Start pc, shuts itself off...help!

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phixgrrrl

Danielle
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My dad's (used to be mine) old pc does this. Nothing even comes up on the screen. I think it's a P300 speed. Uses Windows 98. I have no way of going into BIOS since nothing appears on the monitor at all. I beleive I hear the fan running and things starting up. The beeps seem different though.
Any thoughts??
 
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How many beeps, and are they long and short, or all short, and what delays etc? And do you get a screen at all, maybe that shows what BIOS you have?

One thing you could try is to remove one stick of ram if there are two, see if it will boot, then if not replace it and remove the other stick. If it boots, it means the ram (one stick) has failed.

Also, you could try removing the graphics card if it has a separate one, and clean out the slot it is in (same for the ram actually), then reseat it.
Also check all connections in the box.

Scorp.
 

phixgrrrl

Danielle
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Thank you for replying so quickly. No, nothing comes up on screen at all. So I cannot even check the BIOS.
I'll try those suggestions. My hunch is that some hardware has failed.
Any other suggestions, let me know please.
 

valis

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as cs scorpion mentioned, the beeps are key.....they are trying to tell you what is wrong with the system. you need to write down the series, usually a combination of x amount of short beeps and y amount of long beeps. It is helpful to know the type of bios involved, but if we can get the beep sequence, we can narrow it down to two or three issues, as opposed to the 8 million reasons it won't start now.

v
 

phixgrrrl

Danielle
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Before I connected it to mine, I tried to clean the MB and around the sockets where memory is and vid card. When I hooked the machine up then, it stayed on and seemed to beep normally, just one beep, like a normal startup as I remember. So we thought that had worked at least to some degree. But then I connected the pc (my dads) to MY monitor. Again, no monitor image. And I believe this time, it did 3 long beeps, different from before. I know it was abnormal. Then it sounded like the HD was working a bit, then it shut down, after being on for about 30 seconds.
So my guess is the vid card is fried....???
This is on a Dell xps 300, windows 98.
 

phixgrrrl

Danielle
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CORRECTION:
Now that I think about it, I think it has Win95, not 98.
 
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a faulty moniter cable combined with a video card error? a possibility of a virus is also not that far off.
 
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Good Evening phixgrril, with those older machines running W95, you need to follow a basic procedure, quite often the CMOS battery is flat and makes things difficult.
So it is best to replace the battery then begin.
The beeping is probably indicating a RAM problem, ensure one stick is properly fitted, leave the rest out until you get some activity.
Ensure the ram is in the first slot, some machines need the RAM fitted from the first position onward.
Try powering the machine and observe your monitor led, as soon as it goes green you win.
Leave the drives disconnected at both the power and ribbon plugs on their rear but draw a scheme of how they are fitted.
This gives a better chance of something happening.
qldit.
 

phixgrrrl

Danielle
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Well I reseated the RAM and put it right where it was before. I only have one stick of memory. Should I switch which slot it's in? I believe the vid card is AGP. How can I tell if the CMOS batt. is indeed a problem?

Thanks
 
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Good Morning, If the battery hasn't been replaced in the past couple of years you can suspect it needs to be replaced.
I have been caught before with memory in a wrong slot, you need to carefully determine that it is in the first slot. This is not as easy as it sounds, some count systems start with zero, carefully inspect the board for markings.
You may need to look up the manual.
I learned to never accept the placement of these things as being originally correct, sometimes little fingers change things and cause confusion.
Systematic troubleshooting is the only way to go.
qldit.
 

phixgrrrl

Danielle
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I took it in to Compusa b/c I think I know what the problem may be but I don't want my dad's wrath if one tiny little stupid thing should go wrong...so now he can yell at them. But I figured out the beep sequence from Dell's site...one long beep then 2 short beeps, meaning vid. card not present. But it IS there. So I guess it's dead.
 
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Actually, the videocard might NOT be dead; a weak / dying / dead CMOS battery can cause the exact same problem you've reported, which means that qldit is probably correct about that particular CMOS battery. The BEST way to determine if one is defective is to remove it, then check the voltage with a meter, or simply replace it with a new one (less than five bucks at Radio Shack). It might not be the ONLY problem you have with that system, but a dead CMOS battery CAN affect the video (especially on older system), so that would have been a good low-cost repair.

Well, it is up to the gouge-artists now; let's hope that they're kind enough to install a new battery while they overhaul the system...

No doubt, there are some "experts" who will tell you that a dead CMOS battery CAN'T affect the video output, but I have some vintage motherboards of that era here that are affected the exact same way, so feel free to ignore them.

Good luck with this; I hope the repair costs aren't excessive...
 
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Good Morning Happy Chappies, yes Sammy, the thing in this racket is to never expect logical solutions, more often than not, things are different.
I have even had one that wouldn't attempt to boot, simply replacing the battery and it burst into life!
It might be an idea to oil the whellbarrow ready to carry the cash to pay for what is likely to be found as a problem!!
Probably would have been cheaper to buy another system of that vintage.
Everything is a learning experience, one way or another.
Cheers all, qldit.
 
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