To think I wasted far too many hours trying to figure out which component on Anne’s PC was dieing when all I needed to fix her PC was a can of compressed air. You may recall my mentioning the semi-death of Anne’s PC a couple of weeks back. It would power on for a short while and then shut off without warning and then refuse to power back on. It seemed like a heat issue at the time, but I couldn’t seem to do anything that would improve the situation. The inside of the case was dusty, but it didn’t seem to be that dusty. Still, after sharing my PC with her for the past few weeks and resolving myself to having to purchase components for a new PC for her over time I was in the local Microcenter this afternoon and I picked up a can of compressed air on a whim just to see if perhaps the dust had reached some sort of critical mass.
Boy had it ever. It wasn’t immediately obvious to the naked eye, but when I pointed that stream of air at the CPU’s heat sink and fan I managed to dislodge one hell of a dust bunny that had somehow managed to wedge itself in there in such a way that it wasn’t directly visible. The fan had seemed to be spinning just fine, but this wad of dirt was just enough to allow the CPU to get too warm for comfort and shut itself down. The proof is in the pudding they say and her PC has been humming along for the past hour and a half without so much as a hiccup, which is a dramatic improvement over the average of 10 minutes it was managing previously. It’s working so well that I should be able to have it back together and on her desk for her sometime tomorrow evening. The compressed air started to go wimpy way too quickly though so the next time we head up to visit my parents I may end up taking Anne’s PC along with us so I can unleash Dad’s air compressor on it.
It’s always the solution that seems the least obvious. I really should start at that end of the problem solving chain and work backwards.