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Mad, Mad (computing) World

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Merch Gwyar

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Sorry about the lack of blogs just recently. I entered a bit of a rocky patch! Two weeks ago, I was away from home for the weekend. Some crap went down with a friend and it ended up with me staying up there a couple of days longer than planned. By the time I came back, I wasn't very well. That lasted for the rest of the week. Then it was my computer's turn to mess up. This was a saga and a half!

 

TL;DR: Computer's been broken. It's better now.

 

To me, it all started with the microphone not working. This was a brand new gaming headset, so taking it back to the shop was the obvious way forward. But I didn't really want to leave my bed, let alone the house. I sit had sound, even though I couldn't speak. I decided to log into Runescape and just watched 'Monkey Business series 8', instead of doing things that microphones are useful for, like dungeoneering. That's when problem two kicked in. I'd get about an hour into my DVD, when BAM! The whole computer shut down. The casing above the PSU would be really hot to the touch. I'd wait for it to cool, then try again. I'd only get about 10 mins before it was overheating again. Each time the computer shut down. I downloaded a programme to check the temperatures. They made scary viewing for me!

 

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I did what every sensible person would do in these circumstances. I ran screaming into the Sal's Realm of Runescape Technical Support forum!

 

I'd like to give a huge shout out here to the wonderful gang there. The lovely Redmonke started off by having me download a better temperature sensor programme. He didn't seem as scared by my original temperature readings as I was. He thought there might be something more involved. There was. Look at the graphics card temperature, right at the bottom.

 

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I had something that was kicking out 186 F of heat under my desk?! :o Even Redmonke seemed perturbed by that. With him, Noata and SatansFate all asking questions about dust and fans, I decided to be brave and open up my computer. I've always been relatively adventurous in coding and programming, but not with the hard-drive. After one of my frequent overheating moments, I've crashed mid-sentence in Canting. I'd returned to tell them what had happened. Fred asked me if my processor was too hot. I didn't even know what my processor looked like. I was ashamed. -.-

 

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On the basis that one should always yield to the hands on imperative, I raided the toolbox for screwdrivers, then proceeded to clean dust out of everything that I could find. There was a great wall of it behind the main fan! I prised it out with my little finger and the screwdriver. It came away in huge chunks.

 

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I started unscrewing every screw that I could find on the hunt for dust and fans. I discovered one attached to my red graphics card. The fan came out here, so I cleaned under it and put it back.

 

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The temperatures did drop considerably, so I thought I was good now. I thanked those in the tech forum, then logged back into Runescape. I'd only done half an hour of laps in the Barbarian Outpost Agility Course, when BAM! I'd over-heated and I was down again. It only seemed to happen when I was watching DVDs or playing Runescape. I could exist quite happily browsing the internet. I returned to the tech forum and explained the situation. Redmonke had said something about bewaring broken fans. I recalled that the little fan, attached to the graphics card, was split. I photographed that and showed Sal's geek angels.

 

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The original three, plus Lute and Bob-Sama were all in agreement that I needed a new graphics card. Redmonke suggested one, but did warn me to wait until Bob-Sama came on and reviewed the situation. Unfortunately, that didn't happen until the afternoon of the next day. I'd already been out and visited five different computer/electronic shops, looking for the one that Redmonke had recommended. I was a bit of a noob though, looking for the brand name, rather than the specifications. I came back with one that was slightly less powerful than Redmonke's suggestion; and half as powerful as the one that Bob-Sama was now suggesting. Nevertheless, it was still a lot more kick-ass than the one that had been in there, plus it had a working fan. All win!

 

I felt so brave and accomplished, when I fitted it myself. There had also been much querying about that green card that was blocking the heat from getting out. It was probably the cause of the graphics card snapping in the first place. Redmonke had me photographing the connection points. It was just a video/TV expansion, that I've not used in four years of owning this computer. He was happy to advise me to leave it out. I didn't need it and it was causing more harm than good. However, there was still a problem.

