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Random PC issues - What the heck!

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June 17, 2009 2:22:36 PM

I am working on a friend's emachine. It is a couple years old with an AMD 3200+ processor. The rest of the parts are pretty generic, of course. Anyway, it is totally unstable: BSOD during boot, sometimes it won't even POST, other times you can get it to boot in Safe Mode, but then you get the BSOD again, sometimes it will boot and then shut off, and finally, now it won't post it all and when you power it on, the CPU fan immediately starts running at high speed and won't slow down until you shut it off again.

I tried a different power supply and that didn't help any. Think it could be the motherboard?

Thanks in advance for the tips.

More about : random issues heck

a b B Homebuilt system
June 17, 2009 2:26:55 PM

Try booting with just the HD, video card, and 1 stick of RAM.
June 17, 2009 2:38:43 PM

aford10 said:
Try booting with just the HD, video card, and 1 stick of RAM.


I did try that last night. There is only on-board video and audio, no add-ons. I tried both sticks of RAM by themselves, but there was no change. I also tried with no HDDs, and with each HDD independently: no change. I removed the battery for a minute: nothing.

However, all of the attempts above were made with the old PSU. Think it would be worth trying again with the new PSU?

Thanks!
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a b B Homebuilt system
June 17, 2009 2:47:58 PM

Unless the new psu is underpowered, it would've booted the first time when you tried it. So that's probably not the issue, though it never hurts to try. With the gamut of different issues, and the fact that you've tried a new PSU, I'd suspect the board.
June 17, 2009 3:01:31 PM

aford10 said:
Unless the new psu is underpowered, it would've booted the first time when you tried it. So that's probably not the issue, though it never hurts to try. With the gamut of different issues, and the fact that you've tried a new PSU, I'd suspect the board.


I don't recall what size the original PSU is, but I had a Antec NeoPower 500 lying around that I tried. The Antec PSU should have been plenty for that PC.

I picked up a used Socket AM2 board last night. Maybe I can give that try tonight.

Thanks!
June 18, 2009 5:03:15 AM

Hmm well the things i would try:

underclock the CPU just to double check that isn't the problem

and upgrade/reinstall the bios

Btw, do you remember if you changed anything before this happened?
June 18, 2009 2:02:32 PM

thefox14 said:
Hmm well the things i would try:

underclock the CPU just to double check that isn't the problem

and upgrade/reinstall the bios

Btw, do you remember if you changed anything before this happened?



Hi,
It actually isn't my PC. It is a cheap eMachine I am working on for a customer. I am not sure if the mobo will give me any options for over/underclocking, but I can give it a look tonight. They said the last thing they did before all of this started happening was they installed OpenOffice.Org. I haven't even been able to get it to boot and be stable long enough for me to uninstall it.
a b B Homebuilt system
June 18, 2009 2:36:16 PM

I don't think openoffice would be an issue though as it's only a software app. What you've got sounds like hardware. If you have an xp disc, considering that's their OS. You could backup the data and do a repair install to see if that helps. If it's a software issue down in the boot sector or something, that may help. Blue Screen though, I can agree with trying the memory one stick at a time, or new memory altogether. Btw, could it be a hard drive starting to fail? Does the hard drive make any weird noises like clunking or clattering? Not sure if that's the problem, but just throwing out things that could relate to this issue.

Also if you can, check their drivers, I had a issue a week or 2 ago, we were ghosting a computer lab where I work, and we had some that had a little bit different hardware and we kept getting IRQ conflicts causing a blue screen until we did a completely fresh install.
June 18, 2009 2:59:33 PM

ohiou_grad_06 said:
I don't think openoffice would be an issue though as it's only a software app. What you've got sounds like hardware. If you have an xp disc, considering that's their OS. You could backup the data and do a repair install to see if that helps. If it's a software issue down in the boot sector or something, that may help. Blue Screen though, I can agree with trying the memory one stick at a time, or new memory altogether. Btw, could it be a hard drive starting to fail? Does the hard drive make any weird noises like clunking or clattering? Not sure if that's the problem, but just throwing out things that could relate to this issue.

Also if you can, check their drivers, I had a issue a week or 2 ago, we were ghosting a computer lab where I work, and we had some that had a little bit different hardware and we kept getting IRQ conflicts causing a blue screen until we did a completely fresh install.



