So my computer starts to act up. I had to fix some files. More files
damaged so I shut the thing off with plans to only turn on the thing
one more time to get everything off of the hard drive. I take it to
the local computer place and the guy suggests that maybe the computer
is running hot. So I put the whole thing in the fridge and it worked
fine. Taken out it lasts only about 20 minutes. I still figured it's
the hard drive but it's not. The computer motherboard is failing. As
long as the computer is in the fridge it runs great. What I don't
understand is how files on the hard drive were damaged by the
computer. But lots of files were damaged. It's not a virus most likely
because I ran two updated virus programs and they detect nothing. And
now that I have put the old drive into another machine it works fine.
Nevertheless it will be destroyed after I get all the files I want.
Unless you were doing disk writes to the files the files are likely fine.
The bad thing is the files are comprised of many chunks that are found by
file(s) that point to where at the minimum the beginning of the chunks are.
A computer that is on is doing a lot of file writing.
Are you sure it's the motherboard, or could it be a fan? Fans (even
the PS fan) are easy to replace, and a lot cheaper than motherboards.
As you read and write the data, it could easily be getting corrupted
by a failing CPU, motherboard chipset, or even cables. Either "dying
motherboard" or "dead fan causing motherboard overheating" (or several
other possibilities) could easily give these symptoms.
It doesn't sound like it was the problem... of course, at the cost of
disk drives today, I guess replacing it on a "better to be safe" basis
Well, if the computer crashes while writing to disk, it can make
a mess. If the file directories are in memory, are altered when
you change a file, then are corrupted by bad CPU or memory
operation, and then are written back to disk, you have a royal
mess. I just had this on my kids' computer due to CPU
overheating. It started getting the "blue screen". I got the
vacuum and sucked a huge wad of dust out of the CPU heatsink,
and the problems went away, but I had file corruption in the
registry. I tried to fix it, but the recovery stuff wouldn't do
it. I finally copied all the user files off, erased the disk
and reloaded Windows, and put the user files back. So, there
was nothing wrong with the hardware, just it was overheating.
There is so much woodoo going on in a PC that almost anything can cause
Many motherboard failures are related to CPUs overheating, commonly due to
dust build-up in the heatsink fins and the fan blades themselves (stalling
the CPU fan, particularly those small fans).
I've seen paper stickers on the bottom of CPUs turn tan/brown in color, from
clogged-failed CPU heatsink fans.
My new machine has 3 each, (80mm) 3" fans.. 1 in the PSU, 1 on the case and
1 on the CPU heatsink. I've seen CPU fan/heatsink combos in stores that
utilize the 3" fans now, instead of the troublesome small ones (about
1-1/2"). The better grades of fans have 2 ball bearing assemblies in them.
Many motherboards have protective circuits under the physical location of
the CPU to detect overheating, which should shut the machine down. Some PC
manufacturers actually produce machines with that feature disabled.
The temp sensing circuits on the motherboards and in PSUs are supposed to
make the fans run faster as temps rise, and/or slow the CPU clock down to
reduce heat generation.
The (separate) power supply/PSU may also have temp sensing circuits, but
I'm not aware of any heat sensing circuits within the voltage regulation
circuitry area located on the motherboards, although they may exist, and
this is the second or third area that can create significant heat. This was
the area that the bad electrolytic caps were located in. I suspect that most
of those caps have been used up or destroyed since that was quite a few
years ago, that those were used.
When you look at one of those boards, it's very obvious since the tops of
'em are domed outward.
My previous W98 machine had a front panel that was easily modified for a
filter, and I added a 3" case fan to push/draw in filtered air into the
case. No silly-assed HEPA paper, just 2 layers of spun poly and a charcoal
layer, scissor cut from a big universal (20x25") furnace filter (actually
left-over from cutting 12x14" filters for room air cleaner).
When I've had that case open for changes, there was no significant dust
residue anywhere (despite a nasty operating environment) that would create
problems. The filter gets furry, not the heat-generating/dissipating
I utilize the case fan pushing filtered air into the case, which keeps the
media drives clean (as opposed to exaust fans sucking room air in thru the
I've seen pics of liquid-cooled CPU heatsinks, machined (milled) from blocks
of copper, for use by CPU overclockers that pump ice water thru the blocks.
Other experimenters have used peltier coolers for CPU heat.
Regardless of the problem, the solution is the same.
Divide problem into 2 possible sources:
Rest of computer
How much is your data worth?
At today's computer costs, it worth your while to borrow/ rent / buy a
similar era box that is a known good quantity.
Add the drive as a slave to the existing good drive in the "new" computer.
Copy your files over.
Buy a new hard drive every 3 years or so........ copy important files over.