 

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I had a CD which came with the graphics card, which I'd run several times. No joy. SatansFate found another driver on-live and I downloaded that. Woot! It worked! I'd lost the error message; Runescape stopped lagging; Rene was now in the thread, assuring me that my computer's temperatures were fine! I had a working computer! Ok, I had Bob-Sama telling me to check the return policy on my graphics card, as I could still do better; and I had SatansFate facepalming over my fail!shoppng in the first place, but I had a working computer! :yay: There was still an issue. Each website filled only about a quarter of my available screen and all fonts were at about 6-8 point. Redmonke had me changing the resolution. I did that (again). It would correct the size and display websites larger, but the whole screen would be very blurred. By now, it was very late on Day Two, so I just lived with the tininess.

 

Day Three - I took my gaming headset back to the shop where I'd bought it. Johnny happily changed it for a working one. I'd also got my computer under my arm. I explained the situation, confessed my noobishness and asked him if he could sort out the tiny fonts and websites. He said that I'd need to book my computer in. D: Bear in mind that my computer isn't just a place for Runescape. I work from home. My computer is my workplace, my socialisation place and my leisure place. Being without it is bad. But if I was going to have to part with it, I might as well go the whole hog. I asked him how long it would take for him to remove Vista and replace it with Windows 7, install extra RAM, reformat the whole thing AND fix the tiny writing. With everything else that he had on, Johnny said it would be a day - day and a half. I batted my eyelids and talked about working from home. He said that he could do it in three hours. I left my baby with him.

 

Five hours later, I got nervous and called him. Johnny said that he'd been just about to call me and I could come and get it. Woot! I jumped in my car and fetched her. Once home, I stared in awe at the new, very quick boot, then gasped at the pretty screen. It was beautiful! It was perfect! It wasn't on-line, nor did it have any of my programmes, sites nor documents loaded. Getting plugged back in was the priority. I inserted my netgear adaptor and nothing happened. Nooooo! Fortunately, I still had the original drive disk, from four years ago, so I ran that. Halfway through, BAM! My computer shut down. O.O It took an hour to install that disk. The temperatures were fine, insofar as I could tell by putting my hand against the casing, but the computer couldn't be on for more than 10 minutes without getting the blue screen of death. I ran the diagnostics and it told me that all the main hardware stuff was working perfectly. I ran scandisk and it pulled up 20 minutes worth of errors, that it promptly repaired. I couldn't call Johnny, as the shop had closed after I'd left it.

 

I was finally back in, but Netgear was having none of it. My computer recognised that it was there, but it wasn't going to load the driver for love nor money. It would hit the same point (where the original blue screen had happened), then throw up an error in Windows. I couldn't get on-line to beg Sal's Tech forum for help. I'd been at this for over an hour. Urgent action was patently needed, so I did it. I put the kettle on.

 

With a cup of tea in hand, I'd obviously boosted my skills by three levels. I gave up on the disk and opened up the properties of the adaptor. I asked it to find the drive on the disk. It couldn't. I went for the 'just find the bloody drive wherever you can' option. It found it. Suddenly, and with no clue from me as to how, the adaptor sparked into life and I was on-line. Woot! There followed hours and hours of wrestling with the thing. I only tried to download the programmes that I thought important: firewall; spyware pwner; Runescape; Skype (to test the microphone); etc. Each of them caused a blue screen of death, but when I rebooted, they were there. Johnny had saved all of my documents in a folder, I tried to move those to the proper place. BAM! Blue screen of death.

 

I was also realizing just how much I'd relied on Firefox's memory for all of my passwords. As I entered each forum or downloaded each programme, I was also learning how much my own memory is failing. I used to have a practically eidetic one! I did a lot of asking sites to post my password to me. My crowning achievement came with a forum that I admin. This was built by me, in PHPBB, from my own server. My admin account had never been registered, because it was built into the original coding. Therefore, I couldn't just ask it to e-mail me a replacement. I ended up in the background database, via PHPAdmin, which I'd never ventured into before. I followed my nose and eventually found where it could be changed. However, it was all encrypted. I suffered a couple of blue screens before I finally found where to change my password. You should have heard the woot when it worked!

