Thursday, December 15, 2011

No Video Fan Here

For the last few days, my computer has been making noises like someone was trying to puree nuts and bolts in a food processor. Of course, things like this happen when I am doing something crucial like finishing grades for the semester, creating courses for a new semester, or very importantly, hunting down my favorite television shows.

As I was working away, Ron reached over me to grab the calendar above my desk and as he walked away, the screen went blank after showing "No Signal" as a fast splashing teaser of what was to come. After making sure the computer was still on, I had to manually shut it off and start it up again. All was fine for a whole 10 minutes before darkness prevailed once again. Repeating "let there be light or a screen" had not produced any results. It was time to use some critical thinking. 

Fortunately for me, I had offered this course this semester, so the skills were still fresh in my mind. I had done a disk diagnostic just the day before; I knew the disk was in a healthy state. Rule that out. Unplug everything and remove the side panel. This is where I get squeamish. I can play around with software for days on end, but expose a piece of hardware in front of me and I become a pansy for sure. Buck up and be a man! I cleaned the innards, though not nearly as dusty as I would have thought. The back of the computer is a breeding farm for dust bunnies and everyone knows how any type of bunny can multiply. 

I unplugged the fan, turned the computer on only to hear GRRRRAHHH, GRRRRAHHH, just as before. Okay, not the fan. Shouldn't be the hard drive unless the diagnostic is a lying... Choice 3, it had to be the video card. Where is the video card? Why would it make noise? Google helped narrow it down to conclude my conclusion, but no one mentioned why? Time to call in the experts, but most of them wanted me to drag the computer to them. I have 4 drives in this thing, making it too heavy to move without a professional company at the helm. No, I needed someone to come here. 

By chance, the computer store around the corner recommended a company. The young man speaks enough English to be of service. He arrived at 8pm as he said he could and would if I so wanted. I so wanted very badly. 

Within minutes he diagnosed the problem. On top of this box is another smaller fan. The fan stopped working because there are ball bearings inside it and they are now stuck or corroded. The heat is turning off the monitor. He took it with him and was to replace it the next day, which would have been Tuesday. 

By the end of the day Tuesday, he still had not been able to fix it. He couldn't unscrew one of the screws to get the fan off. Another words, he didn't have a screw loose. He called a friend for a special tool, but that didn't work either. Finally, he had to get some specialized liquid to loosen the screw, which he did and was successful in replacing the fan. This morning at 8 am, he was here getting my machine back in order all for less cost than I would have ever anticipated. He is on my list of angels. While he was here with Ron, I was getting my vacation haircut, teaching my sole private student, and picking up the last things for vacation.

Hence, I have not been able to get much done without using other computers here and there and then making sure I had the latest of everything in Dropbox, so I could keep working as I kept moving around.
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