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  1. #1
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    Computer sometimes doesn't start!

    Hi,
    I have a developing problem with my computer. Increasingly the computer is failing to start. When I press the start button the power light comes on OK, the fans start, the hard drive starts, the DVD Rom light flashes once, then....nothing.

    I then turn the computer off with the main switch on the back, then back on and retry. I sometimes have to do this 6 or 7 times before the computer eventually starts OK. I can tell it's going to start properly as the light on the DVD Rom flashes once, them pauses and then flashes a few more times and off we go!

    What on earth is causing this?

    Switch? Relay? Power Source? Motherboard? Help?

    Thanks in anticipation,

    Jimmy.

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    Re: Computer sometimes doesn't start!

    Welcome to the Lounge!

    Unfortunately, you did not mention your computer (motherboard) make and model, and I can give you only general suggestions.

    Usually intermediate POST (Power On Self Test) failure is the sign of BIOS (Basic Input-Output System) problem. However, the cause of the problem can be different: for example, loose electric contact. Open your computer chassis and remove the dust. Carefully blow CPU (Central Processor Unit) fan and power supply with compressed air. Make sure that all cable connectors are firmly inserted into their sockets. Remove and put back RAM (Random Access Memory) sticks.

    If it does not solve your problem, try to update BIOS (check your motherboard vendor website for the latest BIOS update).

    If nothing helps, the lifespan of your computer is reaching the end... <img src=/S/doh.gif border=0 alt=doh width=15 height=15>

    Good luck!

  3. #3
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    Re: Computer sometimes doesn't start!

    Jimmy,
    Kaplinb's post sounds like the voice of doom.

    His suggestion of checking the memory is a viable one. If you have more than one memory stick, I would try to pull out all but one and try to boot. If still NG, power off and pull the original stick out and replace it with one of the others. Reboot.

    You could also try to disable the DVD player and see if it makes a difference.

    I don't think a BIOS update will do much good for you.

    By the process of elimination, you may be able to pin the problem down to a more specific area. Remove all add on cards except the video card, rebooting, etc. and by adding one at a time, you may see some pointer to a potential trouble.

    Try some of these and post back.
    BOB
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    Re: Computer sometimes doesn't start!

    Thanks! I have already cleaned the inside of the chassis. One of the fans was noisy and I though that might have been the problem. The fan is now quiet and the inside of the computer is immaculate.

    The motherboard is: Leadtek Research WinFast nVidia CR18D/G. There are two banks of RAM (2x256). The computer is 4 years old and was manufactured by Carerra.

    The odd thing is the intermittancy of the problem. Like a Computer startup lottery!

    I'll pop back inside the case and give everything a good wiggle!

    Jimmy.

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    Re: Computer sometimes doesn't start!

    OK. Been inside, removed and replaced RAMs and checked all connections. Found a dicey connection to the floppy drive?

    Anyway, the computer restarted fine, first time. Unfortunately, this doesn't mean that much at this stage as the computer sometimes started first time before, especially when it had only been off for a short time.

    I have SiSoft Sandra 2004 which is a useful tool. One thing it keeps telling me is that the 'Main Board is running at too high a temperature. Currently 255C! I think this is nonsense. Anybody know how to check if this reading is valid.

    I'll check for an updated BIOS for the board.

    More ideas welcome, I'm listening.

    Jimmy

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    Uranium Lounger viking33's Avatar
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    Re: Computer sometimes doesn't start!

    Jimmy,
    Follow my suggestions for stripping the system down to minimum and gradually adding components. Also, use the substitution method of trying ONE RAM stick at a time.

    BTW, if your system was REALLY running at 255 C., you would be calling out the Fire Department to fix your computer!

    SiSoft Sandra 2004 is a little outdated for practical use. A better one is SYSTEM INFORMATION It's <img src=/S/free.gif border=0 alt=free width=30 height=15>

    Look under Hardware>sensors for temp info.
    BOB
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    Uranium Lounger viking33's Avatar
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    Re: Computer sometimes doesn't start!

    You also might want to go into the BIOS settings to see what the boot order is. If you have a dicey floppy and it is first in the boot order, then it could give you grief as you describe.

