Work Fun

Saw several quite interesting problems at work the last few days. One of the typing/business labs has a bunch of old Dells (L866r and L1000r). I got a support ticket that several machines were down, so I went up to investigate and found 5 that wouldn’t boot.

I grabbed a cart and brought all five back down to the office. Two were easy fixes: one just started working again and one just needed the CMOS cleared. The last three were good puzzles.

The first one would not turn on at all. Obviously the power supply, so I got a new one and put it in. And again it didn’t turn on. Apparently a bad motherboard, so find a spare machine, put in the hard drive, and that one’s ready to go.

The second one turned on but didn’t boot, even to the first loading screen. I was suspecting a bad motherboard here as well. Just before I went looking for a spare, I hit the button to open the CD-ROM and nothing happened. I found that interesting, grabbed the power supply I had just pulled out of the other one and swapped it in, and everything started working fine. Apparently there was power to turn on, but not enough for anything else.

The final one was the most interesting. It would start to boot and then give and invalid boot disk, insert floppy message. Clearly a bad hard drive, so I swapped in another, reimaged it, and brought it back. Plug it in, turn it on, and get the same message. Bring it back down, take the drive out and scan it, reconnect it and it works. Put it back on the mount and it stops working. Reimage it again and the same. I went back and forth multiple times between it not booting in the proper spot and booting perfectly hanging out the side. Bob took a look and agreed that there must be a short, although we couldn’t find anywhere there would be extra contact. He put a piece of paper in front of the drive (the L series mounts vertically along the front of the case) and it worked fine.

And that’s why I really don’t like old hardware.

Much Later Update: It turns out that one of the pins on the power connector was slightly opened, creating a loose connection, so whenever the pc moved slightly the drive lost power.