My computer's end is near

I’m not sure what’s up with my computer, but I have reason to believe that it’s in its final stages. This past week, software that’s been stable isn’t anymore. (e.g. Firefox, iTunes 7, Internet Explorer) Then, it’s been throwing random Blue Screens of Death. Today, I even tried formatting and clean installing Windows, but even after that, without any additional software installed yet, the computer continues to crash.

I’ve tried the following:

  • Ran MemTest86, twice, and found no errors
  • Ran SpinRite 6.0 (Level 4)
  • Clean Windows XP SP2 install

I haven’t changed any hardware. So, it’s something on the motherboard. (That narrows it down nicely, huh?)

Hopefully, I’ll get a replacement computer tomorrow night from a relative. (He also works in IT.) I’m not sure about the specifications, but he mentioned that it’s a clamshell Dell Optiplex GX270 with 1GB DDR RAM. Not sure about the processor speed, but I’m running an AMD Athlon 1600+, so it’s likely to be faster than what I have right now.

I’m not sure what to do with the old computer. Who knows if the power supply is starting to go? What if the video card is starting to go bad? I’m glad I backed up my data to the external hard drive, but I’m still uneasy.

For my next computer, I want a small form factor machine. This Antec case is a beast, so I’ll either sell it or store it away towards building a PVR system for home. It’s tough to troubleshoot a large computer because it’s a bit tougher to pickup, turn around, and so on. I’ll have to save for awhile, of course.

Or, should I get a Mac? 😉

Any suggestions on how to troubleshoot further? I’d love to hear it!

Note: I’m on the trouble machine writing this. I booted off an old Knoppix Live CD, writing this. It’s running fine. Any ideas on that? In emergency cases like this, it’s probably a good idea to download and burn a copy of Knoppix. It runs pretty well.

Update 12/12/2006: I got the new system, and installed everything last Thursday. Back to normal? Basically! It’s a Dell Optiplex GX270 (clamshell), so it’s not the most customizable system.

  • Pentium 4 2.39 GHz
  • 24x CD-RW
  • Integrated video
  • USB 2.0
  • 56K modem

He had a 60GB hard drive installed and ready to go, but it was manufactured in 2001. I was a bit scared, so I replaced it with my current 120GB hard drive, which I bought earlier this year.

For now, I’m going to stick with using USB 2.0 instead of Firewire. I’d have to buy a low profile Firewire PCI card if I really need it. At the moment, my iPod syncs just fine, and I don’t mind if synchronizing my external HD takes a bit longer.

If I want to use my Lite-On 52x CD burner, I’ll need to buy this Bytecc BT-200 USB 2.0 to IDE cable adapter. I’ll probably buy a DVD burner from Newegg, too. In any case, my CD burning speed will stink until then.

So, my system isn’t crashing anymore, and I’m happy!

I’ll still save up for a new system. I don’t love the one I’ve got right now, since I don’t have Firewire capability. I’ll most likely save up to build my own PVR first, then possibly get a Macbook.

Published by

Bryan Villarin

Bryan works at Automattic. He's also a cat whisperer. Sometimes…a photographer, and card magician.

5 thoughts on “My computer's end is near”

  1. Nothing’s perfect, George. My computer has been running fine for more than that long. I’ve had this computer for at least four years, and it’s not really obsolete for my usage. 🙂

    In any case, I think I figured it out – it might be my power supply. I’m gonna take out as much as I can, then swap it out with an unused Antec 300W PSU. (Kinda scary, considering the one currently in use is an Enermax 465W. I think it was more than enough.)


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