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Computer trouble

Filed under: General — Thomas @ 12:34 am

2005-2-19
12:34 am

So, a while back I mentioned how I have this computer put together with some new and some old parts that I was having problems with. The motherboard got replaced twice and still the damned thing wouldn’t boot anymore after a few days.

Since then, I had taken my machine to work to experiment with swapping out pieces with other hardware – processor, memory, video card, … Nothing made my machine do anything other than turn on the motherboard LED and spin up the CPU fan. No video on the card whatsoever.

So, time to go back one last time to the store that charged me 30 euro for looking at it and trying to brush me off by saying “cables were not connected properly”. Well duh – I tried it with everything disconnected since the hard disk and other stuff is of no concern – just the cables from the power supply to the motherboard.

So anyway – I take a cab from work to the store to arrive about half an hour before the store’s closing time, only to find the store chooses to close earlier and doesn’t allow me to bring in the computer. If I wasn’t a big boy I’d have started crying there and then.

Instead, I bought a new stronger power supply from another store next to it – figuring it was the only thing I hadn’t really tried a good replacement for and went home. Put in the new power supply, still no sign of life.

So then in desperation (I mean, what can you do if’ you’ve swapped every piece of hardware in your machine for another one by one ?), I read through the motherboard manual and came across the section for BIOS reset where it explains how to remove the battery and also short-circuit two pins for ten seconds. For some reason I decided to give that a go, and what do you know – after doing that the machine booted just fine.

I have no explanation for this. The motherboard was bought new after the last failure, and had worked for about three reboots, and then stopped with similar behaviour as the previous one. But it leads me to believe that while I’d like to think about computers as logical mechanical things you can reason about it, in reality there’s always a case to be made for “when all else fails, experiment”.

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