I'm the friend Ray was trying to help during his football game.
After hearing a loud pop and smelling a burnt odor, the screen froze up. As I was reaching to power down the computer manually, another loud pop and more burnt odor. After the storm, I tried rebooting the computer, but got nada on the monitor screen. No post and no beeps. I knew the modem had taken a hit, but now assumed incorrectly that the mo-bo or cpu or power supply also took a toll.
I've had other modems take a direct hit, but the computer would still boot up and give me an error message of 'no dial tone'. This one gave me squat.
Replaced the power supply first. Nothing.
Replaced the mo-bo (Gigabyte Titan originally) with an Abit board that was in my spare computer in the process of being put together. Wanted to use my server case. The Abit uses the identical CPU and RAM. Swapped it out, and installed all the same cards from the Gigabyte board since I knew I was going to have to activate for new hardware anyhow because of the mo-bo. Again, nada on a boot...no post screen, no beeps.
Replaced the video card first...again, nada. Took out all the rest of the cards, continuous beeping. Ray checked the user manual for me since he had a .pdf file for it on his harddrive. RAM issue. Reseated all of the RAM and the system powered up with a post screen and a post beep.
Put all the cards back in.....nada again. Okay, now I'm po'd.
Started at the bottom edge of pci slot cards...firewire port, modem, sound, etc. and worked my way up to the video card. Firewire port out, nada. Modem out........VOILA.
Replaced the modem with an identical one new in the box, put the firewire port back in, booted up and immediately got the XP window to activate again due to severe hardware change (mobo). It dialed out and activated immediately no problem. All drivers for the hardware were still in the registry for XP since it was all the same stuff, including the SATA drivers for the boot drive, and I've been back in business.
Fortunately, this was MY system and not some customer's that I was troubleshooting a repair for. Four days of working on this system and troubleshooting an actual customer's system at the same was taking its toll here. Frustration was going back and forth between the two rooms. Her problem turned out to be a bad harddrive that would allow a repair of XP and even a new install, but would end up trashed after the third reboot or so. Waiting on the new harddrive to arrive to finish up hers. It started off with a severely infected system and kept going south from there after cleaning it all up.
Anyway...I'm good to go, and the Gigabyte mobo is probably still good and will be put into my spare system. Modem card that got hit is obviously already at the road waiting for the trash truck to arrive tomorrow morning. I'm almost ashamed to call myself an 'expert' on computer repair/builds when hardware is involved when it never dawned on me even once to just simply remove the freaking modem card.