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Mysterious diagnosis: my computer won't boot up!

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by playtom, Feb 23, 2009.

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  1. playtom

    playtom Thread Starter

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    Okay, here's the situation. A week ago, i was surfing the internet and watching videos. The LCD screen on my computer suddenly turned black and the fan spun at a faster than normal rate. This persisted for a few seconds and the computer powered down completely. When i proceeded to power it back on again it would start and shut down almost immediately. When i took out the side panel and turned the computer on, i could see that the fan spun for a fraction of a second after i pressed the start button and then stopped after that. There is no other noise when i turn my computer on now and the LCD monitor did not receive any visual when i tried to do so. Therefore i presumed that the hard disk and the CPU is not even in use when i try to turn my computer on.

    Here's my computer specs:
    • Compaq Presario sr1934nx
    • AMD athlon 64 3500+
    • 1GB RAM and 200GB hard drive
    • Integrated NVIDIA GeForce 6150 LE
    • Windows media center edition 2005
    I have searched on the internet and there was only 1 person that had the exact same problem as me. All the others said that their computer started for at least a few seconds while running and then shut down. Mine is definitely a hardware problem and i even took it to a computer repair shop for diagnosis. They said that it had something to do with the CPU or motherboard, yet not pinpointing just what exactly the problem was nor offering a guarantee that a replacement CPU or motherboard would fix the problem.

    So here i am, asking for advice on troubleshooting the problem myself. I'm not looking to spend money on anything as this is a two and half year old system, the only things that might be of importance to me is some documents that would take a lot of time for me to research everything and then type them again. :(

    Is there any known methods that might boot my computer up back to normal without extensive tweaking? I'm not very familiar with computer hardware but can at least use a screw driver and know how to do simple things such as installing RAM modules. I heard about clearing CMOS and all that other stuff, but not content on doing so because i thought that the computer experts here might have something helpful to say.
     
  2. Body&Spirit

    Body&Spirit

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2005
    Messages:
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    Hey Playtom

    A good candidate is a burned out power supply.

    Did you recently add new hardware to your computer?

    The older it is (or rather your power supply) the more likely it is the problem. Another major factor is any additional hardware you may have installed as they draw power.

    Most computers come with a 250 or 300 watt power supply. If you have added additional hardware, you may want to consider a higher wattage power supply.

    Like my computer is eight years old and am on my third power supply. It is a 480 watter and bought it 5 years ago and still ticking on. :D

    Brian
     
  3. playtom

    playtom Thread Starter

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    I did add a single 1GB kingston memory card to my computer recently. My base 1GB of RAM wasn't enough and would lag sometimes so i thought extra RAM would improve overall performance of my system. That card has now been removed in an effort to revilitalize my system.

    That was like a quite a few weeks ago and i remember the PC functioning normally. If this is indeed a power supply problem where a hardware is drawing too much power, i don't think RAM would have anything to do with that. If it did, my computer would crash pretty soon after installing it and not waiting for weeks until this happened.
     
  4. Body&Spirit

    Body&Spirit

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    Hey Playtom

    You didn't mention
    1) How old your computer is.
    2) Your power supply wattage.
    3) What hardware you added since you bought it.

    A power supply basically changes AC current to DC. They do degrade over time. Further if the power draw is near their capacity to supply it, then that further degrades it.

    Computer manufacturers are notorious for installing a power supply with little reserve and when they do, then time and additional hardware can cause a meltdown.

    B
     
  5. Body&Spirit

    Body&Spirit

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    Just a point.

    I once took my computer for analysis of a hardware problem. It was a fairly big shop so I thought they would have access to a lot of diagnostic equipement.

    I hung around a bit and then asked a technician how they go about diagnosing a computer hardware issue.

    I was absolutely shocked to discover that they basically swapped computer hardware until it solved the problem. :eek:

    Anyways, you say you took it to a "computer repair shop for diagnosis". They should be able to tell you if the power supply is a candidate or not. Whether the use diagnostic equipment or the "swap". :D

    Did they at least tell you it wasn't the power supply? That is something they should be able to tell with ease.

