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Computer won't Boot - Help please

Discussion in 'Community Broadband & Computers' started by afgm, Jan 11, 2010.

  1. afgm

    afgm Ashburn Farm Resident

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    My PC was working fine until I came down this morning and saw that it attempted to reboot itself. The Gateway screen was up but XP had not loaded. The fans were on high speed the way the always do on start up. Normally after start up they slow down.

    I've checked all internal cables and power connections, blow out all dust, and tried to re-boot several times.

    At each attempt to boot, it begins to boot and doesn't get past the Gateway splash screen. I can't even get to the BIOS.

    The hard drive is spinning and it just seems to not be kicking off the operating system. I removed the hard drive and tried to start just for kicks, and the Gateway splash screen came up. I am thinking that something isn't working from the mother board talking to the hard drive.

    Any ideas?

    If I need to take this to someone in the area to have it looked at, any suggestions other than GeekSquad?

    Thanks.
     
  2. Villager

    Villager Ashburn Village Resident

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    Do you have a boot CD? If so, try that (not that I'm trying to insult you by saying you wouldn't have done that already...). If not, try putting any CD in the drive and see if your computer tries to read it - if it tries and cannot it might give you other boot options and possible access to BIOS.

    The regular "keep pushing the F2 key while the machine starts to boot" isn't working?
     
  3. gunzour

    gunzour "Living on the Edge"

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    Have you tried booting from a CD? Another things to try if you are comfortable with it is to re-seat the memory and any graphics cards etc.

    Is it beeping at all? If so listen for the pattern and try to look that up with the PC or motherboard manufacturer as that is usually a diagnostic code.
     
  4. grape

    grape New Member

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    I ran into similar problem before and it turned out to be a bad IDE port on the mother board. I had recovered from this issue by using the SATA port for harddisk since the mother board came with both IDE and SATA ports.
     
  5. Steve Campot

    Steve Campot Broadlands Real Estate Broker

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    If that doesn't work take it too Best Buy in Reston. The Geek Squad desk fixed mine while I waited.

    Good Luck,
    Steve
    www.sgcrealestate.com
     
  6. afgm

    afgm Ashburn Farm Resident

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    It won't boot past the motherboard. I've tried F2 and F8 but I think it doesn't even get that far. It will stay on the Gateway splash screen and that's it.

    I have not tried a boot CD. Not sure if I have one, damn.

    I did replace the small "watch" size battery on the motherboard thinking that it may have lost power. No change.

    The Reston Best Buy experience sounds encouraging. Any other 3rd party suggestions?

    I do have the Windows disk, I'll try to boot off of that.

    Thank you for all the suggestions!
     
  7. Villager

    Villager Ashburn Village Resident

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    If I'm not mistaken, the Windows disk should function as a boot disk. What version of Windows do you have?

    When I upgraded to Windows 7 recently I made sure (I think...) to create a boot CD. I also purchased a Seagate portable hard drive and did a system restore thingamajiggie. And I do backups once in a while to it so if the system crashes I haven't lost everything. One of those things people say you should do but I never bothered to until then.

    Good luck!
     
  8. afgm

    afgm Ashburn Farm Resident

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    Luckily I have my data backed up. Most of it that is, probably some pictures that aren't. I have XP. I tried booting with the Windows disk in and it wouldn't take.
     
  9. Mr. Linux

    Mr. Linux Senior Member & Moderator Forum Staff

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    AFGM, if I had to take a guess, I would say your power supply is shot. Take it to a place where they can run some diagnostics on your rig, unless you have a geek friend who has a couple hours to spare to go over to your place and try stuff out.
     
  10. flynnibus

    flynnibus Well-Known Member Forum Staff

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    what linux said..

    key is to isolate. Often a bad connection/compoent can cause a system to fail to post like this. Since you are able to POST - you're data/etc is likely fine.

    Minimize the rig.. unplug the HD cable from the mobo, the CDROM, anything else, and any external accessories. Ensure the video card (if used) is seated properly. Only have the keyboard and monitor hooked up. Try to power it. If it doesn't POST (give you the beeps and bios screen), remove the memory from the mobo and try again. If it still doesn't post, its mobo or power supply.

    Given the randomness of the event ... it's likely the power supply. But often bad RAM or IDE connection can bring down a system from POSTing. That's why you minimize it to be sure if you don't have a Power supply readily available.

    I'd do those things.. and if no one has a spare to test with, I'd spend the $30 and order a replacement PS from newegg.
     
  11. lindpro

    lindpro New Member

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  12. afgm

    afgm Ashburn Farm Resident

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    All, thank you for the suggestions. After following your advice and isolating things it does seem to be the MOBO or the power supply. Can power supplies go bad and still run most components? The CD lights up, the hard drive is spinning, and the fans are on. One clue maybe that the fans stay on at a high rate of speed. Normally after booting it then drops back down to a regular rate, this is not happening. Sure seems a lot easier to replace the power supply than the MOBO.

