Wednesday, May 06, 2009

The Monster, of course.

I have 3 computers - 2 desktops and 1 notebook. My newest (2 1/2 years old) and most powerful computer is named The Monster. The computer he replaced is called Old Computer. Very original, not.

Early on the morning of March 30th, The Monster booted without issue. I checked some mail, read some press releases. After that I made breakfast for Small Human No. 2 and put him on the school bus. When I came back to The Monster, he was trying to reboot. I ran diagnostics and found that one of his 2 hard drives was failing. It had to be the drive with the OS that was failing, not the drive that I use for storage. Of course. I immediately called HP and sought advice. They ran some diagnostics as well and told me to take him to an authorized service center. If I'd bought the 3 year instead of 2 year protection plan, The Monsters repairs would have been covered by HP. Of course.

I brought The Monster to the Geek Squad. They checked him in. After running diagnostics, they discovered that the CPU was also failing. I did not want to get a Vista PC, I'm waiting for Win7. So I decided in consultation with the Geek Squad to get The Monster a new CPU. You would think that this would be relatively easy. It's not. Of course.

There are 2 versions of The Monster's CPU. I found a site that listed the correct version of the CPU and ordered it with expedited shipping. They sent my the other version of the CPU. Of course. I immediately get an RMA and shipped it back to them. I was told that they would send the correct CPU immediately. I waited a few days and no CPU. I got someone on the phone who tried to argue with me that the incorrect version would work in my machine (it won't). I finally shut down the 'discussion' by pointing out that their website listed the version of the CPU I wanted. That's what I ordered. That's not what they sent to me. Case closed. Refund being processed. I have it in writing. Of course.

I found another site that listed the CPU, but did not list version numbers. I called the toll free number. I dealt with a wonderful person who confirmed the CPU version for me, had me order the CPU while he was on the phone with me, and sent me a follow-up email in addition to the automatically generated order email. The new and correct CPU arrived 2 days later. I brought it to the Geek Squad. and it was installed. Problem solved. No, of course.

After running diagnostics again, the Geek Squad found that the CPU was still not passing tests. It was a new CPU so that meant the motherboard was probably failing. I did not need a new CPU. Of course. (I now have a spare Core 2 Duo CPU if I need it.)

At that point, Geek Squad suggested I send The Monster to the PC graveyard. I asked how much a new motherboard would cost. My very helpful Geek Squad tech went on line, found what I needed, and told me it was $68. Quickly doing the math, I realized that I could not buy a new computer for $68 or for $268 (the cost of the CPU and motherboard). The fees that I had paid to the Geek Squad covered the diagnostics and data recovery and installation of the new hard drive and optical disc, which I'd also paid for. I decided to get the motherboard. Of course.

After the motherboard was installed, The Monster passed all his tests. I had made recovery discs when I first got the computer so system restoration should have not been a problem. It was. Of course. Because so much of the inside of The Monster is new, the recovery discs don't recognize him as the same computer. I could have tried to get HP to give me the OS, but it's XP Media Center so it was easy enough to purchase a copy. It's relatively inexpensive because Vista is the Microsoft OS of the moment. I dropped off the OS last Wednesday. I received a call from the wonderful Geek Squad tech on Saturday telling me that the OS was installed, but he was not finished restoring The Monster. Additional drivers were needed for the WiFi card and some other bits. Of course.

But all's well that ends well. I've finished writing this from The Monster! Of course.

Qwill's Qwestion: Do you have any technological tales of woe? or Should I rename The Monster now that he's essentially a new computer? I was thinking of calling him The Monster 2.0. Any suggestions?


  1. Yay on the Monster being back in action. Monster 2.0 has a nice ring to it.

    hmmm well have to be the computer issues here at work. When the company downsized my boss decided we would just use the old computers until they died. Well we had about 20 of them and I spent more time trying to get my computer to work than actually work. When I finally had gone thru 6 computers in 4 months I finally gave up. I guess my boss got sick of listening to me bitch and decided it was time for a new computer. Yay. Same senario for the fax machine, the copier and the printers. Yeah boss is cheap LOL.

  2. I *love* Monster 2.0, very classy! Go with it. My desktop doesn't have a name but my laptop is named Fiona. (Yes, she's an Apple.)

    I had to have a motherboard replaced the last year I lived at my parents' house. One of the trees got struck by lightning during a summer storm, the one right by the house of course. When we got back into the house after the fire was out almost all the electronics had been turned on by the electrical surge. It was kinda eerie! But once turned off again, both my Mom's computer and mine refused to reboot. Luckily our repairs were quick and painless, unlike yours, but still an experience. Also sans warranty, but the homeowner's insurance covered the repair costs.