Win98se Won't Boot Up, Can Hear Fan, Monitor says "No Signal"

Hello Everyone, My computer was running Win98se, I was getting VXD errors ,but when I tried to Scandisk or Defrag it , it couldn't (don't remember errors). We had a storm and it knocked out the electricity  , afterwards the computer will not come on. I can hear the fan running , moniter comes on but says ""No Signal "". The  Hard drive light(red) is faintly glowing.I hope my hard drive is ok because I have some VERY  IMPORTANT stuff on it.  I haven't tried anything yet.Hope to get some advice on what I need to do. Thanks in advance , Cowgirlky
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Irwin SantosComputer Integration SpecialistCommented:
sounds like your motherboard/video went kaputt
Irwin SantosComputer Integration SpecialistCommented:
Do you have another machine to use where you can take out the hardrive?

If so, then here is what you do.

remove drive from old machine, note the jumper settings. Master / Slave / CS.. you will need this so that you can return the drive back to the original machine.

make the drive a MASTER, and attach it to the secondary ide channell of your other system.  Make sure no CD-ROM is attached.  I'm counting on that your MASTER on the primary (of the other machine) is sitting by itself too.  Ultimately you don't want any CD/DVD drives.. Just the 2 (main OS drive MASTER on Primary, and the Win98 drive).

boot the system up, then go to my computer.  COPY all the files that you think you fact, copy them all.

Return drive back to original machine in original configuratoin.

A Windows 98 machine is 8 years old. rather than troubleshooting what is wrong, just accept the loss and get another system.  At least by now you have a backup of your files.

The only suggestion I can give you is take the PC to a specialist shop to have it checked.

Unfortunately I must agree with the post above, it probably died with the storm (shortcircuit, overpower...).

Only a hands on troubleshooter can help.

Very sorry for you.

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if you want to troubleshoot tthe dead PC, here some things to try :
-test devices on a worrking PC : disk, cd drive, ram, add-on cards, power supply
-start with the minimum attached : mobo + cpu + 1 ram stick, video card, 1 disk, keyb + mouse.
-try another power supply
I hate to rub salt in the wounds, cowgirlky, but back in October 2002 you had an apparently unrelated problem with the hard drive, and in that question you said "I have a few things on that hard drive that can never be replaced and I sure hate to lose them".  You really have to get into the habit of making backups.  It can save an awful lot of anxiety and disappointment :-(

I strongly urge you to do as irwinks has suggested and get your important data off the hard drive NOW, and definitely BEFORE you take the computer to a repair shop.  Technicians are fond of wiping all data off hard drives while trying to fix problems, and the technician would certainly do so if the shop happens to have another used motherboard that could be substituted.

Another thing you MUST buy is a "surge protector" that sits in between the mains plug and all the power plugs leading to your computer, monitor, printer, scanner, etc. ( They are not absolutely guaranteed to stop all damaging surges of power, but it's better than having nothing at all.  Another thing you could do, and this is something which was discovered and tested by a well known technical author of PC Maintenance and Repair Manuals, is to tie an ordinary overhand knot in each of the power cables leading from the surge arrester to the computer and monitor.  Not too tight, and not just a loop.  It was discovered by the author, after a particularly damaging electrical storm in his home city that wrecked loads of other peoples' computers and monitors, that this had prevented any damaging electrical surges from actually reaching these devices. (I'll find and provide the reference to qualify that advice if required other experts are curious about its origins :-)
>>Technicians are fond of wiping all data off hard drives<<

