Update 1 Dec 09: It's fixed now, long story short the PSU I put in fixed it.
Well, let's see... where to begin? Well, you guys know I'm no big fan of Windows 7. Got the beta, got the RC, both ran like garbage (but, it was the 64-bit version). Guy my wife works with tells me he's got the 32-bit version running on a 1.3GHz P4 with 1GB of RAM and it "runs fine", so I spring for the upgrade. Been running it 2 weeks, it's alright. Not as snappy as I'd like, but I got the new Windows. XP about to go out of support, so it's not the best to keep, for too long.
OK, fast forward to Friday morning. I get off work, I go to get on Firefox... 8:51AM I launch the shortcut, 8:56 it comes up, but everything's just going slow. It wasn't until 9:01AM I was able to get onto Google News (one click from my homepage, google.com). Nothing's running right. So I just turn it off.
I ask my wife, what's wrong with the computer. Nothing, she says. I wake up, it's still off. (She later told me that she turned it on, it ran great for 10 minutes, then started pulling the same **** I experienced.) I turn it on... lights come on... I hear a POP! ...it cuts off, and I smell a faint burning smell.
I unplug it, wait 10 minutes, plug it back in, hit the power button... nothing. I take my power supply out, I'm looking for a fuse, find none. A friend up in New York told me on Facebook (yay for free Xbox Live weekend) I should buy a multimeter and he can walk me through diagnosing it. Well, the guy who told me I should get Win7 tells me to just come by after work and he'll do the test, save me $20.
So I took a day off playing with the Xbox.
Get to his place, he shorts out the two green wires (I think) on the mobo plug, plugs it in, and cuts it on. Nothing. He says my PSU burned out. He's got one laying around, says it says 425W but he stopped using it because it was a "pansy PSU". Says I should run the bare minimum on it. Take out a stick of RAM, only hook up the C drive, pick one fan, and take out my graphics card.
Well, I don't have onboard video, so the GPU stays. I take out half my RAM, I only hook up the C drive, DVD burner, and only my favorite fan (120mm side fan, right above the CPU and GPU), and of course the mobo. Cut it on.
BIOS self-check comes up, checks the RAM quick as ever, but takes almost a full minute to check the IDE channels. 80GB drive, DVD-RW, check. Then it... just... sits there.
Nearly a full minute later, it's checking the other stuff (PCI stuff, the BIOS, all that stuff it lists) and it wants to boot off a CD/DVD. Not finding anything there, it pulls up some nVidia/Intel net boot thing I have never even seen before. That doesn't work, and I get the dreaded BAD DISK, INSERT SYSTEM DISK prompt. Apparently it tried my C drive first, found no boot data, then tried the optical drive, then networking.
OK, so I look for a Linux distro. Can't find my Ubuntu 9.10 (for all the damn waiting, I downloaded and burned it... and it got lost) so I pull out Fedora 11. Just as good, right? I put it in, it boots up. No live distro. Damn. OK, so I go to install Fedora 11. I can always reinstall Windows 7. See, the plan is to get online and buy a better PSU. Wife already said I could spend $100 on one. Her friend recommends an 800W OCZ one. Gonna look that up in a bit. Anyway, Fedora goes to install, and then says it can't unpack because the disk is bad.
My wife tells this to her friend at work, he thinks the PSU may not be good enough to fully power the C drive. Still, I probably hosed it trying to install Fedora, since step one is to format it. I didn't set it up, so it did all that automatically. And I confirmed to write the partition table to the disk, that seemed to take, it didn't fail until after Fedora tried to actually install.
So here's where I am. Can't boot into anything, though presumably I can boot into a live distro if I can get my paws on one. Got a burner at work, but I really shouldn't be downloading Linux here. That would not go over well. Even if I download it to my flash drive and use a portable app to burn it (cdrtfe most likely).
Plan is to get a good PSU in my PC and scrap the loaner, and then see what I can do with that C drive.
I know anything's possible, but I just wanted to get some ideas from y'all, see if there's anything I may be missing.
Question: So my PSU died, but when it died, it died slowly (everything running slow). Could this have damaged my CPU and/or hard drives?