Computer unable to start


I am unable to start one of my computers.

It's quite old ... pentium mmx.

When i turn on the power, it doesnt even go to the floppy/CD drive. The power lights turn on ... harddisk spins for about a second and then nothing happens.

I think this computer has had continued problems over the years but no one has attented to them (This isnt my own computer ... a family member's). It used to run scan disk everytime it started. Then the bad sectors got worse. Then it required a restart to start it. Then it needed a boot disk to start it. And finally it didnt start at all :(.

All suggestions welcome ... plz keep question open :)

Thanks in advance
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The earlier signs (bad sectors) were of an impending hard drive failure. This has now happened. Hopefully there is no important data on the drive that was not backed up to another format (floppy, etc.).

If you wish to keep the system operational, you will have to replace the hard drive. Luckily, small hard drives are available at a very low cost.

If you need links for a replacemant, let us know.
dechAuthor Commented:
But ... right now ... the pc does not even go through the floppy -> CD -> harddrive load up sequence.

Even if the harddrive has failed, shouldnt i be able to boot and run from say a floppy or CD?

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Are there any error messages shown on the screen?
Do you hear any "beeps" during startup?

If the hard drive "stalls" before the system can run
its post code that might explain why no other device is
"tallied" at startup.

Also it is possible that the bios is set to by pass all other devices because it it set to boot only to Hard Drive.

If you can access the bios at start up, set to boot sequence to A:\ only and see if the system boots to floppy.

Then you can run a dos diag on the disk before you pronounce it dead.

If you need to access the drive to attemp to retrieve info,
it may be possible to get the drive spinning by tapping on
the top of the drive with a pencil. Sometimes a little vibration may get it up and spinning long enough to recover some data.

In any case replacing th HD is a good idea. As Jlauseter suggests some hd's of the vintage of your machine are cheap.

Hope this proves helpfull,

Good luck
dechAuthor Commented:
There are no error messages as the screen remains blank.

There are no beeps during startup.

I am unable to access bios.

Basically ... the only thing that happens when i press the power key is the power light comes on - hard disk spin a little - then all stop.

The monitor is never lit during that process (which lasts about 1 - 2 seconds).


Disconnect the hard drive ide and power cable.
Reboot and see if you can get to the bios.

If still no post code executes (no beeps)
Then I would suspect ram failure or cpu failure.

Also, check that there is no foreign objects in the case
that could short out the board. Also a broken stand off
(plastic peg that isolates the Motherboard from the case)
could have broken and the case is grounding out before post...

Also you could try to disconnect everything except
the video card. If now you get to bios plug in one component at a time to isolate a possible bad piece
of equipment...

Good luck..

Sorry, forgot to mention you can also remove the video
card and see if there is a beep...if there is a beep then the video card itself could be the culpret..bios code
will beep several time if no video detected...

get us posted..

Seen that once before and in my case we solved it like this:

Took almost everything out of the machine.
Replaced the graphic adapter with a very old isa adapter and could then see on the screen, that the computer was waiting for a biosupgrade. It had reverted to a default state where only the most basic functions were available.

We gave it a biosupgrade and put everything back in the machine and it worked.

Could this be the case here ??
I believe that the issue of the hard drive failure is actually halting your PC from starting, as mentioned remove the HDD and any mention to it in the BIOS(or set the BIOS to auto) then reboot.

You of course need to replace the drive.
dechAuthor Commented:
I have removed the harddrive, but still to no response.

Push down on the BIOS chip to see that it is fully seated. If may have worked itself out of the socket a bit over time.
Are you sure the power supply is working OK??? just because the fan is going round, does not mean the PC is getting the right power input

Duncan01  welcome to EE.

We usually write a comment instead of an answer, so the question won't be locked and other experts have the chance to give their opinions, too. Only if you are 150% sure that you have the right answer, we would post it as an answer. Please take a look for more information on how to answer questions.

For now I rejected your proposed answer.

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I would like to join with those who suggest you strip the MB. Unhook ALL peripherals. Disconnect ALL drives. Remove ALL add-in cards. Apply power. If your speaker is OK, and your video adapter isn't on-board, you should get a series of beeps as the machine complains about no video adapter present. If it does, insert video card and connect monitor. If doesn't beep, check power LED (lit?) and CPU fan (running?). If "yes" for both, remove RAM sticks and reinsert only minimum amount (one, or sometimes two (identical) sticks). Any change? If "yes" at this point (that is, you get beeps) insert video card and see if you can get anything on monitor. Then go on with KB, FDD etc.

If you have no power LED and CPU fan doesn't run, you might want to check out the power supply.

I believe that you should get beeps with no ram chips in although I might be sadly mistaken LOL.

Great advice all

Griffon, yes! I have had an MB give beeps with no RAM; endless series of long beeps. Shows the CPU and speaker is working anyway...
dechAuthor Commented:
Thanks for that last suggestion ... I will try it right away.

dechAuthor Commented:
I took out the memory ... no beeps :(

Hi dech:

Clearly this processor is dead, otherwise the BIOS would show up in the screen or in case of a bad video card, there would be error beeps. Please check if the CPU fan comes on while the power is also on, because in such case, a non-working or bad fan could have led to overheating and then to processor destrcution.

dechAuthor Commented:
I have given up on it ... tried all suggested things + others.

I have now sent it to a require shop ... but what should i do with this question?

Thanks all for your suggestions.
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