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  1. #1
    whagwan? silver trophybronze trophy akritic's Avatar
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    Question Pc doesn't always boot: what do I need to look at?

    I have this weird problem with my 8 month old PC.

    Just recently, it has decided not to boot up when I press 'on'

    I solved (I thought) this mystery by opening the box, checking the connections and hoovering up the gank that seems to be accumulating inside (best description is a dark compacted dust-like substance)

    Now, apart from the gank issue, it appears to have happened again, and I don't know where to begin to investigate the issue. Can anyone give me some pointers as to what I need to look at to properly solve this mystery?

    Some more details:
    the fan starts whizzing around, but the HD doesn't 'beep' as per usual when booting.
    Connections do not appear to be loose, except I can push them in tighter.
    Not sure about the gank building up inside, could this be part of the problem?

    I've never invested much time in learning about hardware, but since this PC cost a pretty penny I think now is as good as time as any...

    I'd also like to know if you guys have any tips for cleaning the components, just incase.

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Follow: @AlexDawsonUK silver trophybronze trophy AlexDawson's Avatar
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    Wait... you used a hoover inside the case? Don't you know the static from the vaccum can fry your components? What you should do (if there is a dust buildup) is to buy one of those compressed air aerosol cans and give the system a good blasting in a well aired room (preferably outside if its not wet!), the sell the cans at most PC retailers and it'll lift anything caught down there.

  3. #3
    whagwan? silver trophybronze trophy akritic's Avatar
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    Thanks for the reply

    Yes I stooopidly used a hoover, but one of those icle hand-held ones, and didn't really get into the case as it's packed. Anyway, I'll not do that in future just in case

    Thanks for the tip about the aerosol cans, I'll try PC world this week.

    Any other ideas about what it could be?

  4. #4
    From space with love silver trophy
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    Are you able to get into the BIOS? You can get a POST card which will show the last run test in the POST tests run by the BIOS.
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  5. #5
    whagwan? silver trophybronze trophy akritic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SpacePhoenix View Post
    Are you able to get into the BIOS? You can get a POST card which will show the last run test in the POST tests run by the BIOS.
    Well i'm typing this from that PC, so I guess I can get into it.

    Seriously though, what I'm talking about here looks to me like a hard drive problem, in that nothing at all happens. No visual display elements come through when this happens.

    As I mentioned I'm not that knowledgeable about hardware (or indeed OS stuff) so I know nothing about POST tests. I'll look that up.

  6. #6
    Mazel tov! bronze trophy kohoutek's Avatar
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    I doubt it'll be of any help, but I had an issue on my Mac a few months ago where, when I pressed the button to boot, you could clearly hear the system start, but the screen remained black. It sounded, however, as if the system was on. Anyway, it wouldn't boot, then it would boot, the more I tried. In the end, the issue was with my ATI X1900 Graphics card. It was defunct. I replaced the graphics card and everything was good.

    I know, a wild stab in the dark here.
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  7. #7
    whagwan? silver trophybronze trophy akritic's Avatar
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    Well, it might help. As I say I know nothing about hardware! After windows 98 I gave up and decreed I'd never touch hardware or OS issues ever again.... that was some time ago

    That's probably an OS issue, but I'm lost when it comes to figuring this out. My graphics card is a fairly new model, I think a GeForce 8800...

    If it is the connectors, then new cables might help? But could just as easily be a Hardrive issue for all I know.

  8. #8
    From space with love silver trophy
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    From here you can download a program called speedfan, it can read the SMART data from the HD and has an option to do in in-depth online analysis of the health of the HD.
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  9. #9
    dooby dooby doo silver trophybronze trophy
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    ok, look on the side of the case and find the centerpoint using the following equasion:

    Code:
    var boxX = box.width/2;
    var boxY = box.height/2;
    then take a large marker pen (preferrably permanent) and draw a large circle around that center point.

    Then take a large size 12 or higher Dc Marten and deliver a sharp yet accurate boot to the aforementioned target.

    Job done
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  10. #10
    whagwan? silver trophybronze trophy akritic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SpacePhoenix View Post
    From here you can download a program called speedfan, it can read the SMART data from the HD and has an option to do in in-depth online analysis of the health of the HD.

    Ok, thanks, I'm downloading that now so I'll give it a run. Hopefully it might be able to explain a few things.


    Quote Originally Posted by spikeZ View Post
    ok, look on the side of the case and find the centerpoint using the following equasion:

    Code:
    var boxX = box.width/2;
    var boxY = box.height/2;
    then take a large marker pen (preferrably permanent) and draw a large circle around that center point.

    Then take a large size 12 or higher Dc Marten and deliver a sharp yet accurate boot to the aforementioned target.

    Job done
    I'm sure that'll solve my 'boot'-up problems.... At least I'll know WHY it doesn't turn on from then on...

