Every geek worth his salt is bound to get requests to fix aged and ailing computers. A friend of mine, who shall remain nameless, dropped his ancient Dell off in the hopes that I could salvage some of the files off the disk. A few months ago it had crashed so he reinstalled the OS, and got a few more months use before it crashed really hard.
In such cases, I don’t even bother using the ancient computer. I just yank the disk and attach it to my computer using a FireWire ATA bridge. Then I can probe, test, and hopefully extract information from the disk. This is obviously much faster than working with a relic. This evening I pulled the unnamed person’s Dell out from under my desk and removed the lid. The greeting I got was a little unsavory.
656 Click photos to enlarge.
As the inside of computers go, this is not the worst I have seen. Most folks don’t bother to clean their engine before taking their car to a mechanic and they don’t bother to clean their computer before taking it to a technician. My intent in disassembly was simply to remove the drive, which you can see in the lower right hand side of the photo.
To remove the drive, there are two screws beneath the front panel that must be removed. I was thinking I could get the drive out without liberating too much of the dust, but I was wrong. Very wrong. When I partially removed the front cover, my wife, who happened to be watching the dissection, interrupted. With good cause, she insisted I put it back together and take it outside the clean it off.
Other than age, can anyone at home guess why the drive failed?
I heeded Jen’s advice and took the computer out into the driveway to clean it out. I keep cans of compressed air in the garage for just this purpose. Then inspiration struck. I had just, in the previous 10 minutes, come down off the roof after blowing all the leaves out of my gutters. If a picture is truly worth a thousand words, I need not explain any further.