Hardware failures galore

It’s been a tough two or three weeks here, at least for computer hardware.

First, I flattened my trusty ThinkPad. Ryan Femling, my coworker, says you can easily go two or more years without performance problems on a stable Windows install. He’s right; I got just over three years out of the install, but for some reason, the machine had decided that it would permanently disable both its wireless card and its onboard Ethernet port. That made it, if not useless, much less useful. There wasn’t anything wrong with the hardware; some combination of Windows patches and software installs/removals apparently whacked the driver. A clean install using IBM’s recovery partition certainly fixed things up.

The next weekend, I came back from Michigan to find my only x64 machine (an Athlon 3800+ in an ASUS A8N) was beeping every two or three seconds. All the fans spin up normally, but the machine just sits there and won’t POST. I haven’t started diagnosing it yet.

Two nights ago, our electrician was here doing some work. He had to take down house power, so I cleanly shut down all my servers. When the power came back on, my primary file server wouldn’t boot. After a little troubleshooting, I found that the video card was at fault; after I removed, cleaned, and reseated it, I was back in business. Coincidentally, Windows maven Ed Bott had the same problem two weeks ago, and his post is what reminded me to check the video card first, so I’m passing the tip on.

And another thing, which I originally forgot: I lost a 16-port network switch early Wednesday morning. It was making a cool frying-bacon sound when I came downstairs; this is annoying since it’s the link to the ground floor of the house. Until I replace it, no Internet in Arlene’s workroom.

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