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Many things wrong!

Posted on 2006-11-13
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Last Modified: 2010-04-25
I am trying to fix a desktop that will not start.  It would jam up while trying to load windows, even when it was trying to load into safe mode.(the advanced opts screen was the only screen I could get into, but then it froze. I also could get into bios. Tried to boot with winxp disc to no avail.  Then I put in the 6-disc win xp boot floppies and after the 3rd floppy, I lost the picture.  Tested power supply and it was bad, so I changed it.  Now with a working power supply I get only about one second of the safe mode option  or the bios screens, before they keep flashing on and off. eventually  getting nothing.  I even changed the ram every which way with a new stick,  with no ram beep.  WHAT IS WRONG?  Motherboard, ram, PS, cpu or all of the above.
It will not spin the xp startup disc for a fresh install.

The pc is a junky Syntax 266 mobo with 512 mb pc2100 ram(was 256). Windows xp.

Please help.  This is not my PC and I hope I didn't do more damage than I did good.  I really do think the whole pc is shot.

Thanks
Donnie
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Question by:Donnie616
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Expert Comment

by:phototropic
ID: 17931565
"... I even changed the ram every which way with a new stick,  with no ram beep...."

If you remove all the RAM and then power it up, what do you hear?  If there are no beeps, chances are good that you need a new motherboard...
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by:Callandor
ID: 17931594
If you know it had a bad power supply, then there is the possibility that the power supply damaged components attached to it when it died.  That means the motherboard and hard drives are suspect, so try booting it with a new hard drive (or an old one you can afford to reformat).  If that doesn't work, it's probably a bad motherboard, given how old it is (Pentium-II class?)
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by:Donnie616
ID: 17932095
PC is Athlon XP 2200, 1600 mhz, P3 equivalent or early P4 equivalent?  Anyway with no ram in, there is a long beep every 3 seconds.  Right now there is a win 2000 Pro HDD in the PC, trying to boot, but it gets jammed 1/3 of the way thru, just like the original win xp Hdd did when I first got the machine. What next guys? Remember that this is not my PC.
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Expert Comment

by:Callandor
ID: 17932214
To be thorough, I would change the video card, which can cause boot problems.  When testing with RAM, use only one module at a time.  Take the motherboard out of the case to eliminate intermittent grounding as a possibility.
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by:Donnie616
ID: 17932837
There is no Video card in this box, just integrated video.

After many different HDD's not being seen by PC, I put in a brand new 80gb Maxtor and it is finally being seen by the bios.
However, just like yesterday when I first began this debacle, the farthest I get when putting in the XP Pro disk, is "Setup is starting windows".  Then it progresses no more.  It just stops!  Why?  I just do not have the time to try diagnostic after diagnostic any more.  Remember this is a lowest of the low grade mobos to begin with.  Ram ok, hdd installed and ok, mobo seems ok, bios seems ok.  It just reaches a point then stops. I thought about a video card, but enough is enough.  If the pc were mine it would be a different story, but this is all being done for free and I could fix it in about 3 days, but I don't even know the owner.  I also put in a newer power supply. It is used but tests well.
She is not even going to be able to afford the 256 mb ram or the 80gb Hdd, not to mention my time. A favor is a favor but I have physical limits as some of you might remember.
Any more clues for me?

Thanks
Donnie
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Accepted Solution

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Callandor earned 500 total points
ID: 17932917
If you can't devote resources to this, then chalk it up as a bad motherboard.  There is no way to get an accurate diagnosis without time and the process of elimination, so if it can't be paid for, there is no magic bullet.  It would be like walking in as a new patient into a doctors office and expecting an accurate diagnosis in 5 minutes.
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by:Donnie616
ID: 17933482
Thanks. I did not mean to be rude to you guys.  I was just venting out of frustration and I know this person is very poor.  I feel bad because she needs a PC for school.  I would rather give her one of my rebuilt pc's for free than sit in front of this one for days diagnosing.  In my "not so expert as you guys" opinion, I believe she needs a new HDD, MOBO, 256 more   of    2100 Ram plus a fresh install of windows. Then installation of all apps and programs would be next.

Are there any other hints beyond "Bad motherboard"?  If not we are close to closing tis question.  Again, sorry if I may have appeared to be rude to Callandor who is the best of the rest of the best BY FAR.  You have helped me many times in the past with your input.

DV
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Expert Comment

by:Callandor
ID: 17933871
I understand that many people expect miracles when you know more than they do, but you are right about not wanting to devote too much time troubleshooting this problem if it costs you a lot of time.  The only thing you can do in these cases is a lot like triage - you fix what is obviously bad, and if you can't, you move on to the next problem.  If you feel empathy for this person, then it is no longer a matter of profit, but of helping someone in need.  After all, all the experts who participate here understand that, because none of us get paid for our time.  You will have to decide what will be the overriding factor in this case, and if you decide it's not a matter of profit, we'll be here to help you troubleshoot it.
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