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slightly interesting pc problem

Discussion in 'Tech Support' started by mdavids, 25 Jan 2008.

  1. mdavids

    mdavids New Member

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    Hi all. I'm trying to fix a pc for a work colleague which boots but wont load windows. Its an emachines 570 with a celeron 2ghz, a TriGem IM845G (Imperial) mboard and 256 ddr2100. I've tried the restore disks which appear to work but as windows is about to boot, the screen just stays black. I then tried one of my own windows xp disks which took about an hour and a half to load in. Rather than smoothly copying each file in turn, it would load about 3 or 4 then pause for a few seconds before carrying on which obviously isnt normal. At the end of this I got the same result as before - boots half way then nothing. This seemed like either a hard drive or memory fault so I've replaced both of these which made no difference and the hard drive works fine in my pc. Basically the only things I havent tried are the power supply - as I cant see it causing this type of fault and the mboard/processor as I havent got spares of this kind to try. I think I've narrowed it down to the mboard but I've never come across a faulty board causing this type of problem before so I'm reluctant to tell him he needs a new pc without knowing for sure. Anyone got any ideas that I may have missed or experienced a similar fault. Thanks in advance.
     
  2. airchie

    airchie New Member

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    Could try updating the BIOS?
    Or even just reset it to default settings?

    Does booting XP into safe mode help?
     
  3. skpstr

    skpstr New Member

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    It's a real long shot, but maybe the heatsink has become unseated or the TIM has broken down (or something) and it's shutting down due to overheating. It's probably unlikely, but it is one other thing to check.
     
  4. mdavids

    mdavids New Member

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    Thanks for the replies. Trying to boot into safe mode doesnt work and I dont want to mess on with the bios as the only time I've tried this I killed the board. I have tried removing the cmos battery and restoring the bios to default settings. I never thought to try the heatsink or check the temps so I'll give it a go.
    Another strange thing I noticed - when trying to reinstall windows and I'm flicking through the options such as format method, its very slow to respond e.g. I press the cursor keys and it takes a few seconds for it to highlight the next option.
     
  5. Cthippo

    Cthippo Can't mod my way out of a paper bag

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    Sounds like it could be overheating. I've also seen Mobos die, everything does eventually.

    On a whim, you might try downloading a linux live CD and running that. I'm betting it will die with that too, but at least then you can say for sure it's a mobo problem and not a hard drive / OS issue.
     
  6. culley

    culley New Member

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    But surely if it was overheating it would overheat when POST'ing as well as while booting, if he tried to boot twice in a row the CPU would still be overheated therefor would of overheat and turn off no matter where he is in the POST/boot phase, aslong as he CPU reaches his max temp limit.
     
  7. Cthippo

    Cthippo Can't mod my way out of a paper bag

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    Maybe, but I have to believe the CPU works harder (ergo generating more heat) while copying files than merely running POST / BIOS.
     
  8. mdavids

    mdavids New Member

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    I tried taking off the heatsink which was pretty clogged up with dust and the bottom was covered in an unknown black substance. However this cleaned off easily and the cpu looked like new but it didnt make any difference to the fault when I reseated it. Apparently the last thing he was doing with the pc before it broke was playing commmand and conquer so if the cpu was getting hot anyway, this might have been enough to damage it. I'm now thinking its the cpu thats faulty - I'm sure its not overheating now thats causing the problem but maybe a period of over-high temps in the past has damaged it but not killed it completely. The bios works fine and responds normally whereas the windows boot disk environment is really unresponsive as if the cpu is massively underclocked.
    When he first described the problem I thought it would be a quick windows reinstall repair job for an easy tenner. :wallbash:
     
    Last edited: 31 Jan 2008
  9. MilkMan5

    MilkMan5 Yeah man...

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    Why don’t you start Win in DOS mode, maybe run some continuous batch file, such as a DIR
    Or download a old DOS game and run it.

    See how long it will take the PC to shut down or restart.
    That will give you some idea, if the PC continues to run 100% in DOS mode, then I guess it’s not the CPU / memory.

    It could very well be the motherboard/Graphics.
     
  10. Cupboard

    Cupboard I'm not a modder.

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    The black stuff may have been graphite thermal paste which helps transfer the heat from the processor to the heat sink. If you have removed that and not replaced it with anything, you will be having overheating problems

    Many CPUs underclock themselves when they are hot to reduce their thermal output. (and some, like my laptop, do it just for gags occasionally)
     
  11. mm vr

    mm vr The cheesecake is a lie

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    That's called power management. :idea:
     
  12. mdavids

    mdavids New Member

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    I wasnt aware of this stuff - learn something new everyday. I did put some thermal paste on in its place but I only ran the pc long enough to establish that the fault was still there i.e. about 5mins it takes for the windows XP boot disk to load in so I dont think it was overheating at this point.
    @milkman. The pc has never actually shut itself down or restarted - just sort of stopped at the point that windows should boot as if some file was corrupted. I would've put money on it being a hard drive fault or dodgy windows install at first as it has all the symptons. It has both onboard GFX and an old mx440 geforce card which I did try removing.
    Thanks again for all the suggestions. I've pretty much given in now as I've spent far too much time on this and am going to tell him I cant fix it unless he wants a new mobo/cpu/memory.
     
  13. Cupboard

    Cupboard I'm not a modder.

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    Not when it is running off AC power, with a fully charged battery and it isn't hot enough for the fan to be spinning - it had gone from 1.8Ghz to 215Mhz!
    Anyway, back to topic...
     
  14. Andy Mc

    Andy Mc Well-Known Member

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    Have any of the capacitors blown? as it could be a hardware fault with the motherboard?
     

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