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unable to boot

 
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It seems that my "computer freezes" problem has developed into a refusal to boot problem. However, it is still somewhat intermittent. In other words, I can try, and fail, 25 times to boot, and the 26th time it works.

I've tried turning it on its side (that worked a time or two), taking the battery out, checking to make sure all the connections are tight and the cards and memory banks are in securely.

When it won't boot, the reset button won't work either. I have to turn the switch (on the back) off and on. The fans run, but that's as far as it gets. No floppy disk whirring noises, no monitor activity, the keyboard flashes, but nothing seems to happen after that.
 
Marilyn de Queiroz
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Seemed like it was fixed, but now it's doing it again. Same symptoms.
 
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Hej,
1) Do you hear the POST beep, when most pc's boot up you'll hear a beep, just before the monitor kicks in. (Power On Self Test just in case you didn't know).
If it doesn't beep... or you hear lots of beeps then do any or all of these things
a) Consult your mobo manual, that will have some POST diagnostic beep codes (for instance 1long 3short beeps on my old pc was no video),
b) Open up the case, and check the seating of all the components, especially Video, RAM.
c) See if you can get hold of alternate ram for your mobo type from a friend or something. RAM does fail, and can cause the no-boot symptom.
d) If you manage to get it to boot, go into the bios and disable the quick-power-on-self-test option. It'll now boot up a lot slower, and if you have > 512Mb Ram, you'll be quite frustrated looking at the screen while it tests all the ram (3 times).
I have an intermittent problem with my server pc such that it randomly shuts itself down, having done all of the above, I still have a resolution... but I do find that if I leave it unplugged from the wall for a while (hour or so), and then boot up it's quite happy again.
L
 
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Marylin,
so this happens also to others!
1)
JAMMED, but sometimes moving from time to time from place to place (lost) screw (well, it may be really anything +- innocent)

5 years ago, on buying a PC, I came home and could not boot it though it was done in shop.
The reason was discovered in 2 years of having floating (i.e. changing character) problems. Eventually it happened that s.o. has left a screw between side wall and that wall-foundation-supporter for fixing plates/cards/extensions.
The screw was jammed there without making noise and possibility to go out. After some movement, like transportation to get guarantee maintenance, it moved to make another kind of SHORT-CIRCUITS. It also happened that in order to overlook internals only another side wall that is far from supporting wall. I had problems with booting. After coming for guarantee maintenance, the screw moved to make another type of short circuit and I made a fool from myself because I even could not reproduce the problem, after bringing PC to a shop. I came to home: here it is again... the same problem or what a miracle, the same problem disappeared just to appear as another one....
In 1.5 year a guy, system administrator, agreed to look it all over. He exchanged the parts one after another. Since he was in charge of 90 PCs, he had all the parts for this. And imagine: he finds something does not work in my PC, he removes it, inserts working in another PC detail and it is not working (in various combinations). He checks "failed" detail from my PC, it works in another PC.
Until he removed everything including that last side-wall. Someone who assembled my PC left a screw...
Well, it may be anything innocent that when you look over internals it is OK. When you close, something is strained, dropped, shifted, slipped...
2)Overheating
Another experience I had
Ventilator sometimes stopped its rotation (sometimes!). PC was overheated and "frozen" in a few hours and sometimes refused to reboot. Sometimes it did not stop, sometimes PC had not been frozen (that depended on room temperature, sun, frost, etc.)
But what is interesting: the problems was intermittent. The cause was not only in overheating, but in changing resistance of other circuits.
THE MORALE:
something unimportant may have failed but the problem may have arisen from the other side of PC...
I know that after a dozen of reincarnations, you start believing in dark magic, but the problems are usually materialistic and mostly have very simple causes (so simple that that nobody could even think about them).
Try bringing the box to sysadmin for looking thru it, informally. It is better to a friend, if you do not want to stay with the same after waiting a few months. This is banal advise but sometimes there is a need for a push in doing obvious.

Have you thought already about viruses, including those in MBR (master boot record)?

I have to turn the switch (on the back) off and on. The fans run, but that's as far as it gets. No floppy disk whirring noises, no monitor activity, the keyboard flashes, but nothing seems to happen after that.