Format... format... format...
cowgirlkyAuthor Commented:
Hi guys, Thanks for your responses. Where d o I begin? I guess Start with 1st , irwinpks, no I can't get access to another computer,my friend is letting me use her brand new eMachine and she is afraid it will break her warranty.I don't have anyone else.It is about 8 yrs old, but it was doing so good. The blue error screens didn't start until I tried installing DSL , AVG found a trojan virus on the disk the company sent me. They said there was no way,but it is still in my virus vault , if I could get access to it.That is when all the error messages started showing up.(missing files ,VxD errors , etc. While still trying to get DSL to install the storm came.
  blue_zee , I am afraid of our local techs( we have just a few) they have messed up so many computers it isn't funny all they want is money.Thanks for being so caring,some  stuff on my PC meant so much.
   nobus ,I am going to take it apart today and try reseating everything check all my plug in and etc.
    And BillDL,  I still have that hard drive you are talking about( in my closet).LOL hopefully someday I can get the stuff from it.But anyway I do backups. I have AVG  boot up disks, I  have made emergency boot up disks and others.I can tell you later what all that I do have. Maybe you can help me I don't know a whole lot about this.But what good are they? I did put some important  stuff  --like pictures, important documents,etc , on CDs. But unfortunatly not lately (brother has cancer and I have been making quite a few 8 hrs drives to see him). So all the other stuff ,I guess is gone:(
I do have an old old Win 95 computer (no monitor) that won't boot on account of a Himein.sys ???  error. Is there any way I can use it to troubleshoot this one?  I do have a surge protecter, I unplugged my modem from the phone jack as the storm started (always Do)though.I had alot of stuff on Outlook Express too.Once again guys thanks so much , cowgirlky
Thanks for fuilling us in, cowgirlky.  It's always good to get an insight into the person you are liaising with, rather than just a login name.  You have a lot on your plate right now with your current family situation, and I can fully understand how some of your stuff isn't backed up.  Hopefully we can help you to get to it and store it away safely.

It sounds as though the surge protector just failed to catch the surge.  It can happen - they're not infallible.

The decision rests entirely with your friend as to whether she allows you to use her new computer as a temporary host.  Opening the case in the proper and normal way, and connecting a 2nd hard drive doesn't necessarily invalidate the warranty.  After all, computer manufacturers build most computers in such a way that they are upgradeable, and you would have to open the case to fit more memory if that's an upgrade that you chose to do.  I am fairly sure that adding a 2nd hard drive would not invalidate the warranty either, it's a common upgrade.  You would have to read the fine print of the warranty to be sure though.

Computers have changed fairly recently in the type of hard drives that are fitted, and the way they connect to the motherboard.  The traditional way (and is what your problem computer will have) is a flat wide ribbon cable.  You can buy ones where the flat cable is rolled up into a round outer sheath, but the connectors are still the same size and type.  This connection is called an IDE, EIDE or Parallel ATA (PATA) connection.  Modern computers (I don't know if your friend's computer has this) have what are called SATA (Serial ATA) connections.  These are much smaller and use much thinner cables to connect.  This is something you would have to find out if your friend did allow you to use her computer.  If you gave us the model number, we might be able to find this out for you.

IF your friend's computer uses the standard older IDE ribbon cables, then you will certainly be able to use it as a temporary host.  If it has ONLY has SATA connections, then that would mean having to buy some sort of adapter.  Some motherboards and drives have both types of connectors, which would mean that you MIGHT be able to use it.

Assuming your friend's computer has a single hard drive and a DVD-Rom plus a DVD Writer, then you will most likely find that they are connected as follows.  There will be two IDE connectors on the motherboard right next to each other.  They are normally marked IDE 0 and 1 (or IDE 1 and 2).  IDE 0 is referred to as the Primary channel, and IDE 1 as the Secondary channel.  The ribbon cables plugged into each socket will have two connectors along their lengths.
The Hard drive is always on the Primary cable, and the other drives may either share that cable or be connected to the Secondary one.

At the back of hard drives and CD type drives, you will find a row of pins.  There should be markings near to this socket (or a label on the drive) showing symbols like MA, SL, CS.  (Master, Slave, Cable Select).  There will usually be a small plastic cap over two of these pins.  By looking at the stamped symbols in line with the pins that are covered, or by looking at the label, you would see how the jumper is set.

Some computers use the Cable Select (CSL) jumpers.  This means that the way the two connectors on the ribbon cable connect to each drive designates which one is the master, and which one is the Slave.  If the hard drive on your friend's computer has the jumper cap over the CSL pins, then it will have the END ribbon cable connector connected to the back of the drive.  In this case, you would just put the jumper cap onto the CSL pins on your drive, and connect it to the MIDDLE connector.  This would assign it as Slave.  So, the existing drive in your friend's computer would still be the Primary master drive, and yours would be the Primary Slave.

