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Computer Help

   Discussion: Computer Help
Gordondon son of Ethelred · 20 years, 10 months ago
My computer feels like it is dying. I figured that there are enough computer geeks here that one of you might be able to help this math geek keep it alive. Here are the symptoms.
  • Soon after rebooting the computer the sound stops working
  • It freezes very often
  • It takes forever to boot up
  • It can't scan the hard drive because it keeps saying that it has changed and it has to start over
  • If I turn the computer off over night it won't boot at all in the morning. If I keep hitting restart I eventually get it to start the boot sequence. It won't boot though, it will freeze in the middle. As I keep rebooting it will go a little further each time. Eventually it boots but freezes immediately. The desktop icons load really slowly when it is like this. After a few hours it finally starts working.
  • This is new, it can't find my CD-rom drive. It thinks it is a second floppy drive
Can anyone help?
Josh Woodward Back · 20 years, 10 months ago
It sounds like your computer is broken.
nate... Back · 20 years, 10 months ago
I concur.
;)

No, but seriously... when you say it won't boot without freezing... does it beep at all? even start loading windows? Or is it before the machine even posts?

(like, before you get the little bios flash in black and white on the screen)
Gordondon son of Ethelred Back · 20 years, 10 months ago
the first few times it is before it even posts.

The it stops when it just starts posting when it says how much RAM there is.

then it gets to the screen that says Windows 98 on it and freezes.

and so on, one step at a time.
Paul D. Beasi Back · 20 years, 10 months ago
It really does sound like a motherboard cap problem.
nate... Back · 20 years, 10 months ago
I agree.

Time to pull out a phillips head screwdriver and a flashlight.

:(

Sorry.
If that turns out to not be it... my next guess would be a mis-seated card/cable or ram.
Gordondon son of Ethelred Back · 20 years, 10 months ago
If that is the problem can I fix it?
nate... Back · 20 years, 10 months ago
only by replacing the motherboard....

Unless you're comfortable taking apart and rebuilding a PC.... then... it would be iffy.

It's really not that much of a big deal, though... if you can just remember where everything was... and put it back in the same places (and make sure to ground yourself to eliminate static) then you'll probably be fine.
Josh Woodward Back · 20 years, 10 months ago
> Unless you're comfortable taking apart and rebuilding a PC.... then... it would be iffy.

And if it's a Dell/Gateway/etc, don't even go there. I don't know if they still do, but a few years ago, Dell used a non-standard power supply that looks normal, but fries non-Dell mobos. The other big slimy companies are probably similar.
nate... Back · 20 years, 10 months ago
ahh yeah... I heard about that... *nods*
Paul D. Beasi Back · 20 years, 10 months ago
Yup, my old XPS-R450's power supply was dying (I'd given it to my parents) and I tried to replace it with a standard ATX power supply.

The pinout configuration was the same and the mounting holes lined up perfectly, so you'd suspect it was a standard PSU right?

Wrong. It's wired completely differently. Wasn't pretty.
wild bill Back · 20 years, 10 months ago
Begs a few questions.

a. did you add anything new to the computer recently?
b. was there any strange events that happened recently (like a power surge, lightning storm that caused some damage to other electric equipment in the house/apartment)?
c. how old is the computer?

very bizarre, if i were forced to fashion a guess there's something f-ed up with your mb..

ymmv.

- b
nate... Back · 20 years, 10 months ago
Yeah, if it really won't post at all, then the first thing I'd do is crack open the case and look carefully at the motherboard with a flashlight.

If you see anything that looks like this or this, your motherboard is shot.

I was getting the exact same symptoms on a couple different mobos that had the caps blow.
nate... Back · 20 years, 10 months ago
Oh, and also... if you've added any RAM recently, it could definitely be that.

When I built my current machine I had two 256 sticks of generic computer-show ram in it... and it kept BSoDing on me... swapped them out for a single 512 of Crucial and haven't had a problem since.
Paul D. Beasi Back · 20 years, 10 months ago
Bad caps is exactly what I was going to say. I've witnessed those exact symptoms many times at work on some bad Abit boards.
Agent Scully Back · 20 years, 10 months ago
Where is a good place to get a cheap 40gig hard drive?

