Death of a PC

Our Micron PIII-850 died last night.  Funeral arrangements are pending.   I used it for awhile when I got home from my computer job and it was fine.  A while later, just before bed I went to turn off the computers and this one’s screen was blank and the monitor was in power save mode!  The power was still on, so I immediately became concerned.

I turned it off and on several times and couldn’t even get the CMOS beep! (that confirms that the initial hardware checks are ok)  I knew something was fried.  I took off the case cover and was shocked at the amount of dust buildup.  It was really bad.  I used our Shark handvac to suck it out just to SEE the components! Sheesh, we have a dusty house! Anyway, I then turned on the power to boot up again. Guess what…. BOTH the processor fan AND the case fan were dead.  No movement at all.  This results in the processor overheating and melting. Wonderful.

Interestingly though, the processor fan does spin about a 1/4 of a revolution instantly when I turn the power OFF.  This leads me to believe that there’s a slight possibility that there’s a POWER problem, and maybe the 2 fans and processor simply aren’t getting ANY power any more.  So I am going to dissect the computer in my spare time to find out more about what happened.

As for recovering my lost data–I didn’t lose a thing!! This was the first time EVER that I was fully prepared and able to recover from a computer disaster with no loss of data!  About a year ago I started using the storage technique of keeping all of my user data on a second physical hard drive on each computer.  I made sure my e-mail was all there, address books, Quicken data, all photos and images, and basically everything that could possibly change from day to day.  I even use TweakUI for Windows XP and modified all of my “Special Folders” to point to the D drive instead of the C drive.  This works really well, and sure saved my butt this time!  I just took out the second hard drive and installed it in my newer 2.2GHz Pentium 4 machine.  It worked like a charm, and I was even able to easily re-assign the drive letter from it’s default to what it was on my home network (‘M’ for Micron) which really helped with many applications that will still be looking to the M drive for certain documents (i.e. Quicken).  XP does this nicely.

So right now I’m limping along on a mere 3-computer LAN at home while I try to figure out what to do next–restore this Micron or get a new huge hard drive for backups and put it in one of the two machines that still have an open hard drive bay.