In a Bit of a Rut

This has been a week of great wailing and gnashing of teeth in terms of computer maintenance here in the Amy & Jeff household.

Amy’s computer had the oldest hard drive in the house, so it was due to fail soon. We decided to be proactive about it. We ordered a new hard drive (and since it was SATA, a controller card to match). The basic idea was good, and it was an excellent opportunity to do a fresh OS install. That’s all great as a basic idea, but I’ve never had a machine fight me so hard on the way up. Short story: Roxio can bite me. For some unknown reason, the computer started throwing a blue screen on every shutdown after I installed Easy CD & DVD creator. It took about 3 installs and a hardware swap to be sure it was the software and not the driver for the new SATA controller. Once I figured that out, I was able to switch to Nero, and the install went great… right up until I moved the computer back to Amy’s desk. Zap. The new SATA controller started locking up at boot. No problem, I just installed the other new one I bought to check to see if it was the culprit in the previous problem. The card worked great, but Windows didn’t have the driver, so it wouldn’t boot. Another re-install. Thankfully, it’s now all finally working. Next, I get to RMA the first SATA controller to get some money back.

While I was working on her computer, Amy was using my iBook a lot. She kept having problems with lockups. It finally got to the point where sometimes when she tried to reboot, it gave her the dreaded “flashing question mark” symbol. Mind you, I was in the other room fighting her PC while this was going on. When I finally got around to taking a look at the iBook, I figured out that when the lockups and boot failures happened, there was a mysterious lack of spindle motor sound from the hard drive. I knew it was going to happen eventually, but did it have to be this week? I spent this afternoon digging the iBook open (no small feat) to make sure I could extract the hard drive. At least I was able to do it. A new drive has been ordered. Once it arrives, I get to install it, reassemble the laptop, and then reinstall OS X.

In the middle of all of this, the server reported during one of its nightly surface scans that one of the drives in the RAID failed a self-test. One of the almost NEW drives in the RAID. So, I took the server down, inserted the emergency SOHO router so that the one working computer could have net access, and ran a few detailed scans on the drive. Nothing. I put it back in service, and it’s been working fine since.

So, for anyone that’s been wondering, that’s where I’ve been this last week. This coming week: the much overdue task of mowing the yard. *grumble*

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