Thursday, August 11, 2011


DO I LOVE COMPUTERS??  I don’t know.  Sometimes they just take over your life.  I have been struggling with numerous computer problems for about two weeks.
First we needed more RAM.  “Oh it’s a simple task”, they said, "just take out the two old sticks and put in the new ones. Nothing to it".

So we bought the two new sticks, and one day when I felt like wrestling with the computer we made the move.

Now our computer desk looks pretty good from the front most days.  But I’ll bet your computer from the back looks like ours does.  Less than three foot square to get into, the darkest place in the room and a mass of wires plugs and what have you, including dust.

O.K. So all I have to do is get into the space with a flashlight, pullout all the plugs attached (and remember where each one goes for when we put it back together again) then pull out the unattached computer.  Now I’m not skinny or small, and getting up and down out of a chair is sometimes not so easy, but I thought it might save us a hundred dollars or so if I did it myself.

It took me about 45 minutes to get into the space, pull out all the cords, label them and then get around to the front of the computer to pull it out into the room.  DONE.

O.K. so now I’m breathing heavily and my knees are hurting but I’ve got the computer at hand.  So how do you get inside it?  I naturally thought of a screw driver, but didn’t see any screws that looked like they would give me access.  Then I saw a part that said ‘Lock’.  What was it locked with? I pushed and pulled and fiddled -- very gently, in case I broke something. 

Aha! Half an hour later I found the secret:  push the ‘lock’ part back and carefully wiggle one side of the computer off, without bending or breaking anything.
Behold!  The inside of the computer! 

What?  Where? I wish I’d thought to take a photograph.  The whole inside was covered with a thick layer of dust and I couldn’t see anything that looked like the sticks of RAM I needed to take out.

I found one of my largish paint brushes with soft hair and began to remove the dust.  Dust bunnies everywhere!  But I was very careful.  Half an hour later I could actually see wires and soldered bits and a small fan, but I couldn’t see anything that looked like the sticks of RAM I needed to replace.  Maybe if I turned it on its side I would be able to see better.

Carefully I tipped it on its side like it was an unexploded bomb. All I knew was that I had to treat it carefully or – just like that – we’d be shelling out several hundred dollars for a new computer.

Success!  There were the two memory sticks tucked away where I could now see them. I’m not sure how I got them out without breaking the little plastic tabs that held them in, but I did.

Quickly I replaced the old sticks with the new ones. Then I put the computer back together and replaced it in its slot in the desk. After squeezing into the space at the back of the desk again, I carefully replaced all the plugs.  

An hour and a half. Job done!

Feeling smug I turned the computer on and checked to see how much RAM it was now showing.
WHAT?  No change? One of the new sticks was not working.  “Probably not tightly in place,” my son said when I called him.  This time I went to the computer web site where I read that to place the RAM in its appropriate slot, one must PUSH HARD – perhaps with as much as twenty pounds of pressure!  Should have looked at the web site in the first place!

I made a cup of tea and sat down heavily in the arm chair.  I’m not going to go through all that again today, I thought.  But after sitting for half an hour and enjoying the cuppa’ I decided that the second time through shouldn’t be nearly so bad, since now all the dust was gone and I knew what to do.

I was right!  Twenty minutes later the computer was up and running with the right amount of RAM and I decided I deserved a degree in computer technology.


photowannabe said...

Oh my goodness! That's quite a saga. You are very brave. I actually think we may have to do that too. I remember my husband and I replacing the fan, whew. It was nerve wracking. It did take two of us since we really didn't know what we were doing.
So glad you are the computer guru now.

MorningAJ said...

Of course, now you know WHY it costs around a hundred dollars to get anyone to do anything in the back of a computer for you.

I don't have this problem, of course. I have K - who's a fully-trained computer whizz who spends all his time doing this sort of stuff at work.

Something they never warn you about (and you're lucky not to have discovered for yourself) is that the edges of computer boxes are just folded over to make them look pretty from outside. That leaves a sharp metal edge pointing inwards.

So when you have to work in a tight space inside one it will likely lacerate your hands as you pull them out of its innards. K is always covered in cuts and scrapes from machines that 'bite'!

Well done on conquering the beast without serious injury!

mrsnesbitt said...

I felt your stress Chris! lol! Just think - years ago if you were having problems with a ram in your home it would have had 4 legs! lol! Go girl!

Autumn Leaves said...

Wow, Chris! I am amazed at your skill and fortitude. I know who I'm calling with a computer problem. Yeppers. It would be you! And now I'm fretting all the dust that finds its way into the computer. I hope that doesn't cause problems in and of itself down the road.

jabblog said...

Well done, Chris:-)
I am fortunate that I don't have to do this since I live with an expert and he's a lot better at getting into confined spaces than I am - I always get cramp!

Gillian Mowbray said...

Oh well done you! I completely sympathise, having had no end of pooter problems myself recently.
Its very stressful, isn't it!

snafu said...

Well done! That can be one of the more fiddly jobs, since the RAM is quite often squeezed in under a whole bank of cables and you cannot see exactly where the slot is. It only goes in one way round too so that has to be just right.
Good job. So what is next? A full service on the car?

Jane and Chris said...

That is what my hubby is for!!
Techy stuff is his department.
I take my hat off to you!
Jane x

Morning's Minion said...

I felt quite tense reading this--and it reminds me that my computer is surely full of dust and needs to be cleaned. My computer tech man in WY once accused me of harboring "not dust bunnies, Sharon, you have full grown RABBITS in there!" Ah, yes, but those black boxes are intimidating!

Jose said...

You go Crhis, now I know who to call when mine needs fixing. Or more RAM. :-)

Wanda said...

Boy am I impressed.....Wow!!!

Me, had to bite the bullet and call the Geek Squad!

kaybee said...

You deserve MUCH more than a degree in computer technology - you deserve a medal for bravery, courage, determination and wisdom -- but not for housekeeping :{

When are you coming up to Canada next? :}

Rarelesserspotted said...

Brave woman, I used to do things like that on the early computers, they're too complex for me nowadays and I always worry that if you mess about with them, you invalidate any warranty. Well done

Anonymous said...

ok-now I am exhausted - what a rigamarole! Good for you - well done!!!

gautami tripathy said...

Well, I got no computer degree but have been fixing since I bought my first computer 10 years ago. Now I graduated to a laptop. No wires and I am kinda lost!!!

Give me wires, cords, USBs any time!


Elizabeth said...

Wow, you're brave. What with Snafu building his own and you overhauling yours, I think there must definately be a techie gene running through your family, Chris. x