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I broke my friend's computer

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August 21, 2009 11:22:05 PM

first post here -- not sure if i'm in the right forum, so if not, mods or whoever, pls redirect me.

a friend of mine said his computer was running slow and asked me to take a look. his computer is a Compaq Presario SR1408HM desktop running Windows XP Pro .. it has a celeron processor but i don't remember the speed .. 256 mb ram .. 40 gb HD. it took like 10 mins for windows to fully load, and even then, opening folders and applications and browsing the internet were achingly slow. i was looking for some leads on the internet when the computer froze [he said it freezes a lot] and on restarting, the computer froze at the 'compaq' splash screen .. it sat there for 15 mins and didn't budge .. hitting the f-keys didn't get me anywhere either. my friend informed me that usually when this happened, he would just turn the computer off, go do something else for a while, and the machine would be cooperative again after a prolonged break. [what could that mean?] he also said that another friend of his had reformmated the computer some 8 months ago and that it ran fine for 2 months before its performance went to hell. this friend told him that the computer needed more ram [i think?] .. or that there was some issue related to the ram.

if i was smart, i would've acknowledged that the problem was beyond my expertise and told him he'd have to take the computer to a store or something. but i wasn't smart, and i decided to take a look at the inside of his computer. so i found out he had a Seagate Barracuda 40GB IDE Hard Drive and that he had 1 stick of Infineon 256 MB PC3200 DDR RAM (PN: HYS64D32300HU-5-C). there were two connectors hooked up to the HD which were easy to take out and put back in. the ram was easy to take out but hard to put back in [it was dark and we didn't have a flashlight]. i though i had the ram in, but when i turned the power on, the computer started beeping and nothing came up on the monitor. a googlesearch revealed that bios was trying to tell me that a.) the ram was put back incorrectly b.) the ram was damaged. i took the ram back out and put it into the second slot [out of curiosity i suppose]. this time it snapped in and i was sure it had been properly replaced. i turned the power back on, but the computer took to beeping again. so i took the ram out and snapped it into the first slot. this time, when i hit the power, there was no beeping -- but the fan seemed to just cycle on and off in perpetuity and nothing would come up on the monitor. i figured i had put everything back just as i'd found it, but apparently the computer was telling me otherwise, so i took the HD out and replaced it again, and i took the ram out and replaced it again, and this time, the computer went back to beeping, finally, i took the ram out and put it back, and when it took to beeping again, i basically just gave up.

later i found a forum post online where someone said that ram replaced incorrectly could fry both the ram and the motherboard, which is what i'm truly afraid of. [i know i put the ram in the right way every time though; i just didn't put it in all the way the first time.] should we buy a new stick of ram for his computer and hope we can get back to the starting point?

More about : broke friend computer

August 22, 2009 12:41:04 AM

Upgrading the RAM to 512MB from 256MB will improve things a lot for not much money particularly on the boot up time, although the computer will still be very slow due to the speed of the processor. It is quite easy to damage the RAM slot connector if you try and put in RAM without seeing what you are doing. Look very carefully at the slot and check that there are no bent pins, if there are it is unfortunately almost impossible to fix this. Make sure the power cord is disconnected when you try and insert the RAM.
You didn’t say if the computer had an AGP graphics card, if it has make sure that it is seated down firmly as the AGP slot is not very reliable and is easy to move inserting and removing RAM.
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August 22, 2009 3:03:21 AM

lol this reminds me of my friend who thought he was good with computers, working for Circuit City firedog while it wasn't bankrupt,... who somehow managed to put a DDR2 stick into a DDR1 slot and fried his friends computer... good times
August 22, 2009 2:44:31 PM

Lol, after reading this i remember my good old tech days... I was young and knew very little about computers.

One night i removed my 512 mb ddr stick to ''check'' its specs since i was planning on upgrading to 1 gig. so i removed the ram module and wrote down what i needed and re mounted it. But seeing as it was rather dark, and couldnt b assd to find a flashlight (wouldnt find one either way tho) I just put it back in by ''feeling the slot'' .

This is where i epic failed, i still had the cover removed and turned the pc back on. Then a nice looking flash appeard.. followed by some small flames. Apparently i had the ram stick mounted in the wrong way (so yeh basicly upside down..) This resulted in a fryd mobo and ofc my ram.

So id say let ebay be your friend. and buy a second hand pc for 40 bucks wich will probably b 2 times faster then you had.

