More Fragbox Issues

My "fragbox" is causing me so much frustration these days. I feel like I am done with it and although I loved it when it's running , at this point I feel like a new (gaming) rig is in order. So, how did this happen? Unfortunately, it kept on going worse over time...

At some point in the last 6 months, when it went into sleep mode, it would not come back and I had to power off, power on again (here is one of my previous blog posts about this).. So, I disabled all sleep modes to keep it up and running. Then again, I did not want to waste so much energy, so I started powering my pc off at night. For the last couple of months, when I power it off, it would take me an hour to power it up. It's the most puzzling thing I have ever seen...

  • Phase 0) I connect the power cable, see the motherboard light up and nothing happens when power button is pressed...
  • Phase 1) At some it powers up, I see fans spinning but it only does that for a sec and then stop.
  • Phase 2) I keep on pressing power and reset buttons and disconnect/reconnect power cord, in that 1 sec period when fans are spinning and they keep on spinning, but when I take my fingers off of the buttons, the stop again.
  • Phase 3) Finally, when I take my fingers off, fans keep on spinning, HD spins up and pc starts running just fine.

I kinda got used to the frustrating routine. Power outages are not common so I kept my pc running. I still had to go thru this every other months for some brief power outage (winter has been harsher this year). Unfortunately, it got worse...

Yesterday, all of a sudden pc crashed. Windows 7 has been rock solid for me, so I was surprised and immediately started thinking about any recent updates I made to it... Could it be the nVidia driver update that was supposed to fix overheating issues?

My question was answered when I tried to recycle and see the ugly face of real problem:

  • 0x000000DE Unmountable_Boot_Volume
I had noticed (especially when playing wow) that my computer would freeze for a sec, as if it's trying to read a sector but cannot do it immediately and I would hear ticking sound of my hard drive.

I also recalled seeing some Ubuntu event logs sometime ago that suggested something was not right with the hard drive.

I tried hitting F8 to bring up boot options to see if Safe mode would work but none of the options worked. Even trying to boot with Win7 CD failed (I ended up in a black screen with mouse only). So, I gave up on the hard drive, which really did not have anything other than OS and a couple of settings (Google Picasa, WoW addons etc) I would want to keep.

Enter Ubuntu Live CD (v8.04). I booted using the live CD to see if I could access my drives and move data to my Qnap NAS. 

I was able to access Qnap, my D drive but C drive (boot drive) was not accessible. I started google'ing and saw a nice article that basically was suggesting the exact same steps. The step I had forgotten was to create a temp folder to mount C:

sudo su -
mkdir /media/disk
mount -t ntfs-3g /dev/sda1 /media/disk -o force
I got a warning but it worked, I was able to access C drive. Unfortunately, I could not copy everything I wanted off to NAS as it gave me 'read source' errors time to time but got most of it.

Then I used the following command  to mark my C drive as 'dirty' for Windows to pick up and fix (at least that's the theory).

ntfsfix /media/disk

I wanted to give Win7 cd another try at this point. The good news was that it worked this time and brought me to the install screen. The bad news, however, was that it no longer detected my primary hard disk where previous installation was.

I went ahead and installed Windows 7. All went fine.... until I came back in the morning to notice that PC was somehow shutdown and I was back to Phase 0. My searches for Asus P5E-VM DO returned nothing about why could this be happening and at this point it seemed that I have to talk to Falcon Northwest support to get this shipped and fixed over there...again (see RIP - My Falcon Fragbox 2). 
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