Help with an old PC

Ok, so my mother in law gave me an old pc that didnt work. Her son built the pc a few years ago (he has passed away since then). She didnt bother to tell me that it didnt boot. I get it home and set it up and start working on it. Every time it boots it gets past the memory check screen and past finding the IDE drives and then it goes one of many ways - it either

1: goes to a blank screen with a white cursor in the upper left hand corner, no inputs work
2: tries to start winME
3: gives a cmos error (cant think of it off the top of my head, something like default cmos error, press f1 to continue)
4: just goes blank

I cant always get it to go into the bios either and if i can, it freezes after about 5 seconds. sometimes when i hit delete to get into the bios, the system keeps running but it stops sending a signal to the monitor.

Now, while at work i made a few boot discs on a floppy (one for dos from a zip file i downloaded, one that formatted a disc from win xp into a dos boot disc, one win me boot disc, one win xp boot disc, one with the mobo bios and one with a new bios for the mobo). I tried all of them last night and none worked. I cant even use the dos boot disc to get into dos to install xp that i have on a cd!! the furthest i have gotten this whole time was when i unplugged the computer and took the battery out of the motherboard to reset started up and went to the winme splash screen and then gave me an error and asked me to insert a disc with batch files. I have no idea what is going on with this pc but I want to use it!! any thoughts as to what is going on? I bet it is the bios on the mobo OR the hard drive is bad but i cant update the bios if i cant access dos and if i cant access dos i cant see what is wrong with the HDD
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  1. Follow this. Are you getting any beeps?

    "New build won't boot" checklist
  2. You may have a bad power supply.
  3. Thank you for that link, that is invaluable. No beeps and I have checked everything on the list and it is good. The only thing I havent done (and I will when i get home) is try it with one stick of RAM. It has 3 right now. I dont think it is the problem but you never know.
  4. evongugg said:
    You may have a bad power supply.

    if that was the case then wouldnt it not start up at all? everything (hard drive, disc drives, fans) all run no matter how far the boot process goes...
  5. Try loading a Linux LiveCD. If it loads fine, it's a Windows problem.
  6. evongugg said:
    Try loading a Linux LiveCD. If it loads fine, it's a Windows problem.

    Where do i get that? I cant get it to load anything from a CD because I cant access anything in the BIOS without it freezing
  7. Sounds like a bad power supply.
  8. evongugg said:
    Sounds like a bad power supply.

    I have one that i think is good at home...i'll try it out and see if it works. thanks
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