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A problem that's new to me

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by OldLadyWho, Sep 14, 2003.

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  1. OldLadyWho

    OldLadyWho Thread Starter

    Sep 9, 2002
    I got a call from a friend this morning who had a problem with her Win98 machine not booting into Windows.

    Sadly, she is a little vague about her system specifics (as an example: if she's asked what OS she is running, as often as not she'll likely say "Office 97"). So, unless I physically go to her house and look at her computer while it's having the problem I am at a loss.

    However, this problem has occured before, quite recently (which I reminded her of), and the cure was for her to call the guy that built the machine to find out "What speed to RESET the CPU to".

    The first time she told me about it I just thought it was a quirk, but with this being the second time (maybe 3rd) in a rather short period, I'm wondering if it might be an indication of an impending hardware breakdown. Overheating, maybe?

    Do CPU speeds randomly "Unset" themselves very often? I've never heard of such a thing before she had it happen to her computer.

    She has asked me to look at it. She thinks the guy might not be telling her what's really wrong. But, I don't know if it's a problem within the realm of my abilities and thought I'd better think about it a bit before I allow her to bring it over..

    I do know that it is a 2 year old PIII machine, running Win98SE, 128MB RAM, All-in-Wonder video (but I don't know which version), and a Sound Blaster sound card.

    I know it's probably too little information to go by, but I thought maybe someone else might have seen something like it. She says it doesn't do random reboots, or freeze ups when she's using it, but sometimes it just won't fire up at all in the morning till the CPU speed is changed.

    It does not sound like a good symptom, to me. But I'm not sure what to look for.

    Any ideas what sort of direction I should start looking in?

    I know this is all very vague. I apologize for that.

    If anyone might have an idea of where I might start looking for the problem (if I do let her bring the machine over), it would be very appreciated.

    If not, I truly understand.
    Thanks, OLW
  2. zeddy


    May 3, 2003
    It may be that the cmos battery needs changing.
  3. Triple6

    Triple6 Moderator

    Dec 26, 2002
    First Name:
    It may simply need a new CMOS battery - its about $3 and takes 2 minutes to replace. If it nots the problem, its only 3 bucks. You'll have to re-enter the CPU, time and other bios settings - Optimal settings usually do all the rest. Also make sure that the CPU settings match the real CPU and that all the fans are spinning nicely - meaning not dead or dirty.

    Sometimes a power spike/loss can cause a computer to lose some of its settings too.
  4. OldLadyWho

    OldLadyWho Thread Starter

    Sep 9, 2002
    Thanks to both of you for your suggestions. I have changed batteries before so I'm sure I could handle that task. It's a good place to start and definitely worth a try.

    My friend's "computer-builder-guy" seems to laugh the episodes off as: "No big deal, happens all the time", which seemed odd to me. I have been concerned for her, because I know she cannot afford a lot of repair calls and may easily be convinced to pay for something that might not be what's needed. (I'm trying to be diplomatic here)

    I am going to assume from your helpful posts that this really may be a symptom of a bigger problem, rather than "no big deal".

    Her computer is very important to her, as it is her main communication with family that's scattered around the world.

    If I can forestall a major breakdown and help her keep her computer running it would be very nice.

    I will let her bring it for me to check. (I may be back here in a day or two if I find worse problems) Thanks again, OLW
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