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Curses, foiled again

Wed 8 Sep 2010 by mskala Tags used:

I just came home to an unusual silence. No fans. My main desktop computer was not running. That's especially bad because it is supposed to come up all by itself in the event of a power outage. On further investigation, it seems to be in pretty bad shape. After a power cycle the fans and power light come on, and the drives sound like they're spinning up. The DVD tray ejects when the button is pressed. But there's no signal out of the VGA port, no response or LED flashes on the keyboard, nothing on the network. These are not good signs. It looks like something is really seriously wrong with this machine.

Between backups, RAID, and the other computer hardware I have around here, I'm sure I won't lose data and will be able to continue more or less carrying on my life. It's going to be rough if I can't get this machine or something very much like it up and running again soon, though. Any email that came in between when I last used it (around six pm) and whenever it crashed (could be as late as eleven) will be sitting on those hard disks until I get them hooked up to a machine that works. My main backup machine didn't work last time I tried to use it, and was slated to be decommissioned, so I don't know if I'll be able to use it to recover the main main machine. I'm writing this from the laptop, through the firewall (which is still fine).

And if, as looks to be the case, this machine is mostly or entirely a write-off, then I'm faced with the question of whether to get a new one now, or wait until after my move and have one less thing to move. I don't know if I can realistically run off the laptop alone all the time until then. At the very least I need to get a machine with a DVD burner up and running so I can back up the laptop's drive. I also wonder what I'll do with the scratchbuilt geodesic sphere case the apparently-dead machine is in, which I have never even quite finished building; unfortunately, if the electronic guts of the machine are dead then I think the sensible thing to do is write that off as well. It wouldn't be practical to to try put a new machine's insides into the sphere.

1 comment

Further observation: it starts to smell really bad within a minute or so of power-up. That actually is a good sign: it suggests power-supply failure of some kind, never mind that some parts of the machine are getting power. If it's just the power supply that is dead (which is a common failure mode) I can stick in a new one and be up and running cheaply and easily. I guess the thing to do is buy a power supply tomorrow and see if the swap helps, before freaking out over more elaborate potential fixes. Matt - 2010-09-08 23:12

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