    Best boot order is HHD 0 first, CDROM second, floppy, third.
    BOB
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    Re: Computer sometimes doesn't start!

    New BIOS update is only a little younger than the existing one and I'm a bit wary about which one to use and how to install it. I'll leave it just now.

    The startup Boot order is HDD, DVD Rom, Floppy. This, however fits nicely with what may have been happening, as the HDD started, the DVD Rom flashed once then.....nothing. ie the floppy not kicking in.

    Anyway, we'll suck it and see.

    I downloaded that SIW utility and there doesn't actually seem to be a mainboard temperature sensor installed.

    Thanks for now!

    Jimmy

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    Re: Computer sometimes doesn't start!

    Nope. That didn't fix it. There is a light on the front of the DVD rom. OK. When I press the start button:

    The power light comes on.
    The HDD starts up.
    The light on the front of the DVD Rom flashes once.
    Then nothing.

    Do it again and instead of the DVD Rom light flashing only once and stopping, it flashes once, slight pause, then flashes twice and away we go.

    Could this be the DVD Rom at fault. How do I check this? Can I take it out of the startup sequence and see if that helps? I also have a DVD RW built in so I couild use it instaed for booting up. Help! I frightened that it won't start at all one of these times and I'll be in deep doo doo.

    Thanks,

    Jimmy

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    Re: Computer sometimes doesn't start!

    When you say "nothing" happens..... can I assume that you mean that you see nothing on your Monitor?

    Have you considered that the video card or onboard video may be at fault? If you are using a video card, try another. You don't have to install drivers for it to test it, just plug it in and bootup. I've also seen monitors which are flakey like what you describe too. But I would first look at the "video" as suspect since you said all the fans, drives and HDD(s) are running when you power on the system.

    Jeff
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    Re: Computer sometimes doesn't start!

    It sounds to me like you've got yourself a good strategy planned, except that the first thing I'd try as a tweak is to change the BIOS boot order. Maybe if you put the DVD first, then the HDD, then the floppy, it might jerk the machine to attention! Failing that, I do think you're right to take the DVD out of the startup sequence to see if THAT helps. All of the above are certainly worth trying before you make any other major decisions. It sounds like you've already eliminated a lot with the cleaning, connections stuff you've done.

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    Re: Computer sometimes doesn't start!

    Pretty sure the video card is OK. It's prior to that that things go wrong.
    Never messed about in the BIOS before, so not sure what to do! How do I get into the BIOS? A talk through would be helpful.

    Ta,

    Jimmy

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    Re: Computer sometimes doesn't start!

    I'm not familiar with your motherboard and what BIOS it has, but usually when you first boot the computer, there will be a somewhat quick message on the screen for which key to press to "enter" the BIOS screens. On many PCs it's F2, F12, Del but you'll have to watch for yours. When you enter the BIOS, I think the most important first thing to do is READ the initial screen for the layout of which keys to press to navigate around in there AND which keys will actually CHANGE items in the BIOS! You don't want to accidently change something unintended.

    After that, you'll have to examine where the boot order might be and navigate to that screen. It's often called simply "Boot" or something similar. When you find that screen, there's usually a keystroke that will move items up or down in the boot order as well as (hopefully) something to disable or turn off one or more of the hardware items.

    This whole thing is a bit of an unusual situation, for most of us like to have the boot order set to CD, floppy and then hard drive. I'm suggesting that you try putting the HDD first simply to see if it cures your immediate problem. It's not desirable in the event that you need to boot the computer with a CD, but it might "flag" the fact that there is a problem with your particular DVD drive and then THAT could be worked on, like updated drivers or whatever. Keep us posted...

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    Re: Computer sometimes doesn't start!

    Thanks Al! I'll have a go! Cross your fingers.....

    Jimmy

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    Re: Computer sometimes doesn't start!

    <hr>Jimmy wrote:
    Pretty sure the video card is OK. It's prior to that that things go wrong.<hr>
    Again, IF <--------- your monitor shows nothing but a blank (black) screen on bootup, then your video must remain suspect.

    Another item, I believe already mentioned is RAM. You can test your RAM using either Mem86 (click on Free Download) or Microsoft Online Crash Analysis (another excellent free memory tester).

    Jeff
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