Client rang with a problem: she runs win98 & is getting a lot of drwatson errors (system file not found).
Now I know this client, & she tends to experiment with her computer & it is very likely that she unintentionally deleted or moved some system files. So I quote her to re-install win98 (plus I throw in some free games, defrag the hard drive, & clean out a few years worth of dust).
Now, the CPU fan & video card fan are spinning slowly & there is very little airflow due to the dust.
At some point during the cleaning, the computer refuses to boot… no bios messages, monitor doesn’t get out of power saving mode, & the HDD light is permanently on. Now I’m pretty sure I didn’t damage anything, so I start unplugging components (HDD, cdrom, sound card, etc.) eventually, it looks like it might be the video card. I try a few spare cards, & they seem to work. I then try the original card, & it also works… how strange!
I complete the reinstall without any further problems, & then I go to install some freeware games (from a CD), and during the copy process, the computer locks up… hit the reset button, and the PC refuses to boot again (just like before). I get out my spare video cards again, & none of them work…
At this stage, I decide to pop the CD out & try another card: it works!
Its the CDROM drive! The PC won’t boot if there is a CD in the drive (and after win98 starts, the pc will still lockup (occasionally). With no CD in the drive, everything works fine.
I tell the customer that the CDROM (liteon 52X max drive) might only last a few more months (maybe 1 month, maybe 12 months).
Another mystery solved.
CDROMs do some very strange things when they fail!