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 Post subject: Down the rabbit hole / PC horror stories
PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2015 9:56 am 
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Joined: Thu Oct 06, 2005 4:36 am
Posts: 7355
Location: Monterey Bay, CA
Ever have one of those "wtf is going on with my PC" days? Here's a thread where you can post your favorite horror stories and help destroy whatever PC Cred you have. :D

My latest happened yesterday (full disclosure: I don't think it's over, yet). The components came in for my Zbox build and the day was open. The goal was to pop in an old OCZ Agility SSD to use for the boot drive. This SSD had a clean Win 7 64 Update 1 build on it and it's sole purpose was to be the 'keep on the shelf and use in case of emergencies' drive. I've had bad experiences with backup programs not able to restore images and figured being able to clone a clean build drive onto another would be a high probability of success. Apparently, this SSD was on the shelf too long.

The Zbox had issues recognizing the drive. It would show up in the UEFI, but I was unable to get it in the boot sequence. I thought maybe it was an IDE/AHCI vs Intel issue as there were problems with the early consumer SSDs and which drives would support what mode with what controller under what OS. I should have tested the SSD in my main PC, but instead opted to mount it on my backup PC, reinitialize it and reinstall Win 7. Hmm, need an optical drive. Hmm, the only ODD I have with SATA is in my main PC. So, furthering the pain, I moved the ODD from my R4 to the Solo. Plugged the SSD into the eSATA port. Turn on the PC...and the PC didn't turn on. No lights, not even PSU fan movement. Crap. My backup PC isn't working.

New plan, move the ODD and the SSD over to the main PC. A brief mention that while I love my R4 case, some front panel wires are right where one of the ODD screws goes in. Dropped screw disappears. sigh. Ok, SSD is clean. Set up UEFI profile so Win 7 will install on Agility Drive. Install Win 7. Done. Move SSD back to Zbox. Fiddle with clunky UEFI. Reboot a bunch of times. Drive boots Win 7. woot. Next, update BIOS, install drivers, then update Win7. Zbox comes with drivers on CD. No USB ODD in the house. No problem. Drivers on CD are way old, anyway. Hmm, no network access yet as no drivers...No problem. Download everything on R4. Build a bootable USB drive for BIOS update. Transfer drivers to a separate USB drive.

BIOS updated. (longer version: the small thumb drive is unrecognizable to the Zbox. Hmm. Reformat it on the R4. Win7 doesn't ship with a utility for making a thumb drive bootable in MS-DOS. wtf? Find a program called RUFUS. Format the drive as a bootable MS-DOS drive, add the BIOS update, and update the Zbox BIOS).

Chipset driver installed. Network driver installed. WLAN driver instal...BSOD. gah. BSOD screen flashed by too fast to read the code. Tried again...BSOD. hmm. Maybe there's a critical Win 7 component missing. Windows update: there are 200+ important updates (I think 175 were security patches). Scan thru, find a Win7 Update 1 patch. Install that. Reboot. Decide to let Win7 update rip thru them all. BSODs partway through and reboots on me while I'm afk. hmm.

Download Memtest and install on bootable thumb drive. 1.5 runs and 2.5 hrs later, no errors.

Download Prime 95. Run small FFTs for an hour (CPU stability) - no errors. Run Blend FFT and it BSODs with a usable entry that I'm able to catch and it points to the SSD. CHKDSK confirms it.

So, a day blown where I find my backup SSD is fubared, my backup PC has a power on issue, and my quick little media PC isn't built. Bah.

Next step - rip the OS SSD out of the backup PC and try again. :D

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 Post subject: Re: Down the rabbit hole / PC horror stories
PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2015 1:29 pm 
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Joined: Mon Mar 17, 2008 1:49 pm
Posts: 1612
Location: UK
One day I tried to install a P90 into a cupboard. It didn't work. That day I ruined a P90 and a cupboard.

Another time I fitted a fan to an FX5900 which had too high a current draw and it blew the header. Worst still, I'd dislodged the heatspreader from the core so even with some insane P3 heatsink it still hit 117C. I dumped it and bought a 6600GT. Then I got bored and fixed it. Now it is BIOS flashed as an FX5950 Ultra and can hit 542/978 without catching fire.

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 Post subject: Re: Down the rabbit hole / PC horror stories
PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2015 3:21 pm 
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Joined: Fri Apr 08, 2011 11:14 am
Posts: 80
One day I wanted to clean the an old HTPC.

Took it apart totally dusty inside. Thought, hmm, maybe the thermal paste has evaporated. Should take heat sink off and reapply.

Hmm, this heat sink doesn't want to come off. Pull harder.

Pull heat sink + CPU out of ZIF socket. They are totally cemented together, can't get them to come apart at all. This is a problem because the heat sink gets in the way of the arm on the ZIF socket.

Tried to bend arm to allow heat sink+CPU to fit with arm up.

Arm snaps off, taking some of ZIF with it. So.... yeah. That machine is dead.


