Light Blogging

My desktop computer is FUBAR. I can’t boot it. Getting it fixed is my highest current priority.

[Friday-afternoon update]

It seems to be a hardware problem. I built a clean install of Fedora 30, and the machine froze in the middle of the first software update. I’m running a memory test on it now, but I suspect it’s a motherboard issue. Which of course means CPU and memory replacement as well, unless I can find a used motherboard, because they don’t make AMD FM3 boards any more.

Any recommendations?

[Saturday-morning update]

Sorry, hadn’t realized that site wasn’t taking comments. It should work now.

[Saturday-afternoon update]

OK, it was WP-Spamfree plugin. Try it now.

18 thoughts on “Light Blogging”

    1. I may do that, but I’m going to see how it goes with a clean OS installation first. It came through the memory test with flying colors, including vigorous hammering. So if there’s a problem, it’s definitely motherboard (maybe on-board graphics).

      1. Was if finding a boot sector? Was the hard drive not spinning up, or was it dying while loading the OS?

  1. Thanks for restoring posting, and also, best of luck with the PC.

    One bit of advice; check that any cards, plus things like the CPU socket, are well-seated. I had an issue with that a few years back, and fixed it via unseating, then re-seating, the ZIF socket for the CPU.

    1. What CJ says. Unseat then reseat all socketed devices, connectors, etc on or near the motherboard. (Things not actively and tightly latched can slowly creep apart over time with thermal cycles and vibrations.)

      This may fix the problem, or if it is a fault in the board itself the flexing involved may make it worse. Either way, you’ll at least know where you stand.

      1. Fortunately I don’t have any, other than CPU (other than SATA connectors). It’s on-board graphics from CPU. I know the memory is good, because I spent over twenty hours doing a full test, with no errors. So I guess if it happens again, I’ll try reseating the Athlon. But at the least the one core that ran the memory test didn’t hickup.

  2. I’m glad to see you’re back up and running, Rand.

    In other news, I installed Linux Mint on my old Mac desktop a few days ago. I’m new to Linux, but I’ve been wanting to try it. There are a few issues, like I haven’t gotten e-mail working and I can’t figure out how to change the monitor brightness, but overall I’m pleased.

  3. Make sure it isn’t a power supply failure.

    Try to remove and reinsert into the sockets the memory and the external cards you have. In case you have oxidized contacts. Try to remove external cards you don’t need, etc. In case you have driver issues or something.

    Vacuum your power supply and fans. To sort out any issues with poor cooling because your computer is full of dust and crud inside.

    Try to run a cpuburn test and check the system’s temperature at the same time in case it is indeed a cooling issue. It might be something as simple as a disconnected or malfunctioning fan.

    Check for burned out/burst capacitors or other components.

    In case you decide to buy something I would advise buying an AMD Zen 2 (codename) CPU and compatible mainboard when it comes out. I got a cheap ASRock motherboard recently myself. It is basically ASUS’s cheap motherboard brand. If you are in a rush then I guess you would have to buy an AMD Zen+ (codename) CPU because Zen 2 isn’t out yet. That would be an AMD Ryzen (trademark) CPU basically. Get a CPU which comes with a stock fan bundled.

    Intel SSDs have been quite cheap recently.

    1. How much of a powerhouse do you need, Rand? The Raven Ridge APUs (4C4T and 4C8T 2200G and 2400G) are pretty nice, have better-than-Intel integrated graphics, and if you’ve got a Micro Center nearby, are pretty cheap. Plus, getting a decent overclock out of them on a supported motherboard is as easy as going into the BIOS and manually setting the CPU multiplier.

      1. I don’t generally need a powerhouse at all (I don’t game with it, or do much in the way of graphics). But I do need a lot of memory, because I horde tabs. My current machine, a quadcore Athlon at 3 GHz, and 32G of RAM is fine, as long as it works.

        1. That’s why I suggested Raven Ridge–if you need new hardware. If you have a Micro Center nearby you can get the 4C8T APU for about $40 less than list, and if you buy a motherboard with it, you can get something like a $30 or $50 combo discount, and there are quite a few 4-DIMM motherboards.

  4. Anyone here have any experience with the Microsoft Surface Pro?

    Those puppies are glued shut. They can get into a state where they are completely black-screen bricked. After you have exhausted all of the spells taught by the Hogwarts Masters on holding various combinations of buttons down for different lengths of time, plugging in to replacement power brick, putting it in the freezer or temperature cycling it in the kitchen oven, the only way to get into them is to melt the glue with a heat gun. You then have to pry the sides apart with Spiderman suction cup grippers or very carefully use embroidery needles to split them apart without fracturing the glass. This is whether you need to replace the battery or simply need to wiggle the cables to try and get it to run.

    Any suggestions on a Surface Pro “clone” that has screws instead of glue holding together that it could be repaired, or its battery replaced down the line? I like the idea that the keyboard can be removed, the unit propped up on your desk on its kickstand and plugged into a regular keyboard and mouse through its USB, plugged into a second monitor through its DisplayPort. It is just that I am looking for a non-throw-away version of this.

      1. It’s apparently hard to make them that small without glue and soldering the components down.

  5. To all of the above add; the heatsink compound between the CPU and the north and southbridge chips will dry out after a few years. The resulting crashes can be maddening to track down. This won’t always show up in the CPU temp. I’m not a big believer in the very expensive compounds, I’ve always had good luck with good zinc oxide, even on high power processors in servers.

    1. I’ve had some maddening CPU over-temp shutdowns on a Toshiba laptop. However, I don’t think it died on him while he was running full bore for a while (I may be mistaken). From the description, one morning it just wouldn’t boot, and died while loading the kernel. The CPU shouldn’t have been hot yet.

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