To be fair, I knew it was coming. Starting as early as last weekend, my computer started acting funny. I was playing Pirates, as I am known to do lately, and my computer crashed completely. I installed a new video driver and solved some of the lock ups, but the crashes continued. And not just the game, the whole system. A blue screen would flash and then before I could read anything on it, the computer reset. It started to happen more and more frequently, sometimes just in Windows. Once I rebooted and it scanned my harddrive. I decided that my hard drive was probably about to go, so I went out to Future Shop on Friday night and bought a new one (160 GB) plus a DVD burner, 100 blank DVDs (cheaper than 50), and 10 blank CDs for under $300. Before that, I had copied all important can't-lose data so that it was on both hard drives that were already in my system (since I didn't know which drive was about to crash).
Then I was out at Athena with John 'til oneish, then we watched a Futurama and I showed him Pirates, but we couldn't get anywhere without the computer crashing. Saturday morning I woke up at 9 and started working on my computer. I wanted to get XP installed on my new hard drive and then attach the other drives one by one and get the data off them. Nope. Turns out Windows XP (without SP 2) can't deal with a drive bigger than 137 GB. NOW they tell me. Western Digital has a utility that claims to do the job, but on the contrary, it didn't at all. I spent the better part of the day struggling to partition a 40 GB system disk and then after some registry tweaks, the other 120 GB. Nope. Worse yet, I try booting my system as it was before just to partition my drive (since I've got SP2 downloaded from Microsoft). It's no longer booting. Agh! Finally, Dan called me to come out, so I went by Beiley's and sat with him, Amanda, Trinity, Alex, and a girl that I always think is Erin (which is weird 'cause they're nothing alike and moreover, Erin was sitting in a table beside us). Seems like Beiley's is doing pretty well, which is cool, it's a decent place to hang out for someone as old as I am. :)
I got home Sat night and remembered that Mariah's new computer probably had XP with SP2 on the original CD since it was so new, so I used that disc and got XP running finally. My computer's finally operational again, though programs still need to be reinstalled. I'm kinda' waiting out a full reinstall until I have a stable and working system, as I've seen some crashes with the new hard drive as well, though not as frequent. This led me to believe that it probably wasn't the hard drive that caused the problem last time - instead, it was something else crashing while writing the drive that caused the drive problems. The next and more obvious step, then, was to look at RAM. Towards the end of last year (i.e. a few months ago) I picked up another 512 MB stick of RAM. I downloaded a utility called memtest86 to check out my RAM on Wednesday, and sure enough there were errors. Quite a few of them.
Thursday, John was over, but seeing as I knew my RAM had errors (just not which stick) I took out my new stick and we used the computer all day without a crash of any sort. I scanned the old stick alone over night and didn't turn up a single error.Then, before leaving for work Friday morning, I put the old disc in to scan. Within 10 seconds of starting it had found errors again. Now I have to attempt to return/exchange my RAM at FutureShop. Gah! Not to mention my DVD Burner, though I'm going to try that a little more with the good RAM to make sure that it wasn't somehow the culprit as well. I have a friend that works there, hopefully he can help me though I shouldn't need it since I bought both of them within the year (and the DVD last weekend). But I've heard plenty of horror stories. I'll let you know.
DISCLAIMER: The preceeding blog contained moments of extreme tedium and should not have been read by young children.
[Listening to: The Neins - Sunday Anthems]