90 days (and counting) of computer hell
Some of you may or may not have been wondering where is heck I have been for the last couple of months, and I would just like to share my little horror story (that is still not quite finished).
For the last several years I have been running a P4 system backed up with an even older PIII server. This set up was running just fine, but getting a little “long in the tooth”. I started to get concerned about the life expectancy of the drives, and the server needed a massive upgrade to handle media duties anyway.
I used all of this as the perfect “excuse” to upgrade everything, and I started searching out what I wanted to order.
For my main box I went with a Core i7 based machine, and a Core 2 Quad system for the server. I thought I had chosen all premium parts, and everything would work as advertised, baring expected upgrade “issues”.
I started on the main box, and everything went together as expected, and the computer post the first time (yeah). I loaded up Vista Ultimate, and did a nice 24 hour test run before adding in more drives and copying over data.
Now this is when it all started to go down hill. I managed to get everything off my main drive with no issues, but when I went to copy of my server drive (the most important drive), somehow, someway I managed to fubar the MFT (master file table), thus making the drive unreadable by Windows.
So after a couple of days of trying to mount the drive in Linux (among various other methods), I gave up and started a data recovery program. Just in case anyone is wondering, it takes about 48 hours to recover 400+ gigs of data, and another 24 hours to copy it over a USB connection.
About this time, my modem decided to crap out on me, and I wasted another week trying to resolve that before just buying another modem. My old DSL modem was about 10 years old, so the fact that it lasted that long was a minor miracle. I can only say that was some kind of bizarre coincidence, and not related to the new build.
Now that I have all my data secured, and a working internet connection, I decide to start loading all my software and resolving any issues that Vista may create. Surprisingly, there were little issues other than some patches and upgrades.
About this time is when I found out that I my trusty Plextor 760A DVD drive (EIDE) was not able to read a disc in the drive. The actual drive of course worked fine in the XP box, and even worked to load Vista, bit simply would not recognize any disc through the OS.
Enter several frustrating days of reading forums, trying different fixes and calls to ASUS tech support, only to have ASUS tell me to swap the board. So I tear down the entire computer and pick up another motherboard, only to have the same problem.
I am now abut a month into this little “project”, and I haven’t even started on the server. I give up on motherboard number 2 and at the suggestion of ASUS, upgrade to the “deluxe” version in order to solve my DVD problem. I spend another day rebuilding my computer only to have board number 3 go DOA on me.
I tear everything down and pick up board number 4…
Another day spent on the phone with ASUS, and I have a working DVD drive. I have to disable some things in the BIOS in order to have it, but at least the damn thing works.
Almost two months just to build a computer, and it is still not perfect. (Moving on to the server)
I decide next that I will start to get my new server together, so I lay out all the parts and start mocking it up to see where I want to put my fans and such. This is when I figure out that my new PSU is bent and will have to be sent back for replacement.
Shipping back to the vendor, and waiting for the RMA replacement is at least a couple of weeks, so I use this time to put together the kids computer using my old Dell P4.
I don’t want to throw good money after bad on the P4, so I figure a new video card and PSU to power it will extend the life of this computer another couple of years. I spend a day modifying the Dell case to accept the new PSU, and put everything back together.
Now anyone that has ever tried to upgrade an older Dell knows that Dell cases are a bitch to work with, and mine was no exception. No matter what I tried, the case would not close with all the new PSU wires. Of course using another case is out of the question because Dell used their own board design at that time, and a new case means a new motherboard. ($$$)
I give up on the Dell case and start looking for a used (cheap) 478 motherboard. I find a deal on a board, and order up all the bits and pieces I need. I promise myself that including everything, the budget cannot exceed $200, or I might as well just buy a complete new computer.
Well I manage to get everything in and get it all together, but not without some drama of course. (Burn another week)
I have now managed to burn through almost three months of time, 6 motherboards, 2 hard drives, a modem replacement, data recovery, and countless reformats. Not to mention, the time spent researching, calling, ordering, returning, modding, and setting everything up, only to have to tear it all back down (several times).
So here I am typing this out at work, and my server is still sitting in pieces on my office floor. I haven’t touched a guitar in weeks; much less had time to check out the forums.
I will be heading home this evening to start putting together the server, and God only knows what drama that will hold. I still have some issues with the main box, but at least the kid’s computer seems ready to go.
If you made it this far, thanks for reading my rant. Perhaps you all can find some humor in my little computer hell.
Be back full time soon! (I hope)