Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Server Crash

This work week did not start well. That is to say, Monday morning, I came in to find I had no access to my main files. After repeated attempts to resolve the problem - okay, I'm oversimplifying, after an entire day of doing my own checks and finally calling tech support for my main software - it was apparent that the server was not well. Fortunately I had the foresight to back up the file with all the day's work sometime before the last crash that seem to completely disable it.

Seemed is an important point here.

For all the problems I was having, each time I attached a monitor to it, it would appear to go down. What I discovered when I had a more capable computer tech work on it, though, was that the problem was not the computer itself, but the video card. I had a blown DVI video card. Because of that blown card, though, I had been repeating rebooting a computer, unaware it was probably booting fine - just without a picture. The repeated reboots slowly corrupted my mirrored hard drives, which led to the other problems I was encountering. The computer tech also helped me learn that I actually had a VGA card that worked on the server, but it was disabled early in the boot process (before my monitor would wake up) when I did not "press F1 to run in VGA mode". Without the DVI card in, though, it automatically booted with the VGA working, and now it should be fully recovered and back in place tomorrow.

What have I learned? Even triple backups can't automatically overcome something as simple as a blown video card. At least not right away. Within a day or so, I could have a new server in place, or this server with new hard drives, and have all my files restored. But the triple backups did not help me realize the real problem.

I feel myself beginning to wax philisophical, pondering what I might learn from this experience. What we see is not always as it appears, for one. I thought I had a blown server, when all I had was a computer that wasn't showing me a picture. Sometimes we have to look deeper. I might not have caused the other problems with the computer if I had considered the video card.

-- Robert

P.S. My wife did think it was just a video card after I took the computer to someone else. Hat's off to her for considering what I didn't. Important lesson number two: men, listen to your wives.


le35 said...

In my opinion, the P.S. ought to be lesson number 1, and then often, we don't have to learn what you had to for lesson number 2.

Robert said...

You are most definitely correct.

I would re-write the post, but I think the point is better made by leaving it as is with your comment.

To anyone reading: yes, I should've listened to her first. Still, since neither of us thought of it until after the damage was done, I still needed the tech help.