video startup problem - monitor appears about 10-15 sec. and shuts down "dpms off mode"

Hi, I'm trying to troubleshoot a video startup problem.

THE SYMPTOMS:
at bootup, everything sounds and looks normal (normal 1 beep) but after about 10-15 seconds at the same point nearly every time (just after Windows logo screen) my monitor changes a green light to an orange light and the "DPMS off mode" message appears.

I'VE TRIED:
- reseating graphics card
- installing a new graphics card
- swapping monitors

Bad motherboard?? This is a Systemax pc, nearly 3 yrs old, existing motherboard: "Socket A ATX Motherboard, 1-4X AGP 5-PCI"

Also, my 56k modem quit working a few weeks ago (only use it in emergencies since I have a cable modem) but wonder if that was a warning of a meltdown... also my computer is now making a few intermittent "straining" sounds!!

If this is the problem, how difficult is a motherboard to replace? This is a 1GHZ computer, 128 RAM.

THANKS FOR ANY HELP!!!
Cindy
Cindy0904Asked:
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tridenCommented:
Really sounds like a drivers problem because it happens when windows boots. Try to see if it happens in safe mode, if not, I would suggest re-formatting.  It's good to format once in a while anyhow to help get rid of the old junk.
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CrazyOneCommented:
I am not sure what you mean by straining sounds. But if is coming from the hard drive then

First try using the free diagnostic utility from the vendor of your disk to check for problems with the disk.

fujitsu
http://www.fcpa.fujitsu.com/download/hard-drives/#diagnostic

IBM and Hitachi
http://www.hgst.com/hdd/support/download.htm#DFT 

Maxtor
http://www.maxtor.com/en/support/products/index.htm

Samsung
http://www.samsungelectronics.com/hdd/support/utilities/utilities_index.html

Seagate
http://www.seagate.com/support/seatools/index.html

Western Digital
http://support.wdc.com/download/
www.westerndigital.com 
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CrazyOneCommented:
Also the power supply or the power supply fan could be failing and just doesn't supply enough power to the system any more.
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CrazyOneCommented:
If the sound is the fan on the CPU then you might just have an overheating problem and replacing that fan might fix the problem. But if it is the CPU fan and it has overheated enough the CPU may be damaged.
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CrazyOneCommented:
Also it wouldn't be a bad idea to test the RAM

NOTE if this doesn't find anything wrong with the RAM this DOESN'T mean the RAM is good you would need to swap out the RAM with known good modules for testing. However if it does find something wrong then chances are the RAM is bad.

DocMemory PC RAM
Diagnostic Software
http://www.simmtester.com/PAGE/products/doc/docinfo.asp

And double check that all the connections on your devices and to and from the motherboard are snugged down tightly.
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Cindy0904Author Commented:
Thanks for all the suggestions.

TODAY I TRIED:
The "straining" sounds are like when a HD starts to go bad. I noticed a "can't access the registry" blurb at startup, but I wouldn't be surprised at all the time it's been shut down at startup.

I tried to eliminate the HD - I swapped out HDs and same problem, but the bootup sequence got a little further, all the way to the login screen then powered down.

I tried unplugging things I don't need, like my CD, network card, no change.

moved RAM to another bank (have no idea if this helps or not!); rechecked all cards and connections.

I think I've at least eliminated as much as I can myself and will need to take it in for testing. Think that leaves the motherboard, RAM, power supply, right?

THANKS!!!!
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CrazyOneCommented:
And CPU
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antimithCommented:
I would try replacing/testing the power supply first. They can produce some crazy illogical problems. these problems are probably being caused by the sudden power loss and brown outs that are constantly happening.
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Cindy0904Author Commented:
I gave up and brought it to the shop. Their first thought was a virus. Thanks again and will update and award points soon.

Cindy
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Kyle SchroederEndpoint EngineerCommented:
Well, while a virus is certainly possible, I'd be pretty surprised if that's what it turns out to be.  I'm going with a power supply problem as most likely, or CPU/RAM failure...

-dog*
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Kyle SchroederEndpoint EngineerCommented:
CrazyOne:
Are you using the new 0.9.103 version of QPost?  Mine doesn't work at all...?

-dog*
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CrazyOneCommented:
No I am using 0.9.0.101
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kwijiboCommented:
A virus is not covered by warranty - that is why most computer stores say "It sounds like a virus", without even seeing the machine.  They then charge you a ton to change a component that should have been covered by warranty.
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prd00Commented:
can't access registry could mean two..
memory, hard drive. Virus is not likely caused can't access the registry, but could be a try.

Can you enter windows in safe mode? If you can, press start->run=>regedit. Find under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
Find something unusual there something that you don't recognize. Windows doesn't put system file on Run, so if you see kind like TCPServ or Run32DLL (not rundll32) or Explore.exe, that could be virus.
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publicCommented:
Maybe the fans need cleaning. After 3 years you can have a real dirt balls clogging the fans.
Replacing a MB is relatively easy if the holes match.
After instalation you need to go to safe mode and remove old chipset drivers, and than install new ones.
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ViPeRCommented:
Other than the noises. the switching off problem seems to me to be the advanced power mode coming in to play.usually loads in the beginning of the startup.Make sure that your MB is compatible to your OS.
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Cindy0904Author Commented:
Ok, here's the conclusion! (drum roll)

Picked up my machine--the shop diagnosed it as a bad CPU. Went to another shop to buy a CPU--wanted to put in something faster so they tested a 1.3 ghz (had a 1) to confirm it would work. Booted it up and SAME problem!First shop said they had it running (I've used them for years & can trust them)... Bought a new motherboard and put it in myself. What do you know, all is well, running good.

EXCEPT, when I went to print it gets real sluggish and hangs, CNTRL ALT DEL I can shut down the printer. (motherboard has onboard video, sound, modem) I can probably figure that out with trial and error and a headache!

Thanks for all your help. I confess I don't use this forum much and not sure how to award points fairly and really don't understand it that much but I'll try and speed read.
THANK YOU EVERYONE!!
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CrazyOneCommented:
Did you reinstall the printer drivers?

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Cindy0904Author Commented:
Thanks for all your prompt help!
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