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Author Topic: Stupid Computer Question  (Read 423 times)

Dr Rotwang!

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Stupid Computer Question
« on: May 14, 2007, 11:14:08 PM »
Meaning, "question about a stupid computer thing".

Okay.  Say that the following stuff happened:
  • My monitor started to flash on and off for a few weeks.
  • Then, the computer itself started to freeze up.
  • Next, it wouldn't start up properly, freezing up before the Desktop was finished loading.
  • Then, suddenly, it started running like normal.
  • Oh, but my Mozilla firefox prefs all reset to defaults, my Bookmarks are all gone, they're not on the hard drive, and I'm having to put everything back the way I wanted it...but my plug-ins and add-ons are still around.

AVG just completed a scan of the hard drive; no threats. SpySweeper busted a few things, but that was a couple days ago. Everything's back to normal now.

WHAT. THE. FUCK. ?
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Christmas Ape

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Stupid Computer Question
« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2007, 05:37:07 AM »
:raise:

You're going to need an old priest and a young priest...
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Sosthenes

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Stupid Computer Question
« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2007, 06:11:32 AM »
Sub-space fluctuations. Pink menswear has interesting effect on IBM-compatible computers, just ask Peter Norton...

Most of the stuff sounds like hardware errors, most likely the mainboard. The Firefox problems don't quite fit into that. I'd recommend looking in %AppData%MozillaFirefoxProfiles, maybe there's more than one directory ending in ".default" in there. One of them could contain the old settings and bookmarks.
 

Casey777

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Stupid Computer Question
« Reply #3 on: May 15, 2007, 06:25:57 AM »
Had the computer on a lot during that time? Check the fans and case, a lot of dust anywhere? (i.e. overheating) Defragged the harddrive/checked it for errors lately? Anything like a cable or connector seem like it might have been or still be loose?

When in doubt get a rubber chicken and a suitable religious figure. Just don't sprinkle liquids on it. :keke:

(Edit: yep to the above post, and yes some of it could be conflicting profiles for Firefox)

Dr Rotwang!

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« Reply #4 on: May 15, 2007, 08:28:12 AM »
Yeah, we leave it on Sleep a lot.  I'm guessing tha's bad.  

Thing is, it's done this (and other freaky stuff) before.  Mainboard, huh?  Fans, huh?  Rubber priests, huh?
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J Arcane

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Stupid Computer Question
« Reply #5 on: May 15, 2007, 06:03:11 PM »
Leaving the computer running is actually better for the long term health of the system, so long as it's adequately cooled.  Turning the machine on and off sends voltage spikes through the boards that can cause wear on the the components and even fry them.  That's actualyl a common problem with all electrical devices, and why so many of them seem to always die right when you turn them on.

However, if the machine isn't being adequately cooled, ie all the fans are working, there's enough fans and air flow to cool the components, etc., then it will do more harm to the machine the longer it runs.

From the sounds of your specific problems, it seems like a memory problem, I've had very similar symptoms before that were solved by pulling out what proved to be a bad RAM stick.  But it's odd that it corrected itself on it's own, and that makes it rather hard to test for.

It is possible that it was a thermal problem, maybe one of the fans was gummed up and causing overheating, and it's since worked itself out.  You might try getting a can of air, taking the machine outside, and just giving all the fans and the power supply a thorough blowout, to work all the dust out.  Have you noticed any unusual sounds from the machine?  Fan noise that seemed jsut a bit off, or quieter or louder than usual?

It can also, on rare occasions, happen that circuits essentially experience a "calamari effect", where the initial thermal conditions cause a failure in the circuit, but as they continue, they sort of warm back into place, so to speak.  

but even there, that speaks to a heat problem that will doubtless cause mroe problems down the road, so best to get it checked out.
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Sosthenes

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Stupid Computer Question
« Reply #6 on: May 15, 2007, 06:18:37 PM »
Quote from: J Arcane
Leaving the computer running is actually better for the long term health of the system, so long as it's adequately cooled.  Turning the machine on and off sends voltage spikes through the boards that can cause wear on the the components and even fry them.


That's pretty dangerous advice. Modern home computer equipment usually has very low MTBF (mean time between failure) for most of its components, so keeping it running 24/7 far outstrips potential damage from spikes -- considering a remotely decent power supply and mainboard.

Libations to the gods of Regular Backup are recommended ;)
 

James J Skach

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« Reply #7 on: May 15, 2007, 06:25:34 PM »
Sleep mode, however, has none of those long-term wear problems on things like the fan, as neither the drives for the fan (nor the screen, etc.) are working. They all shut down.

I'm going with the memory problem. Us old fucks always blame our memory.

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J Arcane

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Stupid Computer Question
« Reply #8 on: May 15, 2007, 06:58:32 PM »
Quote from: Sosthenes
That's pretty dangerous advice. Modern home computer equipment usually has very low MTBF (mean time between failure) for most of its components, so keeping it running 24/7 far outstrips potential damage from spikes -- considering a remotely decent power supply and mainboard.

Libations to the gods of Regular Backup are recommended ;)
I've never had a problem keeping the things running, so long as there wasn't also a cooling problem.  Fans are cheaper to replace than motherboards.
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Sosthenes

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« Reply #9 on: May 16, 2007, 02:52:57 AM »
Well, mileages vary. I've never had many problems with my own hardware, but then I usually bought them bit by bit and didn't exactly select the most failure-prone. But looking at office equpiment, I've seen lots of PCs by major manufacturers who aren't able to keep running 24/7 for three years. Cooling isn't a big problem, but they usually save some money when it comes to decent mainboards, power supplies and hard disks.

Also, "true" sleep mode is wonky with some systems. Either the drivers or the chips responsible often cause some problems at waking up. Laptops are better in this regard, as this is obviously one of their fortes.
 

Dr Rotwang!

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« Reply #10 on: May 16, 2007, 06:52:36 AM »
Well, it's still doing it.  I hadda turn it on three times this morning.

I'll try cooling and cleaning. Thanks, guys!  If ya think of something else...
Dr Rotwang!
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