Resurrecting a Dead Computer
I have an older desktop computer, and just lost a couple of days when it refused to boot up. It turns out that there's a tiny battery that desktops and laptops need to boot up. After five years or so, mine gave up the ghost - and my computer couldn't remember how to boot itself up anymore. Who knew?
Warning - geek talk ahead. Turn back now!
We've had some fairly hot weather recently, and my computer started randomly shutting itself off while I was working. I assumed it was the heat getting to it, so I opened the case, put a couple of fans nearby, and kept working.
We left the house briefly, and found the computer had shut itself off while we were gone. It was trying to reboot again - unsuccessfully.
I wondered what the problem might be. Possibilities included the computer's motherboard, its CPU, the graphics card, or the power supply - all pricey bits and pieces. <sigh>
I waded in, expecting the worst. I didn't find any blown capacitors or other indications of heat distress on the motherboard. All the fans within the computer seemed to be spinning, so I pulled the heat sink off the CPU to have a look. Mind you, there's not much to look at there, but I thought I'd clean the dust off the the heat sink and fan blades.
There wasn't that much dust on any of the fans, but I felt like I was doing something productive - even if all I was doing was rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.
I don't have the equipment to load test the power supply, so I just contented myself with making sure its fan was spinning when the computer was turned on. Check.
Reassemble, and cross your fingers
I tried booting the computer - without success. No real surprise there, since all I'd done was a bit of housekeeping within the case.
Suddenly, I had a revelation. There's a tiny battery in the computer called a CMOS battery. That battery's sole purpose is to preserve the computer's settings while it's turned off. Without that battery, the computer has no clue how to awaken. As luck would have it, I had one in my desk drawer, a CR 2032, a little Lithium button battery.
The bottom line? It cost me dearly in time, but could have been much worse financially. If your computer is misbehaving, consider replacing that 50 cent battery, and see if that fix works it's magic for you too!