This post was published long before the Mists of Pandara Expansion.
The tips and techniques explained here may be outdated.

Welcome to Computer Hell

Computer HellIt started so innocently. Fiancee complained that almost everytime he kills something in the game he gets 2-10 seconds of lag. I’d seen it on his computer but didn’t know what it was causing it. Then he tanked Black Morass and 2-10 seconds of lag lead to a couple of anxious moments waiting for him to unlag so he could pick up the boss on that portal. He poked at the problem but didn’t find the solution. Finally I asked him how much disk space he had free. Not alot as it turns out. So we decided to get him an additional hard drive for storage.

Cue ominous music.

10:30 AM: Quick run to Best Buy shows that they have 500gig drives for $122. But -that- Best Buy only had one drive in stock.. and we decided we both deserved more storage space so we needed two. Helpful clerk confirmed they had four of the same drive at another store ~15 mins away. We decide it’s worth it and drive to the other store. Quick as can be we have two drives and waltz out the door happy to get on with our day. In fact we even stopped and had lunch on the way home.

1:00 PM: Get home. Open box. Box contains SATA device. It uses little blue cord. Fiancee says “Oh, No, we need the big grey cord”. (note, at this point we haven’t even opened our computers)(yes, I’m kicking myself about that now). So we package up the hard drives and go back to Best Buy #2 (25 mins away from our house) and exchange the SATA drives for to IEDI drives. Quick as can be. Back out to the car and back home (another 25 mins).

3:00 PM: Get home. Pop the cases off our computers, blow out the dust and start looking at our options. Almost immediately it becomes apparent that we don’t have enough plug-ins on the grey cords to accommodate these new drives. We hem and haw for a while.. then I notice that my computer has SATA connections. A quick look at fiancee’s computer confirms that he also has SATA connections. /facepalm Package up hard drives and go back to Best Buy #2 (25 mins away) and exchange IEDI drives for the SATA drives from before (they spent 20 mins trying to find the cart on the floor that was restocking them). Not very quick. Becoming a bit disgusted. Back out to car and back home (another 25 mins).

5:30 PM: Get home. Begin plugging in drive. Fiancee plugs his in. Runs setup to slave the new drive.. and is up an running in ~10 mins. I spend a few mins looking at plugs and determine I don’t have an SATA power cord and the drive didn’t come with one. Drive to Best Buy #1. They search the floor and can’t find a power adapter kit. Eventually a Geek Squad guy takes pity on me and grabs an adapter from the back room and gives it to me. Yeah for free adapter.

6:00 PM: Get home. Fiancee is back to playing the game. He’s still seeing the lag problem he had when he started.

6:15-12:00: Fiddle with computer. Become more and more frustrated. Eventually remove new hard drive and find that problems persist. Decide that old hard drive has gotten damaged and start a full format of new hard drive in order to install windows on new hard drive.

1:00 AM: Format is at 16%. Go to bed.

5:40 AM: Fiddle with computer. Windows is installed on new drive but boot sector wasn’t installed on new hard drive. Fiddle with it until I can get it to boot off that drive. Find that problems are still occuring.

Symptoms of problem: Boot computer. Intermittently, accessing files or drives cause applications to sieze up. Apps won’t shut-down. Requires hard-boot. (no BSOD). If I startup windows and then immediately shut down it gets stuck on Windows shutting down screen and never actually finishes shutting down.

At this point I’ve eliminated Windows, old drive, and new drive as the culprits. Potential culprits: memory, CPU, power supply.

7:30 AM: Goto work. Fiancee says he’ll take computer in to get it diagnosed.

11:00 AM: Fiancee takes computer to Geek Squad and gets $325 estimate to fix it. I won’t have it back for ~2 days. So far as I know they’re planning to upgrade the power supply and will guarantee the problem is fixed for 90 days.

12:30 PM: Fiancee calls to confirm that he has bribed Geek Squad guys with Krispy Cream doughnuts so we -might- get it back before tonight. We’ll see.

Oh.. and Fiancee’s original problem: Lag occurs when mobs die… that was caused by having an old version of Recount. Updating that fixed his problem at about 9PM last night. *sigh*

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5 comments to Welcome to Computer Hell

  • /Facepalm, Ouchhhhh!

    Will remember that if I ever get lag to check or disable all my addons.

    I play on a G5 Mac so not many problems. Thats an expensive $$ diagnosis and a day full of headaches.

    Ohh and thanks for the help, it helped :)

  • slayerboy

    DOH!

    PLEASE do me a favor and never go to Geek Squad again. They might have fixed your problem, but that is some sticker shock right there. I could have built you a whole new system for that much, if not a few dollars more. Take your system to a local computer store. They might take longer, but I trust the local guys a little better than Geek Squad.

    Better yet, get to be friends with a computer guy who will help you out. I’m the computer guy for all my relatives and friends. Please, no more geek squad. :)

  • Nibuca

    If anyone is relatively close to San Francisco and wants to volunteer to be hardware fixit computer friend.. I’ll bake cookies, invite you to the guild.. and say nothing but good things about you. :)

    Email me.. we’ll talk ;)

  • Keeping the addons up to date: http://wuu.vagabonds.info/

    I started using it a while back and it keeps getting better every day. Run this bad boy on a regular basis and never worry about stale addons again.

  • gt

    I am a mac nut and the isolation was nice. Then macs got cheap and my friends all began to pick up macbooks and what… I get so many random emails and calls… argh.

    That HDD issue sounds like misery. I been there trying to fix my friend’s lemon of a dell. Now whenever anyone asks about installing new drives I am like “Check if it is SATA or I will hurt you.” Not to playing with the little plastic pin links… “Is it cable select? Check.”