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Computer dead - Help!

  1. Jan 18, 2008 #1


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    I (and when I say "I", I mean my sister) have had my computer die.

    IBM M41 P4 2.0GHz.

    Here are the symptoms:

    1] Power On
    2] "IBM" splashes on-screen
    3] The power light and the hard-drive lights come on.
    4] "Press F1 for setup. Press F12 for startup device menu."
    5] No keypress of any kind including F1 or F12 instigates any response whatsoever.
    6] The CD tray will open and close, the CD light does flicker on and off.

    But otherwise it is a doorstop.

    Fan works. But no sound from hard-drive starting up.

    It was doing this more and more frequently - a power-cycling or two would get it working but it was taking more and more cyclings. Now it's just not coming back.

    (A startup disk will not work becasue it is not even getting to OS bootup.)

    Any ideas??
    (Any serious ideas?)
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2008
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 18, 2008 #2


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    If it is not a laptop, make sure the key board is plugged in. That used to cause a priority interupt and halt the boot process.

    Are there any error messages or is there a blank screen after the splash?

  4. Jan 19, 2008 #3


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    There is no "after" the splash. That's it. It stays on the screen.
  5. Jan 19, 2008 #4


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    Give it a good cleaning and reseat all the cards and drive plugs.

    I had the same problem and that resolved it for me.

    Good luck.
  6. Jan 19, 2008 #5
    Sorry but it might be a "kill virus" like the infamous "Blue Screen of Death". Otherwise, do the cleaning, or get an HP, they almost always come with a recovery cds. My uncle has an old IBM laptop(craptop more like it) and weve had weird problems with getting it to start. With it we just keep turning it on and off and sometimes get it to work. Good luck
  7. Jan 19, 2008 #6


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    It is not even getting to the point of loading the OS, so recovery disk is useless. And certainly not a virus, unless there's one that can infect the CMOS or POST.
  8. Jan 19, 2008 #7
    A recovery disk would wipe the drive and reinstall everything...so it would help.....you'd just lose all your files. And about the virus, theres all types, and some very insidious ones at that, so don't say its not possible.
  9. Jan 19, 2008 #8


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    You are not understanding. I'll say it again:

    It is not getting to the point where it is loading the OS - regardless of whether it would read it from the HD or the the floppy drive. It is dying during BIOS bootup.

    You're telling me to try a different key and see of the engine will start and I've been telling you I'm still trying to get the doors open to get in the car.
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2008
  10. Jan 19, 2008 #9
    Remove the BIOS battery (it is a thin battery that is perfectly circular) for a minute or two and put it back one. See if that works.

    or, grab your manual and see if there is a way to reset your BIOS with a jumper. You could try this.

    worst case, go through things one at a time. Try minimal to maximum configurations. What I mean is:
    minimum - no hd, one stick of memory, no peripherals, etc...
    maximum - how it is now.

    I'm guessing it is the BIOS, maybe it could be memory that went bad.
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2008
  11. Jan 19, 2008 #10
    Could be the motherboard too I guess...
  12. Jan 20, 2008 #11
    I'd first make sure everything is plugged in and seated correctly. Especially the RAM that sounds like your most likely problem, or the RAM is dead.

    Second try reseting the BIOS, there should be a way to do that with a jumper. That will fix any possible virus problems, unless you BIOS chip has been fried.

    Third replace the CMOS battery, and reset the BIOS. Sometimes the BIOS constantly loosing setting buggers up allot of stuff.

    Fourth find a PSU tester and make sure everything is working. I really doubt this is the problem since PSU just go dead not somewhat dead, but hey it could happen.

    Fifth take the HD to a working comp and make sure it is still alive. If not you will need a new HD, and that should clear up the problem.

    Also how old is this system, this might be the Tec gods telling you it is time to get a new computer.
  13. Jan 20, 2008 #12


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    One could try and boot off the OS CD. I've rebuilt a computer, by putting in a blank HD and booting off the CD, which then intalled the OS.

    I believe there are viruses that trash boot sectors, and if that is the case, then the PC is hosed.

    If once has an OS CD, then one could remove the HD assuming one does not want to erase the contents, and basically install the OS on a new HD. The old HD can be jumped to slave and inserted as a second drive or placed in a caddy so that one can read the data or apply an anti-virus scan.

    My company has a strict policy of keeping OS/APPS on one drive and data on other drives. Most machines now have the OS HD and two other internal HD's and two bays for additional removable HD's. We have redundant back up on each machine and to other machines across the network.
  14. Jan 20, 2008 #13
    See dave, Im saying what Astro is. You use the recovery CD (or OS CD as you may know it) to load when you can't get it to start at the HD. Your kinda rash, and it makes it hard to get points across.
  15. Jan 28, 2008 #14
    It sounds like it could be bad memory or bad mother board. If you have more than one stick of memory try taking one out reboot comp. if that doesnt work try taking other stick out reboot. If not try a different good stick of memory altogether. If that dosnt work good possibility its the mother board. Ive seen many comps. do this when mem. goes bad.
    good luck.
  16. Jan 28, 2008 #15


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    I'd advise disconnecting the hard drive (from the IDE ribbon) and trying to boot from a CD. It's possible that your hard drive's controller is dead. As soon as the BIOS code tries to read the disk information (and fails), it probably halts the processor.

    It's also possible that the CD-ROM's controller has gone bad, so you might want to try disconnecting that temporarily, too, leaving only the hard drive on the bus. You can continue to disable parts of the computer (removing cards, etc.) until you find the part that's failing.

    - Warren
  17. Jan 28, 2008 #16


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    Oh. Update:

    My sister (much to my astonishment, considering her discomfort with machinery) took my advice and opened the case and dusted everything that could be dusted and pushed in everything that looked like it could be pushed in.

    She'd been real skeptical, but I assured her, from years of trying to get computers going, it's all too often the really basic things.

    And now it works.

    So: loose cable, or more likely IMO, oxidized contacts on a board/slot.
  18. Jan 28, 2008 #17


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    Glad to hear that. Just a word to the wise, if you have a laptop and an un-neutered male cat. :surprised You do not want to know.
  19. Jan 28, 2008 #18


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    Sometimes when it's that bad, it's easy for even us non-technical types to get brave enough to open the case..afterall, you do get to the point where you figure you really can't make it any worse than it already is. Glad that solved the problem.
  20. Jan 28, 2008 #19


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    This was my argument to her. She's very difficult to motivate toward anything. I guess she capitulated.
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