I thought some of you readers would like to know that I occasionally run into some really tough computer problems also. This one had ol’ Larry stuck for so long I would be embarrassed to say how long in this forum.
Last December I upgraded one of my Accountant’s computers with a Shuttle 591P motherboard, 500 MHz K6-2, and 64 Mbytes of PC133 memory. Still a good computer for the average office worker… It ran without incident for months. All of sudden it started to get random Windows protection, etc. errors at almost every blink of the eye. None of them pointed to a specific cause of the problem.
Well, usually a problem like this is a hardware problem. Visual inspection found nothing wrong: no loose screws, etc. Checked jumpers: OK. It passed a virus scan, AMI Diag, two disk scans, etc. and ran fine in DOS. So, I started “Easter-egging” the problem (substituting parts). Pulled all boards except video. No joy. Replaced the most likely culprit: memory… No. Replaced the motherboard. Nope… Tried another power supply… Nuts!
Well, it must be software. Backed-up the hard disk and did a clean install of Windows. No, it popped multiple error messages towards the end of the install. Did another install… Same thing. Mucked with the CMOS, restored defaults and disabled everything, and did another install… No.
Must be hardware. Replaced memory again… another motherboard… Replaced the display adapter… Undetectable virus? Wrote zeros to the hard disk, fdisk /mbr, followed by another clean install… No Sir… Replaced the hard disk and did another clean install… No. Replaced THE CPU and fan (very unlikely)… No. Replaced the floppy drive (now I’m really fish’n)… Replaced the CD-ROM… Used another Windows CD… At this point I had clean installed Windows so many times that I practically had the key code memorized.
I’m pulling my hair out and this Socket 7 is close to being/flying high into real HISTORY!!!
Last night I sat on the couch frustrated with a little wine (well, more than a little) and did a mental inventory of what I had tried in that Darn Socket7… What haven’t I replaced in that @#$%^&* computer? The case (although, I have seen one case—pun--where replacing the case some how fixed the problem)… Nah… Ah ha, the cables--unlikely. This AM I replaced the hard disk and CD-ROM cables. Problem Fixed! It just survived a clean install and three Winstone 99’s. Larry