After my last post, I ran across some other info that said that the power supply might be to blame, and I began seeing other evidence to support that theory. Shortly thereafter the computer just refused to boot, so I had to do something. With the exception of the first item below, most of my attempted somethings were done this past Saturday...
- Bought a beefier power supply. Still nothing.
- Bought a new motherboard. Got it home and found that it didn't have enough slots to take all my existing RAM sticks.
- Exchanged the motherboard for a newer one that required a new CPU (picked a nice energy-efficient dual-core). Got home and found that the location of all the externals (keyboard and audio hookups, plus the location of the PCI slots) wouldn't work with my case.
- Trekked to Best Buy for a new case. I was tired of messing with hardware, so I paid them to move all the guts from the old box to the new one while we went and had a nice Valentine's Day family dinner.
- Came back a few hours later to find that my old RAM wouldn't work with the new motherboard, and that the board only had one IDE connector, so the DVD drive had no place to connect. Bought new RAM and a new SATA DVD drive, and had the Geek Squad install both. Brought everything home.
- Nothing booted. Found that the hard drives were connected in the wrong order. Had to swap their positions in the case because of the awkwardness of the IDE cable.
- Found that the DVD drive wasn't being recognized because it was connected to the wrong SATA connector on the motherboard.
- Booted into BIOS, set everything up, then started to boot into Windows. Had to re-authorize Windows, which ended up taking several phone calls to MS. Thankfully I brought the old machine home, or I would not have had access to the product key label that was conveniently stuck to the back of the case.
In the end, all this hardware futzing cost about the same as (or more likely more than) a new MAChine (*ahem*), and in the end I wound up with essentially a new machine, so I guess it kinda served its purpose. Our key concern was getting access to all the data on my hard drives again (especially financial data). It also got us thinking about where we want some of said data to reside for better long-term, computer-independent access.
So there we go! Done!