Press a Key to Reboot

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nimbusrock

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Sep 16, 2008
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Hi everyone,

My computer had a problem when it would turn on and turn off randomly, or it would start and shut off automatically. I took it to the repair shop and told me it could be power supply. They had the power supply changed and now every time it turns on I get a "Press a Key to Reboot", and even when I press a key it would still go back to that message. They told me the solution would be to reformat the computer, but important files and programs are on there and there is no back up so I can't have it formatted. Anyone has any solution to this? The computer was fine before, it just wouldn't start up sometimes but when it does it runs smoothly.

Compaq Presario / Windows XP
2.6 GHz / 256 MB DDR SDRAM Memory
80 GB Ultra DMA Hard drive

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

By the way, the first computer repair shop I went to told me I needed to increase the 256MB to 1GB and that I needed to format the computer for it to run. But I felt it was the power supply that was causing the problem so I went with the second one.
 

nimbusrock

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Sep 16, 2008
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Any takers? :eek:

Now I feel as though it might have been better if I never sent it to the repair shop... I'm about 75% sure that the reason why it was shutting off was due to the power supply, which the technician confirmed. The computer, when turned on, works fine. But when shut off and turned on, it starts loading and then shuts off (you hear beeping sounds afterwards). The other repair shop insisted that I increased the 256 MB to 1 GB and reformat and increase the memory, but I wasn't fully convinced.

I searched threads but none of the suggestions seem to work - I can't even get to Safe Mode... The furthest I can go is F1 where I see the Boot options etc. but that is all. The "Press A Key To Reboot" message is still there regardless of how many keys I press, it always ends up going back to that message.

Any suggestions? :(
 
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Welcome to TSG!

Is there any thing displayed before the Press any key to reboot message? Like No OS Found, or no bootable media? Anything?

Does your hard drive show on the boot screen? Most systems will display something like Detecting Primary Master IDE. then display either the model # or Not Found if it can't see it, then goes on to Detecting Primary Slave IDE, then the secondaries.

If you don't see the hard drive, it's possible they forgot to plug the power back in when they put in the new power supply, or they dislodged the data cable. Double check the cables inside the case.

You would certainly get better performance with more memory, but adding memory does not require you to reformat. It's not clear if the first shop was implying that, or just that was their recommended solution to the original issue.

HTH

Jerry
 

nimbusrock

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Sep 16, 2008
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Hi Jerry! Thank for the response. All that appears when I turn the computer on is the Compaq logo and the F1 and F10 options underneath it, and a quick second later a black screen with the "Press A Key To Reboot" message. I press any key, and it simply goes back to that.

When I click F1, I see the Main, Advanced, Power, and Boot tabs. When I click on Boot > Boot Device Priority > Hard Drive (the hard drive is enabled and I see some sort of number). The sequence of Boot Device Priority is 1.) Floppy 2.) CD-ROM 3.) Hard Drive 4.) Network Boot and they're all enabled.
 
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It may be clearing the screen too fast to see an error.

I'm assuming you've checked and made sure they didn't leave a floppy or CD in the drives?

I think it's still a good idea to check the cables to the drive(s) though. The hard drive being listed in the Boot tab may not indicate that the system is actually detecting the hard drive. Though with Network boot also in the list, I would expect it to try that if it can't find any of the first 3. You'd see a message about PXE or RPL for several seconds. Unless nothing is connected to the Ethernet card.

The hard drives the system is actually seeing would be shown on either the Main or Advanced screen usually. Without the model number I can't get the specific manual to find that info.

If you have a bootable floppy (say Win98) or even just a blank one, try that. (A blank one should give a Non-System Disk error).

You might try changing the boot order, put the hard drive first.

If you have the XP CD, you could try booting from that, and then choose R from the first screen to Repair using Recovery Console, just to see if it can see the hard drive. If it can, it will ask which Windows installation you want to log into (usually only one displayed). When you choose that, you'll be prompted for the password to the Administrator account (if you haven't set one, just hit enter).
If you have a Recovery CD instead of the XP CD, it MAY have the Recovery Console on it. If not, it may have diagnostics to test the PC. Mainly want to see if it will boot from floppy/CD. If not, the BIOS settings may have become corrupt. There may be a jumper on the MB to reset or clear the CMOS, or you may have to unplug the system from the wall, and remove the CMOS battery for a few minutes.