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 Post subject: Re: Down the rabbit hole / PC horror stories
PostPosted: Fri Feb 06, 2015 3:27 am 
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Joined: Thu Feb 13, 2003 6:53 am
Posts: 1816
Location: Sweden
Leaking water reservoir on top of the PSU back in my WC days. Water slowly running along the outside of the PSU, just missing the graphics card and hitting the bottom of the case with a drip, drip, drip.. When I recognized the sound I turned off the system pretty quickly. :) Ditched the reservoir after that and used a T connector with a bit of spare tube for filling.

I've also accidentally destroyed a GeForce4 Ti 4400 just before I was going to sell it. Was going to remove a waterblock glued to the GPU and accidentally knocked of another heatsink I had glued to the memory for no good reason. The memory chip followed with the heatsink.

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 Post subject: Re: Down the rabbit hole / PC horror stories
PostPosted: Fri Feb 06, 2015 7:47 am 
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Joined: Fri Mar 14, 2008 5:18 am
Posts: 617
Location: London, UK
Oh damn, that all sounds very unlucky.

You might have seen my graphics card debacles: viewtopic.php?f=19&t=67798

Then I had to bake the 8800GTX, which I scored as a replacement.

My PC is also potentially dying for good, as the Desktop keeps refreshing itself every now and then.


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 Post subject: Re: Down the rabbit hole / PC horror stories
PostPosted: Sat Feb 14, 2015 1:36 pm 
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Joined: Fri Apr 04, 2003 6:21 pm
Posts: 4284
Location: Undisclosed but sober in US
HW wise no, but I did have a virus that brought my pc to a stop. Would take 30 minutes to shut down. Would not let me run browsers or AV. I saw signs, many instances of a service running. I couldn't end any because well, Windows said I couldn't stop its services. Well duh! Ended up with faithful "format c:". Worked for a while, but it was still hiding on my pc. Saw signs of it re-emerging to I bought new AV SW. Managed to get it installed as it was slowing down. I ran it and it swatted a few files. Seemed ok but no. After a few days whatever was on my pc tried to move and it got swatted again and again and again. After a few weeks of "gotcha" it ran good. And by good I mean McAfee slowed it down considerably so I kind of traded 1 problem child for another. The latter didn't have tantrums.

Once I bought some AV type software, worked too well. Rendered my PC useless for anything other than browsing. I couldn't buy anything. It was like web site shopping carts didn't exist. Adios to that SW as well.

I use ESET now, small footprint, updates constantly, doesn't feel like it's there.

HW - I entered the SSD arena late so I never had a problem. I don't buy cheap components so I can put something in the attic for 2 years, take it out, it still works. I have HDs all over the place. I have a Toshiba SCSI CD-ROM, a major speed demon at 2X in those days. Yeah you read that right, TWO X.

Friend brought in a PC that didn't work. It wouldn't turn on, not a peep. I made sure the button worked, it did. Swapped out the PS it powered right up. Something just laying around. He was grateful, I was glad to rid myself of junk in the attic.

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 Post subject: Re: Down the rabbit hole / PC horror stories
PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2015 10:52 am 
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Joined: Mon Nov 27, 2006 6:51 am
Posts: 401
Location: The Netherlands (NL)
I had an AMD Thunderbird 800mhz on an Asus motherboard. The cpu cooler was dying of old age, dust of other misfortune so I decided to replace the cpu cooler. The installation was with an flat screw-driver and a lot of force and bending. (Stupid system on the Socket A motherboards).
When installing the new cpu cooler, the screw-driver slipped of the very tiny place to put it, and hit the motherboard near the cpu. That was the end of the motherboard....


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 Post subject: Re: Down the rabbit hole / PC horror stories
PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2015 11:00 pm 
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Joined: Sun May 21, 2006 9:09 am
Posts: 2269
Location: Northern California.
one quickie, before bed;

connecting a brick powered molex adapter (live) to a hard to reach HDD, and having the molex pins short out to IDE pins...

that sure let the magic blue smoke out in a real hurry! (and yes, it had some unbacked up data on it....)

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 Post subject: Re: Down the rabbit hole / PC horror stories
PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2015 12:38 pm 
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Joined: Wed Mar 25, 2009 6:23 am
Posts: 56
Location: Bucharest, Romania
I mostly sing the harddrive blues.

My first piece of misbehavin' was when I put our home hdd into my dad's pc at work and by connecting mine I caused the other hdd to fry. Luckily they had another broken hdd of the same make and by a miracle I managed to get the data back by swapping the electronics boards.

I also lost data working as...tech support :roll: . Once by using a defective hdd enclosure and once by doing a forceful logoff which seemingly made the outlook email file to disappear. By the grace of our patron saint BOFH I got away without any punishment.

Recently I decided to do a good deed and clean my brother's laptop which had been howling for years. I opened up the bottom, cleaned it up, removed the hardened thermal paste and added new one and it was quiet again...except for the display which started hissing and after a few days it took a dark red hue and was effectively dead.

Anxiously waiting for the next one...

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