Warning: this post is full of obscure geekiness.
I’ve been opening and dissecting computers since about 1985. In 2000 I thought it wise to make a career working with these accursed machines. At first, I was building, modding and repairing the machines at a mechanical level in a warehouse. Then, I moved on to network deployment and consulting. From there, applications, and now I’m a pure software/business consultant.
But, as they say – never forget your roots!
I recall, as a kid, tearing computers apart and building better machines from all the various parts – Frankenstein’s monster style. We even connected a typical wall light switch to the back of our computers to turn the internal speaker on/off (yes, there was a time where we couldn’t disable/soften the grating beeps).
But all of that was decades ago.
Today, I needed to rebuild a machine for a friend. Here’s how it ended:
That’s a Dell machine with its maw open wide and a CD-ROM drive just hanging out there. I wasn’t able to boot to the CD ROM (BIOS wouldn’t recognize it) and found the IDE cable detached. Easy fix – remove the other HDD taking the IDE #2 spot and plug in the damn drive! Still no dice. So, I checked the jumper and switched it from “cable select” to “master.” The BIOS still wouldn’t find the drive. I swapped the IDE cable with another. No heartbeat.
In the end, I attached the CD ROM drive to the “slave” position for the HDD IDE cable, changed all jumpers, and tried it again.
WE HAVE A HEARTBEAT!
Resolution: bad IDE port on the mother board.
So, now Windows is installing (slowly because of the shared, reduced speed on the line). In another 10 years, I predict such a feat will be impossible for me. But, for now, I still know my way around the inside of an old computer… for what that’s worth.