…one morning, the computer would not turn on. And nothing we did brought it to life. I suspected the worst: hard drive failure! And worse than that: when was the last time I backed everything up? OH NO! I called up a friend of mine who does lots of PC work for friends and family. His last name is Newman. He suggested the power supply was dead, and happened to have a spare one laying around. I got it that night, and brought it home. Well, now one light lit up on the computer, but nothing else happened. So, although our old power supply was indeed dead, there was more damage than that.
After much panicked research on the web(using another computer, gads, we have two…), I was able to determine, doing a few tests, that the hard drive was probably ok, and that we might have a motherboard problem. In order to find out, I quickly thought of someone who might have a Windows XP computer I could borrow. Rochelle! I called her up, explained what I needed, and drove over to her house. I was able to do some quick surgery on her computer, plug in our hard drive as a slave, and YEA! Everything was there, safe and sound. In fact, the next day, I had to do it again to get some important document for Cyndi. Boy, were we lucky! Now, to revive the rest of the patient.
I mentioned the research had lead me to believe that the motherboard(MOBO) was dead. I think that, even though our power supply was rated high enough for the new video card, the card might well have pushed it over the edge. When the PSU died, it took the MOBO with it. So now I needed a new MOBO. The problem was this: we have an old(in computer ‘dog’ years, anyway) motherboard. So old that the boys had to find an AGP video card for it in the first place. So old that it uses what’s called a Socket A CPU. Which no one makes anymore. And no one makes MOBOs for Socket A CPUs, either. Except one company, who shall remain nameless.
On to Newegg.com again. They have ONE motherboard with Socket A and AGP video slot. Well, that pretty much narrowed down my choices. So, I ordered it. While I was at it, I ordered another Seagate hard drive, same size as the one we already have. We tracked the UPS shipment every day, UNTIL THANKSGIVING. It showed up at the local UPS depot at 2am Thanksgiving day, and there it stayed through the whole weekend, argh! Oh, well, this meant Cyndi’s sister Debbie, who was visiting us from Atlanta, could actually spend time with everyone, because otherwise, we’d all be doing surgery on the computer and enjoying the fruits of our labor.
Finally, it arrived. And it didn’t fit in my case, doh! Great, now I figure I’m in for a new case. But before I ordered that, I tested the MOBO. Guess what? it was DEAD ON ARRIVAL! Nothing worked. Well, some of the online reviews were pretty bad, some were great, but like I mentioned, I had no choice. So, now the big question: do I send back the MOBO and the brand spanking new video card and go for a more comprehensive rebuild? I mentioned AGP was on the way out, and no one really makes Socket A boards anymore. Sheesh. So I lamented about all this to Newman. Turn out that he’s done so many of these upgrades that he has an AGP Socket A MOBO with CPU, case and PSU just laying around! Since I mentioned his last name is Newman, I started calling him NewmanEgg.com. I picked up his stuff that night for a song.
All of his stuff worked immediately. Old hard drive worked, new hard drive worked, new video card worked. We were very happy . I had to spend ALL NIGHT to back up everything(that was the big lesson learned; we were extremely lucky!), format the new drive, and copy stuff over from the old drive, and do some minor repair to Windows. BTW, Newman says he’s always had to reinstall Windows when he does stuff like this(and therefore always had to reinstall all your programs, too), but being the research fanatic I am, I found a great website that shows how to swap a MOBO and NOT HAVE TO REINSTALL WINDOWS!!! I am here to tell you that this totally works and I am eternally thankful to these guys! Thanks to this, and the OS Setup Guide I wrote about before, it was a piece of cake to change drive letters, volume labels and have everything working from essentially an image from the old hard drive. In about a month or so, when I feel confident about the new drive having everything it needs, I’ll reformat the old one(OS parition was getting too full) and use it for images off the new drive. Already, I’ve had to copy over the entire directory for one of Cyndi’s game, and she was playing it again in less than one minute. I am really loving this concept of images!
So, we thanks to the boys’ fancy PC game, we got a computer upgrade, a HUGE scare about the hard drive, and learned a valuable(but inexpensive) lesson about back ups, which I will now do religiously, as well as images. And Newegg.com? They took the new dead MOBO back and credited my card, AND sent a preprinted prepaid UPS label! I spent literally 30 seconds in the UPS store. She scanned it, and said thank you, and I was all, well, don’t you want any money? Nope, Newegg covered it. I’m not shopping anywhere else, and I don’t ming plastering their name all over this blog.