If the existing drive in your friend's computer has no jumper cap over any of the pins, or has one over the MA (Master) pins, then you would put the cap over the SL (Slave) pins on yours, and connect it to the middle ribbon cable connector to get the same master - slave arrangement as described above.

The new drive would usually be automatically recognised and configured, and would appear as the D: drive.  This CAN cause some problems, because the DVD-Rom drive would probably have been the D: Drive, and may or may not have been automatically reassigned to E: and so on.  Windows XP can be a bit funny about this, and that's most likely what your friend's computer has installed.

A better arrangement might be instead to connect your drive to the Secondary ribbon cable on the middle connector IF this is not already occupied.  If it meant temporarily removing eg. a DVD-Writer drive, then that MAY also cause the occasional glitch with drive identification where it may not recognise it as a hard drive because it is still set as an ATAPI (CD-type) drive.  These types of glitches can normally be remedied, but this may not be a road that you would be willing to go down with someone else's computer.

Your old Windows 95 computer sounds like it might just need to be pressed into action here.  You can always use the monitor that your problem computer is currently connected to.  First of all, let's see what's happening with your computer to see if we can find out whether the motherboard IS dead.

I would be curious to know one thing about your computer.  Did you used to see the final screen saying "Your computer can be safely turned off" when you shut down normally, and you then had to push the power button on the front to power it off?

If so, then it is an older AT power supply and motherboard where the powering on and off is performed solely from that power button.  The final screen just tells you that Windows has wrapped up its processes safely.

IF you didn't see this final message, and the computer just powered down leaving the monitor light on amber, then you have the newer ATX power supply and motherboard.  The powering on and off is done by software, and the power supply is always waiting in a ready state for the signal to start running.  You usually have an extra on/off switch on the back of an ATX power supply, but not always.

My reason for querying this is that the fan you hear spinning is most probably the fan inside the power supply where the mains cable plugs into.  If the motherboard was completely dead, then it normally wouldn't be able to do that software power up to get the power supply fan running.  It's possible that the board has only been partially damaged.  You did say that the "red light" is showing on the front panel when you power up, and you associate this with the hard drive activity.

The first thing I suggest you do is take the sides off the computer and, WITHOUT touching any of the components, do a visual inspection for any signs of burn damage.  Microchips are static-sensitive, so don't prod around inside the case.

Plug in the power cable and press the power switch at the front.  Watch and see if any other fans start spinning, and if any lights on the motherboard come on.  Some have a small LED-type light that shows green if power is reaching the motherboard properly.  I know it sounds a bit strange, but have a sniff inside the case for any scent of burned platic.

We can take it in steps from there if you can let us know the results.

Hmm.  We'll need to find a more suitable reference for "your friend's computer" :-)
Let's refer to it as the eMachine.
Irwin SantosComputer Integration SpecialistCommented: thought I was reading a book ;-)
cowgirlkyAuthor Commented:
Hi BillDL , Thanks for trying so hard to help me( there really are nice people left).The e Machine  is a  W3107 AMD Sempron Processor 3100+ 1.81 GHz , 384 MB of Ram.
 As for my problem computer , I was working off line when the storm hit (modom unplugged from phone jack). I didn't get to do a proper shut down.
I just checked inside  and nothing appears burnt  I checked all connections (after touching medal ). I took out and put back ram chips and all the boards
I powered up with the side off and the power supply fan comes on , also there is a board ?? with a smaller fan on it  that fan too comes on.I didn't see a light on the motherboard ( maybe didn't know where to look)   Also the power comes on when I push the power button. But it WILL NOT turn off the power. Have to unplug from the wall, Thanks Again,Cowgirlky
Irwin SantosComputer Integration SpecialistCommented: there any kind of picture displayed on your monitor?
cowgirlkyAuthor Commented:
Hey BillDL, the only thing my monitor does is turns on and reads " No Signal". Yes, irwinpks, isn't BillDL great for going into so much detail and putting so much time into helping me? !!!!   Thanks guys  so so much, Cowgirlky
cowgirlkyAuthor Commented:
Hey thanks so much for your help too ,rwinpks, I really do appreciate it your time too. The monitor come on but just displays No Signal Thanks, Cowgirlky
Irwin SantosComputer Integration SpecialistCommented:
Here are a few things that could be done...
- Rent a computer for a week
- Take hardrive to techie-repair and ask them to copy the data to another media (surely they can't mess this up)
- get an emachine yourself...they are relatively inexpensive and at least good for 2 years, don't forget to include BillDl's comments regarding surge protection.

