Friday, November 21, 2008

Computer trouble? Try pulling the plug!

Let me refresh this very well known joke:

Three people had carpool: a mechanical engineer, a electrical engineer and a Computer engineer. But the car suddenly broke down.

Mechanical engineer said: "Hey! It has to be the fuel injection. Lemme fix it."

The electrical engineer didn't agree: "It's magneto probably. I'll fix it."

Computer Engineer shoke his head and said: "Hey guys, I have a simpler idea: Let's just close all the windows, get out of the car, then get back into it, and it should run!"

Well, it's very common to turn your computer off and on (or restart) if you ever encounter any problem. But don't you think that's the traditional method?? Better try pulling the plug while computer is ON!!!

You think I'm joking?? I have two situations where this always works..

1. kacpid eating all of my CPU

This happens time to time in my PC's Linux installation. The CPU is almost exploding at 90% load and it turns out that it's kacpid process eating all the CPU. Passing the kernel option to turn off the acpi altogether solves the problem, but it also turns off the hyperthreading.

After a lot of googling, this came up..

After booting windows when boot linux kacpid starts, to stop it just cut the power supply to your PC including UPS if any , without shutting down (obviously after saving data) when linux desktop is active. yes i am saying that take the power cord out.

Now switch on the power of ur machine & boot linux, kacpid will not appear.(hopefully)

Yup, when you hear the fan shouting too loud, just pull the plug!

2. CDboot memory overflow error

Recently i also got this one out of the blue. I was trying to install Windows in a machine and while booting from CD, i got the message, "CDboot memory overflow error". Googled again and found a wonderful solution:

.. Don't laugh but it turns out that somehow the power plug came loose (I had a fan plugged into the cd prongs and then the power supply plugged in behind it.) so I took it out and plugged the power supply directly into it and viola.

Yup, pull off the plug again!!

Reminds me of this 'Magic' with MIT AI Lab's PDP-10. Computers are crazy machines.


  1. cracked me up.. heh Jwala.. Although at first I was like acpi=off dude..

    then your like HyperThreading willn't be available ... w00t!

  2. That helps, however if the computer isn't really having a serious problem. I often do that as well, especially when my PC hangs and it have to take how many minutes before it gets it recovery. Restarting sometimes is the best option.