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When Servers Explode 142

1sockchuck writes "Have you ever lost your patience with a server? We're not sure who was the first person to intentionally blow up a server, but plenty of others have followed in their footsteps, and many seem to have captured the event on video. The Gallery of Exploding Servers documents the sometimes incendiary relationship between man and machine. Those who prefer a kinder, gentler disposition may prefer the guide to Flying and Crashing Servers."


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When Servers Explode

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  • Servers just explode. Natural causes.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by mc1138 ( 718275 )
      Just like when people spontaneously combust... perfectly natural...
    • It happened to me (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Toe, The ( 545098 ) on Thursday February 19, 2009 @01:55PM (#26919159)

      I used to admin this rickety old voicemail system which had been set up (by someone else, mind you) on a generic ("white box") DOS PC with a million cards sticking out of it.

      One day, I came in to the office to complaints that the voicemail was down. I found the machine unresponsive, so rebooted it. I suspected the drive wasn't spinning because I didn't hear much sound coming from it. Due to loud noise in the closet, I held my ear to the box to listen better.

      As I set my head against the server, the true problem became painfully evident... the cooling fan had stopped spinning, the PC had completely overheated, and it chose that moment for the power supply to literally explode from the heat. A plume of pure white smoke came out with a loud popping sound... My ear was ringing for hours afterward.

      OK, so it didn't actually tear apart into tiny pieces, but it did effectively blow up.

      • by Darkk ( 1296127 )

        Yep, I've actually heard a XT-PC power supply blew up in the office once. It sounded like a gun that went off. So when I went to see what happened all I saw was white smoke coming from the PC. I was like, "Ok, I guess I'll have to order a new power supply for it". LOL

    • by jetsci ( 1470207 ) on Thursday February 19, 2009 @01:58PM (#26919209) Homepage Journal

      Servers just explode. Natural causes.'re doing it wrong...

    • Yes, just like some object just fall to some wall.
  • by oodaloop ( 1229816 ) on Thursday February 19, 2009 @01:29PM (#26918757)
    No. I stole something else.
  • Neal Stephenson's novel Snow Crash [] was named after a supposed phenomenon of the early days of computing where a failure was so bad that the display device went berserk and showed only television-style static. Is this kind of crash real or apocryphal? It does seem unlikely.
    • Re:Snow crashes? (Score:5, Informative)

      by atomicthumbs ( 824207 ) <> on Thursday February 19, 2009 @01:37PM (#26918891) Homepage
      It was real. Sometimes programs would lose their minds and write all over the video memory.
    • Real, video memory was (and still is without OS) writeable just like any memory. When an application went berserk writing into memory, you got garbadge on your screen. today the application simply segfaults in the same condition.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by hummassa ( 157160 )

        In the old days, when we liked to have an onion in our belts, because it was fashionable than, the Z-80 processor that drove our computer was the same that drove the video, i.e., took the bytes from the video memory and generated the corresponding image in the CRT. So, if you crashed the processor very badly, and it stopped responding to video interrupts, then your image generator could go "out". If it was connected to an RF generator (which was also fashionable at the day), it could turn that off also, and

        • I had a lot of fun with my 6502 copying the BASIC interpreter into the video RAM then bubble sorting it with a little bit of machine code.
    • On a semi related note, I once was told that on some very early Commodore models (with embedded display), you could control the CRT drawing hardware pretty much directly - which means you could reduce the electron beam to a single pixel and scan the whole display with it. Presto! Burnt display!

      I always took that anecdote with a grain of salt, but could anyone confirm (or deny) this? A web search turned up with pretty much nothing...

  • I believe the correct phrasing should be, "When Servers Asplode."

  • Where there some dells that had bad caps that burned down?

  • by damn_registrars ( 1103043 ) * <> on Thursday February 19, 2009 @01:44PM (#26918977) Homepage Journal
    I was tossing decommissioned servers off the roof of my work back in 2000 and 2001. We just didn't have a Youtube to show off on.

    There aren't many things (you can do at work) that are as satisfying as throwing an NT box off a roof...
    • There aren't many things (you can do at work) that are as satisfying as throwing an NT box off a roof...

      Sure there are: Throwing the boss that made you get an NT box in the first place off a roof ...

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        My boss and I at a previous job tossed over 50 old WYSE dummy terminals (that had been sitting in a back room for years) in to a long dumpster to free up storage space. Shot putting old terminals was a great work out, made spectacular shattering noises, and made for great sport seeing who could toss them the furthest. Yes, the dumpster was marked for hazardous waste disposal, before anyone asks.

