Pc boots once in a while


I have this pc, actually yesterday they became two, that sometimes wouldn't boot:

pc1 win98
pc2 win2k

it would just get to the first balck screen, with the:
press tab to enter post, and propmting me to press delete to enter bios
and then it just hangs there
and of course it wouldn't accept either command

Then I try rebboting, and same as above, then I let it for a couple days, I try to boot, and it actually boots fine!

Any ideas please?

Thank you.
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try replacing the CMOS battery on the motherboard.

does the computer send out any beeps or errors when you boot the computer ?
It's either a CMOS battery problem, or a power supply problem.  If changing the battery doesn't do anything, swap the power supply.
you can also try flashing the BIOS of the computer.  however, if you aren't too familar with doing so, then I wouldn't recommend the process.

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Please, describe both computers, not only operating systems they are running. There may be many causes for this problem:

a dying CPU - VERY old cpu's die some day. There is one brutal solution for this - put the CPU into oven(not microwave!), set the temperature at about 200 C and "fry" it for half an hour. It helps sometimes :) But I'd not recommend doing it. And of course you should know exactly, that the CPU is the problem.

a dying power supply - as mentioned by Callandor, just try to replace one.

Here are a couple of things to try.

remove all cards (except video unless you have a spare)
try to repeat the above problem. if this does not happen then add cards back one at a time. untill the problem happens again.
confirm which card it could be doing this.

If not the cards you can try the hard drive.

also check the bios and see if your drives are on auto or user. I find that sometimes some boards hang on auto and need the user setting.

kenesoAuthor Commented:
No additional cards, everything is onboard.

The win98 pc does might have a hdd problem as it does some funny noise, but the other one is an 8 months old hdd.

No beeps of any kind.

They are 3 1/4 yrs old celeron 700

My own guess was the battery, so I'll go with that first, and let you know in the next days.

I had heard that psus either fail totally, or that they work, no in between?! But you know better than I do ...

Sure these were programmed to fail right after guarantee (3 yrs) is over ...
3 years for a processor is not an age. Perhaps, problem is somewhere else.
Completely forgot - examine your motherboard throughly, especially for leaky electrolite capacitors - some low quality capacitors may leak, or even explode. This may lead to system instability or even death of some parts. If you have 2 PCs with identical mobos, this may be the case.
Hey, arro.  That CPU in the oven thing seems really weird.  Have you tried it yourself or just heard it from somewhere and passed it on?
If the battery is not an issue I would do the bios check and set to user. and like Arro1212 said. check you capacitors.

ohhh... Celeron.Guy trust me.When this situation happen.Please try to open ur CPU heatsink and remove your CPU and put in again.I always facing this with Celeron..Try and see if it is work.It should be able to bootup after you do this.Reason why? Time to change to a Powerful Intel Petium 4 HT.LOL
To joey_the_ass: I haven't tried this trick as I didn't face such a problem yet, but I read about it several times from different sources. And one man even tried to repair about a dozen of dead CPUs(Intel P3, Celeron) in such a way, and some of them really "resurrected". As I remember, "some" is about 30% :)

kennykoid's suggestion is also worth a try, because who knows, maybe the contacts in a socket have oxidized. I haven't dealt with Celerons, but as I remember, they have gold plated feet, so there is one possible place for oxidation - socket.
kenesoAuthor Commented:
The batteries were fine.

I'll try the psu and taking out and putting back the cpu.

I'll report in a week or so.
kenesoAuthor Commented:
I forgot to put back the bios battery on one of the 2 (the win98), and turned it on, surprisingly enough (at least for me) the pc booted fine.
Is this normal?

Anyway if needed extra proof that it is not the batteries, this is for sure a good one!
I have dealing with old PC most of the time,from my experience the Celeron like to as you mention"Boots once in a while",Taking out the CPU and put back is normally what i do.If the PC still fail to bootup.I will pull out all card and put in back again.So far it work all the time.Hope this will help you :)
did you check the capacitors?
kenesoAuthor Commented:
Sorry for the delay, but it was needed for the testing.

It turned out to be a usb memory card reader I would connect time to time.
The issue would occur after a reading failure; meaning each time it could not access the card, at the next boot the issue occured.

I'll have a mod check on this, as I don't know what to do; of course your suggestions are welcome.

Thank you all.
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