When computers act up

A not unfamiliar sight in the Chaos Node, now come to Riverview.

This evening, I logged on City of Heroes for a few missions. I can generally do four hero tip missions a day without running out of them, but I don’t always do that many. As you may guess by now, I have other interests as well. ^_^

As soon as the game had loaded, however, the screen became a static of colors. This happens from time to time, not every day but around once a week, I guess. Usually I have to turn the power off, as it locks up completely.  I am pretty sure it is a problem with the video card, judging from the symptoms, and from the fact that this part of the computer got much, much warmer than the rest.  It cannot possibly be a good idea to have a video card that gets hotter than boiling water!

Well, I don’t have a video card that gets that hot anymore. This time I managed to shut down in a dignified manner, but I did not get the machine to boot again. There was nothing to see on the screen.  I checked the cables but the screen remained black after several restarts.

So I unplugged the XP computer, still my main machine, to replace the video card with an older one I had lying around.  (Actually it was in a machine where the power supply was broken, but that is not yet beyond any hope of repair.)

When I pulled the power plug, my Sims computer (standing beside the main computer) suddenly also went black. I had forgotten that the power pad had my XP machine designated as “master” machine, so that it would cut the power to everything else when I unplugged it. This could probably have been useful if done wisely, but instead this happened.

After I changed the video card, I got the XP computer up and running again. Since it was a different make of video card (ATI vs ASUS), I had to download new drivers. Luckily the Omegadrivers web site is still operative, even though no one has heard from the owner since last May, it seems. His drivers were awesome, to the point where he pretty much claimed divine inspiration and it was not impossible to believe him.  So after a while, I as up and running again.

That’s when I discovered that I could not boot the Vista machine, the one I use for playing The Sims while doing other things on the XP machine. Its screen went black and stayed that way.

Luckily I already had installed a small Ubuntu Linux area on that machine. I was able to boot into this one.  On starting, it said something about “unclean Windows partition” or some such, and added: “Fixing.” And so it did. When I later exited Ubuntu and started Vista again, it worked. It did badger me to go back to a save point, but apart from installing a bunch of security updates, there seemed to be no loss.

It is my opinion that one should always have some Linux around just in case one’s Windows partitions go bad. ^_^