[GTALUG] war story: reviving an old computer
D. Hugh Redelmeier
hugh at mimosa.com
Mon Dec 10 14:12:49 EST 2018
I had an old computer in storage for a couple of years. Separate from
its disk drive (SSD).
After I reinstalled the drive, it would not show many signs of life. Not
even a POST screen.
I plugged and unplugged everything from the motherboard (except the
processor). Then it would limpingly sort-of boot. The problem looked
like disk errors.
I tested power-supply voltages with a cheap tester designed for that
I tested the SSD on another machine using a SATA to USB 3 dock. The disk
looked OK and I was able to fsck the appropriate partitions.
Still booting was a bit wonky.
I replaced the SATA cable for the drive. It booted fine.
The system is quite old. It seems to have some oddball limitations on
- no UEFI support
- the firmware cannot boot from a Fedora 29 Live USB stick. It can be
selected as a boot source, but the boot doesn't happen
- but two OSes (CentOS 5.11 and Fedora 20) do see the USB stick and
- the firmware cannot boot from the SATA Bluray / DVD / CD drive.
Probably the firmware can only boot from ATAPI optical drives.
- Fedora sees exactly the expected bytes when it reads from the SATA
optical drive (the contents are the Fedora 29 Live image)
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