I remembered why I hate building PCs....

So while you are all sitting around waiting for the next installment of 'ZMans super computer tales' I have been cursing and kicking stuff.

The new computer was up and working Monday evening, I started to install stuff and copy things over to it when suddenly there was no internet access. Now I know had internet access on Monday because I downloaded 2 gazillabytes of updates from Microsoft. But now nothing. Vista just says I had 'local only' access (which was a lie because it couldn't see any other computer in the house) to a 'public' network. So what had I done? I had added a DVD drive... so I unplugged that and no change. I fiddled with stuff based on apocryphal comments from 12 year old 'experts' in forums I had never heard of. I turned of IPv6 (even though it worked yesterday and it works on my current computer). I reset every router in the house. I powered them off for minutes (and later hours) at a time. I checked the router settings. I reinstalled Vista - TWICE. I reset the BIOS back to defaults. I switched cables between computers and then I ran out of ideas so I went to the pub and got drunk.

That didn't help either so this morning I tried most of the above again (I'm a developer I sometimes think 'try it again' will work). This morning I thought to look at the lights on all the boxes - they all appear to be flashing normally. I was beginning to think that my minor attempts at overclocking (now given up in disgust) had somehow managed to blow up BOTH ethernet ports and nothing else. I think this would be a first in overclocking history.

The ZMan is by now close to tears because I know the next thing is to phone Vista support and I know they will spend 2 days walking me through all the things I've already done and I know I will have to lie to them about my network setup because when they hear about the home network and VPN boxes I have here they will blame those and I will have to shout at some poor guy in India when its not his fault. Even if they didn't I suspect they would come to the same conclusion as me - that the ethernet ports are broken. This means an RMA to the no name people I bought it from to save $3.45 and another lie 'no I didn't try to overclock it honest'. At least when you buy a Dell and it doesn't work you can send the whole thing back. You don't have to argue about which bit might be broken.

But before I did I decided to try the one thing I knew had changed - the DVD drive. I disconnected it again and this time I noticed that there was a blue LED on the motherboard that stayed on... yeah of course even though the computer is 'off' there is still power to the motherboard. What the hell I decide and power down the power supply.....

Turned it all back on and magically I am now on the internet again... I have no stinkin' clue what was up. I guess some electrickery got stuck in one of the thing-a-me-bobs on the doohicky and I needed to totally remove power from the motherboard before it would fix itself.

Which returns me to the meat of the post. When I decided to build the PC I had resigned myself to a day or so of fiddling and installing. I didn't take into account multiple OS installs and almost 2 additional wasted days doing essentially nothing but learning to turn off the power supply. Lets take 3 x 8 hour days at $50 an hour and realise that I have flushed $1200 down the toilet just to get frustrated. The reason I built my own was that the Dells with DX10 cards and quad cores are gamer rigs which cost close to $3000 so suddenly my $1000 savings doesn't seem such a bargain and Iost time I can't afford to lose right now. When will someone build a time machine eh?

So now at 9:30am on Thursday I am right back when I was at midnight on Monday except I have a DVD drive installed....



Published 09 August 2007 09:11 AM by zman
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