This week, I am back from a busy week and nigh unto miraculous week of family-ing in Nebraska. Yesterday I’d intended to throw myself back into it, but my main work computer died on me. It froze up completely while I was downstairs getting lunch, and would not finish booting after that. It gets as far as the “Starting Windows” screen, but the Windows symbol never starts to form. Startup Repair hangs as soon as the “loading files” bar is full. Safe Mode will show the list of system files being loaded and then freeze.
It did this shortly before my trip. I was able to determine that it wasn’t detecting one of the RAM cards, and re-seating all of them apparently fixed it. This time, no dice.
I still somewhat suspect the memory to be the problem… like one or more of the cards has gone a little off without failing completely, and so the whole thing breaks as soon as the computer needs to do anything terribly involved. The computer and its components are more than five years old. It doesn’t feel like it’s nearly that old because most of its lifetime was during the time I was bouncing between states half the year.
Progressive RAM failure isn’t the only possibility, but it seems the most likely one given that reshuffling the cards did briefly extend the computer’s usefulness. I suppose trying to boot up another operating system might help confirm if it’s a hardware issue or a Windows issue, but I have limited resources for dealing with this kind of problem at the moment.
I do have a backup computer, which is what I’m using now. It is another 5+ year old desktop unit, one that’s quite a bit less powerful but which has been used less often and has been far less finicky, hardware-wise. My currently-dead computer was a refurb model and it’s always been a bit strange about its RAM.
Still, this is not a long-term solution… this thing is so slow even just switching tabs in a browser. It is not very good at running the programs I need for things like editing and laying out books. Even just typing this blog post, I have to keep stopping to let the screen catch up with my text.
I’m not sure what I’ll do long-term. I’ve been mulling getting new RAM for my dead box, which would be a cheap fix if the problem is what I think it is, but kind of a waste if it’s not. The other alternative is to get a new desktop, which would be a bigger expense that I can’t really afford right now. Either way, I’ll probably be limping along as is for at least a week or two.