Jerry
 

nimbusrock

Thread Starter
Joined
Sep 16, 2008
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I'm positive that no error message appeared, just the normal Compaq logo that usually pops up, a flashing underscore, and then the "Press a Key to Reboot" message. It happens really fast, but I would still be able to notice any error messages.

The boot-time Diagnostic Screen is disabled by the way, if that's any good.

All drives are empty, and all the cables seem to be connected. The model # of the hard drive is ST380012A.

Would it be okay if I change the order and put hard drive first without booting with a floppy disk? And would I still be able to change the sequence later?
 
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I meant the Compaq Presario's model number actually.

You can change the boot order any way you wish and change it back.
Trying a floppy or CD is just to verify that the BIOS is actually looking at those devices.

Not sure what all the boot-time Diagnostic Screen does, but sounds like something you would want to enable to help diagnose what's going on, so I would say enable that and see what options it gives you.

Jerry
 

nimbusrock

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Joined
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Messages
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Found this for the BIOS if you have questions for the settings:

BIOS Setup Utility Information


Drive info is displayed on the Main screen. Should show the hard drive and the CD/DVD drive. If you highlight the drive, it will show more info. If it's there then the BIOS is seeing it.

Found out if you hit escape while the Compaq logo is displayed, you should be able to pick the boot device, without having to go into the BIOS and change it.

The Recovery Tools CD (if you created it) will boot you into the Microsoft Recovery Console.

Can't think of anything else at the moment, hope you'll find some simple.

Jerry
 

nimbusrock

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Sep 16, 2008
Messages
8
So I tried the options above with no luck, and decided to stop by at the repair shop. I told them that I haven't had any serious problems with Windows (the OS not running), but just the computer not turning on properly and/or shutting off randomly. I told them if maybe we switched back the old power supply and see if it runs normally... and guess what... it turned on (after waiting for the buzzing sound from PS to go off), but it goes to the "Press a Key to Reboot" message! It didn't have that problem before and Windows would run smoothly in this case... it hasn't even had any major changes prior to this. I don't know why all of a sudden I'm getting that message. They told me that Windows software is corrupted, but I don't know how that could happen since Windows was working fine until I left it at the repair shop. Any suggestions? :confused:
 

nimbusrock

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Joined
Sep 16, 2008
Messages
8
Thanks for the suggestion Davec. Unfortunately I decided to let the repair shop format the computer since I no longer have the disc, and the F10 option (which System Restores) doesn't work when I press it during startup (only F1). I just want the computer running even if that means wiping up the memory. It's just strange how all of a sudden I get the "Press a Key to Reboot" message that leads to nowhere, when Windows was working fine before I sent it to the repair shop. The guy told me that the power supply might have caused damage to the hard drive. Still baffling to me. (n)
 

nimbusrock

Thread Starter
Joined
Sep 16, 2008
Messages
8
A little update...

So the computer is running fine now, everything was formatted by the repair shop. But I was still baffled by the whole "Press a Key to Reboot" that was appearing on the screen. So I checked the hard drive model, and the model that came with the computer and BAM! - mismatch. I checked with Compaq to confirm, and yeah... the hard drive installed was from Seagate and the one pre-installed in the computer was from HP. I'm not sure if it was just a mistake by the technician's part, but I knew when he told me the reason my computer was shutting off was not convincing and really, I was just skeptical... I look at computer shops like car shops... a lot of them think we're clueless so they make up a lot of things for $$$. That's the reason why I looked for another repair shop where they told me the problem was the power supply (and got it fixed there). I think he replaced the hard drive with a corrupt one, then format the old one and charge me for more - he never even mentioned the power supply when letting me know what the problem was. So I went to the repair shop looking for the technician but he wasn't there, so I spoke with another guy. He didn't want to have none of it, and told me to come back tomorrow... was very defensive. Told me the technician wouldn't "swap" the part (funny he immediately assumed I was accusing them). So I'm returning tomorrow, I'm really pissed but I'm keeping my cool. What do you think I should do?
 
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