Wednesday, August 15, 2007

It's tough trying to be a Geek

My PC kept hanging up on me while I was browsing the Net with Mozilla the fire-fox.  Sometimes it just hanged, sometimes it simply shut down and restarted.  My conclusion; I need more RAM.  So I went hunting for a DDR-512M chip and found one costing RM109.  Cheap lah, I thought.  Like the man said, I plugged it in the front slot and moved the original 256M into the 2nd slot.  But there was no response.  I got only a beep and a black screen.  The only way it worked was when I plugged back the 256M into the original slot. 

After I had plugged and unplugged, applied contact spray, rubbed all the 184 contacts with a piece of eraser, and fiddled every which way for a dozen times, I took it back to the shop together with my whole CPU and they did some more plugging and unplugging with the chips and then declared, this doesn't fit your pc, I'll change another one for you…  Yeah, that's what I wanted to hear.  He gave me a Kingston (made in the same Taiwan as the chip he first sold to me).  This one worked, but my PC started to act funny and kept showing me an error message about something-or-other file being corrupted or missing-or-whatever.  I said, never mind, I'll just reload Windows.  No big deal.  So confident.

I took it home and plugged everything in, but now Windows totally refused to run.  I proceeded to re-install Windows.  After formatting the allocated disk space (I must have done that more than 2 dozen times already with this PC) it began copying Windows files into the hard disk.  But there was a pause with the complaint that the file frmo.dll (or whatever) was not properly copied or the installation disk had a problem or whatever and if it is repeated to please take it back to the shop and ask them go jump in the lake with it…. I really don't remember the exact words but that's what it sounded like to me.  But I didn't do that, (I mean about asking them jump in the lake) but I switched to a disk of an earlier version of WindowsXP.  The same complaint that the file frmo.dll (or whatever) was not properly copied or the installation disk had a problem or whatever and if it is repeated to please take it back to the shop and ask them go jump in the lake with it…showed up again.

Flabergasted I was, but I kept at it until my eyes couldn't stay open.  Then decided I'd rather go sleep it off.  No, I couldn't sleep thinking about it. I decided the CD-RW must be old enough to retire.  Maybe that's why sometimes it didn't read my CDs.  2 disks can't be wrong with the same files missing and giving me the same idiotic message.  Next evening, I went shopping around the local mall and got a DVD-RW and installed it. 

I tried the Windows again.  I got the same complaints.  Again. 

I scatched my head, grumbled, heaved another muffled sigh (wifey shook her head and rolled her eyes at me) and I managed to whisper some expletives without anyone hearing me. 

Then I did the most desperate thing imaginable.  I decided to switch master/slave hard drives and install Windows in my (recently installed 80G) 2nd hard disk.  I thought maybe with all that formatting I had somehow 'compromised' the quality of the disk space that I have been loading and unloading my Windows.  Mechanical engineer's logic: If you keep installing and uninstalling a window, the wall itself would suffer, right? 

I had to sacrifice some data.  I lost all my movies and some 12 episodes of 'Heroes'.  Worst of all horrors, I lost all of this year's digital photo collection (except for those uploaded in Multiply, but these are in low resolution).  But that still didn't solve the problem. 

In desperation, I removed the 512M RAM chip, moved the original 256M chip into the original slot and then reload Windows.  And it worked.

Now I'm stuck with an extra disk-writer.

It's tough trying to be a Geek.  It's like shooting in the dark.

I still prefer mechanical problems. 


Epilogue:  I re-installed the 512M chip and moved the 256M into the 2nd slot after installing Windows and it's now running like greased lightning.


  1. maybe the computer is too old to handle more RAM and harddisk.
    like what my computer expert told me..

  2. I don't think so. Additional 512M and a 80G hard disk is not a problem for this motherboard. I wouldn't try 1G RAM though.
    But still, life-long learning means one needs to be Geeky as well... it's the age of IT we live in. Besides, these additional things are affordable. I can't be calling for help all the time. Also, help can take days to arrive.

  3. wuah...even reading this post is exhausting. i dont know nuts abt all this :(

  4. i don't have the Heroes liao, those in your pc are my last copies. so sacrifice one whole series lo~

    bytheway, mom rolls eyes everytime people sigh and sigh, especially when she can't help.

  5. I'm still exhausted from that effort (must be age factor), but it's worth it when I get a problem licked.

  6. they're not in this new drive...pheew!!!

  7. i was so horrified i was at the edge of my seat wondering if this had a bad ending. PHEEEEWWW!!!! back up!!! back up!! NEVER TRUST THE COMPUTER!!!

  8. hahaha... Sha Chek, you've got the skill of problem solving... not bad...lucky you, only being a geek for your own computer.. I'm being a geek everyday and a geek for others' problem.. hehe..

  9. FYI... it might be something wrong with the new 512MB RAM. XP installation has failed initially might be caused by the 512MB RAM. In the future, you might have problems like missing or currupted files because the 512MB RAM seems not holding/memorise files properly. So, the best is to change the RAM now so that you don't have so much problems later.. hehe...

  10. That's my job lah. No problems means I'm out of work. And heheheh, maybe you n me can join up and start 'trouble-shooters inc'.

  11. I suspect that much.
    Can it be possible it clashes with the 256M RAM? I still see some funny reactions last night. I'll observe for the next few days. If it still act funny, I'll pull out the 256 and see what happens.

  12. that's ok... nothing in life is permanent. I took a gamble that I had to lose some things.
    I have 2 partitions on 1st hard disk, and I backed up most important files in 2nd partition. 2nd hard disk is for movies, videos & music (all gigantic files)... but I thought I could keep the photos there before I tranfer them to CDs. Too bad, I'm also member of procrastinators' club!!!

  13. yea.. me too, no problem = no job for me.. but i don't have to worry about this issue because there will always problem on IT... that's why most companies willing to keep one IT department standby even though those geeks are playing msn with their friends most of the times hehe... About the RAM, no, it won't crash with other RAM unless it's faulty and it will effect the operation of your computer if the block of info is handle by it.. yea, good idea to try just running on the new RAM and see whether it's causing any problem

  14. A question I've always had in mind (now we have a 'geek' to ask, heheh): Does formatting a disk so many times have any effect on its quality?

  15. aisheh, i'm no geek la.. just trying to earn some money to live with the limited skill only, in other word "piang chiak" in teow chew... hehe...
    no, it won't effect the quality of the harddisk.

  16. it's ok, we all have to 'piang chiak' for 3 meals. As long as it's legal....

  17. Finally, last Saturday I think I caught the real cause of the problem. The 256 RAM chip. I was still getting hangs and restarts until I removed the @#$%! chip. Since then, everything's running without hiccups.

  18. I got desperate trying to solve the problem... (desperation makes people do desperate things, it was my 3rd late night up trying to settle the issue, and I hate working late...) Anyways, losing those things' no big deal.
    Heroes;... I don't have time to see it actually, but thanks.
    Hardware; next time I know better. Lessons learnt.