Crisis Averted, Nothing to See Here

DW called while I was at work and said superhomecomputer was locked up.  This happens from time to time.  When I am there, I can Look Busy working on it, and it always comes up working again . . . over the phone it’s about as much fun as having my nose hairs plucked out.  After a few rounds of back-and-forth I got clarification that it was hanging at boot, showing onscreen the motherboard logo at POST and doing exactly nothing else.  I had her look (no touching!) inside and there was a code which displays when the computer is loading up the hard drives.

oh. kay.  I gave her extremely specific instructions not to do anything to the computer.  Use a laptop instead.  That reminded her there are other computers to use, and she bopped over to one of those to do whatever it was she wanted to do.

So.  superhomecomputer hard down, a week after installing fresh (fully tested) hard drives, with a code related to the hard drives.  Great.  When I got home, I pulled the backup hard drive* as a hopeful least-worst case failure.  No boot.  Pull the main drive, hoping it was just a single boot drive failure.  No boot.  This leaves me with the motherboard or something plugged into the motherboard having gone Tango Uniform.  That would be my year-old out-of-warranty $500 motherboard.  Great.  Well, what’s plugged into the motherboard then?  Video card, optical drive, printer . . . and uh . . .  the USB memory card reader that went in last week also.  Unplug that, and thankyouJesus it boots!

A few hundred pictures and a weeks worth of financial books-balancing were all that was on the line, because fortunately I had done a bare-metal restore from a fresh image a week ago, when I upgraded the drives.  If I didn’t have a recent backup it would all have been lost, right up to the date of my last backup.

Back up your data, people.  And verify the backups!

********

*you do have a backup hard drive in your computer and at least one out of the computer, right?  Set automatic local backups, and do periodic full backups to an external drive, in case you lose one or both internal hard drives at once.  It happens.  In this case, I had an image made by Macrium Reflect, chosen in no small part because you can verify the files were properly written when the image was made.  This is better than restoring from your image, to discover at the worst possible time that your wedding photos are corrupted and your quickbooks file is just zeros.

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