[rescue] test old hardware

Mr Ian Primus ian_primus at yahoo.com
Wed Jan 21 10:27:56 CST 2009

--- On Wed, 1/21/09, Mike -- EMAIL IGNORED <m_d_berger_1900 at yahoo.com> wrote:

> From: Mike -- EMAIL IGNORED <m_d_berger_1900 at yahoo.com>
> Subject: [rescue] test old hardware
> To: rescue at sunhelp.org
> Date: Wednesday, January 21, 2009, 10:58 AM
> I am a software wonk; the hardware works,
> doesn't it?  I have an oldish box with an
> ASUS motherboard, 80G hard drive, 1G ram.
> I have Win2k on it and there have been few
> problems until recently.  I now see assorted
> problems, especially when booting, that may
> be hardware problems.

Hmm. A PC with an 80 gig hard drive and a gig of ram doesn't really qualify as "old", in my book, but still... <grin>
> I intend to wipe the hard drive, and install
> WinXP, but I would first like to test the
> hardware.  Can someone please recommend
> test programs?  Note, there is nothing on it
> I expect to save.

Two excellent stress-tests for PC/Clones: DBAN and Memtest. Both are free programs that can be written to bootable disks.

DBAN (Darik's Boot And Nuke) is a hard drive wiping program. It WILL destroy all data on the hard drive if you tell it to. By doing a seven-pass overwrite on the drive, it'll keep the machine busy for a long time, and serves as a good 'stress test' for the drive itself. If the drive fails, makes funny sounds, or the program reports sector errors, then it's time to replace the hard drive.

Memtest is a memory test utility. It's totally harmless to the data on your system, it just exercises the RAM. Again, it keeps the computer busy, but it thoroughly tests all the RAM, and will do so contiuously. Leave it run overnight, and if it's still running with no errors in the morning, it should be good.

This machine might be of the proper vintage to have leaking motherboard capacitors. If you experience odd reboots, crashes, and trouble during POST (such as the processor being incorrectly detected), you might have bad filter capacitors for the CPU. Look at the board near the CPU socket, and examine the tops of the capacitors for bulging and leaking. While faulty capacitors don't always show, this is a good thing to check for anyway, because if they're leaking, they are on their way out, and should be replaced.


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