back to article BOFH: Chilling the bearings

"So what are we looking at here?" the PFY says as the Boss humps a desktop machine into Mission Control. "It's dead," the Boss says, tapping the cover of the machine gently. "Dead as in DEAD or dead as in it's not booting properly?" "I... it's not booting properly." "Right then, slap her on the desk and I'll have a gander …


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  1. Tom

    Round up the usual suspects....

    ....looks like the beginning of a beautiful relationship.

    Of course, I've been reading another thread ofer on Risks about voting machines, fraud, and "how to".

    p.s. Staying up late in sillycon valley zzzzzzzzzzz

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    The bastards - revealing all the trade secrets!!

    Seriously though, overnight is overkill... 30 minutes is more than enough.

    Also: be sure to encase the drive in something to make sure it doesn't get condensation on the electrics when it defrosts.

    The trick can work wonders... we have had to run a drive in a freezer before but the best way to do it is with a long(ish) USB lead on a USB-IDE adapter, and run the disk in the freezer with the PC (and operator) outside it.

    Also works when you stick it out of the window in the middle of winter!

    But where was the 'gentle tap with a sledgehammer to free up the stuck heads'? Surely that would be the first suggestion from any real BOFH when the importance of the spreadsheet is known.

  3. Brian Cooper

    What happened to Episode 29??

    Too many visits from the cattle prod methinks.....

  4. Michael Born

    Speaking of IT management...

    I gotta say ti is good to see the BOFH back on form, and as 'cool' as ever!

    I can think of at least 1 manager I have at the moment that could do with clloing down (and I'm not talking about a period in neanderthol chilling!)

    Not only does he take upton 4 hours to reposnd to an 'emergency@ (yours, not mine!) request, but when he does reposnd to a face-to-face meeting request, he phones me form the other end of the offcie to 'talk about it'

    Now, where did I leave the keys to the canteen freezer.....They must be here somehere...Ahhh, here theyare, now where do I access his online diary again???

    Management, you gotta love them to hate them, to know them to make sure that the beahve or esle!!!

  5. Rob Mossop

    Episode 29

    Ta da (it's at the bottom of the front page as well, just the archive page that hasn't been updated)

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    RE: What happened to Episode 29??

  7. Jean Stone

    Hair Dryer?

    I must be thick, what does the BOFH want one for?

  8. laird cummings

    Cutting to the chase...

    ...A mate of mine is seriously into overclocking. He got tired of dealing with heatsinks and fans and whatnot, and tried using mini-fridges as cases for some of his more extreme projects. They're a bit clunky, size-wise, but they work.

  9. jonathan keith

    Hair dryer

    I'd assume it would be to erase the j'accuse carved into a sheet of frosted ice. But I could be wrong...

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hair dryer

    I believe the hair dryer will be necessary to burn the message into the ice on the wall. One must provide the proper tools.

    I'm not sure, but that's how I took it.

  11. Alien8n

    Hair Dryer

    To melt the ice on the walls where the boss has incriminated them of course.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Freezing drives

    Been doing that for ages, way back to the good old days before b****** OSX. But 'I' thought it wasn't the bearings sticking (although there was a time back then when that did happen to certain makes of drive) but the read/write head positioning going ape. The electro magnet loses its ability to position correctly and eventually the drive just sits there with that typical whir/clicking noise. The hairdryer is usefull to cool the drive case (on full strength cold blow) and gain a few more minutes before the freezing wears off.

    I remember back in the days of early System7, a DTP machine going naughty, middle of the night, job due at the printers next morning 8am. A hairdryer kept that under control (although it was another component not the drive that time).


  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Another trick

    Altho, slightly harder to kill someone this way, is to boot off of a Knoppix CD, then when it can't read a file off the HDD, it doesn't kill the OS, just errors and Knoppix tries to copy it again. Sure, it takes forever, but I've had great experience with it.

  14. Rhys


    I've known one geek making a system source a load of translucent blue goo about the viscosity of cooking oil, non-conducting, non-penetrative coolant. Pull apart a beer fridge and coil the chiller tubes around the base of an aquarium and cover with plastic fake stones and a few plastic plants, set up the motherboard so it looks like a sunken wreck... the drives were sprayed with an aerosol silicon rubber spray, to keep any liquid from entering the inanrds and wer submerged as well. Only the power supply and CD-ROM Drive were not submerged.

    With a few plastic fish and a couple of LED lights it looked cool :D

  15. Sav

    @ Rhys

    Surely you must have some photos of that - if not, please get some. I may be a bit on the geeky side here but that must have looked amazing

  16. Brian Kelsay

    Chillin drives

    Back in 2002, I dealt with a bunch of Gateway machines with 10-20 GB Maxtor drives. We had an extra PC with the lid off and guts out, that we could slap these drives in to pull off data. We used a different disk as OS drive. We'd put these drives in the freezer for 30 min to a couple hours.

    They had a chip on them that got wicked hot when they were going bad. So hot that once, while working on one of the dodgy drives, I laid the help ticket on top of the drive and the paper ignited. Yes, folks, flames erupted from the paper on the chip. Luckily it was a small fire. Another time it was just the chip, without paper that burst into flames.

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