Sunday, March 13, 2011

My stuffing around with the computer week 4 (11)

Hi all,

Last week was consumed by computer problems. I finally got to the stage where I rang up a computer repair guy, but he couldn’t visit until this Thursday. I want someone to visit rather than lose the computer to a computer repair shop for months.. The fact that the computer will work for days or months without a problem has made me reluctant to send it for repair too. Sometimes I wish the thing would just go bang.

I have found the onscreen manual that came with the computer totally useless as I search for some definitive test that tells me what the problem is. Every test I have put the computer through has said it is fine.

An online search said the computer might be overheating due to dirt and faulty fans. I pulled the cover off and blew some dust around. I then turned it on, and it worked perfectly for two days.

But on Saturday morning I turned it on and it started beeping at me. By then I had finally located a list of what the beeps meant. The beeps indicated there was a problem with the ram. While I counted the beeps, the computer did something different: it went to a blue screen that gave me the option of running a series of hardware tests. I told it to run the tests, but again they said the computer’s hardware was perfectly okay. The test did repair a fault in the startup process. So maybe that was all it was. I would be a fool to hope so.

Saturday was also a very humid morning, so I thought the computer might have overheated. I pulled the cover off the computer and while coverless turned it back on. The only two fans I could see were spinning. I could feel air coming out of two other vents were I assume there were hidden fans.

The fact that my computer can work for days, sometimes months without playing up indicates that some change must occur (unless the computer has a random problem chip that turns on just after the warranty period ends). The temperature is one thing that is always fluctuating in Wangaratta. The computer problems started in November when Wangaratta started experiencing a lot of humidity. We have had an unusually humid summer.

Sometimes I leave the door of my writing room open, sometimes I have a fan on, sometimes the airconditioner on. It is generally more humid in the afternoon. Unfortunately, until now, I haven’t been taking note of the weather conditions when the computer plays up. Perhaps overheating is the problem.

A detailed list of instructions on how to clean the computer on the HP site said to use canned air. I could find none in all of Wangaratta. I ordered some at Dicksmiths. When it arrives I will give the computer a proper clean.

But I can see why people give up on a computer and just buy a new one.

I was thinking of buying a laptop to use while my desktop is getting fixed. I then would also have some portable computing. But what if the desktop can’t be fixed? I don’t think laptops are great for writers to use all the time. The smaller screens can cause eyestrain and the compressed keypad can cause wrist problems. I read in the Age that younger users are reporting all sorts of back problems from using laptops. So if I get a replacement computer, it won’t be a laptop and it definitely won’t be a Compaq or any other form of Hewlett Packard computer.

So I did no writing last week, just stuffed around with the computer.



graywave said...

Graham, I know what you mean. I had six weeks of stuffing around - with my brand new computer (hard disc failure) and with my ISP (Telstra, a complete bunch of morons who couldn't fix their gaze, never mind a network.)

And then, when it was all working again, I downloaded the Windows 7 SP 1 update, and I was back at The Blue Screen of Death. This took me another three days to fix.

The joke is that computers are called "productivity tools".

Satima Flavell said...

(groan)I know that story well. In my case, the computer carries on like a two-bob watch when it's at home, but when I take it to show to one of my techie sons it behaves perfectly. Then when I get it home it laughs at me:-(

Graham Clements said...

Graham, I know a person whose new computer spent more of its first year in the repair shop than at their home.

Satima, I was also worried that as soon as I took the computer to a techie or had one visit, the computer would work, as it does from time to time for extended periods.

I've run the computer for about a week with the cover off and it's gone perfectly, but whether it was overheating, who knows.

The canned air arrived today and I cleaned away some dust from the insides of the computer. I have just tempted fate by putting the cover back on the computer.

I am just about to order some extra ram too. It can't hurt and hopefully it will speed the computer up.

I will persist with the computer, for the moment anyway.