Having during the week obtained a new 320 GB hard drive, today I am adding it to my system after yesterdays scare with the PSU. As with any such item, you need to format and configure it to work with your operating system, be it Windows, Linux or whatever. Good old Partition Magic can help with this (I have version 7 from the Powerquest days) but Windows XP (Professional, anyway) does offer its own tool for the job: the Disk Management console. Unfortunately, it’s a bit hard to find. The easiest way to get to it is to type diskmgmt.msc into the Run command box. Otherwise, it is a matter of setting your Start Menu to show the Administrative Tools group (Taskbar and Start Menu properties> Start Menu tab > Customise > Advanced tab) and accessing through the computer Management console for which there is a shortcut in this group. Of course, you need to have administrator access to your PC in order to to do any of this.
This morning, I got up to find my main computer powered off after I left it on overnight for a spyware scan by Webroot Spy Sweeper. After satisfying myself that it was dead, I tried popping a new fuse in the plug. What I saw next was far from being a pretty sight: shorting in the PSU. The fact that it took out a new 5 A fuse was neither here nor there (they are 20p a piece at where I replenished my supply: they may be cheaper elsewhere but what’s 20p these days?); thoughts of fried PC hardware are far from pleasant, especially the vision of losing data and expensive software purchases because a hard drive got fried by a shorting PSU. A whole new bare bones system from the likes of Novatech were appearing very ominously in my horizon.
There was only one thing for it: try another PSU and see if everything works. So, it was off to a nearby branch of PC World for a replacement. I know that there were other options but I preferred to get this problem sorted out pronto to put my mind at ease, if at all possible. The old PSU got taken out and the new one plugged in as part of pre-installation testing. Thankfully, I saw the Windows start up screen and the omens were good; it later turned out that my data were safe too. Initial problems with keyboard and mouse recognition were resolved by a reboot, as was an IP address conflict that had resulted because my back up machine was on throughout all of this. All in all, things turned out well after a solid lesson in backing up data outside of the PC on which it resides. Maybe an online service such as Diino could be very useful.
I do seem to have an issue with PSU’s giving up the ghost; maybe its the fact that I run them overnight a lot. This incident caused to upgrade from 450 W Jeantech unit to a 500 W one. The PSU that I had before the 450 W unit was higher rated but it couldn’t cope with the power demands of the machine it was powering up. The result was that it cut out a lot on start up, an annoying habit that I tolerated for longer than I really should. I’ll keeping an eye on things as I go…