My Broken Hardware

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So I had a hard drive disaster last week. This came hard on the heels of my 14 month old video card biting the dust. I should have know there was something up, when my Windows installation went belly up. I had been getting tons of errors whenever my Arch boot would do a fsck, but I still soldiered on.

And then my video card died. First X Windows on Arch would freeze when I tried to run it, then even Windows started getting weird artifacts and tears, until finally it just would boot into 640x480 256 color mode. Do you even remember how ugly that is?

So I bought a new nVidia EVGA 560ti card. My EVGA 560 was just past the warranty - 14 months (although it sure felt like less). I wanted to upgrade a little bit but I surely didn't need cutting edge, so I went with the 560ti. I like the 560 - it seems to be powerful enough to play the most recent games, yet only requires one slot and no funky power options necessary.

But I broke Windows somehow. Soon I got the dreaded "black screen of death" (bet you didn't know there was one of those) where it boots but then after the splash screen goes away, it just shows black. And even a Microsoft MVP says you might have to reinstall Windows to fix it.

And I tried everything to fix my Windows install, all to no avail. But as I only have Windows 7 installed to play games, and the games are all installed on another partition (and these days, most save games are actually in the cloud, esp. for Steam), I figured it wouldn't be a big deal to reinstall Windows. Just start over, which is always a good idea with Windows anyway.

So I reinstalled Windows and got everything set back up. Takes forever to install, and forever to download all the patches (and it doesn't recognize my r8169 Gigabit Ethernet card out of the box either, so I had to go on a quest for my motherboard's device CD). But I finally got it set up and working.

But of course then I had to get back into Arch as Windows loves to overwrite the boot sector. But by now I am getting pretty good at reinstalling GRUB and using the standard Grub 0.9 commands:

grub> find /boot/grub/stage1
grub> root (hd0)
grub> setup (hd0,3)
grub> quit

and I was back into Arch. I was finally back in business.

Until about a week later, when I started getting really weird hard drive errors and then BAM! the hard drive just wouldn't boot. This is a 120gb SSD drive that was bought the same time as my video card when I built my new system. And it too was deader than a doornail.

Ugh. But again, I was pretty safe because my /home was on another partition and really, the only thing on the SSD were my two OS partitions, one for ArchBang and one for Windows 7. Which I had, of course, just finished reinstalling and getting setup last week :(

So I decided enough with the "cutting edge" SSDs. I needed a hard drive and I needed it now, so my choices were to buy another 120gb SSD hard drive for $140 or buy a 1TB "green" hard drive for $80. I just couldn't see forking over an extra $60 for an SSD that had about 1/10 the space (although I really didn't need to space as I have a 2tb drive already in there). So I went with the big old technology.

I opened up the case and pulled out the dead SSD. And it was then I noticed what perhaps is the culprit for my dead hardware - 2 of the 3 case fans were not running. I hadn't noticed them when I put together my new computer in the very nice Cooler Master tower I have and thus didn't plug them in. And it is rather warm in the summer down here in my nearly windowless lair, which also wouldn't help.

So I got my fans plugged in and my hard drive hooked up and settled down to another install fest.

To Be Continued...

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This page contains a single entry by Jonathan published on August 16, 2012 10:50 PM.

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