheaply. 

If you can’t shell out for any of these (student, we’re looking at you!) then you can also consider using an existing laptop or tablet and an HDMI cable if that suits your viewing habits better. It’s a bit clunky though and we’d definitely recommend using the Fire sticks above, especially because they both have excellent remote controls and are portable.


Campark ACT74 action camera review

campark act74 action cam review vs gopro hero session

I had been searching for a GoPro or similar action camera to record an upcoming driving day experience, so thought that I’d share my experiences here about the Campark ACT74 action camera and accessories that I finally bought.

This product is an Amazon best-seller so I read the reviews on there, looked at some decent YouTube GoPro and ACT74 comparison videos (shown below) and made my decision to purchase one. I was still quite sceptical, as often the positive reviews can be faked and likewise the negative ones can be from people overly fussy about irrelevant things (e.g. “there was too much packing material so I gave this item just one star…”). In fairness, the Amazon review system is overall a good indicator, especially when the number of reviewers for a product enters the hundreds.

So, this camera retails for UK £39.99 and is pitched firmly against the GoPro entry level Hero 5 Session. The latter, at the time of writing, is about £139.99 so there is a large price difference. You can effectively buy 3 Campark ACT74s for the price of one GoPro and treat yourself to some more accessories with the change! Another notable difference when comparing the two seems to be the 4k video. Surprisingly, the more expensive GoPro Session doesn’t have it but the cheaper CamPark does.

So is it worth sticking with the market leader (GoPro) and the company who actually popularised these sports cameras in the first place? After all, surely they have a wealth of experience in providing quality items, and quality is where the cheap brands fail, right? Read on…

ACT74 – First impressions

So the Campark ACT74 kit arrived the next day at no charge thanks to Amazon’s excellent Prime service. First impressions were of a well-packed item that comes in a very neat travel case. The case carries all the supplied accessories which were good quality items.

campark act74 accessories

campark act74 action cam review

The kit included:

  • An IP68 waterproof case, waterproof to 30 Metres. You would use this for underwater filming.
  • 2 batteries, each providing a recording time up to 180 minutes, available after a full charge of 2 hours
  • A USB charging cable
  • Wrist straps and camera enclosure
  • Cleaning cloth, sticky mount pads
  • Short wire strap and cable ties
  • Numerous plastic mounting brackets and thumbscrews

Coming with lots of accessories already gives this camera an edge. If it’s easy to mount then you can get up and running straight away.

Waterproof case testing

My test of the waterproof case involved initially submersing it in a deep sink; admittedly not the 30 metre depth test that it could have been! I did this without the camera in at first for 30 minutes, then with it inside once I was certain no drops came in. All seemed good, and there is a spare rear cover with a new seal supplied which is nice to have. Remember, each time you put the camera in this waterproof case that you will open and close the access flap (the rear cover), so it will be a point of failure for water ingress eventually. I found that I used the waterproof case for most filming rather than the supplied ‘open’ case that was also sent, but the latter leaves the lens open to dust, scratching, damage etc. and the bespoke waterproof case is not much larger than the camera itself.

The rear LCD screen

The rear LCD screen measures 2 inch (5cm) across the diagonal and has a resolution of 960 x 240 pixels which is fine for reviewing your footage. You can see the overall layout and whether the video is likely to be over or underexposed etc. In general the default exposure settings work well. The screen is bright enough to be seen on a sunny day. This obviously eats into the battery life to display anything, but cleverly the ACT74 automatically shuts off the screen to maximise life when it can.

Video and photos

Video output format is mp4  (H.264) which is about the most compatible for sharing or working with and supports 4K UHD. The photos have a resolution of 2MB, 5MB, 8MB, 12MB and 16MB but unless memory card space is really at a premium then you’d probably leave this set at the maximum. I’d say that current smartphones way exceed the quality of the photos  you get from the Campark ACT74, but you’ll probably be using this for filming rather than stills, and will more than likely have a smartphone with you at all times too.

Video resolution runs from 4K down to 720P in these increments:

  • 4K/30fps
  • 2.7K/30fps
  • 1080P/ 60fps
  • 1080P/ 30fps
  • 720P/90fps
  • 720P/60fps
  • 720P/30fps

If you’re not understanding the video resolution modes then, simply put, 4k is super sharp and you’ll only notice the difference on 4K televisions or PC monitors. 720P is still pretty good, especially if you’ll be sharing it or uploading to YouTube, social websites or similar. For most real-world usage, you’ll probably leave it in 1080P 60fps mode like I did and this will give you a good compromise of video quality against files storage sizes. Buying 2 memory cards helps to give you some more emergency storage and protects against card failure stopping your day’s recording.  Do read on for some important information on fake cards though!

Video output format is PAL (UK Standard before DVB-T) and NTSC (USA standard) through the HDMI port. There is a slow-motion recording setting too if you want to have a bit of fun.