At this point, I can't get it to boot at all. I turn on the power. The CPU fan goes full speed, I can hear the hard drives power up, and.....nothing else. The monitor never even gets a signal at all.
June 18, 2009 3:58:52 PM

Well it sounds like the possible problems are:

1) CPU is dying
2) HDD(s) may be going bad
3) something wrong with the mobo

try taking the HDD(s) out of the emachine if you can and place them in another computer. Try to boot from them.

i dont know too much about motherboard issues, but you could try to replace the cmos battery and/or install the latest bios.

if none of those help i'd bet it's the CPU overheating or something. in which case you should make sure the system isn't dusty inside and that the fan is secured on the cpu.
June 18, 2009 4:09:28 PM

thefox14 said:
Well it sounds like the possible problems are:

1) CPU is dying
2) HDD(s) may be going bad
3) something wrong with the mobo

try taking the HDD(s) out of the emachine if you can and place them in another computer. Try to boot from them.

i dont know too much about motherboard issues, but you could try to replace the cmos battery and/or install the latest bios.

if none of those help i'd bet it's the CPU overheating or something. in which case you should make sure the system isn't dusty inside and that the fan is secured on the cpu.



1)The fan/heatsink seemed to be attached firmly and the case was impressively clean inside. I may have an extra AM2 processor that I could drop in. I thought about removing the heatsink and applying new thermal paste to see if that helps.

2)The 2 HDDs in the PC are IDE/PATA. I bought an enclosure to use to hook them up to my PC (via USB 2.0) to test them out. But, I haven't yet been able to get Vista to recognize either of the HDDs when I power on the enclosure.

3) I picked up a used mobo. I hope to try that tonight.


Ugh! This PC just doesn't want to be helped! It has a death wish!
a b B Homebuilt system
June 18, 2009 5:26:12 PM

The fact that it's not even POSTing means it's probably not the HD.

You've already tried a different PSU. The variety of symptoms you described means it's likely the board.
June 18, 2009 5:48:25 PM

aford10 said:
The fact that it's not even POSTing means it's probably not the HD.

You've already tried a different PSU. The variety of symptoms you described means it's likely the board.



That is the diagnosis I am leaning towards, too. I will hook up the board tonight and we will see.



Thanks for all of the input! Tom's Forums have to be the best resource around for these type of questions. If anyone has a better place to go, I'd like to check it out!
a b B Homebuilt system
June 19, 2009 12:45:31 AM

After reading everything posted, I would go with mobo as well. If you are not getting post at all, and have tried new psu, then I'd say board, as it's very rare to see a cpu just go out in my experience.
a b B Homebuilt system
June 19, 2009 3:51:11 AM

^ yep. CPUs don't flake out like that in my experience.
June 22, 2009 3:23:57 PM

Okay. I am trying to find a new motherboard. The old mobo is an MSI Socket 939 with an Athlon 3200+. IS the Socket 939 processor compatible with Socket AM2 boards?

I am trying to find the closest thing I can to the original board in hopes of not having to re-install everything.

Thanks!
a b B Homebuilt system
June 22, 2009 5:52:00 PM

You can get a completely different board. You'll likely just have to repair the windows install.
June 26, 2009 3:12:15 PM

Well. The new Socket 939 board came in last night - MS-7184. I hooked it up, but it is still not booting. The monitor never even gets a signal. I just don't understand.

Things I have tried (no add-on cards, 1-stick of RAM):
1. New 939 mobo: no boot, no signal to monitor, HDDs do get power, CPU fan works
2. New 939 mobo and new power supply: no boot, no signal to monitor, HDDs do get power, CPU fan works
3. Setup a Socket AM2 board with an Athlon X2 5000+ and 1 GB memory (pulled from my everyday system): no boot, no signal to monitor, HDDs do get power, CPU fan works
4. Hook HDD from customer's system to an old Pentium III system I have. Windows started loading, but then hung.
5. Hooked my HDD to customer's system. - Nothing CPU fan turns on and off once real quick and that is it.

What in the world is going on? Think the customer's memory could be bad? But, their HDD wouldn't boot in the AM2 system I put together, only tried to boot in the Intel system.

Could their CPU be bad? Still wouldn't explain why it wouldn't boot in the AM2 system.

Any suggestions? My brain is fried! :fou: 
a c 113 B Homebuilt system
June 26, 2009 6:35:28 PM

Quote:
3. Setup a Socket AM2 board with an Athlon X2 5000+ and 1 GB memory (pulled from my everyday system): no boot, no signal to monitor, HDDs do get power, CPU fan works


You basically replaced the entire system and still got no monitor signal????? Did you replace the monitor as well? This seems pretty obvious to me, and I think I'm not understanding you.