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cowgirlky, If I went into too much detail, please tell me.  I was working on the assumption that you may not have looked inside the case and be familiar with swapping drives, etc.  It's hard to know in advance what experience a member may have, so it's better to explain things you may alrady be aware of, rather than leave you having to ask. You seem to be a bit more more acquainted with hardware than I had assumed.

I'm curious about the "board" you describe inside the computer that has its own fan which is running.
That sounds like it could be the graphics card.  Alternatively, if you have a Pentium II or Pentium III processor of the "Slot 1" type, then that may have its own cooling fan.

Either way, there is some sign of life that could be a promising sign.  I don't mean to get your hopes up though.

Take a look at the relative position of that card with the fan on it.  If it is plugged into a socket and the rear of it pokes through to the back of the computer, then look and see if your monitor's signal cable plugs into a socket on it.  If so, then that's your graphics card.

If it is centrally located without any part extending outside the case, and looks anything like the following image, then that's a Slot 1 processor which could be a Pentium II or III or an Intel Celeron processor:

Slot 1 Processor in motherboard (has the red/black wires leading from it):

A better view of a slot 1 processor:

A typical fan that would fit onto the above slot 1 processor:

Typical slot 1 processors shown under S.E.C.C. and SEP section at top:

A Typical Slot 1 motherboard showing the white PCI slots and brown AGP slot (for graphics card):

If you DON'T have a Slot 1 Processor, then you will have a square flat type that fits into a socket and will either have a heatsink block on top of it (the silber vaned metal block) which looks something like this and may or may not have a fan mounted on it:
It would be important to know if that fan is spinning if you have one of these.

Don't confuse it with the green heatsink shown in the upper half of the following image:
That's just mounted on the main motherboard chip and is not the processor.

The fact that your monitor is showing a "no signal" message is just telling you that the graphics card isn't sending a proper signal to the monitor via the signal cable that attaches from it to the graphics port on the back of your PC.
While the computer is powered off, disconnect that cable and switch the monitor on.  It will probably show the same message.  Turn the monitor off and reconnect the cable to the computer.

>>> "I was working off line when the storm hit ...I didn't get to do a proper shut down". <<<
It IS slightly possible that this is a software problem only, but it seems unlikely.

>>> "the power comes on when I push the power button but it WILL NOT turn off the power. Have to unplug from the wall". <<<
Have you tried holding the power button in for about 10 seconds or longer?
It's not particularly good for the computer just pulling the plug from the wall socket.

Note: Not all motherboards have a green LED showing that they are receiving power, so don't worry about that.

The eMachine W3107 is shown here on the Walmart site:
I have to tell you, that is a great price compared with what we have to pay here in the UK (that would be £284 here)
It has a 1 year warranty on parts and labour, but it doesn't show any details of what would invalidate the warranty.
Look at the "Parts to buy" underneath the main advert:
How would you fit extra memory without opening the case?
Your friend could do a lot worse than to add another 512 MB memory stick to increas it to 1 GB of RAM.  That's quite a good price: ($53.61 = £30.59 UK).
Buy one for her and use that as the bribe to use the computer to retrieve your data.  You may get compatible memory elsewhere, but that's where warranties CAN be invalidated if you don't buy the recommended type.

By the way, if she bought it from walmart, then she may have got it cheaper from here depending on the delivery charge.  $299.99 plus delivery from here:
You would only have to pay $29.99 to bribe your friend with their recommended memory.
>>> "easy-to-remove side panels with thumb screws and rounded inside edges to prevent injury" <<<
What more could you ask for?

