February 05, 2005

A Quick Fix?

Keep your fingers crossed - I think I may have fixed my computer, if you can call what I did a repair-job. I'm almost embarassed to tell you what the problem was. Someone asked me in a comment on an earlier post if the damn thing was plugged in (because it's usually something stupid that knocks you offline) and, in that vein, I'm ashamedly admitting that the snafu was even dumber than an unplug.

See, the issue was that the machine would shut itself down with no warning. Right in the middle of an operation, and boom, black screen. Yet, the green power light remained on even though the machine itself was dead as the proverbial doornail. I could unplug the machine, wait a second or two for the power light to fade, plug it back in, turn it back on, and roll with it for a variable number of minutes before another shutdown.

As a computery kind of person, I know of several things that would make a computer act like this. There was a virus running loose a while back that would shut your machine down spontaneously. There could be power supply issues. There could be a short on the motherboard. Or, under certain circumstances, the machine will shut itself down as a matter of course - in an overheat situation, for example. To my mind, the overheat seemed the most likely; I run a tightly secured machine, so I rarely pick up bugs; if the power supply was dead, the power light should have gone out when the machine shut down...hmmm...I got to wondering...

I have not moved this machine in several years. While I am a decent housekeeper, I've never picked my computer up and out of its Holy Place (the corner of my desk, against the wall) and cleaned the back of it. I've lifted it and cleaned under it at least once a week, and I've opened it up and worked on it right there, but I've never specifically cleaned the back of the machine itself. I sat there contemplating the innards of my computer as this data sort of percolated in my brain...and all of a sudden it ocurred to me to turn the machine around and look at the fan, to see if it could get cool air...and my GAWD. There was a veritable laboratory rat of dust hanging around my fan. Ewwww! Nasty! It's a miracle the goddam thing could turn at all!

Baby, I had that thing off the desk and laid open so fast it'd make your head spin. I whipped out my beloved, beloved Dyson and vacuumed the fucker out. You could eat out of the inside of that computer case, now, fan and all. And guess what? No shutdowns as of yet, and it's been about three hours.

The fan couldn't do its job, it got too hot in there, and the CMOS is set to shut the computer down rather than let it fry itself if the inside of the case reaches a certain temperature. Cleaning the shit off the fan seems to have solved the problem.

I'm sooo glad it's fixed. I really hope it's fixed for good.

I'm so ashamed.

Posted by Queenie at February 5, 2005 10:22 PM

Very glad ShopVac came to the rescue.

And also that it wasn't a "loose cord". ;)

Posted by: Someone at February 6, 2005 12:11 AM

Pure genius.

Posted by: J.R. at February 6, 2005 10:54 AM

Don't be. I'm sooooo glad you're back!

Posted by: Key at February 6, 2005 11:29 AM

It is always the simple things that do it to us.
Glad it was something simple. Lets hope that does it for you.

Posted by: Wichi Dude at February 6, 2005 11:59 AM

I once found a 4 inch dust bunny in the bottom of a computer case. Born and raised itself in there, th' li'l sucker did!

Posted by: Desert Cat at February 7, 2005 02:28 AM

Precisely why mine gets a blowjob on the back porch every spring!

Posted by: WarWagon at February 7, 2005 03:47 PM

I suck out the dust bunnies once every three months (sometimes sooner) because my computer stays on 24/7, it can collect some pretty huge critters. Uck.

Yay! I love it when things are real simple.

Posted by: Margi at February 7, 2005 06:18 PM

Hello? *thump-thump-thump* Is this thing on?

Posted by: Bane at February 7, 2005 07:46 PM

By gawd, I LOVE a brilliant woman. Are you ready to come clean my house now?

Posted by: Acidman at February 7, 2005 09:33 PM
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