“I WAS SHOCKED”
All 4 cores of my new Processor were running 60-80% capacity with the PC at rest!
There I was, poised ready and waiting….a Computer I’d been preparing to run in our bedroom with a new 50 inch flat screen TV was assembled and booting up for its first time. The installed CPU was an almost new (2 months of use) Intel Core 2 Quad processor I’d recently bought on e-bay and it was about to be tested; as for all remaining hardware, well, it was mostly used and basically proven reliable, or so I thought.
First thing after post, a BIOS configuration screen popped up and with it a case intrusion alert. I went through the BIOS and set everything, pretty much to defaults, also disabling that pesky “intrusion alert.” Next I saved the new settings and rebooted, this time continuing on to the Linux Mint 14 boot screen.
After pressing F2 for further options, I choose compatibility mode and the Live DVD proceeded to load. Once to the Linux Mint live desktop an install was initiated, and a half hour later, the install done, we were ready to boot into our new system.
At this point, after reboot, everything seemed OK so I went ahead and did all the system updates. Next I used the Mint backup Tool to install all the same software I have on our living room PC; all this took about an hour.
While waiting, I decided to check out the new hard drive partitions with Gparted. I like to set my partition file system checks pretty close together, (they don’t take very long and are cheap insurance). I wanted to be sure of the partition names, and Gparted lets you quickly see the necessary partition info for setting changes.
I found the menu launcher under Administration and clicked….Gparted’s GUI (Graphical User Interface) came up, grayed out, saying it was searching out devices. When after about a minute it still had not finished I knew something was wrong so I shut it down. (the startup process should have finished in about 5 seconds)
“This is odd” I thought….maybe something went wrong with the Gparted installation. Opening up Synaptic Package Manager I did a complete UN-install and RE-install of Gparted. Unfortunately, this provided the same results.
OK, maybe there is a hardware problem, like say my new processor is bad.
(The system did seem to be struggling at simple tasks.)
I started up Mints tool “System Monitor” and clicked on the Resources tab. Unbelievably, I found that all 4 cores were running at 60-80% capacity, with nothing running BUT system monitor!
WHAT WAS GOING ON, HAD I INADVERTENTLY INSTALLED VISTA?
Literally, I scratched my head a moment, then booted up from the Linux Mint 14 “Cinnamon” live DVD and once again hit F2 for additional boot options. From there I choose a media integrity test………….and it failed, NOT EVEN COMPLETING THE TEST. This was even more confusing as I’m sure I’d installed from this same DVD several times with no problems, including the current install on the living room PC.
What should I do?
Well, I grabbed a Linux Mint 14 XFCE install disk and booted from that…this time an integrity test completed successfully. A reboot went on to the desktop where I found Mints system monitor was still showing excessive Processor use at idle, though not quite as much.
(This made sense because XFCE is designed to run on older slower hardware)
So, not knowing what was wrong, hoping my newly purchased processor was NOT the problem, I decided to let things set a couple of days. I had a few other things to do so this could wait on a back burner a short while.
Upon returning to the project, my first thought was to swap Motherboards. You see, I have 2 identical ASUS P5N-MX boards and I was considering perhaps the board was a problem. I’d used parts from the other P5N-MX PC to build this one. A hard drive, ram and Power Supply were the parts needed. The only different parts were the video card, processor and case.
My troubleshooting choices seemed to be……
*change Video Card
Now, I remember that right after buying the installed video card I had troubles with it. Linux Mint 13 would install but when rebooted I got a screen split diagonally from the top right to the bottom left. I researched the problem but unfortunately, after several failed attempts to update the driver or change the right files I was forced to pull the card. I had bought it looking for an HDMI output and its having a big heat-sink instead of a fan was a plus. (ASUS model ENGT520)
Several months after this, a friend needed her PC repaired so I, wanting to hook it up to a TV, put the ASUS card in and installed Mint 14. Well, I was pleasantly surprised when after the install I found a usable desktop instead of that split screen from before.
(I did not noticed any excessive processor activity at the time.)
You can see then why the card ended up in this Computer I was building for our new TV. Its my newest card and I wanted the best parts available installed. And, apparently Linux Mint 14 supported it.
So, I found myself needing to do something to figure this problem out. The easiest test would be swapping Video cards, then the Next choice, believe it or not would have been swapping motherboards…just moving a hard drive, power supply, ram and processor to another board.
(OK, a little bit of trouble, but, I really did not want to disturb my other machine with the Core 2 Quad Processor as it was doing great)
Anyway, before swapping Motherboards I thought, Hey, why not swap this Video Card for something else first and see if that makes a difference.
After powering down Linux Mint, I pulled the PC power cord from the back, removed the card in question and replaced it with another card I knew had no problems.
I also burned another install DVD for re-installing linux Mint…..I do recall having my first mint 14 DVD burn fail.
(why had I not thrown it away?)
Anyway, when rebooted, the BIOS configuration screen popped up again, including the case intrusion alarm. This board had set for a couple of years and was not holding the BIOS info when unplugged, so, I once again set the BIOS.
(looks like it’s time for a new motherboard battery)
After a successful install disk integrity check I rebooted, re-installed and then booted into the new system. I immediately fired up system monitor and happily found that all 4 processors were now running at or below 5%; apparently my work was done…..almost.
Once again I installed all new updates for Linux Mint 14 and then restored from backup all my favorite software applications, then did system updates again so we were completely up to date.
Next I fired up Virtual Box and installed XP Pro so I could run Microsoft’s Silverlight with Firefox to view Netflix.
(XP PRO because it is supported by Microsoft till 2020)
Then I set my hard drive partition’s file system checks (fsck) at boot using tune2fs. After that I added the finishing touches to the desktop by placing programs icons in the bottom panel; also I changed the theme and desktop picture to suit me. The Computer was now ready to move into our bedroom. But first, a new motherboard battery from the local hardware store and then reconfigure the BIOS once more.
Yup, I just gotta say, a job well done paul
Now, I can sit in bed and work on my blog, or watch Netflix, or pay bills or read books on our 50″ flat screen, or……well, the list goes on.
I think though that soon I will need to find or make a backrest pillow for my wife and I so we can sit “COMFORTABLY” and watch TV because, if I lay down and watch TV, in no time at all, I’m out.
Sweet dreams y’all