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Possible hard drive problem

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by Computermonkey, Sep 26, 2003.

  1. Computermonkey

    Computermonkey Bit Poster

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    I have this older computer and every once in a while during bootup the computer will just shut right down with no warning whatsoever. It is not heat related because it will only do this during bootup. After it is on then it is okay. Sometimes when I would restart the computer (of course, Win98 needs restarting once in a while) it would do this again, and only during bootup. So, this is why I am thinking it's the hard disk drive. I have an extra HDD so this is no problem swapping it out of there.

    Just need some experts advice on what you think it is that is causing this?
     
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  2. tripwire45
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    tripwire45 Zettabyte Poster

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    What part of the boot process does this happen in? Can you get to the part of the process where you have the option to Press [tab] to enter POST? I'm not sure I'm convinced this is a HDD problem. You'd be more likely to get an error message saying that you couldn't access you OS or no OS found, for example.

    Open up your box and check for loose connections, especially your RAM chips. Also, see if your CPU is loose. Many a PC has been declared DOA until loose connections have been reseated and <viola> the thing lives again.

    Have you made any recent hardware or software changes to this computer? If so and the above suggestions yield no result, try undoing those changes and see if that does the trick.

    Try the above and let us know what you find out.
     
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  3. SimonV

    SimonV Petabyte Poster Administrator

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    I'd go with trip on the hard drive maybe not being the route of the problem. I would expect an error message not a reboot. It could be motherboard related. Hard one if it’s intermittent.
     
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  4. Computermonkey

    Computermonkey Bit Poster

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    There is no error whatsoever, and it doesn't reboot on it's own, it just shuts down and turns off.... What happens is during startup it starts to go through the startup process, but then just shuts down and shuts off. It is intermittent. I have not made any hardware or software changes to it at all. But, now that Trip mentioned loose connections (that is one of the first things I was told in class about!!!! :oops: ) Come to think of it, it never did this until I moved it from one place to the other. When I first started having this problem I did have the box opened and had it on the floor because I was checking to make sure the CPU connection wasn't loose, BUT while it was on the floor I had left the room to go to the ladies room for a couple of minutes, but when I came back my sister-in-law had her hands in the computer... I kind of freaked out because she knows nothing about computers and she had walked across a carpeted floor and stuck her hands in the box... maybe, just maybe she loosened up something by accident.... Back to the drawing board. I will just have to check for loose connections and loose RAM as well... I never checked the RAM :oops:
     
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  5. Jakamoko
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    Jakamoko On the move again ...

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    Hi Monk,

    I'd say the above are all good suggestions of where to start, but you should also consider the power supply too. I say that because if your not getting any error messages, then that would tend to suggest that there isn't any hardware reporting as faulty during the POST.

    You say you can sometimes get it to start, and then it runs fine - how often do you manage this ? I once had a machine that consistently only booted on evey third attempt :scratch I finally traced it to the HDD being properly jumpered, but on the wrong position on the IDE cable :?:

    Finally, can you get your sister-in-law to fully admit to what she was doing inside ? That may be a clue in itself (tho' possibly not a pleasant one

    You've deff got us all hooked now - keep us up to date ...
     
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  6. tripwire45
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    tripwire45 Zettabyte Poster

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    One really nasty possibility here. Since non-techie sister-in-law had her hands inside the box, chances are she knows nothing about anti-ESD procedures. If I don't have a strap/pad/etc...I usually touch the frame of the box before putting my hands inside to equalize the static potential. If she didn't do that, it is a distinct possiblity that she "zapped" something on the motherboard. We almost always carry a small charge on our bodies but most of the time, the discharge is below the threshold where we can actually feel it. Even a discharge that low can fry delicate electonics on the motherboard. This sort of damage is almost impossible to diagnose and repair and usually requires the replacement of the motherboard and some, if not all of the PCI or ISA cards.

    Having said all that, another thing I'd check is the power cord. Check the plug in at the surge protector (you are using one, aren't you?) and at the power supply. If either is loose, you could get the kind of problem you're describing.

    In troubleshooting, always check the most basic physical problems first. In many cases, the problem is very simple and very easy to correct. Occasionally, someone's "sister-in-law" gets in the works and then, things get far more complicated. I agree with Gav...even if she didn't zap something, she may have touched a component that is causing the problem. Open up the box for her and have her describe (without touching) what she did. Chances are your answer is there. If it's a worst case scenario, have fun shopping for another computer.
     
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  7. Jakamoko
    Honorary Member

    Jakamoko On the move again ...

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    Is that an optimist talking, or what ??? :lol:
     
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  8. tripwire45
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    tripwire45 Zettabyte Poster

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    A realist.
     
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  9. Computermonkey

    Computermonkey Bit Poster

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    I tore the whole machine apart this morning (I had to do it because the problem was bothering me). I cleaned all of the connections with alcohol (was this a wise choice?). I put it all back together and it booted up fine. I also had some extra RAM laying around and added that as well, and the system recognized the extra RAM! Yippeee!

    Anyway, now that Jak mentioned the power supply, this is definately a possibility!! The symptoms sound so typical, also because there is no error message or extra beeps during bootup! I also have an extra power supply laying around :smile-l

    What would I ever do without you guys? :clap I am so glad I found this place...

    As for my sister-in-law :gun she had better leave my machines alone! :roll:
     
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  10. Jakamoko
    Honorary Member

    Jakamoko On the move again ...

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    SO DON'T MESS WITH MONK'S MACHINES, OK ??? :cussing

    :P
     
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