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What To Do During Downtime (Server or Personal)

Edit: Thanks a bunch to Blyck, my computer is back in working order, no replacement parts needed! Check out the comments for the fix

It would seem I’m just not destined to play much WoW this holiday season, as upon waking up bright and early New Years Day (around 11 or so) I rolled out of bed, hit the power button on my computer, visited the washroom, and return to find that my computer hadn’t done anything, it was just sitting there with nothing on the screen. “Hmmm” I thought, “Maybe it’s just because I sent the computer into sleep last night instead of a full power down, I’ll just turn it off and on again.” That’s when I felt a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach, the computer wasn’t going through POST (Power On Self Test), which for those who aren’t all that tech savvy, is a pretty big problem, and as I understand it is a purely hardware problem (even if it was software it’d be unfixable since you can’t even access the motherboard settings). Apparently, the computer needs the following parts in working order to POST:

  • Motherboard
  • CPU (Central Processing Unit)
  • RAM (Random Access Memory)
  • PSU (Power Supply Unit)
  • GPU (Graphical Processing Unit)

I attempted switching out a feInside my computerw of the RAM sticks, and I saw no improvement, so I’m fairly confident that the RAM is not the problem. Removing all non-essential USB and PCI cards didn’t help either, which lead to another snag in my troubleshooting: my motherboard doesn’t have an onboard graphics card, so when I removed my graphics card (GPU) I had to rely on blinking lights in the case and my keyboard. I didn’t see any difference with the GPU out either (status lights on the tower still didn’t do anything, keyboard and mouse still didn’t light up). The motherboard wasn’t much of a help either because it isn’t giving any error beeps or other indication that something is wrong, all the fans still start up, drives still spin up, the light on the board still comes on, I just don’t get any output.

Apparently if the PSU is on the fritz, it can cause problems for every other part in the computer, however I don’t suspect it’s the PSU, for two reasons: everything still gets power, and I’ve been running my CPU overclocked and on the warm side. The kicker here is, no matter if it’s the CPU or the motherboard, the way the interact and the age of the two in my system means I have to replace both at the same time, even if only one of them is fried, and since all new motherboards use DDR3 RAM, I’d have to upgrade my perfectly good 8GB of DDR2. Isn’t life just hilarious sometimes?

Basically the point of me telling you all this is that I need to vent, and I’m hoping someone can offer some insight to this problem. I still have access to my laptop (which I graciously but unfortunately lend to my family) but I can’t play WoW on it. Which leads me to the part of the article you are all probably interested it, what do you do when you can’t play WoW?

Activities Unrelated to World of Warcraft

I hope everyone has hobbies outside of World of Warcraft (I myself enjoy a good game of pool or a good book) and forced time away from World of Warcraft (or computer games in general) can be a good time to catch up with these favoured past times. If you’re looking for a good book here are some I personally like, and you might as well:

  • The Wheel of Time series by (the late) Robert Jordan
  • Jack Ryan series by Tom Clancy
  • Persuasion by Arlene Dickinson

Those there cover a few different genres, so hopefully you’ll enjoy at least one of them. Or if you’re not the reading type, you can burn lots of time with movies (personally I can’t just sit and watch a movie by myself, but I’m probably not the norm in this). Some of my favourites:

  • Airplane
  • Sound of Music
  • Hunt for Red October
  • Avatar
  • Monty Python and the Holy Grail
  • Pink Panther series (New or old)

Of course while you’re at it you could watch some TV series! What would I recommend? Well I’m glad you asked!

  • Doctor Who
  • X Files
  • Stargate SG-1 and Atlantis
  • Flashpoint
  • Bones
  • House
  • How I Met Your Mother

What, me watch too much TV? Never. These two lists covers a few different genres again in movies and television, so hopefully you’ll find something you enjoy in the lists. Of course you could try something more productive, like work on a skill or something, but doesn’t that just sound like so much work? Much better to stay cozy inside with a nice cup of hot cocoa.

Activities Related to World of Warcraft

Of course chances are if you read this blog you’re interested in World of Warcraft, so you might be looking for some ideas more closely related to the game. If it’s just server maintenance that’s keeping you down or some other problem which still leaves you with access to the computer the game is installed on, you’ve got several maintenance tasks you can use this task to do. Keeping your hard drive(s) defragmented is very important, and will help reduce load times. This will take a while, so it’s best to leave your computer to do it’s job and go pursue another activity. Or sleep, sleep is good. IMPORTANT NOTE: Don’t defragment a SSD, note only does it do nothing for your performance, it’ll seriously reduced it’s lifetime. Don’t know what a SSD is? You probably don’t have one.

Keeping your addons up to date is also a good idea, and this would be a good time to do it if it’s just server maintenance, but this won’t take up much time. Maybe good for when the server is restarting?

Downtime (whether personal or server) is an excellent opportunity to catch up on your “paperwork”. What I mean is blog reading, blog writing, catch up on topics on your guild forum, read up on upcoming boss strategies etc. If you run out of internet, perhaps you could try doing some contributing? Anyone can blog nowadays with little technical know-how needed. If you’re not sure if you want to commit to starting up a whole blog, you can always wet your feet with guest posts. I’ll personally run guest posts on The Golden Crusade and Flux from Power Word: Gold has started a project called The Power Word: Gold Hatchery which is dedicated to posting guest submissions, I highly recommend you check it out.

What do I intend on doing while I wait to finance my computer repair? I’ve got a book on the go, and I’ve been meaning to check out a pool hall in town. If that fails me before the next semester starts up I could always focus on improving my Dutch.

About the author

Eric Dekker

Gamer. Student. Nerd. Author of The Golden Crusade. Find him on + and Twitter.

7 comments

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  1. fluxdada

    Sorry to hear about the PC troubles. Hope you get them worked out. Also thanks for the mention!

  2. Blyck

    You may want to check if your CMOS (BIOS RAM) has been corrupted (some mobos don’t have a beep code to indicate this). In order to clear the CMOS you’d need to flip a jumper somewhere on your mobo. The manual should tell you where.

    I’ve had that problem a few times with my system, and it is much more likely than a complete crapout of hardware without a suspicious power surge or the like, especially given that you’ve been overclocking with stability.

    1. Eric Dekker

      OMG I can’t believe this worked, you have no idea how happy this has made me. I must find some way to thank you properly for this

      1. Blyck

        I’m glad I could help. I know how frustrating it can be sitting at your computer wondering if you’ll have to spend a few hundred dollars to get it to work again. It took me the better part of two days to figure out what was wrong with mine the first time. I’m glad my frustration in the past could be of help to you!

        1. Eric Dekker

          definitely filing this under “Stuff that could save hundreds of dollars”

  3. Sandaria

    Another little tip .. When computers come into my shop I always change the power settings. Most people will tell you it’s ok to the computer go into sleep mode or to let the harddrives power down. I on the other hand have seen this cause many more problems than it’s helped. You might get a little more life out of your HDD by letting it power down and letting your computer go into a lower power state but more times than I can count I’ve seen them not come out of this mode. Especially if you are overclocking I would reccommend NOT letting your pc to sleep. Glad the cmos clearing fixed your problem.. you did a great job narrowing everything else down :-)

    1. Eric Dekker

      Good to know, I usually don’t let it sleep or hibernate, I just wanted to save what I was doing, which is kinda silly cause Firefox does that anyways lol. And thanks I feel less stupid now, I was in serious Shit Hit The Fan mode when it wouldn’t boot :P

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