Solved: CMOS Battery?

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Jon1001

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Hi.

My mum has been having problems with her computer for a few months and I am just wondering whether it may need a new cmos battery. The first problem was a regular BSOD which said there was a registry error and to check new hardware software was properly installed (that's all I can remember). Also, the sound card drivers seem to have stopped working and despite re-installing them, the sound still appears not to be working. I heard that when the cmos battery is low hardware drivers can stop working so thought this might be revalent. The main thing which suggests to me that it might be the battery is that the time is always wrong but more recently, it has begun to take hours to start up (blank screen for ages before booting).

I've never come across this problem before but it sounds to me like it could be the battery. What do you think?

Thanks in advance. Jon.
 
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seems doubtful. If the battery were going, it would show up at the POST screen, probably with a "press F1 to continue" prompt. The only reason that drivers would be affected would be if default BIOS did not recognise hardware, again very doubtful. The fact you get to Windows without a POST error suggests an error on windows, not in the BIOS :)
 

Jon1001

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Ok, I can see that driver problems and the BSOD are more likely windows problems, but what about the blank screen before booting? It really does stay like that for hours. If you reset it every so often it might eventually start but sometimes won't, even given the whole day. That can't be a windows problem. Also, what about the time always changing? That's a classic sign of a low battery, surely?

So could it perhaps be a problem with windows and the BIOS? Maybe still the battery?
 
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Low/dead batteries cause the cmos settings to empty and have to be reset (like Gulo said, "press the F1 to continue" is what happens) but it shouldn't keep the computer from starting. Does it have sound on the motherboard or an added sound card? Have you checked device manager when you have gotten into Windows to check for hardware problems?
 

Jon1001

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Thanks for the replies. Sorry I took so long, been very busy. The motherboard does have on-built sound but I'm using a sound card. Interestingly, in device manager, the only device with a problem is the sound but I think it is the on-board sound and not the sound card. I might try and install the motherboard sound drivers and see what happens. Still doesn't explain the blank screen though.
 

crjdriver

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A cmos battery will not stop a post. In fact you can pull the battery out and the system will still post; with errors however it will post.

Here is what I would do.

1 Open the case and give the system a good cleaning with a can of air. Once it is clean, then get a bright light and inspect the motherboard very closely. Look for any leaking, discolored, or bulging capacitors on the board.

2 If the board passes an inspection, then I would look at swapping in a known good pw supply.

3 If you do want to install a new battery, it will not hurt. It should be a 2032 battery available at any walmart, etc.

Here is what bad caps look like.
 

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crjdriver

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If after you inspect the board and you do not find any problems, do the following.

1 Open the case and pull the pw connectors from ALL drives both hd and optical [CD type]
2 Remove any add-in cards like sound, nic, etc. Leave in only your video card.
3 Disconnect ANY usb type device; ie scanner, printer, card reader, hub, etc.

Now attempt a pw ON and see if the system posts in a reasonable time. If so, shutdown, and start connecting devices one at a time [checking post after each one] to see what is causing the problem.
 

Jon1001

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Thanks for your help. Sounds like a good plan. Will get onto it asap but very busy at moment. Hope my mum hasn't called out a computer guy already! Will let you know how it goes. Thanks again. Jon.
 

Jon1001

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Sorry I took so long. OK, I opened it up and found 5 leaking capacitors straight away. So I'm gonna need a new motherboard then?

Could something like this get worse and cause it to short-out/meltdown/catch fire/explode etc (you get the idea)!?!
 

crjdriver

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You need a new board. If it is a fairly modern system like an amd64 or socket 775, you can still get a board. If it is a socket 478/423 or athlon xp, then you are pretty much out of luck with a new board.

One thing you need to consider is how much this is going to cost as opposed to a new board, cpu, and memory to build a modern system.
 

Jon1001

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It was an old PC so in the end I advised my mum to get a new one. I found a bargain on novatech and now it is all up and running. Thanks very much for all your help. Jon.
 
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