Self-tutoring about computer maintenance: the tutor shares about diagnosing a fading CMOS cell on an aging computer.
We’ve run this Windows 7 computer as our main one since April 2010. Like often seems to happen with a Windows computer, or maybe with anything that lasts a long time, it seems to have gotten better with age. However, perhaps sometime last summer, it began to struggle. My regular readers have noticed posts about my investigation herein.
The computer started running fast even when idle. Then, it wouldn’t wake up after going to sleep. In the morning we’d have to try over and over again to start it. It always did, eventually. What was the problem?
The diagnostics would report an unspecified hardware change as the potential problem. They were right, it turns out, but what, in particular, was the cause?
Early in my research I read that the CMOS cell might need replacing. Typically they are not rechargeable in this context, so like the cell in a calculator or watch, they do die eventually.
Yet, a key symptom of CMOS cell retirement is that the computer doesn’t keep proper time. This one continued to, so I doubted the CMOS cell was fading.
The computer started up easier without any extras attached – USB drives, etc. I finally read that, when a computer is booting, the CMOS cell allows the BIOS to reach out and coordinate the loading of the drivers for the devices attached. A struggling CMOS cell may no longer be able facilitate a boot. I decided the CMOS cell must be dying, even if the computer still did keep proper time.
I looked up our model and discovered that, like many others, its CMOS cell is the CR2032. I opened up the computer, removed it (indeed, it was a CR2032), and replaced it with a fresh one.
This computer started up like it was new and has run perfectly since. I have high hopes we’ll get another eight years out of it:)Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.