        Whole company shoulda been marked for hazardous waste disposal too, but that's another story.

    • Beating the crap out of a fax machine with a bat?
    • Throwing a novell box off a roof?
      • Throwing a A href="">Mag Card off the roof.


      • I ran Netware servers for years. I have this sneaking suspicion that a Netware 4.11 server would probably have survived a two story fall without so much as a reboot, based on how well they weathered my years of abuse and neglect.

        • by Darkk ( 1296127 )

          Yep, those things almost never die or need a reboot.

          • by RMH101 ( 636144 )
            I had four freaking years uptime on a Novell box at my old job. For 3 of those, it wasn't doing anything useful, I just didn't want to turn it off. It's probably still there, clocking up the years...
      • by Darkk ( 1296127 )

        Novell never breaks!

    • by ElmoGonzo ( 627753 ) on Thursday February 19, 2009 @04:01PM (#26920995)
      The J Geils Band perfected this concept long ago and were so detail-oriented that when throwing TV's out of hotel room windows they made sure the extension cord was long enough to reach the ground because it was important that the TV be ON when it hit so that it could experience the terror all the way down.
    • by Darkk ( 1296127 )

      Yep, it's always fun smashing things into pieces for the thrill of it.

  • by AmazingRuss ( 555076 ) on Thursday February 19, 2009 @01:45PM (#26919007)

    ...but I've taken two printers out in the driveway and smashed the living crap out of them.

    My new neighbor saw the second one...I was swinging it over my head by the power cord screaming "DIE YOU PIECE OF SHIT" when she came up with a mis-delivered package, and got to watch it shatter into a million pieces when I slammed it into the retaining wall.

    She's still scared of me.

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Glad I'm not your neighbor.

      Maybe you should consider some high blood pressure medication.

    • My old Lexmark 1100 printer met with that fate. Thrown out a third story window into a parking lot. Then of course when my Epson 880 died I harvested parts and then dumpstered it.
    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Did it say 'PC LOAD LETTER'?

    • I had a similar experience. I was in the garage, venting by lifting a few old monitors over my head and smashing them down as hard as I could whilst going "Arrrggghhhhfuckinguselesscomputers!!!". The neighbour poked his head in the door to see if I was OK. Once he saw what was going on, he joined in. I also take old boxen out to a mate's farm where we shotgun them using 00 or solids - very therapeutic, I must say :-)
  • By linking these pages on Slashdot, aren't we just adding to the cruelty against server-kind?

  • I think we just exploded their servers.
  • By the time it take to get the linked webpages, i think we manage to explode (or slashploder ?) 2 more servers from distance.
  • I know of a local woman, here in Northern Arizona, who shot her home computer a few years ago, because she was so frustrated with it. The couple who was her landlord also lived on the property and kicked her out shortly afterwards.

  • I remember a raidcontroller in my office beaping for 2 or 3 weeks because one harddisc was defective and replacement unavailable. If I would have had a bazooka, it would have exploded.
    • by fracai ( 796392 )

      You mean, "If you had a rocket launcher, you'd have made that server pay"?

    • by Darkk ( 1296127 )

      Yes, I know exactly where you're coming from but most decent RAID controllers via the web-bios you can disable the alarm.

      Or open the case up and put a sticky tape over the stupid tiny little speaker so it'll STFU! LOL

  • That was many years ago when we used dial-up connection over phone line. One day we just couldn't get connected and I asked around neighbors, who couldn't either. Later the in the local TV news it was revealed the ISP's server room exploded...
    • That was many years ago when we used dial-up connection over phone line. One day we just couldn't get connected and I asked around neighbors, who couldn't either. Later the in the local TV news it was revealed the ISP's server room exploded...

      Back when filesharing was still in the lab. :)

  • In one clip, the guys were looking at the charred innards of their server, and while it was still smoking. one of the guys asks, "Did you get a backup?" THAT was too funny!

  • by JesseL ( 107722 ) on Thursday February 19, 2009 @01:57PM (#26919183) Homepage Journal

    This was a single board computer that I determined was unrepairable:

    Before []

    During []

    After []

    I love Tannerite.

