Computer niggles

I have a super-duper computer. Only one problem – it hasn’t booted to be stable in over a year since it was assembled out of parts. I’ve finally done a complete strip down to bare essentials today, and initially found that the problem was nothing to do with sound card, motherboard peripherals or indeed any of the drives or RAID cards. In a flash of inspiration, I took out the rather dandy PCI-E graphics card and gingerly plugged another graphics card that I have owned since the dawn of time* (almost) into a PCI slot. Bugger me, it worked! Booted fine and was stable. It seems that there is actually an issue with the motherboard BIOS and the graphics card. All I need to do now is download the most recent BIOS for the board and work out how to flash it.

*Guillemont Voodoo Phoenix Banshee. Computing graphical power, 90s style. I cannot believe I’ve owned this baby from new for the last 11 years. I thought at the time that its manufacturer’s ten year garentee was long, but it’s outlived even that. “Feel the scorching power of 16Mb on board GRAM!” – I think that’s along the lines of what it said on the box it originally came in. Quite.

My Father’s computer appears to have a flat CMOS battery. The computer is seven years old, but thanks to a bit of extra RAM over the years, still does what he needs it to do perfectly well. However, a flat CMOS battery means the BIOS clock resets to the 1st of January 2002 every time it is turned on. This, understandably, causes some issues with his software, which is not happy at thinking that it was installed way in the future.

Can CMOS batteries be replaced? I seem to recall they look just like watch batteries. What would be a good source of a replacement? I’m thinking that watch repairers might be a good point of call, but is there anything I need to watch out for?