  11. #11
    whagwan? silver trophybronze trophy akritic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SpacePhoenix View Post
    From here you can download a program called speedfan, it can read the SMART data from the HD and has an option to do in in-depth online analysis of the health of the HD.
    The online analysis tool came back without any significant problems, overall it says 90% for health and performance...

  12. #12
    From space with love silver trophy
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    Had you had any power surges during the few days prior to your comp playing up?
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  13. #13
    Follow: @AlexDawsonUK silver trophybronze trophy AlexDawson's Avatar
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    If your hard drive is having issues booting I can recommend a commercial product called SpinRite by steve gibson at grc.com, It can pretty much fix any hard drive boot issues, I have seen it perform miracles on drives before (I own a copy myself and have used it many a time to recover an unrecoverable hard disk). Might be worth considering if all your other options fail, it could definately get your machine booting well if it is a disk sector issue

  14. #14
    whagwan? silver trophybronze trophy akritic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SpacePhoenix View Post
    Had you had any power surges during the few days prior to your comp playing up?
    Not to my knowledge, but then it's connected to the mains via a surge protector.

    Quote Originally Posted by AlexDawson View Post
    If your hard drive is having issues booting I can recommend a commercial product called SpinRite by steve gibson at grc.com, It can pretty much fix any hard drive boot issues, I have seen it perform miracles on drives before (I own a copy myself and have used it many a time to recover an unrecoverable hard disk). Might be worth considering if all your other options fail, it could definately get your machine booting well if it is a disk sector issue
    I'll look into this.

  15. #15
    SitePoint Evangelist rhysboy84's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlexDawson View Post
    What you should do (if there is a dust buildup) is to buy one of those compressed air aerosol cans and give the system a good blasting in a well aired room (preferably outside if its not wet!), the sell the cans at most PC retailers and it'll lift anything caught down there.
    Or if you fancy a workout use your lungs like me

    Quote Originally Posted by armchaircritic View Post
    Not to my knowledge, but then it's connected to the mains via a surge protector.
    That could be the issue then. I had TERRIBLE problems with a PC, similar to what you're having (as well as BSOD's on XP....which NEVER happen!), and it turned out the issue was the fault surge protector.

    PC's are tempremental when it comes to power. Try plugging it directly into the wall for a bit, or replacing the surge protector
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    whagwan? silver trophybronze trophy akritic's Avatar
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    I'll give it a shot. Perhaps it could be part (or all) of the problem.

  17. #17
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    Its really strange that it boots sometimes, and sometimes it doesnt. I dont know what configuration you have, but it is possible that your power supply is too weak.
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  18. #18
    whagwan? silver trophybronze trophy akritic's Avatar
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    hmmmm... seems that the Pc in question is booting ok now. (for the moment)

    Question:

    I have always turned the Pc off at the unit (shutdown), and never switched the back-side on/off switch or the surge protector switch off. Is there any logic to the idea that turning the power supply off completely would affect this? I'm leaning towards this being a power-supply issue, from various investigations inside the box. I'm wondering if leaving the power plugged in could have detrimental effects....

  19. #19
    SitePoint Evangelist rhysboy84's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by armchaircritic View Post
    Question:

    I have always turned the Pc off at the unit (shutdown), and never switched the back-side on/off switch or the surge protector switch off. Is there any logic to the idea that turning the power supply off completely would affect this? I'm leaning towards this being a power-supply issue, from various investigations inside the box. I'm wondering if leaving the power plugged in could have detrimental effects....
    I'm the same, and my last PC lasted me for 5 years, and the one I'm sat in front of at the moment is 2 years old & counting.

    Generally speaking (and this is from reading into the subject briefly, I'm not a hardware guru!), by leaving the back switched on and the power supply on reduces the power surges (there are mini power surges caused by switching the PC back switch & at the wall on and off, you shut it down to prepare it for this mini power surge), hence why offices leave on their PC's all the time.

    Again, please don't take my word at Gospel! IANAHTG (I am not a hardware techie guy) and fully intend to be proved wrong!
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  20. #20
    I hate Spammers mobyme's Avatar
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    I wouldn't worry to much about using the hoover, I use one every time one of our boxes needs declagging and never killed one yet.
    Your problem sounds like an incomplete shutdown. Are you letting everything thing completely shut down before cutting the power?
    Next time it happens, once you are up and running go to start/run and put in chkdsk C: /f (supposing your drive is C: ) If you have a lot of files it could take some time.
    Once it is finished defrag the drive.
    I personally would never run a box without a power surge protector, if you think the one you have got is suspect get a new one before you disconnect the old one; because the temptation will always be there to use your box without it.
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  21. #21
    I hate Spammers mobyme's Avatar
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    ^
    Do not try to use your computer while using chkdsk /f because it locks the drive.
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    The few who learn by observation.
    The rest of us have to pee on the electric fence.


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