Wednesday, November 15

Geek

Install Install Install...

I also got my notebook back from HP repair, where it's been for the past two weeks. I mentioned that it has a small problem with intermittently dropping dead without warning or apparent reason. A couple of weeks ago, this stopped being intermittent.

After I swapped out my 100GB drive for the original 40GB unit, removed my 1GB memory module, and re-installed Windows from scratch (twice, since the system crashed the first time), it was intermittent again, but kind of useless since I no longer had any software or files installed, so I gave in and sent it in for repair.

Where they plugged it in, loaded up their test routine, and left it running for days without any sign of error.

So they called back and told me this, and I mentioned two things that I knew had crashed the machine: smacking the screen with your hand (it was an accident!) and installing Windows.

Which they did. Install Windows, that is. I guess it's one of those immovable object vs. irresistable force thingies. On the one hand, any complex machine sent for repair with an intermittent fault will work perfectly until the engineer gives up and sends it back.

On the other hand, installing Windows.

So it crashed, and they traced it to the memory, which they replaced, and they ran the soak test again, and it was good, and they sent it back.

And I plugged it in, and I ran a soak test of my own, and it was good, and then I closed the lid, and it crashed.

And then I re-installed the 1GB memory module, and it crashed, and it crashed, and it crashcrashcracracracrashed. Gatling-gun BSODs.

So I pulled out the memory modules, and swapped them around, and ran Memtest86, and it was fine again.

And the reason this matters, when I have three fully-functional desktops at home (two of them not even infected with Windows)?

I use the notebook to watch anime. So yes, I have watched no anime for two weeks. Two weeks! And before that I was ill, and before that I was on holiday, so four weeks.

My VHS tapes were starting to look good.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 09:45 AM | Comments (2) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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1 Sounds like a cracked trace to me - or something else hidden inside a component. The usual foreign object intermittent (something conductive and nearly invisible stuck between contacts, etc.) should have been eliminated by normal servicing procedures.

The only way I've ever been able to isolate this kind of problem is by hanging a logic analyzer on the likely suspects (including the power bus), and reading the trace buffer pre-glitch. Even if the shop has the equipment to do this, the analysis would likely cost more than replacing the laptop.

I feel like that fellow in the Tom Lehrer song, "spreading joy wherever he goes..."

:)

Posted by: Timothy Fox at Saturday, November 18 2006 11:48 AM (5Qg/J)

2 That's pretty much what I'm guessing.  I told my boss that there wasn't much point sending it off for repair, because they'd just keep it for weeks and then send it back still broken.

And so they did.

Naturally, it's crashed again.  I re-installed Windows, and at the end, popped the CD out - crash.

Reboot - crash.

Cold start, and it's been okay since then.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at Saturday, November 18 2006 07:55 PM (HEe1u)

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