I'm a true believer in more-air-is-better, but there are risks. The air
flow in your PC has been designed. I.e., the size & location of the
fan(s) and the size & location of vents are such for a certain speed and
*path* for the air flow. Adding a fan will change this, possibly for
the worse! E.g., the additional fan could buck the designed air flow,
resulting in less cooling. Or, it could change the path of the flow, so
as to reduce the flow over some components.
The safest course for additional cooling is to simply boost the current
fan. In many PCs, the PSU fan also cools the PC. Adding a fan in
series with the PSU fan would be safe, direct, & easy. Attach it
outside, over the PSU vent. If you need to be told about the importance
of the direction of the fan's flow, you shouldn't be doing this.
Disclaimer: I have no design experience with PC's or fans.
Throwing a drive into another PC used to work fine, but I don't think
that'll work with the Vista OS.
One would probably need to get an external HDD enclosure with a USB cable
(and a separate PSU/AC adapter usually, and even then, old versions of
program/user data are likely to be incompatible.
It's probably best to stay away from Vista all together, but I wanted a new
PC and it was on it. I' hoping this machine will transition smoothly to
Linux (proper pronuncation lye-nukes).
According to Wild_Bill :
Agreed. Another possible source of problems is the power supply
connector. If the current is on the high side, it will eventually
overheat a pin or two, and perhaps even turn the solder joint on the
board into a cold-solder joint. Anyway -- glitches from the pin going
high-resistance can cause corruption of disk sectors as they are
written. I've seen this happen on an AT&T UnixPC (68010 CPU, not an
80x86). Depending on which pin you get different problems. One pin
powers the system RAM, another the disk controller chips, another pair
the disks themselves, and yet another the built-in monitor (in this
case), resulting in strange dancing text on the screen. :-)
The Sun Fire 280R which I just got has three 5" fans (one for
the PCI cards, one for the two CPU modules, and one for the DIMMs
holding the (up to) 8 GB of RAM.
In addition to this, there are two hot-swappable power supplies
with two 3" fans each. This is *not* a quiet machine to keep in the
bedroom running 24/7. :-)
The machine in question above is designed to live in an air
conditioned machine room, so it runs the fans full speed all the time.
But it does have temperature monitoring. Currently 91 F in the box
itself, and 131 F in each CPU. (And they don't start to complain until
they reach just below the boiling point of water. :-)
[ ... ]
I've got a rack-mount chassis with a built in filter in the shop
ready to control the CNC Bridgeport once I finish some conversions.
(The original LSI-11 based controller has severe electronics
And one machine which I have is quite interesting. It uses heat
pipes to carry the heat away from the CPU to a heat sink and fan
assembly high on the back panel. This is one of the "Shuttle" Intel
boxes designed for the gamers who live by overclocking their systems.
It is a "Shuttle" -- a nice compact case, but with only one PCI slot,
and one for an AGX card.
I made a water cooled heat sink from some sheet copper. I used some
oak to make a die to form one bit of copper into a hat shape and then
soldered that with a couple of tubes onto a flat piece of copper. And
used a cheap pump made for desktop fountains for circulating the
water. No radiator. Just had the pump in a plastic jar that held
about a half gallon of water. It was overkill for my CPU. But is
did get all the CPU heat outside the computer case.
Your CPU cooling device sounds like a very practical approach Dan. One could
toss ice or one of those lunch cooler gel-pac things into the water, too.
Don't forget the corrosion inhibitors.
A friend and I had talked for countless hours about using various cooling
methods several years ago. I determined that really low temps in a vented
cabinet would create a problem of condensation and sweating/dripping
droplets around a CPU, or otherwise inside the case.
The Pugetsystems project that Ned referred to (in this thread) seems to work
A non-ice method would be to use a metallic tank (with massive fins) to
dissipate the heat to floor-air temperature, too (just to make it a more
metalworking intensive project).
As a note of a much simpler method, I saw a heatsink/fan assembly at Staples
(Antec product maybe), that has a slab of copper inlaid into a shallow
pocket in the bottom face of the aluminum heatsink.
I don't know how the copper is attached/mated, and the idea may just be a
gimmick, since oxidation of the materials could be a significant drawback to
the efficiency of the heat transfer.
fluorinert, made by 3M. Pricey stuff, like $135 for 250 cc. As
Gunner sez, peanut oil works quite well. Hams used to get a kilowatt
out of metal 6L6's running upside down in about a gallon of peanut
Oh, YEAH! I think I recall that three of them in parallel gave you a plate
resistance of about 16 ohms -- and thus, the birth of the "gutless wonder"
direct-coupled audio amp.
(built one! Used it as a sub-woofer driver long before sub-woofers were the