It all started last November.

Shortly after that adventure, I started having problems with Haruhi again. Occasionally, she would have trouble making the leap from BIOS to OS. Sometimes the initial boot would go fine, and when it got to the point where the initial Windows 2000 start screen should come up (the text mode one right before the initial graphic screen) nothing would happen, and I’d have a blank screen—that the monitor still reported had a signal coming through.

This initially happened during my visit at my folk’s place. It eventually settled down, and stopped doing it… for a while. By mid-December, it had gotten fairly common, only to stop again during my two weeks off at the end of December, which I figured was probably lulling me into a false sense of complacency, but I let it go. As it turned out, I was right.

The general diagnosis was that either the boot sector of my main hard drive was damaged, or the drive controller on the motherboard was having trouble. …I wasn’t especially eager to consider replacing a motherboard.

Last Monday, Micca acted up. He’d been slowly accumulating a couple of boot-quirks, but was working fine. Then he suddenly started throwing multiple error messages on boot. Clearing those was possible, but they’d come back after a minute or two. After some fiddling around, I found that IE was not in good shape, and fixing that stopped the error messages. …And let some adware that’d gotten in somehow start IE every minute or two…. >.< Either the system was broken in other ways, or the adware was particularly bad, since I had trouble downloading anything to remove it. In the end, I did a wipe and reinstall of Windows (which is why we keep our data somewhere other than drive C…).

Meanwhile, Smudge was on my computer, and WoW died. Bad. When I finally got to the point where I could look at it, it seemed a fairly simple fix, and I got Haruhi back in shape. Wednesday, I tried to use Excel and the wheels came off the wagon. The system struggled valiantly on, but it was obvious that something bad had happened. The biggest shock was when I looked at the file system and found most (but not all) of the contents of my F: drive residing on D:…. I’d gone a bit overboard when setting up Haruhi for projects that never happened, but this was really, really bad, and indicated that both physical hard drives were corrupted.

The next few days were spent moving as much as I could onto the house NAS for later recovery. As you might imagine, a fair number of corrupted files showed up, though generally not in the most critical places.

As of Friday, I was building a new temporary replacement machine: Goriki. This was based off of the parts from the machine that Drew donated that hadn’t been used in Haruhi. Assembly and install went pretty well, and I was at least partially back in business that night. Sunday, I swapped the RAM and processor over from Haruhi, making it almost as good as she was. Sadly, there’s no SATA on that motherboard, so I’m stuck with a CD drive.

While all this was going on, there were rumblings from a friend of bringing over some leftover computer parts from the last time he was trying to diagnose and fix a problem. With Haruhi having just gone down for the count, I sort of pressured that into actually happening, you know, soon.

He never does things by halves. I need some RAM, and some cables, and perhaps a new drive, to put it all together. I’ll be doing more with that over the next couple weekends. The part that I was not expecting was the two monitors, a 22″ widescreen and a 24″ widescreen.

So, I’ve claimed the 22″, Smudge will probably end up with two monitors, and I’m not sure about the rest of the shakeout past that.