Unfortunately, I’m not talking about the weather here. I wish I was! The ski slopes – from the Pyranese to the Alps – are as dry as a bone and are currently pushing their hiking tours instead of the ski packages I’m usually looking into around this time of year. No, I’m talking about my computer.
All last week, my little lovely had been acting up: random system crashes that left the screen frozen and forced a hard shutdown or restart. This would happen anywhere from once a day to six times a day! I think she knows that I’ve been entertaining the thought of buying an entire new computer rig for the holidays and is protesting. The thing is, I don’t need one. I just kinda want one. At least I thought I didn’t need one!
I like to think that I’m pretty handy with this whole computer thing. I enjoy opening up the innards and messing around under the hood. I think that may be one of the reasons that I want to buy a new computer: I like picking out the pieces and putting it all together myself a la Frankenstein. And if problems ever pop up (as they inevitably do), I can usually diagnose and fix them without breaking a sweat. Well, system crashes are one of the hardest computer problems to diagnose. Just do a Google search for “computer crash” and you’ll see that they can be caused by anything from software conflicts and viruses to overheating and failing memory chips. Last year, after suffering very similar freezes, I discovered that the onboard fan on my graphics card had stopped spinning and, as a result, the card was slowly melting. A new (and significantly upgraded) graphics card solved all my problems. This time, after a week of putting up with a moody computer and hoping the problem would simply go away on its own, I decided to take action. But where to start?
The good new is that I nailed it on my first guess. I performed a thorough scan on my hard drive and found a few bad sectors on my Windows partition. The bad sectors we reallocated to the end of the volume and everything appeared to be running smoothly again. The bad news is that I have bad sectors on my Windows partition. In other words, my hard drive is slowly dying.
After a few days of enjoying uninterrupted computing, she froze again today. I performed another scan and, sure enough, there were more bad sectors. I have renamed my hard drive The Titanic. My job now is to man all the life boats by backing up all my important files and find another seaworthy vessel. This could easily be in the form of another hard drive inserted into my current tower, but if I’m gonna start buying hardware – I know myself – it’s gonna be hard to stop. So, using Chanukah, Christmas, and Reyes as a worthy excuse, it looks like I’ll be ringing in the New Year with a new computer! Now I have to start researching hardware and prices…