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Problems after adding RAM


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Don Felipe's Avatar
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26-Aug-2012, 10:53 PM #1
Problems after adding RAM
Hi all,

I have an HP Pavilion a749c running XP SP3. It is old, but has been a steady workhorse. As it has slowed down, someone suggested I add more RAM. A Crucial scan showed I have only 512MB, with room for 4GB, Recommendation was to add two 1GB sticks. I did this on Friday. following instructions, and it was not a hard process. I then booted up.

At first I got a blue screen with a bunch of stuff I did not understand. Then it opened Windows, and I thought all was on track. Opening programs, and getting online was faster. Then, after about 15 minutes, it shut itself down and restarted. OK, maybe nothing to worry about! All looked OK, except the Taskbar, which I have at the top of my screen, looked like it does in Safe Mode, grey and basic.

After searching online for possible answers, I found one that suggested I go to 'Control Panel'>'Display'>etc, and select the option for 'Best Appearance'. I did, and got back the usual looking Taskbar. However, I continued to have restarts, and the first one rebooted with a black Taskbar! Now everything has a black background. Opening My Computer shows the icons, but no readable text. There is no way I can find which tab or line to click on to try to correct again. This is driving me nuts! I have tried removing the new RAM, and that does not work.

I am posting from my laptop, using Vista, so can't find the same information. Hoping someone out there can help me solve this. I appreciate it.
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etaf   (Wayne) etaf is offline
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27-Aug-2012, 08:57 AM #2
Quote:
I have tried removing the new RAM, and that does not work.
so you now have theold ram back in the PC and you have checked the slots are all OK and nothing in them at all?

open in safe mode - does that open correctly
- try safemode
as the PC starts keep tapping F8 - a menu appears - choose
safemode - see if that works
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27-Aug-2012, 09:07 AM #3
The HP Pavilion a749c desktop was introduced in September 2004.

It came with a 256 MB module of DDR PC3200 RAM in 2 of its 4 slots.

In order to use 1 GB modules(according to HP), you need to remove the 256 MB modules and then insert the 1 GB modules in their place.

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Removing/replacing RAM modules is not going to resolve the display issues that you have.

Since we don't know what display setting changes you made, you probably should go to Start - All Programs - Accessories - System Tools - System Restore and then revert back to a date and time prior to when you made the change.

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27-Aug-2012, 12:40 PM #4
Quote:
Originally Posted by etaf View Post
so you now have theold ram back in the PC and you have checked the slots are all OK and nothing in them at all?

open in safe mode - does that open correctly
- try safemode
as the PC starts keep tapping F8 - a menu appears - choose
safemode - see if that works
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Hi etaf,
Thanks for your response. Before I posted, I had tried removing the new RAM and just leaving the old in. Opened in SafeMode, but still have the same problem. Taskbar is black, so cannot read any text. Very frustrating, and taking more time than I have! Any other suggestions?
Don Felipe
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etaf   (Wayne) etaf is offline
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27-Aug-2012, 12:42 PM #5
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Any other suggestions?
see flavallee post
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27-Aug-2012, 12:52 PM #6
Quote:
Originally Posted by flavallee View Post
The HP Pavilion a749c desktop was introduced in September 2004.

It came with a 256 MB module of DDR PC3200 RAM in 2 of its 4 slots.

In order to use 1 GB modules(according to HP), you need to remove the 256 MB modules and then insert the 1 GB modules in their place.

---------------------------------------------------

Removing/replacing RAM modules is not going to resolve the display issues that you have.

Since we don't know what display setting changes you made, you probably should go to Start - All Programs - Accessories - System Tools - System Restore and then revert back to a date and time prior to when you made the change.