Audio in my few weeks of testing was passable but nothing special, the microphone range is not huge and wind noise can be high on a blustery day. A borrowed GoPro Hero 5 session had similar audio quality though and I have seen that the more expensive models aren’t much better. It is what it is, and it’s one of the reasons why most action videos you see out there have music soundtracks.

Lens angle and exposure

The lens angle is a usable 170 degrees. For general sports camera use this seems very good and it complements a limited angle smartphone or SLR camera very well, giving you a much broader variety of video. One of my main aims is to have this as an in-car camera, recording track days and the like, and it performed very well on a recent test. I’ll upload a snippet for you to see later on. Exposure settings range from -3 to +3 and this gives you decent enough control. The auto-exposure settings worked well when I tested it against direct sun, shaded areas and indoor. Again, don’t expect stunning SLR-quality photos from this device, but that is the same for any currently available action cam including those from GoPro, Sony, Garmin etc.

Battery life, charging and specifications

Two batteries were provided in the kit which is great. They are the rechargeable Li-ion type. The kit doesn’t come with a standalone charger but the camera itself can be used to charge them so this isn’t a deal-breaker. Simply plug in the provided USB cable to the side of the camera and plug the other end into a USB output charger (1 Amp or greater) or your laptop/desktop computer. There is a dual charger available for a few pounds but I didn’t need this. For me, the less I need to carry the better.

The battery life is difficult to quantify as the unit shuts the screen off after a minute and the whole unit will auto power off after 1, 3 or 5 minutes if not in use. For a real world test, I managed to film for a whole day using the two supplied batteries. This gave me 4 hours of HD 1080p footage (which was filmed over a 7 hour period) and the second battery still had some life in it.

Transferring files

This is done through the USB interfaces of your computer. You select ‘USB mode’ when plugged in to a computer and you’ll see all your files there, accessible at USB 2.0 transfer speeds. Another way is to simply plug your Micro SD card into a card reader connected to a computer.

Other features

Language: English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Polish, Russian, Chinese (Traditional), Chinese (Simplified), Japanese, Korean

Loop recording: Off, 2 mins, 3 mins, 5 mins

Time Lapse: Off, 0.5s, 1s, 2s, 5s, 10s, 30s, 60s

Ports: Micro USB, Micro HDMI, Micro SD card slot

Dimensions and weight

58mm x 40mm x 29 mm (L x W x D)
Weight: 61g (very light!)

The case is a textured plastic material, buttons are easy to use and have a reassuring ‘click’ when pressed. General build quality seems good.

Buying an SD Card for the Campark ACT74

campark act74 memory card sdhc class 10This camera supports a single micro SD card up to 64GB maximum. However, please note that there are an incredible number of FAKE cards on the market at the moment. What the sellers of these cards do is take a relatively inexpensive unbranded 8GB card or similar and change the settings on it so that it shows up as a 64GB card. They will then duplicate the writing on the card and put it in accurately copied packaging. The problem is because they can make upwards of £10 per card they are up for sale everywhere, even in big retail stores. Even the feedback from their buyers is often good because the buyer doesn’t realise it’s a fake until the 8GB is used up, which in the case of a camera that overwrites old files and can ‘loop’ all day long it may never be. Some cards do give errors in some devices though but unless you do some more advanced testing like I did, you’ll never know.

At this point I’ll mention that I have bought SDHC memory cards from a few places and received some fakes. In each case I got my money back but lost time messing about with returns systems and complaints procedures.

Anyway, for UK buyers I would definitely recommend buying at least 2 of these genuine 32GB SanDisk cards so you have decent capacity for a day of filming and the price is good.  Using 2 allows you to rotate them and also reduces your chances of missing the all-important filming if one of them dies (which memory cards do from time to time). They have a higher speed class too and this makes a big difference to the use of the camera, don’t buy the slower cards as they will drive you mad, making your device feel sluggish overall.

Verdict

If you’re reading this because you wanted to do a Campark ACT74 vs GoPro Hero 5 session comparison, then that’s where I found myself going a few weeks back. The current ranges of version 5 and 6 GoPros have some pretty negative feedback, especially for reliability, so that’s one reason I went with a cheaper camera. I’d hate to pay upwards of 3 times the price and have a microphone fail or similar and GoPro seem to have more than their fair share of hardware and software issues.

For a unit that can be used as an action camera, security camera, dash cam and webcam the Campark ACT74 really does excel. Add built-in time lapse, slow motion, loop recording features and top it all off with 4K video and you really can’t go wrong for the price.

 

View CamPark ACT74 at the best price on Amazon USA

 

 


HDD Regenerator review

HDD Regenerator reviewIt’s difficult for us to write an unbiased HDD Regenerator review because we use it all of the time in our repair shop.  It’s the single best tool out there for repairing corrupt hard drives, and we get lots of them in. That said, we’ll try to remain objective and give an honest review.

If I mention that we get on average 10 to 15 corrupt drives a week through our medium sized repair shop alone, then you’ll see why this is such a big problem. For you to decide whether it’s right for you, you first you may need to understand what happens to corrupt a hard drive and why your PC won’t start when there is corruption on the disk.

