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  1. #1
    Bronze Lounger
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    I've cleaned the dust out of my computers many times over the years without a problem. This episode turned out quite differently. When I turned it on, my monitor displayed only jibberish.

    The first time, I got parallel vertical bands of various colors in patterns, plus some random video noice in the background. I shut it down and reopened the cast, checked for loose connections, and reassembled it. This time, the vertical bands were still there, but with different colors. Also my machine sounded unusually loud—as if all three fans were running at full speed simultaneously. I shut it down and went to another computer to ask you good people for some ideas.

    My tools were canned air, a soft brush made for the purpose, and some light use of a vacuum cleaner. By the way, I checked the pins on the VGA connector—no bent pins or other damage.

    Your thoughts?


  2. #2
    5 Star Lounger petesmst's Avatar
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    You may inadvertantly have created a static discharge between vacuume cleaner/air can/brush and your mother board....or graphics card... Did you earth your PC while working? (Earthing strap linked between the PC case and your wrist, for example?)
    (My Setup: Custom built: 4.00GHz Intel Core i7-6700K CPU; MSI Z170A Gaming Carbon Motherboard (Military Class III); Win 10 Pro (64 bit)-(UEFI-booted); 16GB RAM; 512GB SAMSUNG SD850 PRO SSD; 120GB SAMSUNG 840 SSD; Seagate 2TB Barracuda SATA6G HDD; 2 X GeForceGTX 1070 8GB Graphics Card (SLI); Office 2013 Prof (32-bit); MS Project 2013 (32-bit); Acronis TI 2017 Premium, Norton Internet Security, VMWare Workstation12 Pro). WD My Book 3 1TB USB External Backup Drive). Samsung 24" Curved HD Monitor.

  3. #3
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    I figured someone would ask that question, and my answer—I regret to say—is no. I have a grounding strap, but my computer servicing kit is packed away somewhere and I could not find it. Well, go ahead and tell me the possible consequences of having created said short, if that is what happened? That is, can this PC be saved?

  4. #4
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    Unlikely to be static electrickery unless you removed each component for cleaning. The power supply does a good job of keeping static discharge at bay.

    I would check your video card has not gone to god. Do you have a spare?

    cheers, Paul

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    Super Moderator Deadeye81's Avatar
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    If you have a discrete video card installed and your motherboard has built in video capability, then remove the video card and see if the on board video will function correctly. If so, and you are able to boot into Windows as normal, then your video card is the only casualty.
    Deadeye81

    "We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give." Sir Winston Churchill

  6. #6
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    The video card is integrated with the motherboard. It's an HP Media Center m7760n.

    I did not disassemble anything for cleaning. I did unclip the fan from the CPU, but I did not disconnect its power cable.

  7. #7
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    Unplug your computer for a time (long enough to have all capacitors discharge) then restart from a cold off.
    You may want to look at purchasing a cheap but decent videocard if you have a PCI slot available for it.
    DRIVE IMAGING
    Invest a little time and energy in a well thought out BACKUP regimen and you will have minimal down time, and headache.

    Build your own system; get everything you want and nothing you don't.
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  8. #8
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    Thank you, Clint! I certainly hope your suggestion works.

    I'm a little unsure about the slots inside my machine. I've attached a photo of that part of the computer. Can you or someone help me identify that empty slot. It's the black slot that's visible in the upper part of the photo. There are three other slots already in use. They're all identical (white). One holds nothing but the telephone connection, which I've never used. Another is for the radio antenna. The third one has connectors for coaxial cable (Internet connection and television). I've no idea what that empty black one is for.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  9. #9
    WS Lounge VIP Browni's Avatar
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    That looks like a PCI Express x16 slot which may be good news as PCI Express graphics cards tend to be cheaper and more powerful than older style PCI & AGP cards.

  10. #10
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    Note the make and model of your motherboard, then Google it. You should have no problems finding specs on it.
    Then it would only be a simple matter to determine whether it's PCI/PCIe, 4, 8, or 16X. You will have plenty of cards to choose from.
    DRIVE IMAGING
    Invest a little time and energy in a well thought out BACKUP regimen and you will have minimal down time, and headache.

    Build your own system; get everything you want and nothing you don't.
    Latest Build:
    ASUS X99 Deluxe, Core i7-5960X, Corsair Hydro H100i, Plextor M6e 256GB M.2 SSD, Corsair DOMINATOR Platinum 32GB DDR4@2666, W8.1 64 bit,
    EVGA GTX980, Seasonic PLATINUM-1000W PSU, MountainMods U2-UFO Case, and 7 other internal drives.