---------------------------------------------------
Hi flavallee,
Thank you for your response. Yes, I know the comp is old! I was told that I could add more RAM, in addition to what was already installed. However, from your advice, I did switch out the modules so the new 1GB stick went in the slots of the old. Booted up, but still the same problem.
As the Taskbar is black, other than the icons, and every program I open has a completely black background, there is no way I can get to see a System Restore option! BTW. I had not recently made any display changes, and only did one to get the Taskbar back to normal. Maybe I should have left it the way it was!! The desktop is the only thing that still looks normal, but right clicking on any icon opens an all black window, with no way to read text.
Am I the only one who has ever experienced this problem? Any other suggestions would be welcomed.
Don Felipe
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27-Aug-2012, 08:35 PM #7
Hi all,
I appreciate the responses from etaf and flavallee, but am sadly no further along in resolving this problem. I see it has been read by almost 300 people, but I guess no-one else has a suggested solution. The biggest problem here, is that opening a program, e.g. Word, just shows a black screen with icons. There is no way to use it. The same thing when trying to do System Restore. Just clicking blindly at a black window is not the best option! Still looking for help, if anyone has experienced the same problem.
Thanks,
Don Felipe
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etaf   (Wayne) etaf is offline
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28-Aug-2012, 03:05 AM #8
Quote:
I see it has been read by almost 300 people
a lot of those reads will be search engine robots and other automated robots

do you have the recovery CDs at all

you could try and use a different standalone OS and see if that works and at least test the hardware out

------------------------------------------------------------------------

UBUNTU Stand Alone CD

NOTE : version Ubuntu 12.04

It may be possible to boot from another Operating System
This will at least test the Hardware and also see if you can see the Harddrive and possibly get data off.

If you have another PC with a cdwriter and spare CD
goto http://www.ubuntu.com/ and download the ISO http://www.ubuntu.com/desktop/get-ubuntu/download

You can also run from a USB device now - if the Machine supports booting off a USB Stick
http://www.ubuntu.com/desktop/get-ubuntu/download

full details are here (Note this is for version 9 - so the start up options are slightly different )
http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/windo...dows-computer/

click on the image "download ubuntu"
Select a location
then begin download
Save the file onto your PC – remember where you saved it – so you can find it again to create the image bootable CD.

You do NOT copy the ISO file onto a CD - you have to use the ISO to create a bootable CD
The CD creator software you have on the PC may have an option to create an image from an ISO
If not - use this free program http://www.imgburn.com/ - Choose the option Write image file to disc
OR
you can use this stand alone ISO Burner to burn the ubuntu onto CD ftp://terabyteunlimited.com/burncdcc.zip

When the UBUNTU CD boots - you will see a screen - with Language on the left panel and two option images labelled

== > Try ubuntu
== > Install ubuntu

You can try Ubuntu without making any changes to your computer, directly from this CD

Use "Try ubunto" ONLY this option this will run from the CD and not install onto your harddrive - be careful, if you do install onto the PC - you will wipe the data and software OFF your hard drive.., so repeat only use option 1

Now you should see a UBUNTU desktop
This at least proves the main parts of the PC are working

NOTE: if you only see a black screen - then this is a known issue, and can be resolved by using the following:-
[quote]On some hardware configurations, you need to set some kernel parameters for ubuntu to boot or work properly. A common one is nomodeset, which is needed for some graphic cards that otherwise boot in to a black screen or corrupted splash, acpi_osi= to fix lcd backlight and other problems.
full details are here
http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1613132

If you press the F6 key, a menu at the bottom will open allowing you to set kernel options with the space bar or enter key. You can close the menu with escape key and resume booting by selecting the option “try ubuntu without installing” (please note that session does allow you to install ubuntu once you found the kernel options cured your problem).[quote]

If everything worked OK and you should be on the ubuntu desktop

You may see your Harddrive on the desktop - if not have in look in the places on the tool bar at the top of the screen.

If you can see your harddrive – see if you can find the your datafiles –
XP look in “documents and settings” under the user name you had on the PC
Vista/Windows 7 look in “user” under the user name you had on the PC

Now if you have a USB flash drive or external harddrive – you should be able to copy your data from the harddrive onto the USB device

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11-Sep-2012, 06:16 PM #9
Hi Wayne,

Sorry for not replying sooner. I am a RealtorŪ, and have been real busy lately, which is a good thing! Of course, having my home PC out of service has made it more difficult, and limited my time. However, I did download Ubuntu and burned to a CD last week. Today, when I got home, I had the opportunity to give it a try on my comp. I opened your step by step instructions, and followed them.

