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Standard User cheshire_man
(knowledge is power) Mon 23-Jan-12 17:45:37
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Sick PC thoughts


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Just been round to a friend who has a sick PC (old'ish Compaq running XP Home). Basically when I got there Windows started with "Failed to close, choose one of these options" type message. Choose Safe Mode and the list of drivers scrolls up the screen, then after a few moments it goes into a reboot, round and round that loop.

I had a look round the BIOS, nothing seemed to be amiss. Decide to power down and leave few a few minutes. Powered it up and immediately the power (?) light on the front of the PC flickers but nothing else happens. The monitor power light flashes gently indicative of no data signal so the graphics isn't getting going. I tried 3 or 4 times but couldn't get past that point. No idea why the power light flickers in that situation.

Looked around inside, moderate amount of dust but I've seen much worse, nothing appeared to be loose.

I'm picking it up in the next day or two to bring home to look further, check power connections, graphics card seating, etc.

Clearly the fact that it scrolled the list of drivers on the Safe Mode load means the HDD is not (completely) faulty. Though any of memory, mother board, PSU, could be problematic - the PSU is a 250W LiteOn (IIRC).

Any thoughts on what may be wrong?

Tony
Standard User camieabz
(sensei) Mon 23-Jan-12 18:16:17
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Re: Sick PC thoughts


[re: cheshire_man] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by cheshire_man:
Any thoughts on what may be wrong?


I would guess at the PSU for starters, both because of some of the symptoms and the age and wattage. If it's not too old and can have another PSU test it, that would remove that one as doubt.

After that it gets more complicated. smile

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Standard User xon
(experienced) Tue 24-Jan-12 12:27:24
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Re: Sick PC thoughts


[re: cheshire_man] [link to this post]
 
Try googling for a WinPE disk. Use that to boot the machine and run chkdsk /r taking care to select the correct hard disk drive letter. Failing that you, if you have time on your hands, you could buy Spinrite6 and use that to boot from and check the hdd condition.

coolGo with the flowcool

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Standard User cheshire_man
(knowledge is power) Tue 24-Jan-12 12:31:26
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Re: Sick PC thoughts


[re: xon] [link to this post]
 
Yep, if I can get the PC to the point of booting from somewhere I'd try Hirens. But, when I left it yesterday it wouldn't even get to BIOS initialisation let alone trying to boot from some media.

Tony
Standard User 4M2
(experienced) Tue 24-Jan-12 12:47:23
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Re: Sick PC thoughts


[re: cheshire_man] [link to this post]
 
My cousin had a similar problem with an "old'ish Compaq running XP Home" and it did turn out to be a failed HDD...although, in his case, he could not boot into safe mode.
Standard User Pipexer
(eat-sleep-adslguide) Tue 24-Jan-12 19:14:18
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Re: Sick PC thoughts


[re: 4M2] [link to this post]
 
If it doesn't get past BIOS it isn't a HDD problem causing the specific issue.. Unless the HDD is shorting out or something - extremely rare.

Surely it can't be worth replacing any components on that? Tell them to by a new one.

I'm thinking motherboard.

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Edited by Pipexer (Tue 24-Jan-12 19:15:02)

Standard User 4M2
(experienced) Tue 24-Jan-12 20:06:26
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Re: Sick PC thoughts


[re: Pipexer] [link to this post]
 
Still worth checking the HDD though - stick it in an enclosure and give it a health check on another pc perhaps?
Standard User Pipexer
(eat-sleep-adslguide) Tue 24-Jan-12 20:15:28
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Re: Sick PC thoughts


[re: 4M2] [link to this post]
 
Oh it's definately worth testing yes, but the easiest way is to just disconnect the SATA/IDE cable from the mobo end, restart the system, and see if it makes any difference. If the HDD was at fault it would most likely come up with some sort of error such as INSERT SYSTEM DISK or No Operating System Present, it shouldn't stop the BIOS from handing over.

Note above I suggested to remove the data cable only at first in case it is due to the PSU not being able to deliver sufficient power, which may otherwise give a false impression that the HDD was causing the problem, should the power cable be removed and free up power demand, when it is actually a PSU problem smile

A CHKDSK will likely find errors with the MFT but they are probably a result of the system spontaneously crashing and due to it's age - power interruptions in the past, etc.

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Edited by Pipexer (Tue 24-Jan-12 20:17:24)

Anonymous
(Unregistered)Tue 24-Jan-12 20:22:12
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Re: Sick PC thoughts


[re: cheshire_man] [link to this post]
 
If you've got a multimetre, open the computer case and stick the negative on the computer case and the positive on to the round button battery.
If your multimetre says anything less then 3 volts DC, it's the bios battery which is flat. They only have a service life of 6-10 years.

should be a CR2302 and usually costs around £1 for a pack of 3.
Anonymous
(Unregistered)Tue 24-Jan-12 21:04:59
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Re: Sick PC thoughts


[re: Anonymous] [link to this post]
 
If the clock on the bios is correct then proberly not that and I think it just makes the user settings on the bios go to default and clock not right. Does not stop the computer going. But might be wrong but put my money on not that!.
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