Unusual Number of Problems

The last six months or so have been more eventful with regard to computers than the previous couple of years – or any similar time span in the past I can remember, for that matter.

(Just as general background for context, in the past ten years or so I’ve generally had two computers active in the household – a desktop and a laptop.)

Earlier this year the problems started with a motherboard fan problem on the desktop. On boot up, it kept showing an error message reporting a malfunctioning motherboard fan. Not ever having encountered this problem before, I was not sure what to do about it, so I went online to see what that error might mean and possible solutions. There were several options for solutions, but because of the age of the computer I jumped to a conclusion (listed as one of the solutions) and suspected the fan had burned out and needed to be replaced, so called the local computer repair shop I have come to trust (and rely on) and they said to bring it in. Later that same day I checked in with them to see if the fan had been replaced and, to my embarrassment, they said the only problem was dust had accumulated on the fan. It was working fine after they simply cleaned out all the dust inside the computer box. Had I just opened up the box and cleaned out the dust I would easily have solved the problem myself, but I didn’t even think to do that first (even though it was one of the solutions suggested online!). The good news in this case – the shop has a policy of not charging anything for cleaning out computers, so it cost me nothing but my time and some inconvenience of not having the primary computer available for a day or two.

Lesson learned: failure to do the obvious can cost time and anxiety, if not money.

Unrelated lesson learned: While talking with shop guys about the fan issues, I also complained that I was not able to get my relatively new LCD monitor to work with a MIDI connection, it only worked with the standard connection. They said that it should work because there was nothing incompatible. Later when reconnecting the computer to get it up and running again at home, I discovered I had been plugging the MIDI monitor connector to the sound card instead of the video card! I had previously not noticed there were two MIDI slots on the back of the computer. Anyway, the monitor now works fine with the best resolution via MIDI connection. Once again lesson learned was haste means missing obvious things.

In the next few posts, I intend to talk about the other recent problems I alluded to above.


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