The good news is that the eMachine has a single EIDE Hard Drive fitted (100 Gigabytes), so it should be easy to temporarily attach your hard drive.  It also has a DVD Writer, so you could burn all the data to a CD-R or DVD as an extra backup after copying it to the eMachine.

Here's the official emachines support page for that model (now owned by gateway):

User Guide:

Warranty details:

Once again, just to reiterate, they offer upgrades and spare parts and you would have to remove the case side9s) to fit them:

Recommended DDR Memory:
$80 for 512 MB of Memory!!! That's a rip-off.

They also offer an "End-User Replaceable Parts Program"

>>>"This innovative program gives you a fast and easy way of solving your computer problem. If your Customer Care representative concludes that your equipment needs a new part, it will be shipped to your door along with simple, step-by-step instructions on how to replace the defective part".

Instructions on how to REPLACE a hard drive:
Put it this way, if they consider that you can safely follow those instructions and still retain the full warranty, then it's fair to assume that you won't invalidate it by ADDING a 2nd hard drive as an UPGRADE.

I would urge you to discuss this with your friend again.  Show her the documentation, demonstrate to her that you know what you are doing and have all the expert advice that you could wish for here, and show her physically what you intend doing.  Stress to her that you would help her out in a time of desperate need, and give her the gift-wrapped box of additional memory.  If she doesn't trust you, then tell her she'll have to pay a technician the cost of the RAM to have it fitted ;-)

OK, so going by the downloaded hard Drive replavement guide, they use the Cable Select (CSL) jumper setting, so the correct placement of the ribbon cable connectors will be what determines which is Master and which is Slave.  Just leave the end connector on the existing eMachines hard drive and connect yours to the MIDDLE connector after setting its jumper to CSL.

The relevant exceptions (things that would invalidate it) in the warranty document are:

>>> "Gateway does not warrant and is not responsible for damages caused by misuse, abuse, accidents, viruses, unauthorized service or parts, or the combination of Gateway or eMachines branded products with other products". <<<

Fitting a 2nd hard drive isn't going to damage the computer and does not constitute "misuse" or "abuse".  In the VERY unlikely event that it upset some settings, these should easily be restored after the drive is removed.

The catch is the "unauthorised service or parts" clause.  if you fitted memory modules not authorised by emachines/gateway, and they were the wrong spec that somehow (blue-moon scenario here) damaged another component, then the warranty wouldn't cover that part.  As long as the actual vendor advertises them as "recommended", then you just blame them and insist on warranty cover.  RAM either works properly or doesn't work properly.  It won't wreck anything else, so don't worry about that aspect.  They provide an "End-User Replaceable Parts Program" guide for this, so you're covered under the "unauthorised service" clause.
Your friend could always email them and ask how to replace RAM just to get their "authorisation".

Attaching a non-recommended hard drive isn't going to damage anything either, as long as the system is powered off and you follow the guide and user manual.  Again, your friend could email eMachines support and ask them for instructions to "Upgrade by adding a 2nd hard drive".

If opening the case is something your friend believes may invalidate the warranty, then tell her to look at the instructions given on page 46 of the official downloadable Machines user manual for her computer:
Replacing Memory is shown on page 50.

Page 52 tells you how to boot into the CMOS Setup Screen (BIOS) by pressing the F2 key so that you can note down all the settings before replacing the battery, because doing so would lose the settings and may mean setting them back to what they were again.

This is something you SHOULD DO before connecting your hard drive to the computer. This is just an extra precaution, in case it changes one or two settings that don't revert back when you disconnect the drive again.

I also suggest that you boot into this CMOS Screen after connecting your drive.  It should be auto-detected by the system, but you may have to access the option that makes it autodetect the drive.  After disconnecting your hard drive, do the same.

That's about all I can think of concerning the safe retrieval and storage of your data.  After that, you can concentrate on seeing if your motherboard is worth trying to troubleshoot or if it is destined for the bin.

