Computer Troubles

I recently experience a ton of problems with my computer and thought that I would share the details on my blog in case it helps someone out there.  The most important detail is that the motherboard is an Abit AN8 Ultra.  Let me explain what happened.

First, I was experiencing a problem copying files to a USB hard drive and the system would crash.  When reviewing the documentation on Abit’s site, I found that this was a known problem with my BIOS release and that it was known to crash when copying large files.  Okay, so I the plan was to update to a newer revision.  The update went smoothly although when I first booted, I forgot to enable software RAID in the BIOS so when the system came up, it saw both RAID partitions.  No problem, right?  I hard rebooted and setup the BIOS for RAID 1, the RAID window came up saying that the RAID set was functioning properly, but when I tried to boot, I would get to the point where the disk was supposed to be accessed and the system crashed hard.

I was not sure what to do at this point and so I called Abit.  Their phone was broken, but I eventually reached a human.  He spoke with tech support for me and told me that the problem was most likely due to a bad BIOS flash.  He told me that I needed a new BIOS chip and sent me one.

The new chip arrived and I was excited to final get the system back up and running. The first time I installed the chip the system refused to boot.  The next time, I hard a crack and realized that I had installed the chip incorrectly and fried it.  Aaaarrrrgggg, that was just plain stupid on my part.  I did not realize that the chip was not really keyed and so it could easily be inserted incorrectly.  Well, I learned that the hard way.

I called Abit and they were nice enough to send another replacement.  It took another week for the replacement arrived which drove me crazy.  When it finally arrived, I was very careful to ensure that I installed the new chip in the correct orientation.  This time it booted normally except…… THE SAME ERROR!

Aaarrrggghhhh, after all that waiting for two separate shipments of BIOS chips only to find that the new chip did not fix it!  I was veyr frustrated and had no idea what to do.  I was about to purchase a new mother board and figured that my last chance was to rebuild the RAID array.  I never did this before because the Nvidia driver always indicated that the RAID set was healthy.

On the next boot, I forced a RAID rebuild and instantly the system behaved normally and booted perfectly!  Can you believe that?  All of that fussing only to find that the problem was due to a faulty RAID configuration and was likely caused by the one boot!  I cannot believe that the problem was so simple and that Abit did not recommend a simple rebuild before going through the process of sending replacement BIOS chips!  <Sigh>, how frustrating.  On the bright side, the system is now working perfectly and our cost was only the hours of aggravation caused by the outtage.

I post this in the hope that it might prevent this from happeneing to someone else.

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