Mine is going and I didn't want to pay $80 at circuit city for one.
Misch Back · 20 years, 10 months ago
That's about the cheapest you'll find a new drive for. Keep an eye on sunday circulars and eventually you'll find Staples, Best Buy or Circuit City, or somebody have a better price after the rebate.
nate... Back · 20 years, 10 months ago
Well, I just looked on pricewatch and you can find some 40 gig drives (5400rpm ones) for around $45 including shipping.

wild bill Back · 20 years, 10 months ago
hmm. you can usually find drives for around $1/gig if you look in the right places.

pricewatch.com is a good place to look.

i've bought a bunch of shit from newegg.com without any real issues (even returned a DOA motherboard without an issue) just a testimonial if you're uncomfortable with buying stuff from a little mom & pop store.

looks like they have a maxtor 40g 7200 drive onsale for $56. (although if you're going to spend that much, you might as well splurge and get yourself an 80G drive .. they have a WD 80g 7200 for $65, although i have heard some pretty bad stuff about WD drives)

If you pay anything near $80 you've been ripped off.

- b
nate... Back · 20 years, 10 months ago
Actually, despite some MAJOR issues back in the early 90s... WD has been a very reliable drive for some time now.

I reluctantly broke down and finally bought one about a year ago....and I've been very impressed with the performance... and have had no problems.

Back in the day, though, they were the hard drive equivalent of a pinto. Heh.
Paul D. Beasi Back · 20 years, 10 months ago
Not for me, they haven't. Three WD from 95-99 died on me. I gave up on them.

Of course I'm not so fond of my latest Death Star either. :(
nate... Back · 20 years, 10 months ago
right.

I'm talking about the last 3 or 4 years...

They appear to have fixed things... and are currently making the fastest drives out there.

I'm honestly surprised paul... I mean, even though I heard some stories in the past 10 years... I've never known anyone personally who had a problem with their drives.
So.. that gives me more pause for thought.

I guess we shall see what happens.
They appear to be like the Audi of the hard drive makers.... make great cars... then slip into making crap worse than a yugo... then try to recover by making BMW quality stuff.... then slip back... etc.

As I say, though, all the WD drives made in the past few years have been flawless so far from what I've seen... so.. I'm crossing my fingers.

If you don't want to take any gamble whatsoever, though, I'd probably go with a maxtor.
Paul D. Beasi Back · 20 years, 10 months ago
Yeah I have several Maxtors all going strong.

I also have some S-ATA Seagates, a brand I haven't used since the early 90s, that are working extremely well.
Agent Scully Back · 20 years, 10 months ago
Thanks everyone for the tips! :) I"m going to start hunting now for a new one. :)
wild bill Back · 20 years, 10 months ago
Maxtor 80GB Deal $39.84, Jan 5

Back in stock in many areas.
Office Depot has the Maxtor 80GB 7200RPM 8MB Cache hard drive $99.84 - $60 rebates = $39.84. Item 678133 Free shipping. If price is $109.84, then you need to pick it up in store.

Printout rebates right now. $30 rebate (Original UPC) and

$30 rebate Exp 1/10/04
Agent Scully Back · 20 years, 10 months ago
Thanks bill for posting that!

I appreciate it! :)
Eri Back · 20 years, 10 months ago

If he sees anything hot pink, it's broken. Check. ;)

I'm just amused that the inside of your computer matches my hair, really.

Gordondon son of Ethelred Back · 20 years, 10 months ago
There is nothing new. I have been figuring motherboard or bios since the problem starts before windows starts to load.
Jºnªthªn Back · 20 years, 10 months ago
buy a mac
nate... Back · 20 years, 10 months ago
Alas, some of us aren't rich.