And, if after all that, she STILL refuses to help out her friend in need, go with one of the avenues suggested in irwinpks's last comment OR drag out that old Win95 PC and get ready to see if we can somehow use it.
BillDl, could you have a look at this ?   a question from Garycase - interesting at least . . .
cowgirlkyAuthor Commented:
Billdl --Goodness no ,you didn't go into to much. I was just appreciating all that you are doing to help me, but friend won't let me use her PC afraid her husband will get mad. But thanks for all the researching anyway.
The board I was talking about, it looks like the one in the link you sent me
Billdl-- Is it possible to troubleshoot with the old Win95 computer? If so, what would you begin with first? The only error that showed up on the Win95 computer was something about the Hiemien.sys??? (don't know if I spelled that right).
Do you think it could have been that Trojan virus that AVG caught when I was trying to install DSLOn the computer we are trying to fix?
  The only way to turn off the computer now is by unplgging it from wall,  I know it isn't good for it , I have only done it a couple of times(after checking all connections,etc)I had to turn it on to see if it helped. I'm not going to turn it on again until I think I have the problem fixed, unless you need me to.
The inside of my computer looks brand new.I just want to say thanks again , but if you want to quit being aggravated with me I understand, You have went above and beyond to help me.  Thanks again,Cowgirlky
>>  Hiemien.sys  << would n't that be himem.sys ? memory problem
Judging by the image you say resembles what you believed to ba a "card", then it looks as though you have a Slot 1 Pentium II or III motherboard, and the fan that you see spinning on it is the cooling fan that will be powered from the motherboard connection that the wires lead to.  Unfortunately all this tells us is that there IS power going to the motherboard, but nothing else.  The fan itself is not connected in any way to the processor, so the fact that it is working doesn't tell us if the processor is working.

I would be most curious to know whether that DSL installation CD does actually contain a virus.  My thoughts are that it is unlikely, and that AVG AntiVirus mistakenly intercepted some part of the installation process as malicious.  DSL drivers and software often install utility programs that run in the background and allow your computer to send back connection-related data to technical support at the ISP that they can supposedly use to troubleshoot DSL connection problems, etc.  To do that, they have to work in a similar way to how many Trojans work, ie. by sending data out of your computer behind the scenes.  It's all just been an unfortunate coincidence that the storm came along at this crucial time.  It would be good if you could prove that the ISP had left a virus on their CD, but your main concern right now is getting your data off the drive and stored elsewhere safely.

HIMEM.SYS issues are discussed here:

It is important to know EXACTLY what the error on the Win95 computer tells you.  As nobus has suggested, there is a strong possibility that the RAM in that computer is faulty.  If so, then it looks increasingly more like you will need to take the problem PC to a technician and ask to have them copy your essential data from the drive to safe storage.

The one thing I must point out though is that the hard drive in that Win95 machine is probably quite old now, and  I wouldn't necessarily entrust it to hold valuable data securely.  There is a chance you could lose it all by copying to that drive if you can get that old system started again.

Get the old Win95 computer out, attach a keyboard and mouse, and connect it to the monitor so you can take note of the error when it tries to boot.  It might just be a bad line in your config.sys file, in which case that should be easy enough to fix.
Re: "The blue error screens didn't start until I tried installing DSL , AVG found a trojan virus on the disk the company sent me. "

I have Bell Sympatico. Few years ago I was shocked at the amount of junk their CD installs without giving me the option to ONLY install the needed DSL driver. So I decided to look for an alternative!

I recommend that no one install DSL connection software provided by their isp. Especially if it comes with bloatware and/or junkware that needlessly consumes computer resoruces.

Here's the alternative:                RASPPPOE - PPP over Ethernet Protocol by Robert Schlabbach

The better ones offer complete protection. The cheap ones can fry your computer, as I discovered.

During the great US-Canada power outage on Aug. 14 2003, I had 2 or 3 computers connected to 2 different surge protectors.

One PCI slot on the computer on the cheap $5 protector no longer worked.

But computer on the better waranteed surge protector survived intact.

Recommended: A surge bar that offers protection against lightning. A bit more expensive yes, but well worth the investment
Thank you LeeTutor and GranMod
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