Fight Club: Me Vs Computer

Luck certainly hasn’t been on my side lately when it comes to computer problems.  I use an old computer as a backup server.  I tried turning it on and NOTHING: no lights, no fans, not even a single sound!  I proceeded to clear the CMOS with the clear CMOS switch, take out out CMOS battery, check all the connections and I still get nothing.  However, there are lights turned on on the motherboard. I also have a little LCD screen connected to it (it’s an Asus Striker II Extreme motherboard) and on it was blinking the message “CPU INIT”.  Doing some Internet searching, some people claimed it was a dead CMOS battery.  This could be a possibility since I lost all power to the house just a few days before. I went to Walgreens the next day and got a fresh battery and: nothing.

I started yanking things out of the power supply and removing memory modules just to barebones the darn thing and still: nothing.  I was ready to throw this PC out, but then I tried one more thing: I removed the USB cable to my KVM switch and the network cable: BINGO!  The motherboard screeched to life…and then died.  I hooked everything back up and then…she booted! I plugged the USB cable back to my KVM and now the PC is behaving.  It was some weird interaction between the KVM switch and the computer.

I then decided to install Virtualbox and a XP VM for testing on the same PC.  Upon trying to run Windows update within the VM, SVCHOST.EXE would go to 99% of the CPU and that was it.  I used WSUSOffline to download all of the XP updates on another computer and then I ran them within the VM.  And then…SVCHOST.EXE went back to 99% CPU.  ARGH!  If you try to change the interrupt priority, Windows will tell you “ACCESS DENIED” even when you are logged in as an Administrator.  This is because SVCHOST.EXE is being run as SYSTEM which has higher privileges than administrator.  Simply run psexec -s -i cmd.ex.  Actually, that should have an extra e at the end, but WordPress has a bug in it and won’t let me save the post without giving a 403 error (I’m submitted the bug to them).

– Soli Deo Gloria