:(

wild bill Back · 20 years, 10 months ago
yea, because they never break.. and when they do, its so easy to get replacement hardware.. ;)
sheryls Back · 20 years, 10 months ago
oh, something like this? http://members.cox.net/clyqz/macs.html
nate... Back · 20 years, 10 months ago
hahahahah
THat's hilarious.

Too bad it's so tiny.

iPauley Back · 20 years, 10 months ago
Mac video: Now UNtiny!

-- Pauley
Yvonne Back · 20 years, 10 months ago
Heh...except Windows Media Player couldn't find it.� The one thing I like about Macs is iTunes.� (Yes Lawrence, I've now decided to go with an iPod...you convinced me.� They rock!)� :)
iPauley Back · 20 years, 10 months ago
Apple iTunes was released for Windows 2000 and XP October 16th, 2003. You can download it (as well as the Mac version) at iTunes.com.

I had no trouble accessing the file... however, here's another source.

"I like this handle here... that's so you can attach a chain, and use it as a BOAT ANCHOR!!!"

-- Pauley
Starfox Back · 20 years, 10 months ago
Soon after rebooting the computer the sound stops working

Possibly an IRQ conflict with your sound device. Check in Hardware Profiles or Hardware Manager depending on what OS you are running.

It freezes very often

Can also be an IRQ conflict. Possibly a memory or BIOS problem too (some computers don't play well with M$ and hibernate/power down features).

It takes forever to boot up

What are the specs on your computer? What processor, speed (MHZ) and how much RAM (not diskspace) do you have? What operating system are you running?

It can't scan the hard drive because it keeps saying that it has changed and it has to start over

This is a crappy known problem with Windows scandisk and any programs which run in the background (antivirus software, file indexing crap, or a slew of other programs). Kill everything on the tool bar (right hand lower portion of the start bar). See if that solves it.

If I turn the computer off over night it won't boot at all in the morning. If I keep hitting restart I eventually get it to start the boot sequence. It won't boot though, it will freeze in the middle. As I keep rebooting it will go a little further each time. Eventually it boots but freezes immediately. The desktop icons load really slowly when it is like this. After a few hours it finally starts working.

Sounds like a possible power supply issue, or flaky motherboard, or dip switch setting on the mother board is set wrong. Can't really help without being there to see what it does.

This is new, it can't find my CD-rom drive. It thinks it is a second floppy drive

Is it configured properly in your BIOS? If it is an IDE CD-ROM, do you have the Master/Slave dip switch set correctly on it? (i.e. if you already have another device on the IDE controller like a hard drive, and you have the other device set as master, you will have problems with the CD-ROM if it too wants to be Master).

Hope this helps.
Yvonne · 20 years, 10 months ago
Will backing up my files and reformatting my hard drive, after owning my PC for three or more years and putting all kinds of�crap on it, make my system faster?� It slows down over time but I've been told that's mostly due to the registry being changed so many times.� (I know new programs and the internet constantly require better resources, that's not the slowness I'm talking about, it's that doing the exact same things gets slower over time).
nate... Back · 20 years, 10 months ago
yeah, if you're willing to do it... it will speed things up.

It's just a bitch to reinstall everything... unless you're weird, like me, and like doing it.

Heh.
Yvonne Back · 20 years, 10 months ago
I could probably have fun doing it over the summer when I'm not too busy.� It's fun playing with my Dell.� And I know I've got a lot of stuff I really don't need on here anymore, including all my Windows Media Files.� Seriously, I'm encoding my CDs with AAC now, sounds better.
Phoenix Back · 20 years, 10 months ago
I couldn't agree more. Huh and I thought I'd be only one encoding to AAC... ;-)
iPauley Back · 20 years, 10 months ago
You, and a ton of iTunes users, whose default encoding scheme, as well as the scheme downloaded from iTMS (the iTunes Music Store), is AAC :)

-- Pauley (who loves iTunes, now that he's got an OS capable of running it :-P)
Phoenix · 20 years, 10 months ago
We all need this computer. *evil grin*
Joella · 20 years, 6 months ago
i actually only came to this post so i could say buy a mac and alas, it's already been said

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