What is hard drive corruption?

Hard drive corruption happens quite often to laptop and desktop computers. This is generally because of a few things:

  1. The battery going completely flat (in laptops) or a sudden power cut before the system has had time to write all of its data to the hard disk
  2. Knocks or bumps to a laptop or desktop PC while in use
  3. The hard drive is mechanically failing.

The result is a hard drive that has one or more areas on it which are unreadable (known as ‘bad sectors’). These sectors may contain your data, such as documents or images, or a file that your operating system (Windows, Linux, Mac etc.) needs to read information from. If it’s a Windows file, then the whole installation is effectively rendered useless as Windows cannot start. Likewise Mac or Linux will refuse to power up. This can happen to computers, often when the power is suddenly cut or a software crash occurs. The dreaded ‘Blue Screen of Death’ can also result in drive errors.

How do I know if my hard drive has a fault or is corrupted?

Symptoms of this type of error are computers that boot so far into Windows then display a black screen. Many will restart automatically and end up ‘looping’. This is because Windows cannot find the files it requires, throws an error and your PC will restart automatically on seeing that error. Even safe mode will usually do this looping, a sure sign that you need a software tool to repair the hard drive’s bad sector errors.

The majority of hard drives with bad sectors have an incorrectly magnetized disk surface. Fortunately, there are solutions and the clever guys at Abstradrome have developed an algorithm which is used to repair damaged disk surfaces. This technology supports many types of hard disk drives and can repair damage that even low-level disk formatting can’t repair. Because of the way the repair is made, the existing information on the hard drive (e.g. your data and the important Windows files) will not be affected.

For our repair shop where we repair Linux and Mac devices as well as Windows this is simply a brilliant, cross-platform tool.

Get HDD Regenerator to fix your drive (opens in a new window) or continue reading the review.

 

HDD Regenerator review – the features

Let’s look at the features and benefits of this software

Program features

  • It can detect physical bad sectors on a hard disk drive surface.
  • It is able to repair bad sectors (magnetic errors) on a hard disk surface.
  • The product ignores your file system and scans the disk at physical level.
  • It can be used with FAT, NTFS or any other file system
  • It can read and repair unformatted or unpartitioned disks.
  • Starts within Windows environment (XP/Vista/7/8/10)
  • Bootable CD or USB flash drive allows the HDD Regenerator to work on a non-starting PC

This is an impressive feature set. The manufacturer also offers:

  • A no-quibble 30 day money back guarantee
  • Unlimited license period
  • Free 1 year minor upgrades (although the software works on all drives exceptionally well)
  • Large discounts on major upgrades

Main benefits

When a hard drive is damaged with bad sectors, the disk not only becomes unfit for use as there are areas which are damaged that you will ultimately write data to.  You then also risk losing information you have already stored on it. HDD Regenerator REPAIRS damaged hard disks without affecting or changing existing data so it is one of only a few tools that can actually do this task.  Currently we have found no products that outperform this one, so it is worth the investment.

Downloading the disk repair software

Purchase and download a copy here and install it to a working Windows computer. You can then create a bootable CD, DVD or flash drive that will run on your problem computer and scan the drive for bad sectors, the most common hard drive error that we see in our workshop.

If you’re a bit confused by this, the term ‘bootable’ means that it starts up from your computer and runs WITHOUT using your hard disk drive that has Windows on it. Clever stuff!

So, the program takes about 1 minute to install and, when started, it immediately scans the disk(s) on the PC it is installed on. This is no problem if it is installed on a friend’s or family member’s PC as it will be simply carry out a very quick scan of the ‘SMART’ data on the drive. What we now need to do is to create a bootable CD to insert on the dead (or dying) PC.

Create a bootable CD, DVD or USB pen drive

hdd regenerator 2019 fix drive error

Open the program from the tray icon (bottom right of the screen) or from the Programs menu’.  Select the bootable flash drive or CD/DVD option. Follow the on-screen prompts until you have created your bootable medium.

Insert this bootable media into your problem computer and run a full scan and repair. It could a few hours depending on the size of the hard disk and the speed of the computer.

Can HDD Regenerator repair my hard drive?

The vast majority of damaged hard disks can be repaired by regeneration and there is a full money-back guarantee if you’re not satisfied. If the first found bad sector has been successfully regenerated, it is very promising and you can generally regenerate all bad sectors on your hard drive. If the first bad sector has NOT been successfully regenerated, then you will probably need to recover your data and replace your hard disk drive as soon as possible. A few bad sectors is acceptable but more than a few and we suggest replacing the hard drive because it will fail imminently. The latest generation of SSD drives give a significant speed increase to most systems, they are relatively cheap and you can copy over your data once recovered.

Personally we would advise purchasing this tool over any others currently on the market as the success rates are so high. HDD Regenerator is available direct from the vendor here at a price we think is a bargain for the power of the software:

Get HDD Regenerator now

If you wish to add your personal experiences to this hdd regenerator review, please contact me via the site or drop a comment below.