Cautious optimism for computer woes

For those of you following along with my computer woes, you may join me in cautious optimism.  My new harddrive arrived today and I sat down to install it.  Annnnnnd… the computer wouldn’t boot from the recovery disc, which is supposed to be a boot disc.


So I took everything out and put it back in. Still nothing but a black screen, the fan, and a chirp from the dvd drive so I knew it was working.  Curses.  I fiddled with the RAM. Nothing. Again removing the drive to check things and putting it back. By this point I was late for a tea party.

Thank heavens, or I would have continued to bang my head against the wall. So I went off to the party, had a really lovely time, and came home to try again.  First, let me say that everyone who answered my twitter/facebook plea for help is a fantastic person.

I went through suggestions and started from the easiest up.  I put the old drive back in and experienced the exact same symptoms. I returned the new drive.  THEN, in a breath taking move — I know you can hardly stand the suspense — I took the RAM out and put it back in.  The computer worked.


It’s running and hasn’t crashed in an hour so I’m cautiously optimistic that it’s going to be fully operational again. Please, please let it be fixed.

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13 Responses

    1. Mary Robinette Kowal

      The advantage of having a five year old machine is that there’s significantly less to lose if I screw up. Of course, having an old laptop is also why I back up daily, so it all comes out in the wash.

  1. Todd Thorne

    You earned your debugging certificate, Mary. Reseating cards, memory, and cables is an old QA trick that it never hurts to try. Sometimes jostling the chassis is enough to break a contact on a component you didn’t even touch–always a fun experience then.

    Did you get the squirrel back into his cage too? I find that helps when the darn PC is sluggish.

        1. Todd Thorne

          I’m with Kate. I can testify first-hand that beer & motherboards don’t mix.

          A good single malt though… hmmm. Maybe that would have turbocharged it.

  2. John Charny

    Actually it isn’t all that surprising. Oxidation and dirty connections are quite common. Our It person keeps a can of contact cleaner handy and my brother in law (who was part of creating the arpanet) just gave me a tool for Christmas to clean the sockets for sd ram and usb ports. Taking the memory out and putting it back in cleaned off the contacts a little. If the problem happens again, you may want to do a much better job using the proper stuff.

    Glad to hear about loosing your head!