    Brian
     
  6. playtom

    playtom Thread Starter

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    To answer some of your questions:
    • My computer is 2 1/2 years old. Bought in Q3 2006.
    • On my power supply box, it says 300W max. It also says some other stuff about voltage that i'm not familiar with.
    • In my last post, i mentioned that i had bought and added a 1GB kingston RAM module. I checked it for compatibility and it seemed fit to work on my system according to the specs. It had the same speed as my other RAM cards and also certified to work on PC-3200, which is my computer's supported speed.
    As for the tech support, the guy didn't tell me anything about a power supply. He doesn't seem that knowledgeble, perhaps worked there only for a short period of time with limited experience. At the shop he said some tests was done to check the hard drive, RAM, as well as a few other components to see if they all worked properly. It was said that all of the tested parts functioned normally and the only thing that might be abnormal is the CPU or motherboard. I wasn't disappointed in his diagnosis since it was a free check-up and there wasn't much to expect from that kind of service. Now, as you've mentioned, these diagnosis aren't that trustworthy, so i'm better off doing some test myself before going to a conclusion.

    Now, what i'm curious about is whether or not there is a way to test if my power supply has failed? Would sure appreciate it if you can point me in the right direction, perhaps an easy experiment to see if the power supply has failed or not. As for the potential fix, i might consider buying a new PSU, but only if there is absolutely no way of fixing this through manual tweaking.
     
  7. 060456F

    060456F

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    Hi playtom

    After reading your thread I went 2 years back to remind my old PC. I had a similar issue. Just think whether your PC circuit has ever affected by water or did you touch your motherboard parts with a tool like screwdriver or a tester while it's on ?
    My PC was affected by water, I hope. I cleaned my bed room, mopping the floor with water. I think at least a drop would have fallen on my pc motherboard. After that day it didn't boot as yours (My monitor was black out). Then I removed the PC cover and checked whether power comes with a tester. At the same time I touched certain other parts with tester and thats it, my PC fan stopped. My motherboard died. It was due to current having a short circuit to flow in. I too took the PC to a shop & they said "sorry, your motherboard is gone forever". I still have that PC just to study hardware stuff. Anyway your case may be different . Just check it out that power supply is working. If so your case is identical to my one.
     
  8. playtom

    playtom Thread Starter

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    I did not spill anything nor touched any internal components while the power is on. When i tried to check the power supply i was confounded by its awkward design in relation to the PC case. Even when i removed 4 screws from the back of my PC, it is still glued tight and wouldn't even buldge when forced. There is what seems like screws with a circle indent in them around the chassis of my PC bolted into the power supply box, which could not be removed with any of my tools.

    For the mean time, i'll just have to wait to buy a new computer or hope that a miracle happens and everything would go back to normal.

    Before i do that, i want to ask if clearing the CMOS would do any good? Some people have said that by removing the CMOS battery and then putting it back again will reset the BIOS, which somehow fixed their PC when it wouldn't boot up. Will this erase any of my data or affect my system settings in the case that my computer becomes functional again?
     
  9. 060456F

    060456F

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    Yes removing the CMOS battery would reset the BIOS. But not sure your PC would start or not. This is the solution when we have forgotten a boot loader password.
    Anyway you may give it a try
     
  10. playtom

    playtom Thread Starter

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    Thanks for all your help. I've decided to give up trying to fix my PC. Buying a new power supply that is compatible with my computer would be difficult as it is an older model. Plus the fact that there is no way i could possibly pinpoint the problem and be 100% sure that's what causing it to not boot up. Better save the money for a new system or whatever it is that i'll be short on.

    It's about time for me to get a new system anyways. For $500, i could get a core 2 duo with 3GB of ram and okay graphics/hard drive. Seems like a good time to do it now since most 32-bit PCs have reached their RAM capacity and it looks like they won't be upgraded much in the following few years when 64-bit PCs will take over.
     
  11. brite750

    brite750

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    there is a whole thread at the top of the forum of how to trouble shoot a pc and yes basically you take it apart and do a minimal build with just the PSU/MB/CPU/RAM/gfx everything else unplugged, if you cant get it to boot then you replace the psu and try again. very doubtful that its CPU or MB unless something fried like your psu so you have to start with that. There is no real magic to diagnostics you have to have spare working parts and start with the most likely and work your way down.
     
  12. brite750

    brite750

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    FYI if you buy a new pc you may be able to slave your old hdd into it and retrieve any files you may want.
     
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