Quote:
4. Hook HDD from customer's system to an old Pentium III system I have. Windows started loading, but then hung.


Well, of course. Different HAL.


Did you breadboard the old system? Have you checked the monitor? Cables? Power from the wall? (I have seen PCs fail to boot because of problems at the wall... move to a different circuit to check.)
June 27, 2009 3:43:41 AM

Quote:
If anyone has a better place to go, I'd like to check it out!

Ehh, it's kind of a waste of my time posting here in that case, but here it goes anyways...

When you use the term 'customer', you mean you're a system builder, right? It sounds like you're just some guy that's building a computer for a friend... no offence, but you don't sounds too qualified. If you are a system builder, you should have quite a few spare parts, so it's quite obvious that a P3 isn't gonna cut it to boot up a crappily written OS such as any distro of Windows. You said it passed POST and started to load up the crappy OS, so first thing I'd do if I had all the parts in the world like a sys builder, I'd get a cpu/mobo/ram and test them to make sure they actually work, then drop in the customer's parts on the mobo one at a time. First drop in the customer's cpu, check. Then memory. Since they've got igp, if those 2 both work, your customer's got a dead mobo, which would explain the instability. It could be any reason for the instability of the mobo, could be a displaced HS on the chipset that's causing it to overheat, but you wouldn't know unless you reseated it since you can't get the actual temperature of the chipset core without booting into an OS first. Or you could just sell them that new mobo altogether since no one else is gonna buy a 939 mobo unless they've also got a mobo problem, so just give them the mobo for like a hundred bucks.
June 29, 2009 2:39:56 PM

Quote:
You basically replaced the entire system and still got no monitor signal????? Did you replace the monitor as well? This seems pretty obvious

Did you breadboard the old system? Have you checked the monitor? Cables? Power from the wall? (I have seen PCs fail to boot because of problems at the wall... move to a different circuit to check.)


Breadboard? I haven't heard that term before.

Basically I have built 3 different systems (2 different CPUs, 3 different sticks of RAM, 2 different PSUs, 3 different mobos) and I tried it on two different outlets, but they were on the same circuit. Other PCs I have had plugged into that outlet have worked fine.

I know the monitor is working, because I had the PC of another customer hooked up to it in between all of this testing I was doing for the system in question.
June 29, 2009 3:25:31 PM

computabug said:
Quote:
If anyone has a better place to go, I'd like to check it out!

Ehh, it's kind of a waste of my time posting here in that case, but here it goes anyways...


computabug,
I actually meant that as a comment. I have been using TH as my goto source for tech news for several years now. I think the forums and the advice you can receive from them is great. I was simply saying that, I find it hard to believe that there could be a better site than TH. But, if there is, I would like to know about it.

Quote:
When you use the term 'customer', you mean you're a system builder, right? It sounds like you're just some guy that's building a computer for a friend... no offence, but you don't sounds too qualified. If you are a system builder, you should have quite a few spare parts, so it's quite obvious that a P3 isn't gonna cut it to boot up a crappily written OS such as any distro of Windows. You said it passed POST and started to load up the crappy OS, so first thing I'd do if I had all the parts in the world like a sys builder, I'd get a cpu/mobo/ram and test them to make sure they actually work, then drop in the customer's parts on the mobo one at a time. First drop in the customer's cpu, check. Then memory. Since they've got igp, if those 2 both work, your customer's got a dead mobo, which would explain the instability. It could be any reason for the instability of the mobo, could be a displaced HS on the chipset that's causing it to overheat, but you wouldn't know unless you reseated it since you can't get the actual temperature of the chipset core without booting into an OS first. Or you could just sell them that new mobo altogether since no one else is gonna buy a 939 mobo unless they've also got a mobo problem, so just give them the mobo for like a hundred bucks.


Wow. All of that because I used the word "customer"? :D  I have a love for technology, PCs, and troubleshooting/problem solving. I am just trying to make some extra cash to support my family and our new baby boy. I am not claiming to be something I am not. I am just in the beginnings of a side business. So, yes, I am working on this for a customer. No, I don't have a lot of parts lying around, but as mentioned above, I have built 3 different systems out of various parts I did have (2 different CPUs, 3 different sticks of RAM, 2 different PSUs, 3 different mobos). The only thing I haven't done is used a new 939 CPU. But the AM2 setup I had should have at least POSTed, right?

I just feel like there is something I am missing...something simple...but I can't figure it out. That is why I came to the forums.
!