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> 5) Inside the PSU, look closely at the mid-sized capacitors where the
> external wires are soldered to the circuit board. (external wires meaning
> those that connect to the mainboard and drives) Also, look at the PSU
> circuit board and its components for indication of high heat. For example,
> brown areas on the circuit board indicating that something is getting too
> hot. Components like resistors and rectifiers can get too hot and burn the
> area around them. Sometimes you'll see black charring where a component has
> caught on fire. There are no dangerous voltages inside the PSU as long as
> the power cord is unplugged from the wall.
Electrolytic capacitors can keep a lot of charge for a good hour
afterwards. By all means peer in but it's a very had idea to go poking
inside a PSU failed or otherwise. Even if it has failed you don't want to
try fixing it unless you are a qualified electrician and have appropriate
tools for things like earth testing.
PSU's also fail for another common office reason in some configurations,
that is the intake of paperclips and staples. Thankfully modern systems
seem to be designed to keep intakes away from the such terrors.
Removing the staple and paperclips is also a standard office keyboard
> 7) Boot a live cd and read the smart data for the drive(s): use the gnome
> disk utility (palimpsest), or use smartctl -a /dev/sda, etc. (substitute
> your actual device) If Reallocated Sectors is more than 0 (zero) the drive
> is failing. This counts confirmed sector read/write errors. The sectors are
That is somewhat dubious. Look at the SMART data health check from the
drive, that knows far more. There are lots of cases where reallocated
sectors is not a problem (and palimpset seems to get this wrong too). In
general a modern drive is a storage appliance pretending to be a disk,
and it's unwise to treat it otherwise. This particularly applies to
things like secure erase which most application level software gets wrong.
> disabled by reallocating them. As new bad sectors occur, the computer can
> freeze or reboot, or programs can crash.
With a reallocated sector the drive has decided a block is problematic
and not to use it. That won't cause a problem to an OS except maybe an
observed pause as the drive tries to sort the blocks out.
On a bad sector Linux will continue as best it can and you'll rarely see
the machine go splat. What can be a problem is that sometimes instead of
getting an I/O error you'll get the drive decide to kick the bucket. On
SATA a drive should not be able to bring the box down, on PATA in some
cases a transaction can lock the machine solid if you are really unlucky.
(Use RAID 1, RAID is good)
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