I finally figured out what has been wrong with my oldest daughter’s computer. After more than six months of reinstalling Windows® XP, changing cables and harddrives, keyboards and mice, testing the RAM chips and changing their configuration, trying out Windows 7 (installed like a breeze, by the way), editing and re-editing the BIOS settings, replacing the graphics card, switching the monitor for another, running all sorts of diagnostics software (turning up nada), then doing it all over again in case I’d missed something, scratching my head (wearing on an already thinning and growing bald spot) and basically doing everything short of replacing the CPU, RAM and motherboard or buying a whole new computer, the cause of the trouble finally revealed itself.
It was a dodgy ceiling lamp!
A twenty-first century technological wonder knocked out by one of Edison’s simplest inventions from 1879.
On hindsight it was not at all suited for the wattage with which it was labeled as it had partly melted its plastic fittings as well as the power cables all the way to the light switch. It finally got to the point where it started to blow fuses and thus draw attention to itself.
Enter electrician, new lamp and power cables, and the poor, weathered PC is now suddenly purring like a kitten, working flawlessly as if it was new. All, incidentally, at about the same cost as a new CPU, RAM and motherboard, but fixed in an afternoon by someone who knew what they were doing.
So we can finally get on with our lives. And even more importantly the house didn’t burn down, as it could easily have done had the mains fuses not started popping. Lucky!
And here I was seriously starting to doubt my own computer skills.