Strange, I already do not remeber PCs with switch of power on the back. What i remeber about the switch on the back: it is the switch between 110 and 220 V. I do not know about switching to "220" in USA but switching to "110" in Europe burns the power block..
That retardation function in power switcher, can it be connected to work to the contrary. it may happen also due to short circuit or malfunction.
Do not forget that you should have the second ventilator, inside, on motherboard, it seems to me..
That's all: no idea above short circuits and overheating. But remember that over-heating and short-circuiting are very misleading, intermittent and floating from one kind of trouble to another.
[ December 05, 2002: Message edited by: G Vanin ]
 
Guennadiy VANIN
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Marilyn.
how are you going to read it without booting?
 
Marilyn de Queiroz
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Originally posted by G Vanin:
Marilyn.
how are you going to read it without booting?


I can read it on a different computer.
 
Marilyn de Queiroz
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Originally posted by Lewin Chan:
1) Do you hear the POST beep, when most pc's boot up you'll hear a beep, just before the monitor kicks in. (Power On Self Test just in case you didn't know).


No, It doesn't even get that far.
If it doesn't beep... or you hear lots of beeps then do any or all of these things
a) Consult your mobo manual, that will have some POST diagnostic beep codes (for instance 1 long 3 short beeps on my old pc was no video),


It doesn't seem to be in the booklet. I'm checking on the web now for updates.

b) Open up the case, and check the seating of all the components, especially Video, RAM.

Did that again.

d) If you manage to get it to boot, go into the bios and disable the quick-power-on-self-test option. It'll now boot up a lot slower, and if you have > 512Mb Ram, you'll be quite frustrated looking at the screen while it tests all the ram (3 times).

I'll try this.

I have an intermittent problem with my server pc such that it randomly shuts itself down, having done all of the above, I still have a resolution... but I do find that if I leave it unplugged from the wall for a while (hour or so), and then boot up it's quite happy again.

I'll try this too.
Thank you for your suggestions.
 
Marilyn de Queiroz
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Originally posted by G Vanin:
1) JAMMED, but sometimes moving from time to time from place to place (lost) screw (well, it may be really anything +- innocent)...
Well, it may be anything innocent that when you look over internals it is OK. When you close, something is strained, dropped, shifted, slipped...


I didn't see anything like that, but now I'll really look for something loose or jammed.

2)Overheating
Ventilator sometimes stopped its rotation (sometimes!). PC was overheated and "frozen" in a few hours and sometimes refused to reboot. Sometimes it did not stop, sometimes PC had not been frozen (that depended on room temperature, sun, frost, etc.)
But what is interesting: the problems was intermittent. The cause was not only in overheating, but in changing resistance of other circuits.


I will watch for this also. But after the computer was off for a while, were the effects of the overheating reversible?

Have you thought already about viruses, including those in MBR (master boot record)?

That was my first suspicion, but I have done many virus scans since last April (and continue to scan) without detecting any viruses.

Strange, I already do not remember PCs with switch of power on the back. What i remember about the switch on the back: it is the switch between 110 and 220 V. I do not know about switching to "220" in USA but switching to "110" in Europe burns the power block.

I have seen these switches also, but this one appears to be only for "off" and "on"

That retardation function in power switcher, can it be connected to work to the contrary. it may happen also due to short circuit or malfunction.

I'll have to check that also.

Do not forget that you should have the second ventilator, inside, on motherboard, it seems to me.

As far as I can tell, this seems to be working ok, but I'll keep watching it.

It certainly would be much easier to find the problem if it were not intermittent. But now I have things to watch for.

Thank you for your suggestions.
[ December 05, 2002: Message edited by: Marilyn de Queiroz ]
 
Guennadiy VANIN
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Marilyn,
I did not comment Lewin Chan, since it was self-explanatory and good. 5 years ago I had, from curiosity, a course on Hardware... but do not remeber anything to advise immediately where to consult beep sequences (except I was in doubt that it is so easy reachable as it was advised) can be found. But if you do not hear any sounds, and this was my suspicion from the beginning, it seems like it is smth wrong with power block. BUT PLEASE CONSULT beep sequences diagnostics, anyway (because it is just good intention advise without real expertise). It is not for opening/repairing.
OVERHEATING

But after the computer was off for a while, were the effects of the overheating reversible?


