Computer Debugging

April 8, 2007 at 10:49 pm (Links)

I received a computer from a client who was complaining that their 1 year old HP was having strange problems.  Knowing their history, the first thing that I suspected was adware/spyware/virii.  The problem was quite simple – the computer would turn itself off after having only run for a few minutes.

When I got the machine hooked up in my office, it wouldn’t power on at all.  The  LED on the power supply was green, but the  on button had no effect.   This usually means that the power supply or the  motherboard is bad.  I cracked the case, and found a really unusual surprise….

I put the cover back on, and took it out on the deck to finish the ‘de-bugging’.

Here is what I saw when I first opened the case:

Yep, those are bugs.  Fortunately they are all dead.

It quickly became obvious that I wouldn’t be able to just shake them out of the case, so I began removing components.  The first thing that came out was the CPU fan and housing, which revealed (you guessed it) more bugs.

These were under the fan bracket.

These are next to the modem.

Here, all the peripherals are out of the box.  It looks like I’m going to have to keep going.

I think that this is where the problem is – there is a bug carcass wedged between the two copper coils in the upper part of this picture – I don’t think that the dead one on the USB connector cover here is doing any real harm…

So I pulled the motherboard out.

Here’s a closer shot of the critter stuck to the coils.

Finally, the case is empty and can be dumped.  You can see the pile-o-critters in the left of the case, next to the white wire bundle.

I cleaned everything out, checked to make sure that there weren’t any in the power supply, re-assembled it and guess what?  It’s bug free now – in more ways than one.

Interestingly, the term ‘bug’ supposedly originated from a moth that was causing problems with a Harvard Mark II computer.  The moth, taped to the log book, had caused a short in a relay.  The term was actually in use before, but it makes a good story, which can be found at .



  1. Elaine said,

    Well, you’ve managed to convince me that I need to disconnect my computer, open it up and give it a good cleaning. Mostly just a good vacuuming but if I find bugs I’ll have to ask the husband to complete the task – partly because the sight of bugs gives me the willies and partly because I will not take parts out of the machine, I’m afraid that I’ll do more damage than good if I do it – he’s the taker-a parter of all things mechanical or electrical. 🙂

    Thanks for sharing though. Your friend is lucky to have you to take their computer to, your fee must be very reasonable.

  2. gingerporter said,

    Yeah….usually free……

  3. Lisa said,

    Ok, I now am totally grossed out! I live in Florida and I HATE BUGS!

  4. missplacedalaskan said,

    GROSS!!!! I am glad the machine is debugged but NASTY!

  5. Sheri said,

    Thanks for the warning, Ginger. But, it didn’t work. I had to come see.

    You should really be careful about the computers you bring home! lol

  6. gingerporter said,

    I really did try to warn you…..:)

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