 

Then suddenly, with no obvious reason as to why, it all stopped. I was being stunned by the Runescape graphics and bamboozled by Skype. MFI, Tabt, Goggie and Kayla were laughing at me, as I discovered the features of an up-to-date working Skype. I didn't crash. I allowed myself to relax.

 

Day Four - I'd been at work for three hours. A long and highly researched blog post was nearly finished. I had just found another image, to break up the wall of text, when BAM! Blue screen of death. I just stared in shock. This had to be a joke. In encroaching panic, I rebooted and rushed to my work blog. Fortunately, it had auto-updated seconds before. It was still there. *relief* I finished the blog and quickly posted it. Then me and my computer went back to see Johnny. He heard the story and booted it to read the error reports. He told me that the RAM wasn't compatible. He took that out and put my previous RAM back in. Since then, there have been no more blue screens and no more computer shutting down. Happiness reigns.

 

Yet there was still one more problem. Most of my life exists on an external hard-drive. The new configuration wasn't picking it up. I mean, if you went into disk management, it was there, but it wasn't assigned a letter. It wouldn't let you assign a letter. Johnny messed with it for a bit, but he couldn't get the partition to read. He suspected that one of the blue screen moments had corrupted the driver. He warned me that this was possibly a reformatting moment. -.- Unfortunately, he wouldn't have chance that day, as he was working on other computers. I could leave it with him or come back later in the week. I took it home. This wasn't hardware, this was software. This was my realm now!

 

I ran diskpart. It read it in the list, but not in the volume. I couldn't assign a letter without a volume number.

 

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I searched on-line for a solution and found that this was a common issue. There were plenty, but they all wiped the external hard-drive, which was not an option for me. It's got all of my stuff on it! I kept coming across Acronis Disk Director Home 11 as the solution, so I downloaded that. It was brilliant! It found the external hard-drive immediately and there was a very simple option to assign a letter. Then I hit an obstacle. You couldn't actually press 'go' without buying the full edition. That cost £79.99. I in no way stalked You Tube and the rest of the internet after keygens and licence keys, as that is highly illegal. And besides, none of them worked.

 

I went back to Disk Manager. There it was, in its unlettered partition. I faffed with it some more. By right-clicking the left-hand box, on the grid, it opened up the properties. Windows knew it was there! It was just buggered if it was going to access it. I wondered how bad it could possibly be to uninstall the driver, with no way of reinstalling it.... I did it. Right-clicked and uninstalled, then dived under my desk to unplug it. Before I got that far, there was a soft ping. The drive had uninstalled, but, as the hard-drive was still plugged in, it had immediately reinstalled. It was there! It had a letter! I could access it! Woot!

 

Day Five - Everything is working perfectly. I have great graphics. I can access everything that I need. The computer is not over-heating. It wasn't this fast when it was new. However, when I come to edit documents, I discover that I have no admin rights to them. I can't change a thing. I have to transfer everything to another folder, rename them, then I'm in. -.- Johnny called to say that I'd left the Windows 7 box there. I went back down and he heard the latest. It confirmed that the RAM was the problem. He was going to have me book it in to change the RAM to a different brand, which might be compatible. I'd seen him change this before though, so I could do it. I took the new 4 GB of RAM off him and took them home.

 

Day Six - I haven't put the new RAM in yet, but I'm loving the computer! And I've just blogged all about it. :P Runescape or RAM... Runescape or RAM....

 

PS I also bought this:

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PPS I installed the 4GB of RAM hours ago. Since then I've watched BBC iPlayer; updated a website, with a HTML editor and a FTP server running; had a dozen websites open at once; and downloaded a program (Speccy). My computer hasn't flinched from any of that! Success!

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Woooo ;) Not finished reading yet but Merchy... Is it my brain or have you written about day 3... and then written about it again? o.O

 

"Day Three - I still had a broken microphone, so I went to the little computer shop down the road. This is where I bought it from and Johnny quite happily exchanged it. Under my arm was my computer. I told him about the tiny font, admitted to noobishness and asked if he'd just sort that out for me."

