I've been incredibly lucky with my computers over the years, rarely experiencing technical problems. But yesterday, when I fired up my HP Pavilion Slimline desktop, nothing. The power lights come on, but then...silence. No boot-up screen. This happened once before, and after four or five retries, the machine did its thing. But this time, nothing worked. I opened the hood, reseated all the plugs and cards, consulted the Great Internets, and the diagnosis, confirmed by our PC hardware expert at work, is that my motherboard is dead. They aren't made anymore, and I found a few for sale on eBay for about $100. Seeing as how the whole system cost $700 originally, and I'd have to rip the whole thing apart to replace the motherboard, and I'm a little wary about buying it off eBay...I think I'm going to do the following:
Install Vista on one of my spare laptops and then reimage with the full image backup I performed right after the last time the machine wouldn't boot. It's sitting on the 1TB MyBook drive on our SAN.
Extract the hard drive, install it in a SATA-to-USB enclosure, and access it from my main XP laptop. Most of my important data is already synced with the desktop, but there's some other stuff I'd like to copy over.
Buy a stand-alone tuner and use the 22 inch 1080p monitor as the TV in my study.
Save the keyboard, mouse, and DVD drive for future use.
Shitcan the empty shell (dead motherboard and power supply).
I'll use my main laptop as my primary machine for the time being. At some point I may replace the desktop with a *gasp* Mac, since I've never had one and the advent of OSX, which is basically a Unix variant, intrigues me.