  • Can't get the site. I hope it's me and the site is not slashdotted, because if it's hit by THIS article the server hosting it might actually explode!
  • Add one more to the list!
  • I feel bad when people take it out on a monitor, it's rarely the monitor's fault.
    • I feel bad when people take it out on a monitor, it's rarely the monitor's fault.

      sure, worry about the monitors... no one ever thinks of the fish.

      Those poor fish, they never stood a chance.

  • by adh72 ( 1161643 ) on Thursday February 19, 2009 @02:06PM (#26919329)
    Woot Off
  • God did it. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by oahazmatt ( 868057 ) on Thursday February 19, 2009 @02:07PM (#26919337) Journal
    I used to work for a small ISP and we had several servers explode. And one melt. We took a direct lightning strike. This storm appeared out of nowhere, two of us were on the phone (because most customers did not have their PCs plugged in during this weather) and then BANG!

    My co-worker's phone began to smoke and slowly warped over 10 minutes. My phone was unresponsive and I couldn't hear anything out of my left ear for three hours.

    Oddly enough there was no structural damage to the building. It took out our mail and radius servers and a few other boxes.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Skapare ( 16644 )
      This happened where I worked a LONG time ago. It took out about 50 modems, 3 communications multiplexers, and 1 mainframe computer.
    • In the mid 1980s, we had cable TV with bad grounding, sparks would jump from the tuner box to the TV and back when lightning would strike up to several miles to the north - was kinda cool, because you'd hear the arcing before the thunder - if the curtains were open you could see that the arcing happened in sync with the strikes (seemed delayed by a fraction of a second, capacitance in the line, I guess.)

      Never had the big boom take out electronics on me, though last year we had a 50' oak tree 40' from the
    • by altek ( 119814 )

      Did you see what GOD just did to us man?!?!!??!!!!!!

  • You know I have had my iPhone crash when someoned called, I had iTunes delete all my music, I had Vista crash on my Dell laptop a hundred times! But hardware failure not so much. I now use Ubuntu Linux on my laptop and I will be fundraising for iPhone Linux. I think open source will help me with my problems and I hope it will help other with hardware problems.
    • Consumer hardware is pants. Bits flip and stuff randomly breaks - sometimes one leads to the other. It's a miracle that this messaË even reaches you at allËÎÏ

      • It's true, but I will say that there is something to be said about good software, using the iPhone we see how much software alone can do with just a touch screen and Internet, and cell phone connection! I think should be a focus on software improvement just like there is in hardware improvement and that, I beleive will only happen in Linux, or what Apple takes from the OSS community.
  • by srussia ( 884021 ) on Thursday February 19, 2009 @02:19PM (#26919533)
    Be nice to whoever is handling your food!
  • Hey

    my site (just pictures) has been online for 15 years. []

    Funny enough it is always on the fist links in google when searching "how to repair a pc" :-)

    • Cool! One PC less on earth. Life is again worth living!
      That was funny, I like the chainsaw part. You should put this on the shared drive at work before you leave for a better job since in the other article people are talking about documenting procedures and not wanting to because they are thinking about job security.
      • well that website is known to everyone at my company, it existed even before I applied for a job.
        If a company is not able to distinguish between fun an job, then it's the wrong company.

  • I wanted to blow up my Windows server by feeding it with 12470 volts. But I think Microsoft is in bed with the power company because they refused my request to connect directly to the 12470 volt wires up on the pole.
    • by rHBa ( 976986 )
      Do you live near a railway line? Preferably one with a 'live rail' rather than overhead cables.
      • It's not the volts that kills you. It's the amps. (Obscure)

        • by srussia ( 884021 )

          It's not the volts that kills you. It's the amps. (Obscure)

          Actually its the Ohms. If you were a perfect conductor, you'd be fine.

  • We're not sure who was the first person to intentionally blow up a server, but plenty of others have followed in their footsteps, and many seem to have captured the event on video.

    We're not sure who was the first person to intentionally pop a baloon, but plenty of others have followed in their footsteps, and many seem to have captured the event on video.

    We're not sure who was the first person to intentionally eat a sandwich, but plenty of others have followed in their footsteps, and many seem to have captur

  • Still down. Oh we of the great /.! We salute you! Another one bites the dust.
  • Just for reference

    • When Servers Explode
    • When Good Servers Go Bad
    • Servers Gone Wild
    • World's Dumbest Servers
    • World's Scariest Server Explosions
    • Gone In Seconds: Servers
    • When Servers Attack (Due out in 2012)
  • Now, I've never blown up a server... but I've met several that deserved it.

