Computer won't boot, but power and fan are runningay

Posted on 2002-07-18
Last Modified: 2010-04-26
This problem began when I was asked to install a modem into a computer for my company. When I got to the computer, I pressed the power button, and nothing happened. I figured maybe one of the wires I had used for the moniter was faulty, since the fan and power in the computer were running, but nothing appeared on the display. I've switched both the power cables for the moniter and computer, and switched which jacks they were plugged into. (By the way, this computer was not struck by lightning, it was working, then it was unplugged and brought to the office, and then it wasn't working when it got here) After this, I pressed the power button again, and to my delight, it started to boot. Although about halfway through BIOS, it stalled (while reading the CDROM but I dont think that has anything to do with it). I then thought maybe the display adapter is having problems, so I took it out, and then put it back into a different ISA slot. I removed the modem to avoid any extra hardware conflicts. I then turned it on, and it started to work again, this time it got to Scandisk, about halfway through the file structure scan, and stalled again. I didnt know what the hell was wrong with it, so I went in and checked all the internal connections, from harddrive to motherboard, cdrom, etc. I removed the RAM, replaced it, mad sure no wires were loose or crossing. At this point it was back to doing nothing when I pressed the button. Just sitting there with a red light and a fan whirring. After 10 minutes of a coffee break, I returned and pressed it again, and it began to work. I pressed delete to make it go to BIOS setup, at which point it promptly stalled again. I've actually found that it only begins to work if you leave it off for like 4 minutes and then try, you cant try every minute or else it wont work at all. Theres a 70% chance that it won't do anything when the button is pressed, and a 30% chance that it will temporarily work, but it has never even gotten to the windows boot up screen. Does anyone have any ideas? I need to get files from this computer. Sorry I only have 75 points, I'll help out some others in the future but right now I'm really screwed with this problem. Thanks
Question by:madmatter23
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Expert Comment

ID: 7162137
How old is the computer? What hardware does it use??

Author Comment

ID: 7162237
Pentium II
Western Digital Coviar 36400 Hard Drive
Jatan Display Adapter
AMIBIOS? Motherboard

I couldnt find the model numbers and I'm not even sure that the motherboard is correct. It's about 5-7 years old I think.

Expert Comment

ID: 7162372
did you reseat the processor?? Have you tried booting to a floppy>>
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Author Comment

ID: 7162445
Booting to a floppy won't work, since it can't get past BIOS. Even if I managed to boot from a floppy, it would just stall soon afterward. I don't know how to reseat the processor, but if you think that will work then I'd love to try it. Thanks

Expert Comment

ID: 7162508
PII should be a slot one. It has a mounting mech it locks into, When you open the case and look at it you will understand, Also make sure the processor cooling fan is working, Some MB will not boot if processor fan isn't running.

Author Comment

ID: 7162825
I remounted the processor and made sure that it's cooling fan is working. but...the computer still isn't working.

Accepted Solution

sorgie earned 75 total points
ID: 7162939
If you just need files from this computer try mounting the drive as a slave in another computer and copy the files. Also have you tried disconnecting the hard drive and see if it boots to the floppy?

Expert Comment

ID: 7163390

It sounds like you have a mechanical problem with the hard drive. Remove the ide cable from the rive and see it you now can get to bios.

If it still fails the next suspect would be the video card.
You say it is an isa adapter card. This is very unusual for
the class of motherboard you mentioned. Sounds like perhaps
someone removed the original pci or isa card?

I tried to boot a pentium computer with an ISA card once to test if it was doa or not. It would not work with sdram.
It simply could not re-act fast enough for the signal. If
you have a pci card available to try  i would do that...

Failing that you try to restore bios defaults by jumpering the cmos and see if ot lets you boot....

A few things to try if you are not ready to remove and slave the drive to another computer which is probally the best thing to do as sorgie has suggested...if you really need the data fast..

Good luck

LVL 23

Expert Comment

ID: 7164487
I haven't seen heat mentioned as the problem other than making sure the CPU fan is working.  That appears to be the culprit.  Open the case and position a room fan blowing into it.  Now flip it on.  Does it run and boot?  If so, you need better cooling.

Expert Comment

ID: 7173130

Given that you were able to get the system started, I'm going to assume that the processor and hd are actually working... whether you are able to power them all the way up through the boot process is a different story -- and I'll say the main character in this story is your power supply.

Faulty power supplies wreak havoc with systems... sometimes they have enough power to boot, sometimes they don't.  Sometimes they have just enough power to get you to your POST & then they begin to crap out.

If your processor, motherboard, hd and the like aren't getting enough juice, the system can simply halt... which is what I'd have to believe is causing your headache.

Before you go to the trouble of replacing the supply, though, try a different wall outlet (or power strip if you use one).  If that doesn't work, see if you can swap the supply with one from another PC.

Keep us informed...


Expert Comment

ID: 7371991

Expert Comment

ID: 8100084
No comment has been added lately, so it's time to clean up this TA.
Please leave any comments here within the next seven days.

If no further comments are posted, this question will be :

Awarded to sorgie, and PAQ'd


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Expert Comment

ID: 8190586
Per recommendation, force-accepted.

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