Computers hate me.

I swear, computers and I do not get along.

I’ve been having some problems with my desktop recently, mainly random lock-ups with no reason for it recorded to my logs. I thought perhaps I simply had filesystem problems and I was taking care of them as they arose. This weekend though, things came to a head.

I borrowed a hard drive from Tim to do backups, slapped it in and booted a Knoppix disk to do to the copying. Things started out okay, but invariably, Knoppix would freeze during the transfer. Long story short, I’m fairly sure the onboard IDE controller is dying.

“No problem.” I think. I have a PCI IDE controller that I use for spare drives. I can throw the 2 devices that were using the onboard IDE (my boot disk and CDROM drive) onto it and things should work just fine. Unfortunately, the Ubuntu installers and Knoppix refused to boot when the CDROM was plugged into the PCI controller.

While mucking around in my BIOS, I found a couple other solutions I could try.

  • Boot from a USB disk.
  • PXE boot an installer over the network.
  • I followed Tim’s instructions on how to make a USB installer for Ubuntu tested it on a known good machine and fired it up. My computer refused to boot from it though. I wasn’t too surprised by that, when I built it, USB flash disks weren’t too prevalent and I was shocked simply to see that it claimed to support it.

    So, we switched over to the network install. I enabled that on the computer and had Tim set up the server side of things (since he network boots one of his machines already) and managed to get the installer to start. It dies shortly into its boot. Half an hour of tweaking boot options later, I simply give up.

    A new motherboard is on its way from Newegg. Sadly, this means tearing apart the computer to install it. I’ve got to do it though… I have no idea how people manage to use a laptop for their primary computer.

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