Friday, February 29, 2008

First The G.I. Joe Fan Club, Now This!

Last night I officially became a member of the Shattered CD-Rom Club! I was sitting at one computer, doing I-don't-remember-what (probably playing Desktop Tower Defense; I'm in relapse, which is part of why posting is light this week), and my wife was at the other playing Diablo II.

We heard a cracking sound, loud enough to startle us both. Neither of us could tell where it had come from, but it sounded like perhaps one of our many bookshelves had given way under its burden and snapped. We took a look around the room, but couldn't find anything out of place.

Shrugging it off, we returned to our games. However, my wife's game of Diablo II had frozen up. She couldn't even use the Windows key to get back out to the desktop, or bring up Task Manager to close it. Being our domestic tech support, I took a quick look and told her that we'd probably have to restart the PC the hard way, by turning the power off and back on.

Then I thought of another idea - ejecting the disc, which needs to be in the drive to play Diablo II. Just in the milliseconds as my finger moved toward the eject button, I realized what had happened.

Sure enough, the tray would only open partway, and as it did, shards of plastic and slivers of silver dust that had recently been the CD label came spilling out.

I managed to pull the tray all the way open, as you'll see shortly. I wound up taking the drive out of the PC and taking it apart to remove as much debris as I could. I used a vacuum cleaner and cotton swabs to clean the drive's innards, but still couldn't get it all.

Remarkably, when I reassembled and reinstalled the drive, it still worked. In fact, my wife played Diablo II some more this evening on the same PC with the same drive. Lite-On makes a hardy product. Fortunately, the disc that met its violent demise was just a backup copy (*ahem*), and we had another.

Enough rambling. Here's a picture of what I saw when I first got the drive tray open. (Nope, these pictures won't all be random and unrelated to the article, although this is the first one I've posted that isn't.)

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