Fixing a server with a business card – literally!

I’ve just fixed a server with my business card.

I’m sure I have made comments along the lines of “if you know someone with IT problems they only need my business card” during my 60 second BNI slots, although that’s usually covered by my memory hook: “Don’t just press any key, press the HDG key!

I just never thought it could be that simple. Of course, it isn’t quite that simple, but the story goes like this…


Insert Card Here
Insert Card Here

We have an HP ProLiant ML110 G7 server on the bench that belongs to a client. Rather than them suffer downtime I swapped out their drives to a replacement server over the weekend, so that I could contact HP at a less hectic moment.

The server was freezing during boot up, at the “Power and Thermal Calibration in Progress…” stage. The usual diagnosis steps got us nowhere, so I popped along to the HP Online Chat. As the person at the other end described various parts of the system, I thought he was directing me to the little “System Maintenance Switch” – a set of dip switches for various tasks. But no, the next instruction took me by surprise:

“Slide a credit card or similar size card between the motherboard and gasket. Then try turning it on.”

I inserted a business card, pushed the power switch and muttered “yeah, right!”

And sure enough, it booted up.

As it happens, that means it needs a new motherboard but as we support a few of these servers out there, I will remember that emergency fix tip for the future!

In the meantime, HP will be here tomorrow to install a new motherboard. Now that’s service.


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Jonathan Gwyer

Jonathan Gwyer first delved into geekery with a ZX81 in 1981 and has been working in IT since 1990.

A Microsoft Certified Professional with many years of large corporate experience and training, he now focuses on helping small businesses make the most of their IT.
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Fixing a server with a business card – literally!

by Jonathan Gwyer time to read: 1 min