Rough Start of a New Year

I was backing up my data on Sunday when my PC suddenly shut down. Then again. And again.

I identified the problem – the CPU was overheating because I was creating ZIP files which taxed it more than my usual work. No biggie, I told to myself, I will vacuum the dust from the case and apply new heat conducting paste between the CPU and cooler, that should solve it.

Well, it did not go as expected. When trying to remove the cooler from the CPU, it pulled the CPU from the motherboard. The conducting paste was so old and dried-up that the two components were essentially glued together. And when trying to separate them, I have broken off one pin from the CPU, destroying it. That has never happened to me, but everything is for the first time sometime, I guess.

That was a very expensive mistake to make. The CPU was 11 years old which means buying a new replacement was not an option. I might get my hands on a second-hand one if I searched enough, but there would be no guarantee of functionality. Thus I had to buy a new motherboard and RAM as well. I ordered the new components yesterday morning and I spent the afternoon using my notebook to extract sensitive data from my system HDD just in case I need to completely reinstall my system.

Today the components arrived, I have re-build the PC and after some false starts and learning some new stuff (last time I have build a PC was three years ago), I was able to successfully boot into my original system. I have lost no data and HW-vise the only remaining problem is to get the audio work. I wanted to make bobbin lace and instead of that this.

Well, it could be worse.


  1. jenorafeuer says

    Ouch. I had CPU shutting down issues myself a few weeks ago. Solved it for now by deliberately underclocking the CPU so it doesn’t get that hot. Mine is about ten years old, so similar to yours, and I should probably look at an upgrade. Would have done it during the Boxing Week sale at a local computer store except that my furnace needed repairs as well, which took up both time and money… joy.

  2. sonofrojblake says

    I have lost no data

    Given that sequence of events, I’d count that as a massive win. Marcus Ranum has some excellent advice here FtB on how to organise system backups that you might feel more inclined to pay attention to now that you’ve had a close scrape. Well done for recovering what for many would have been unrecoverable.

  3. StevoR says

    Ouch indeed.

    But things are always worse on Jupiter.

    Yeah, that sucks.Uisng old desktopadn phoen here and can absolutely sympathise.

  4. says

    Ouch, I’m glad you could solve the problem.

    Your comment is stuck in spam and I can’t convince it to move out :(
    Actually, it even put my comment in the spam filter, so I’m trying again with altering the name

  5. says

    Thanks for the heads up.
    @sonofrojblake, I am in no way an expert on Marcus’s level, but I think I am doing fairly well for an amateur since several of my friends IRL are IT experts and they advised me a lot in the past. Not all I learned is applicable in my personal situation but I was, in the past, able to FE hack into a broken drive with Windows XP and extract needed data from there (Windows 10 are much more resilient, which is both a blessing and a curse).

    I back up my data regularly on an external system that is only connected to the PC at the time of the backup. The system runs two HDD in RAID 1. It is compact enough for me to be able to take it out of the house quickly in case of emergency and it is password protected. It is not in a fireproof safe but that is because I do not own one.

    I also make bit images of my system drive regularly and I know how to decode those in case of emergency. In the past, I had a HDD die on me and I still lost no data because of these backups.

    It is not a perfect system, if an HDD dies just before I make the next backup I would lose some e-mails and such but it should be nothing major. I hope my luck continues, aided by my work.

    I did not recover full functionality of my PC yet though. I might have to start with a clean Windows installation after all. The last time I was doing this was when transitioning from Windows 7 to Windows 10. It is several days of work and a major PITA. I hate doing it, it is my least favorite part of owning a PC.

  6. Jazzlet says

    Glad you have recovered all the data, and I hope you can recover full functionality without having to do a clean Windows installation.

Leave a Reply