Everything went as you said, but I was a bit nervous! Anyway, screen came to life with the two options. I selected 'Try Ubuntu', and it opened the desktop. It has a 'purplish' background with two icons. One labeled 'Examples' and the other 'Install Ubuntu 12.04.1 LTS'. There is also a Toolbar on the left side. It has 12 icons. In order, they are: 'Dash Home', 'Install Ubuntu 12.04.1 LTS', 'Home Folder', Firefox Web Browser', 'LibreOffice Writer', 'LibreOffice Calc', 'LibreOffice impress', 'Ubuntu Software Center', 'Ubuntu One', 'System Settings', 'Workspace Switcher', and 'Trash'. I don't see anything identified as my Harddrive.

The toolbar at the top of the screen only has a few options. In addition to the time, it shows a keyboard icon; with 'en' next to it, (obviously the language choice), an envelope icon, two 'up/down' arrows, a speaker icon for volume, and a ''cog-like' icon for 'System Settings, Displays, Startup Apps...Shut Down' etc.

At least the screen is not black! But I don't know what to do from here. So I am hoping you don't mind me imposing on you again, for some more expert advise. I don't even know if, or how, I should shut down my system, or what happens if I just leave it on. Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks,
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11-Sep-2012, 06:47 PM #10
If it works fine under linux, then your hardware is most likely ok. From your posts, I would tend to think your display driver became corrupted during your reboots. Go to the hp site and download both the chipset driver and the display or video driver for you system. If you can boot into windows, then do the following; install the chipset driver and reboot when prompted. Now install the video driver.
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11-Sep-2012, 10:45 PM #11
Hi crjdriver,

Thanks for the response. When the problem first started I did think it could be something to do with the display/video driver. However, how can I get to the HP site to dowload anything, when my screen is black? I was able to see icons, but no text. Impossible to enter an URL if you can't even see where to type. Can't click on a saved link, if you can't view your Favorites. All I have now is the desktop for Ubuntu, with no idea where to go from here... Any ideas??
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12-Sep-2012, 12:47 PM #12
You said linux worked, why not just download the relevant drivers to a flash drive using linux? You could also just use another system and put them on a flash drive.

Do you have the recovery disks for your system?
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12-Sep-2012, 02:20 PM #13
That desktop is 8 years old, so HP Customer Care will no longer have the recovery disc kit available for purchase.

If you need one, it appears that you can purchase it here at Computer Surgeons HP Recovery Center.

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15-Sep-2012, 01:47 PM #14
Quote:
Originally Posted by crjdriver View Post
You said linux worked, why not just download the relevant drivers to a flash drive using linux? You could also just use another system and put them on a flash drive.

Do you have the recovery disks for your system?
Hi crjdriver,

I do still have the recovery disks that came with my comp. However, from experience with one at the office, using them would lose all the data I have on the comp and take me back to 'square one'. As for downloading the drivers using linux, (which I assume means Ubuntu), I am not sure how to do that. Sorry for my ignorance. I do have a flash drive, and my laptop, but would still be unsure of exactly what to do. Any suggestions/help would be appreciated.

Thanks.
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15-Sep-2012, 01:53 PM #15
Quote:
Originally Posted by flavallee View Post
That desktop is 8 years old, so HP Customer Care will no longer have the recovery disc kit available for purchase.

If you need one, it appears that you can purchase it here at Computer Surgeons HP Recovery Center.

--------------------------------------------------------
Hi flavallee,

Thanks for the info. Yes, I know the comp is OLD!! Kinda like me!! See my reply to crjdriver. Still hoping I can get this fixed. Business is keeping me busy, which is great. But it doesn't leave me much free time to try to resolve this problem. I do appreciate all suggestions, and am sure we will find the solution.

Enjoy the weekend!
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