 

"Day Three - I took my gaming headset back to the shop where I'd bought it. Johnny happily changed it for a working one. I'd also got my computer under my arm. I explained the situation, confessed my noobishness and asked him if he could sort out the tiny fonts and websites. He said that I'd need to book my computer in. D: Bear in mind that my computer isn't just a place for Runescape. I work from home. My computer is my workplace, my socialisation place and my leisure place"

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That sounds extremely complicated, you seem a lot better at computers to even understand that stuff :P

 

Hopefully we can chat on skype sometime :)

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Day 3 occured twice, so the real reason she was absent was her adventures in time and space

 

 

derr :P

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Woooo ;) Not finished reading yet but Merchy... Is it my brain or have you written about day 3... and then written about it again? o.O

 

"Day Three - I still had a broken microphone, so I went to the little computer shop down the road. This is where I bought it from and Johnny quite happily exchanged it. Under my arm was my computer. I told him about the tiny font, admitted to noobishness and asked if he'd just sort that out for me."

 

"Day Three - I took my gaming headset back to the shop where I'd bought it. Johnny happily changed it for a working one. I'd also got my computer under my arm. I explained the situation, confessed my noobishness and asked him if he could sort out the tiny fonts and websites. He said that I'd need to book my computer in. D: Bear in mind that my computer isn't just a place for Runescape. I work from home. My computer is my workplace, my socialisation place and my leisure place"

 

Erk! I previewed it halfway through and the final two paragraphs (at the time) disappeared. I had no idea where. Now I know. They'd randomly inserted themselves further up! These are the lost paragraphs:

 

I'd got a CD, which came with the new graphics card, which I'd run several times. SatansFate found another ATI driver on-line and I downloaded it. Woot! Everything worked! Bob-Sama still wanted me to check the return policy on my graphics card, to get the more powerful one; SatansFate was facepalming over my fail!shopping in the first place. But I had a working, non-overheating computer! Woot! Unfortunately I had (and still have) tiny text. Websites take up a quarter of my available screen and the font looks to be around point 6-8. Redmonke told me to change the resolution. I did that easily enough. It changed the size great, but it left it all very blurred. By now it was very late on Day Two, so I decided to just live with the little fonts.

 

Day Three - I still had a broken microphone, so I went to the little computer shop down the road. This is where I bought it from and Johnny quite happily exchanged it. Under my arm was my computer. I told him about the tiny font, admitted to noobishness and asked if he'd just sort that out for me. Unfortunately, he was working on something, so asked me to book it in. That was problematic. My computer isn't just my leisure time, it's my work place too. Basically, it's my whole life, because I work from home, socialise and play on it. The only thing that I don't do on it is exercise (unless you're counting level 90 agility), hence I'm getting fat. :P I explained this and Johnny checked his diary. He shuffled things about and said that he could do it this afternoon. I figured that, if I was losing it, I might as well go the whole hog. I asked how long it would take for him to reformat it, change Vista for Windows 7 and fit more RAM. He reckoned that he could do that in three hours. I left my baby with him.

 

I rewrote them where they were supposed to be. :P Proof that I don't re-read these blogs before posting LOL I've removed them again now.

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How much RAM do you have? TBH all you need is 2GB for 7. I used that for about two years and it wasn't until I started doing heavy video editing/special effects that I needed to upgrade to 4GB. But more never hurts.

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Good to hear that everything's well, too bad I arrived so late in the thread. I've had my fair share of battles with overheating pieces of hardware as well. :P

 

Sort of funny how the guy didn't check whether or not the RAM was compatible, goes to show hos a rush job is rarely a good job. Don't mistake me though. I fully understand your situation as I've had the same problem with my laptop that had all my school work on it. Coupled with the fact that it is practically the only working computer at my home thus meaning I couldn't really rely do anything at home for school projects. (Web development and programming in Java/VB) Thing was the best they could do was pretty much a 2 week wait time. So I understand how important such a situation is.

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