    I am guessing a $30 power supply is the cheapest way to go first. Are all power supplies compatible? What type should I look for.

    Thanks all for the suggestions.

    p.s. I am posting to Broadlands Forum from a different computer.
     
  13. grape

    grape New Member

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    I don't believe it is the power supply is causing problem here since it is powering the motherboard. It could be bad hard drive and you can try replacing it with a used one to see if the problem goes away.
     
  14. JLC

    JLC Member

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    My old PC was having issues similar to yours and by unplugging all the extras, I was able to get it to boot. Eventually figured out it was my external drive causing the problem.
     
  15. Mr. Linux

    Mr. Linux Senior Member & Moderator Forum Staff

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    Power supplies can and do go bad over time. Many times, they don't just fail, but slowly produce less and less power on the outputs. Eventually, there's simply not enough 'juice' coming out of the power supply to run everything.

    So yes, even though SOME power is coming out of it (hence the mobo lighting up), it's still very probable that the power supply is on its last legs.

    That's why it was suggested that all components be removed until all that's left is the mobo, the video card and some memory. Slowly add the rest of the components until the box fails. At that point, you'll either have found a bad component, or reached the point where the power supply simply cannot produce enough power to run everything currently 'plugged in'...
     
  16. Zeratul

    Zeratul Well-Known Member

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    I'll bet a beer that it is the power supply... had this happen to me before. You most likely will only need a basic power supply from what you mentioned and they are pretty cheap. Just go with a good name brand... not good to press your luck on a power supply.
     
  17. Mr. Linux

    Mr. Linux Senior Member & Moderator Forum Staff

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    Additionally, if you decide to go this route, look at the output of your current power supply (300W, 450W, 500W, etc) and make sure you get AT LEAST the same output power. If at all possible, go with something a bit higher; the extra 'juice' available will enable you to have more peripherals connected without running out of power. Never, ever go lower than what you are replacing.
     
  18. Sasquatch519

    Sasquatch519 Member

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    I've never heard of a power supply slowly dying like that, I'm only ever had them just cease turning on. I'll have to take everyone else at their word if they've had this happen before, but I've never see it happen that way.

    When buying a power supply, you need to pay attention to the wattage which is on the label, but also the brand. I've been told that different companies measure wattage differently, so a no-name 500 watt supply might be equal to a 350 watt name brand, or something like that. I've always had good luck with Antec power supplies, so I'll give them a "plug" (no pun intended).

    Hard drives have a ton of tiny moving parts, I've had them fail much more regularly than any other PC component, so that would be my first guess as to the problem.
     
  19. flynnibus

    flynnibus Well-Known Member Forum Staff

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    Yes, because the power supply outputs different voltages. It's possible the 12V rails are fine, but not the 5V, etc.

    Motherboards rarely fail over time... they fail due to 'accidents'.. electrical incidents... shorts.. etc. But bad components can cause a motherboard to fail to POST.

    Your key milestone is the POST. Where you hear the beep, the computer goes through it's memory test, detects the CPU and video card. In a 'classic' setup, you'd see all this on the screen, and it would be accompanied by a single beep. Many machines offer diagnostic info based on the beep pattern. But a lot of systems now replace the POST screen with a logo screen unless you hit some special key. But the no beep is your key.

    The devices powering up just means they are getting their 12V after you've switched the power on.

    Other components when they fail *can* have odd impacts on the POST, but harder to predict.. that's why the cut to the chase is to isolate the minimum you need to POST (mobo, power, video, keyboard) and then work upwards from there adding more.

    Power Supplies do fail over time. They are the least reliable component (sans maybe harddrives) in modern computers. They can fail over essentially nothing.. sometimes they fail by powering off, and then will never power back up, etc. A lot of analog components in a PS that can fatigue or just fail. Most are so poorly built to be cheap.

    There are a few factors
    - the size - generally a non-issue as long as its the regular form factors. ATX. Some slim line PCs or special case designs are more unique
    - the power output - It will be clearly marked on the power supply what the total output is. You should replace it with at least what is there. More is better, but it doesn't give you anything more unless your components need it.
    - the connectors - Each generation of CPUs has generally added new power requirements. This has resulted in the main motherboard connector changing, as well as having addition power connectors for the board. What you should look at is your current connections to the board and count the # of pins. I forget the exact milestones when the changes were, but basically more pins (for power) were added, and you may have an additional power connector (4 pin). The others are generally just 'how many extras do you have). But there often is some fudge room depending on where your fans are plugged in, etc. Basically you're just trying to match at least what you already have.

    The last point can be a little bit of a PITA if you aren't into this crap every day. I'm not anymore, but I know enough to dig myself out when needed :)

    If the patient isn't too hard to move... you're free to run over to my place tonight and I'll help you pick out a replacement online. Just PM me if you need to.. I'm at home recoverying from Lasik today so basically idled...
     
  20. Villager

    Villager Ashburn Village Resident

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