Yes, in my experience it was reversible during many-many months but eventually it ended bad. It was external ventilator in power block, so it was general overhaeting but the behaviour of PC was like it was loosing a breath... starting to jam...work again...slower...faster...and then just stopped responding at all. But then during days it could work perfect... It was in 1990, PC had 2 MB RAM, when I was not using any Windows.
Why you just do not ask your sysadmin for help.
Please post the link about beep sequences when you find. . Sorry, for my laziness. Had I known, that it is not easy available, I would have searhed it for at home.
[ December 06, 2002: Message edited by: G Vanin ]
 
Guennadiy VANIN
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Marilyn


Originally posted by Marilyn de Queroz:
It doesn't seem to be in the booklet. I'm checking on the web now for updates.


OK. I have got a (general, on HW) book with me.
Sad story: there is no standard for beep sequences. They depend on producer. And they are pages and pages long.
Here is some translations (from portuguese) from my book:
"When PC is connected, the CPU realizes various tests to components. They are stored in BIOS.
The errors are communicated through messages written to display, one very famous is:"KEYBOARD ERROR. PRESS F1 TO CONTINUE" or through beep codes. Each chipset has its own beep. It is called POST (POWER ON SELF CONTROL)"
Does it mean that if you disconnect POST, then you cannot hear beeps?
For AMI and Phoenix producers:
No beep means: CPU, power block, main card failure


Originally posted by Lewin Chan:
I have an intermittent problem with my server pc such that it randomly shuts itself down, having done all of the above, I still have a resolution... but I do find that if I leave it unplugged from the wall for a while (hour or so), and then boot up it's quite happy again.


OK. It what I tried to tell by


Originally posted by G Vanin:
The cause was not only in overheating, but in changing resistance of other circuits.


After starting the pretty cool PC, the jammed ventilator, sometimes had the same bad influence until to push him rotating. It appeared as he strained, shifted the equilibrium ... might be, the earth/ground voltage, or made itself additional circuit or evoked all potential, even future, malfunctions. STATIC ELECTRICITY? You know that sad story that women were prohibited to enter to the premises with first computers: happened that they did wear nylon, synthetics that produced static electricity, rings. Nothing of that kind near you?
Does your power plug has an earth and it really inside has third cable for it?
This is good question: you will, for sure, burn something like HD, not now then in future. For ex., in Portugal there is a an earth only in places for washing machines (kitchens, balconies, toilets): my neighbor told me that only equipment with water inside needs the earth for power and was very surprised when I showed him that my PC has an "earth" in the plug. How it is in Colorado deserts?
Returning to reversibility...
I also forgotten to tell that in that my story I pushed manually (by a match), the fan to rotation, at (re)boot for months.
Tell how do you manage
[ December 07, 2002: Message edited by: G Vanin ]
[ December 07, 2002: Message edited by: G Vanin ]
 
Marilyn de Queiroz
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Guennadii,

Thank you for your input. I am certain that the problem is not static electricity.

My power plug does have a ground, so I think that is not the problem.

I am now suspecting the power block. I will let you know when I have isolated the problem.

I am worried about flashing the bios. I saw a gadget to store the present bios, in case the flashing doesn't work, but it cost over $200. This may be a last attempt to resolve the problem, but I don't think it is the root cause.
 
Guennadiy VANIN
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Marilyn,
sounds like you currently do not reproduce problems (if you are in doubt)....
In my earlier posts, I forgot that word in English (mother socket). Sure, all PCs have plug with ground. But sockets are not necessarily have (or it is not connected to ground, inside). In that case, the ground of the PC power plug doesn't serve for anything. The PC box just gives continuous and strong shock/current when I touch it, HERE (might be it is because of humidity. I live on the beach between 2 rivers and the ocean).
 
Guennadiy VANIN
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Marilyn,
I awoke 2 days ago from explosion. After reinserting fuses in house, I found, it was Power Block in PC. Having 12 months guarantee, my Power Block exploded on 13th. This evoked my dark suspicions, ... should be some programmable chip inside...
Everything is OK after substitution (well, substitutions, I had also diskette drive damaged and DVD), though it is unpleasant on Xmas holidays.
Anyway, in my experience, nothing could be more terrible than loosing information because of Hard Disk: all the rest is recoverable.
Inspired by your patience may you look those my cries?:
https://coderanch.com/t/131370/gc/any-experience-HD-recovery
https://coderanch.com/t/131371/gc/search-substitutables-non-standard-PC
[ December 27, 2002: Message edited by: G Vanin ]
 
Marilyn de Queiroz
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I took it to a "fix-it" shop. It worked in the shop, and didn't work when I got it home.

Finally I flashed my bios. That did the trick. Haven't had any problems with booting since then.
 
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