A customer recently immigrated to Australia, and had (amongst his possessions) his PC shipped in.
He tried to start his PC, but got some odd clicking sounds. After a few weeks, he calls me, saying that he thinks that one of his hard drives is faulty (he has a 20Gb and an 80Gb, with XP on the 20Gb). He reckons the shipping company must have dropped the PC.
He has also had his CDs (windows XP and office) stolen…
He bought a 320Gb drive, which he would like to setup as the main drive on the PC.
I take it back to the office and take a look.
I try starting it, and the system makes an odd sound, but it isn’t what I would expect from a faulty drive… its more like a many regular short buzzing sounds…
Ok, just to be safe, I image both drives, and the image completes without a problem.
I also take a look at the drives (via another PC), and I can view the contents without any errors.
Looks like the drives are OK.
I look at the PC, and it turns out the bios info got a bit mucked up, so that the bios wouldn’t auto-detect any drives… a few quick changes, and the PC is happily booting from the 20Gb drive.
I start the process of ghosting the 20gb drive onto the 320Gb drive… but ghost just hangs before it gets a chance to start imaging.
I try again, but the result is the same.
I start UBCD4Win, but at some point, the whole PC hangs.
I do a memory test: lots of faulty memory locations… Ah, now I’m getting somewhere.
I reckon 1 of the two 256Mb memory modules must be faulty.
I take out one module, and then the PC refuses to start (no POST, no beeps, nothing). I swap the two modules… but I get the same results (no POST, etc)…
After trying many combinations, the PC finally starts (phew!).
I have both modules plugged in, but the bios only recognises 256Mb. Ok, I pull out one module again, and it boots OK, and it passes my memory test.
I swap the memory modules, and the PC still passes the memory test!!!
I put one module in the second slot (leaving the first empty), and there is no boot (same for the other memory module).
OK, I see whats going on here: the “second” memory slot is faulty.
Looks like this PC is now down to 256Mb.
I finally ghost the drive, boot from the 320Gb drive, update windows to SP2, the usual tuning, anti virus and anti-malware, a few restarts along the way, and after one restart, it gets to the login screen, then the whole PC freezes (needing a hard reset). I try again a few more time, but no success, I try safe mode (with networking), but still the same.
I think about what I had done, and I realise this started when I plugged in the ethernet cable to start doing internet updates.
I unplug the network, and the PC boots correctly.
Plug in the ethernet, and it freezes after a few seconds (not immediately)…
I switch off, pull out the ethernet card from the PCI socket, give the connectors a wipe, then plug it back in… now the PC will start correctly with the ethernet plugged it… at last!
I complete the internet updates, do a defrag, and the PC is ready to go. But now, the owner decides he really wants more memory, as he wants the PC for playing games, but thats another story.