    I'm indebted to those that posted here, and heartily, if tearfully, thank them. That made my day.


    Now, can we do something about the Canadian government? I know they're supposed to "serve" us, but look at the track record. Our politicians have only twenty digits. Ancient MIT devices parsing primes could do better back in the eighties. Please, please! Send up an Obama replacement for our "server," and we won't nuke it!


    After your Pres

  • I totally just did a double take when it said only 6 comments,then I realized its not news, its idle.
  • ...lmao! the fish-flying-into-the-new-tank analogy slays me

  • In any DTP class at least one student would declare that either they hated computers or computers hated them.
    "But dear student it is just a hunk of plastic and metal, it honestly harbours no feelings for you neither good nor bad."
    This was in a room where six imacs were set to giggle randomly.
  • Flaming Printer (Score:3, Informative)

    by cbuskirk ( 99904 ) on Thursday February 19, 2009 @03:32PM (#26920581)

    Never had a server explode on me but I did get a call once 10 years ago when I was working tech support at a University from a scared professor about a his printer smoking. I told him to unplug it and laughed thinking it was the usual type of user hysterics. I smell a little bit of burnt plastic thinking maybe there was some plastic left from when the printer was packed up by the manufacturer. I plug it in and right as it starts up its print head check flames start shooting up out of the back of the printer. I quickly extinguished it but looking around we really dodged a bullet. This printer was networked, and sitting on top of a large stack of student papers. The entire room was some college professor cliche with dozens of massive stacks of paper in this tiny 6x6 office. One unattended network print and the entire office goes up in flames in less than a minute.

  • The closest I've come to a pc self-exploding is only partial self-combustion:
    One power-supply: ...that lit the wall up with pretty lights and turned out to be full of disconnected black pieces when I opened it. The fuse in the power cord (5A@240V) blew, meaning more than double the PSU's rating had flown through it. I'm surprised the motherboard survived, let alone everything else in the case.
    One motherboard with optional power-stabilization add-in-card: ...which wasn't itself stable, and fell out. Followed

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      My wife had this PC with an oldish power supply which had a power output so you could power other devices like a monitor. Years ago I built a power board so I could use the PC to switch on speakers, lamp, printer etc. All low power stuff. One cold day she plugged a 2400 watt fan heater into that power board....

      No more power supply after that though the rest of the system was okay.
  • The guys at [] have some serious knowledge on how to destroy some servers... However, it's an ad, so these guys are probably simply paid to kill that old pile of junk. Still, for me (as a good ole weapons-hating european pacifist) it's more or less the only example for allowing every goon to cary around some serious firepower. Schnomp.
  • I have never really understood the exploding computers in Bond movies. Thus, when the slashdotted TFA-site revitalizes itself, I am sure it will host a great gallery of Sean Connery and Roger Moore blowing up mountains and sinking ocean-liners just by shooting at any computer.
  • Whenever I get frustrated with a piece of electronics, I defenestrate [] like mad and feel much better afterward. Just don't do it too much or you might go blind.
  • I want to see movies and pictures of servers blowing up. That site it just two pages of text squeezed between adverts.

    Are server internals flying all over the place and a little fire too much to ask for?

  • I had a hard drive explode in my face. Okay, just a chip on the logic board that went pop and smoke spiraled upward. When my manager wouldn't approve a request for safety goggles ("how often does a hard drive explode?"), I had to go to his manager. I went from exploding hard drive to exploding manager.
    • I have had 2 CDs explode. Your typical 52x CDROM drive can spin up to 10k [] RPM. When one lets loose you know it. The first one blew the front cover off the drive and sent shrapnel into the kitchen which wasn't line of of site. The second time, it wasn't as bad and only destroyed the drive. The first one would have blinded me if I had been in front of the drive. If you see a CD with a crack in the center, get rid of it. It is a time bomb.
  • And in retail.. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by dexotaku ( 1136235 )
    Several years ago while working in the service department of a local retailer, a farmer [this is on the Canadian prairies] brought in his entire system with the power bar it had been plugged into.
    This was one of those power bars that we'd either shrug or laugh off the "$15,000 insurance" advertised on its packaging.
    This guy's home was fed by an overhead power line that split from the mains line between his work sheds and house at a lamp post.
    The lamp post got struck by lightning.
    That was the ONLY ti
  • I saw something like that being sold at the Phoenix Gun show saturday in jars.

What is algebra, exactly? Is it one of those three-cornered things? -- J.M. Barrie