The morale of this story?.. Buy a flashlight
August 22, 2009 8:14:53 PM

so ... since nothing burst into flame, things should be relatively peachy, right?

further questions:
1.) what was the deal with the fan whirring on and off and nothing happening, even though BIOS didn't beep [ie, the ram was set properly]?
2.) can i just buy a stick of 512mb/1gb ram and insert it into the second slot if i have somehow damaged the first one?
August 22, 2009 9:07:09 PM

Your first mistake was working on a Compaq, a very old Compaq that really doesn't have any life left in it when you compare it to the size of the programs running nowadays.
Your second was working on it and not being able to see what you're doing. Never work on a pc if you're not able to see what you're doing and you not have a clean well lit area to work in. You'll be asking for trouble.

The first thing you should do is get a can of compressed air and blow out the dust (Outside). Do not do this with the power plugged in and don't turn to can of air upside down while using it to air out the pc.

Now double check that the Video card didn't become unseated. Look at the base of the card where it sit in the slot and make sure it level. If it not, most likely you'll notice the backend slightly higher then the front. You can push down on it, not to hard. You shouldn't have to unscrew it.

As for your ram, it only fits one way. Match the slots on the board with thoses on the ram.

If you get any beeps, Post them.
If it turns back on - GIVE IT TO YOUR FREIND AND TELL THEM TO BUY A NEW PC.
It not worth the money to buy more ram when you can add it towards a new pc.

August 22, 2009 10:03:24 PM

Do everything rogue said

I only have one addition as to the ram
when you try to (re)seat the ram
1) make sure the clips at the end of the slot are both open
2) it does only fit one way, put it in and press (you might have to press harder than you think, in my experience most people are too gentle when trying to seat ram, not the other way around) with a little wiggle, if you do it right the clips will close into the notches at the end of the ram, give the clips a press in the to make sure the dimm is locked and seated, with most mobo's you'll hear them click.

follow the end of rouge77777 post on what to do next
on the plus side your friends pc only has a street value of say $50 max (i've found higher spec pc's on the curb out for garbage) and if you didn't kill it, time was about to.
August 23, 2009 12:57:43 AM

:sweat:  TECHNICALLY SPEAKING IT IS NOT POSSIBLE TO OWN DIGITAL DEVICE. ITS PUBLIC PROPERTY.

Signed:p HYSICIAN THOMAS STEWART von DRASHEK M.D. :sleep: 
August 23, 2009 1:10:38 AM

Wow, that kinda sucks, all I can tell you is to breath take it slow and try to fix it, or find someone that can. It happens to all of us, i remember working with a friend on a mutual friends computer, it was a pentium 3 that apparently ran ddr, well i didnt beleive that,plus ddr was expensive back then, so i tried to force a sdram stick in(i was a little drunk),didnt do any permanet damge,but it wasbeeping and so for th for a bit.
August 23, 2009 3:10:40 AM

dOWNLOADING sp2 WAS PROBABLY ANSWER, however, just let it sit, maybe put mainboard in sealed plastic bag & freeze it, those old main transisotr will reset, there so large. anytime unstable system is disrupted, often loses boot up menu. Try xp Start/boot up Floppy or new vista,2008/7 have recovery discs, yet first memory must be refreshed or reset by freezing.(you can put whole computer in trash bag, seal it with tie & freeze it)computer was NO Good. When you changed slots ,computer needed to reinitialize that slot with that stick & its guts where just too far out of parameter to restart. You may have shorted DDr by touching gold pins, often small red glow for moment, almost like imperceptable smolder virus occurs & memory is completely kaput. perhaps another blown 'puter with ddr could exchange memory, shop might have used stuff for $5, maybe worth it, its very likely ddr was near extinction +/or entire system. if usedstick of ddr works it back on, immeadeatly install service pack 1,2,3 & updates, its surprizing how many top name brands don't have update enabled. it might be friend before broke it, just barely got it going & it was last straw in changing memory about. faairly common as computer goes to last withers into bone yard. all parts might be good. just this build went bad or was corrupted over internet, NT Authority may have broken it with malware, for being too old & unstable. NTAuthority is checking program ALL telxcos use to stop sparking or disfunctional equipment, as telco itself might pick up glitch. It may have never worked again NO Matter if nothing was done, just its time to quit. Your Telco IS Probably Extremely PLAEASED its offLine for GOOD.

Signed:p HYSICIAN THOMAS STEWART von DRASHEK M.D.
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