By March 26, 2012


I wanted to play the latest EP by Soul Khan last week. I tried to queue it up on one of the home theater computers in the house, and Xbox Media Center said it couldn’t find the path to my music folder.


I figured the home file server had automagically patched itself and rebooted, and something got hung up. It happens from time to time, no big deal. I walked downstairs and noticed the room was quiet.

Too quiet.

The file server was off, as well as the six fans inside the server’s case. I pushed the power button and nothing happened.

That’s when I smelled the faint scent of melted plastic, and knew that something was very, very wrong.

I opened the case up and that burnt plastic smell went from “faint scent” to “gagging stench.” I started replacing components to find out what was wrong. First I changed out the power cord, then the power supply (five days for order fulfillment, NewEgg? Really?) and then I started tracking down the various connectors on each of the seven hard drives.

That’s when I found this:

attached to this:

I had a spare drive and started reinstalling Windows. Meanwhile, the RAID card reported that one of my data drives was down, and the array was operating in a compromised state. If another drive died, I’d lose everything.

I installed my spare data drive and expected the RAID array to start rebuilding itself. Nothing — the RAID controller still said that the drive on port 3 was dead. I added a dead port on the RAID card as a casualty.

I installed Windows 7 without a problem and started the time-honored and lengthy process of patching the operating system. I set the system to download 100+ patches and walked upstairs.

The computer started beeping over and over again. Loudly.

I connected via Remote Desktop, canceled the patch install, and rebooted the machine.

I tried to install more patches, with the same result.

I added “motherboard” to the casualty list, but only when the system was under load. I decided to try to back my essential data off onto an external drive, but that triggered the beeping as well.

I’m not sure what to do at this point except replacing the motherboard and then the RAID card. I have considered letting the system squeal while I extract as much data as I can and then junking the whole setup for a NAS box or even a RAID 10-style external drive.

Wish me luck 🙂

Posted in: technology

3 Comments on "Meltdown"

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  1. Agreschn says:

    …you let the magic smoke out.

    You’re boned. 😉

    (Best of luck on getting ‘er up and running again soon. A file server is one of the first things on my ‘To Do’ list once the wife and I get a house and I can justify one to have it serving to XBMC installs all over the place!)

  2. Brice says:

    Our office just purchased a Synology NAS, I’m hoping it’ll live up to it’s reputation. We’ll be using a managed offsite backup service.

    One little virus scare and all of a sudden the boss is willing to spend money….

  3. Ajar says:

    Holy crap. Good luck.