Thursday, May 05, 2005


Well, it's been a tough road but I've finally isolated whatever's been causing my computer to lock up whenever I'm doing something interesting.

Some background: I work on a laptop running a popular Linux distro. I've been trying to write all sorts of posts about what I've been up to and they keep locking up. I had a holiday, submitted an assignment, came up with some great music work and story ideas. I've some comments to make on news from the last few weeks and so on.

So my computer's been locking up. Tech support (yeah, that's how everyone thinks of the person in their family who loves to do their installs and upgrades for them) wants to update my software, but I want to blow it away and do LFS so I can have everything just how I want it. Anyway, I've noticed that the problem seemed to happen whenever I moved the computer a lot. Well, I'm a very active, restless girl, so the computer was moving every time I restarted it (hard reset - computer wasn't responding to the keyboard).

Clearly the problem is of a hardware/something's come loose on the inside nature.

Ordinarily it would be a cinch to just open it up and reseat all the components. But for some reason, that's just beyond my ability. First, I'll use the wrong screwdriver (yes, I really can't tell which size is appropriate). That's the biggest risk, actually, but there's also a possibility of crumbs, shorts or ESD (I don't have a bracelet). Basically, it's a job best left to the experts. But my computer works just fine if I don't jolt it around. I theorise that the travel it's done the last month has been a little too much for some component in there. Not sure which.

So yay me for figuring out how to stop my computer from locking up!


Blogger Ben said...

Does anyone ever actually break computers with static? I have never used a wrist strap, and only some of the computers I've worked on were ruined...

Ok that didn't sound right.

12:33 am  
Anonymous Kenny Mann said...

Get a screwdriver that you use for glasses. That should fit for most laptops.

In the south (Texas), we very rarely destroy computers due to ESD, however up north (in a drier environment) it's very likely. Do you get shocked during the winter? The amount of ESD to desstroy a computer is so small, you can't feel it (which makes it difficult to troubleshoot, if you forgot about ESD).

While it's very clear that something is loose and dangly on the inside, it's possible that by opening it up, you completly break it. While many parts can be replaced, some can not. Some of those screws can be *very* hard to get out. I would probably try CPU, memory, and HDD. All of those are fairly easy to replace.

12:40 am  
Blogger Rocket said...

Thanks for the help guys!

I've now discovered that I had some serious issues with my DVD reader/writer. I'm mostly on my new computer now, but the laptop's working really well now that the drive's been replaced. It's possible that the drive was just sort of loose, but I think it was actaully broke.

Putting my new computer together, the fun was in wearing a borrowed bracelet. I screwed the whole thing together almost by my self, and really got a feel for how fragile these things can be (and temperamental: we had to use a different motherboard due to bios problems with linux and a particular component I put in).

At my house we easily build up static just by walking around. It's definitely better to use a mat and a bracelet.

10:32 pm  

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