By December 1, 2008

My computer Crunk gets crunked

I used to run my main computer 24/7 when I worked from home. I was either on it all the time, or would use it for a quick fact-finding mission on Wikipedia or IMDB. I expect computer components to fail; there are some wear items like the hard drive that will eventually conk out on you. My current computer, Crunk, was a Frankenstein of new parts and parts from a machine I built almost three years ago.

Once I started working at a “real job” I started turning my computer off every morning to save power. As they say, “no good deed goes unpunished.”

On Tuesday I installed an upgraded version of Microsoft’s ActiveSync software so that I could backup my Windows Mobile phone contacts to Outlook. The upgrade required a reboot, and when I restarted the machine I was greeted with this nice, informative message at the BIOS screen:

Invalid system disk Replace the disk, and then press any key.

This isn’t the first time a Microsoft upgrade has blown away Windows, so I just dug a spare hard drive out of the closet and proceeded to reinstall my operating system. It is almost standard procedure: reinstall my OS on the secondary drive and migrate my important programs and files to the new drive. Not a big deal. Except when I was through, I got the same error message again.

Invalid system disk Replace the disk, and then press any key.

I’ve seen a lot of fucked up hardware failures and OS corruptions in my computing lifetime, but have yet to encounter this one. I replaced the power supply with a spare, and removed my motherboard RAM except for one good stick. No dice.

I researched the error message on the Web and asked my co-workers for advice. One of my friends suggested I remove the battery on my motherboard, which would reset all of the settings and clear the onboard memory. Sure, why not?

The good news is that it got rid of the invalid system disk message. The bad news is that now I had to slay this gremlin:

Verifying DMI Pool Data

The computer would get to this part in the boot sequence and then hang. More research (thanks, work laptop!) indicated it was a motherboard problem or a boot sector virus. I wasn’t completely disconnected from the Internet due to my work machine and file server, but I had picked up the limited edition of Fallout 3. I was looking forward to spending my Thanksgiving holiday in the irradiated wastes of Washington, DC, and neither my laptop nor file server were up to the task of running it.

I think all the turning on/turning off got to the motherboard. Perhaps there was a voltage spike at startup, or maybe the motherboard was just tired after three years of service. Either way, I didn’t have a spare motherboard in the house, and as such was shit out of luck.

I ordered a new motherboard (with more RAM, it’s cheap again), a copy of Windows Vista Home Premium, and a beefier power supply from NewEgg on Thursday morning, and they shipped my order on Friday. Hopefully I’ll have Crunk up and running again by next Wednesday and will be killing Super Mutants by next weekend. For now, I have to content myself with this guy:

Posted in: technology

2 Comments on "My computer Crunk gets crunked"

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  1. Tommy says:

    Vista? Really?

  2. william travis focker says:

    Hey man, I had an invalid system disk error and read this while troubleshooting. Used a screwdriver to reset my mobo based on what you posted and even though it didn’t work for you it did the trick for me. Thanks for that!