A second point of failure…

Gah. It seems I’ll be without the main PC for a couple of more days.

Over the weekend my main PC bluescreened twice. Neither time was I near the machine or paying attention (the first time I was sleeping, the second was while I was in the shower). I tried flashing the BIOS and also ran memtest86+ on it. The BIOS update took and memtest86+ didn’t slow any errors. So, I went with it and prayed all Sunday night that the BIOS update was all that the machine needed.

Well, after breakfast this morning, I decided to do some work on slipstreaming Service Pack 2 into my Windows XP Professional install CD, thus making a new CD that I could use to install WinXP with without needing a separate SP2 install. While the system was downloading SP2, it froze for about a minute, briefly bluescreened, and rebooted. When it came time to start loading Windows, I got an error message:

Disk read error
Press Ctrl+Alt+Del to restart


I went ahead and disconnected the PC from the cables behind my desk and took it into the office where I could hook it up to the servers’ KVM switch (so I could have the machine out and free and use the servers’ monitor and keyboard). I ran Western Digital’s Lifeguard Tools diagnostics to get official confirmation whether or not the drive was bad. The quick test came back fine, incredibly enough. However, when it started the full media test… the clicking coming from the drive alone was enough to tell me the drive was toast.

In a way, this is actually a relief, seeing as a number of things I noticed before now make a bit more sense. I had gotten errors when wiping the drive with DBAN, but hadn’t thought much of it. I had heard the clicking before, but had thought it was the IDE Zip drive which I rarely use anymore. Finally, this does explain a few of the mystery lockups the machine had before the video card crapped out. Still, though, this does mean I’m going to have to replace the drive. I’ll probably end up getting two Serial ATA drives and put them in a RAID 0 configuration (thus combining the two drives into one), and put the replacement 120 GB drive from Western Digital in a server.

Oh, well, in the meantime I’m stuck on the Powerbook again. Fun.