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Routine Maintenance & Cleaning - A Cautionary Tale!


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#1 Venek

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Posted 08 May 2010 - 03:03 PM

Not exactly sure if this topic belongs in this particular forum, but it's the closest thing to it as it pertains to a lot of issues common in building a system and upgrading. Anyway, here goes:

So I decided to perform some routine cleaning and maintenance on my computer this morning. I turned off the power strip, then the power supply, unplugged everything and used up whatever power was left by holding in the power button for a few seconds so I wouldn't accidentally zap something.

Opened it up and proceeded to clean the filters in my case, which were absolutely caked with dust in a little over a month (drawback of an overclocked system with 8(!) fans running at 50% permanently). Blew out the insides with a can of compressed air (Radio Shack brand is excellent, I just learned, very forceful).

I also had a third hard drive in there that I used temporarily while upgrading my OS to Windows 7 64-bit along with a new hard drive, so I decided to remove that for good since I never use it and it uses the old (read: slow) IDE connection.

Long story short, put everything back together, turned the sucker on and it never went past the "Welcome to Windows" start-up screen. It would just hang and go nowhere. I tried a variety of things, disconnecting and reconnecting the connections, and even clearing the CMOS, all to no avail. On the verge of panic here, I called EVGA tech support, knowing it's hardware related somewhere, but it wasn't my motherboard since it was POSTing just fine. Figured since I had a few EVGA products, they might be willing to help me out. (Seriously, there is no finer tech support than EVGA, makes me be an EVGA man for life).

Indeed they were kind enough to help me out and suggested I start with the RAM modules in case one of them went bad or some dust might be shorting out a component somewhere. So, I took out all 6gb of RAM, only put in one 2gb stick after thoroughly blowing the area and, sure enough, the computer proceeded to boot up just fine.

Moral of the story? Don't have a heart attack if your computer doesn't work properly after some regular cleaning. Start with connections, RAM modules, and go from there. EVGA suggested reseating video cards if RAM wasn't solving the problem. Extreme solution was to remove the motherboard itself and dust off the back of it. Oy, that would've been an all-day job!

Why is it some of biggest problems occur during little jobs like that???

So there you go folks, just when you think you've got all the insides of your computer clean, there's always the off chance that some invisible speck of dust will have lodged itself in a component somewhere and causing all kinds of problems.

Thought I'd give a heads up to everyone to keep this mind while tinkering with his/her rig.
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#2 meuchel

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Posted 10 May 2010 - 01:22 PM

good story.
too bad you had problems when you were trying to prevent them in the first place :thumbsup:

Edited by meuchel, 10 May 2010 - 01:23 PM.


#3 the_patriot11

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Posted 10 May 2010 - 09:53 PM

last time I rebuilt my computer (I dont like using compressed air, so every 6 months I manually take every component out of my case, and blow it out the old fashioned way, reapply thermal paste, etc) and put it back together, I had a similar issue, only it wouldn't boot at all-and since I don't have a system speaker, no beeps. I initially started to panic, but decided to double check everything, and I hadn't put one of the memory modules all the way in-one end was hanging out by a hair, so that at casual glance from the outside, it appeared in normally, but wasnt. thankfully, nothing fried, and all I had to do was push it in all the way and it worked fine, so like you said its always a great idea to double check everything, and then go through and test systematically. Ive gotten to the point where I have a computer that will turn on but not boot the first thing I check is the memory, then graphics, etc, a lot of it really is just keeping a good head about you. and Im glad EVGA has good tech support! I will have to remember that.

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#4 MrBruce1959

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Posted 10 May 2010 - 10:11 PM

Thank you for sharing this very well written and informative topic Venek!

I am sure this topic will be very helpful to those of us who like taking it upon ourselves to do our own house cleaning so-to-speak.

Again thanks for sharing! :thumbsup:
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