Posted 16 January 2012 - 03:13 AM
I came home tonight to a desktop that would not boot due to a failed memory module and hard drive. No question in my mind about either one:
- The motherboard (Intel Midway motherboard, 8 years old, stock equipment in my Gateway 510XL Media Center PC) was displaying a solid red diagnostic LED. Looked up support info, pulled the memory modules one by one (shutting power off in between, of course <g>) and the red LED went out when I pulled the faulty one. Rechecked the faulty module in other slots, and always got a solid red diagnostic LED whenever the faulty module was installed. No red LED without it. I'm convinced that it's no good.
- The hard drive is slow as molasses and won't boot; XP Media Center (2004) quits during bootup with a BSOD saying that the boot volume is unmountable. The only way to get any diagnostic software to run is to disconnect the hard drive's data cable. Did so, booted with my Active@ Boot Disc and plugged the drive back in using a SATA-to-USB interface. Active@ Boot took a very long time to recognize the drive or read anything from it (although eventually all folders showed up), and reported that the drive doesn't support SMART (I'm pretty sure it's supposed to - it's a 2-year-old Western Digital Caviar Blue 500GB model).
The reason for my post is that I don't believe in coincidences, at least not of this nature. Hard disk and memory quit spontaneously and simultaneously? And both components are less than 3 years old? What're the chances of that? Before I put replacement parts in, I'd really like to get some idea of what might've caused them to fail.
I started by testing the output of the power supply, but all channels appear to be putting out the right voltage.
The cooling system appears to be working fine - all fans turn freely and nothing is choked with dust. At this time of year (coldest part of winter in Chicago) in my mildly drafty house, the area under my desk is rather cool without the desktop running to warm it up. So I'm reasonably sure that the computer did not overheat.
There was no electrical storm activity today (and none expected for months), and the computer is connected to a "standby" type APC Back-UPS 750ES uninterruptible power supply that ran a successful self-test last week. I believe the UPS runs a self-test only once a month, and it's not overloaded, so I'm quite sure that it didn't cause any electrical ebbs or jolts that might've fried anything.
I suppose it's possible that the memory module failed first and caused an operating system error that might've caused garbage to be written somewhere on the hard drive, but would that explain the very slow overall operation of the hard drive and cause it to prevent diagnostic software from running?