  11. #11
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    Cleaning a computer can be a nightmare, but having said that I did find that after cleaning overheating was less of a problem. Many problems are unfortunately caused by connectors and not necessarily the hardware. In my computer I have 2 hard drives which one of them gave off a clicking sound, or the mouse froze. Normally I would like a lot of people think that the Hard Drive is on the way to the cemetery. No it wasn't the problem was the two or more power connectors to the back of these IDE type drives.

    What I did was examined each of the 4 female sockets that fit onto the male drive pins, gently with long nose type pliers I gave each of these female pins a little squeeze; this made for a tighter connection! Result the clicking stopped, and so did the mouse freeze up on the screen. If you decide to do this check that where the 4 wires that go into the back of these female connectors do not jut out of the back of the connector. If so you will see where it is soldered to the female plug.

    The new power supplies are meant for Sata drives and when I bought mine I found that I could not obtain one meant for 4 IDE connections, it came with 2 Sata and 2 IDE. In order to use the power pack I'd bought I had no choice but to cut the wires and use a four pin electricians connector each having screws to retain the doubled up wires for 2 Hard Drives and 2 Burners: See attachments.

    Regarding Screen card cleaning it might pay when removed to use an alcohol based window cleaner to clean the contacts and make sure you wipe thoroughly before replacing.

    Moshe
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Caesar3 View Post
    Also my machine sounded unusually loud—as if all three fans were running at full speed simultaneously. I shut it down and went to another computer to ask you good people for some ideas.
    I see where you also said, "I did unclip the fan from the CPU". Exactly what did you remove -- did you remove the fan from the heatsink, or did you remove the heatsink/fan assembly from the CPU? It sounds as if the CPU is overheating, which only takes a few seconds if the CPU doesn't properly contact the heatsink. It is possible that the thermal compound between the CPU and heatsink was disturbed, leaving an air gap, even a tiny one, that would effectively prevent the heatsink from drawing any heat from the CPU. Even if you only removed the fan from the heatsink, it's still possible that you somehow broke the heatsink free.

    Also, do you have another monitor you can use for testing (or another PC you can test your monitor on)? I have seen several instances of failed monitors leading computer owners to think something is wrong with the computer. In the last case, the monitor that failed was less than a year old. A failed monitor sounds unlikely, but it's worth a quick check.

  13. #13
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    You are in luck. The specs at:
    http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/d...0820224&dlc=en

    say you have a free PCI Express x16 slot.
    You can get drivers, manual etc at:
    http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/p...&lang=en&cc=us

  14. #14
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    Unlikely to be static electrickery unless you removed each component for cleaning. The power supply does a good job of keeping static discharge at bay.


    Yes the power supply does a good job, but only if the power cord is plugged in

  15. #15
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    I am a pc tech for over 20 years now and I am pretty sure I know what happened. The cpu heatsink only fits snugly one way because there are electrolytic capacitors on two sides of the cpu. The heatsink has two sides that have been recessed to avoid touching the capicitors. Remove the heatsink and use a new single edge razor blade to carefully scrape off the heatsink compound from both parts. Save the compound unless its dirty, on a small piece of glass, that is unless you have some fresh stuff. Now, with no compound on either part, look everything over carefully and figure out which direction it goes then mark it with a piece of tape or sharpie. If you have fresh compound, great, put about the size of a small pea on the cpu and spread round and round with your finger, not only to spread it, but to mix it too. If you have a pile of dried out silver/grey stuff that crumbles, you can add 2 drops of 91% alcohol to it and mix it back up with your finger. You don't have much time before it evaporates, so be quick and scrape up your freshly wetted compound and put it on the cpu, spread around with finger, and put heatsink back on, plug cpu fan back in, then have fun getting the stuff off of your fingers. Also, make sure all the screws holding down the main board are snug. They are grounds and if loose, can cause some bad behavior. As long as you didn't run it for more than a minute or two with the heatsink on wrong, everything should be fine. It is possible that you zapped something when you vacuumed it out, which is a giant no no. Only compressed air! Never a vacuum cleaner unless it is designed specifically for electronics and has a sheilded motor, grounded/shielded hose, and is made of static resistant materials. They are expensive and are a specialty item. Good luck. I hope you don't need that new video card, but you might. Hey, wait a moment. This is a m7760n, very small space saving computer. These get very hot very fast and are delicate as far as the video goes. I bet you will need a graphics card. Sorry.

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