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Question about a Dinosaur

Hello a friend of mine asked me to take a quick look at his computer to see if i could fix it. It's a dinosaur so i didn't promise him anything, but agreed to look at it.

After a protracted battle involving lots of canned air and a horde of dust bunnies i deemed the desktop safe enough to be allowed access to my work area.

I hooked it up to an old crt monitor that i know works via VGA port and fired her up.

Fan's spin..... Check

Power hums..... Check

Hard drives makes appropriate hard drivey noises....... Check

Lights turn on motherboard..... Check

No fires..... Check

Screen turns on and begins to slowly display windows..........NEGATORY!!!! ....

basically the screen power button stayed green for a moment then turned yellow and nothing else happened.

Here are the specs.. (its a Celeron)

I dont have any exp with older computers and my current experience consists of building fairly new computers for myself and family for the last couple years.

But my thoughts are that the motherboard video whatchamabob has bit the dust on this unit somehow.

My questions are as follows.

1) is my methodology here sound? anything else i should try to with this old dinosaur?

2) if M/B video is unfixable, would dropping in a PCI video card be likely to fix this?

3) If yes where would be the best place to get your hands on an extremely cheap video card.

4) or is this hunk a junk just best sent to the big scrap heap in the sky?

Thanks for any help you can provide.
13 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about question dinosaur
  1. Which version of Windows is installed?

    Try booting into Safe Mode if your operating system version supports it. If Safe Mode works, you just might have a problem with drivers.
  2. I'd download a live CD of linux to test the video. Then you know for sure it wasn't just a windows thing. Ubuntu is a good option but any of them will work since all you're trying to do is verify that the PC operates normally. Once you verify that you can start the windows troubleshooting if it is still failing to show a display.
  3. it's Windows XP... i doubt its sp3.....

    I will try the ubuntu trick, i happen to have a few ubuntu disks laying around....

    However could this even be the case considering that i am not getting anything on the monitor? nothing at all... noting showing bios.... zip...nada .... zilch...
  4. Update.

    Tried 2 different ubuntu live cd's (1 for Xubuntu, and one for Ubuntu)

    no love.... it seems as though the cd drive is accessing the cd but nothing appears on screen.
  5. Do you even get a POST screen, a beep or something?
  6. beeps yes.. no post screen....everything appears to be working... expect nothing is showing on the monitor.

    my friend said that this computer is working on his dell monitor. is it possible that the machine was designed to only work with that specific monitor? he is going to be bringing over the monitor to check.
  7. Maybe it really is the graphics card. Get some cheap PCI card like you said from your local BestBuy or PC store like an Nvidia GeForce FX 5200 lol, it may work then. Unless if theres more excessive dust pile up in the PCI slot(s) XD

    Maybe the PSU? It may be going weak and soon to die out, due to the possible give up on the screen when video is trying to be displayed.
  8. The machine IS a dinosaur, and is likely overdue for the tar pit. Those old Dells often experienced the bad capacitor problem, either on their motherboards or in their PSUs. Google "bad capacitors" to get some images of what they look like; typically visible bulges and/or leaks.
    If your friend assures you it was working recently, perhaps the blow job was a little too vigorous. Disconnect and reseat everything in case something loosened. A "cheap" video card bought at retail will probably amount to $40-$60; money better contributed toward the less-than-$400 (including OS) that will be needed to build a replacement that will run rings around this one.
  9. Tried swapping in a know working psu from another machine that was a bit more powerful than the one in the machine. No joy. so am gonna rule out the power supply being the culprit.

    gonna look at the capacitors and see if i see anything obvious. definetly not gonna recommend sinking anything into this relic... :P
  10. Best answer
    There is set of four diagnostic LEDs labeled A, B, C, D located between the video connector and keyboard connector. What is the color (yellow, green, off) of each LED?

    If A is yellow, B is green, C is yellow and D is green it indicates "A possible graphics card failure has occurred." This would include the Intel IGP (Integrated Graphics Processor).
  11. Hmmm problem solved, evidently my blow job wasn't vigorous enough after all.. :P i removed the stock fan and housing completely from the unit and really jetted out the area where the motherboard connects to the vga port.... (dust cloud.... cough cough) and now its booting. must have been some sort of short.

    regardless. thank you for the help everyone.

    ko888 gets the best answer as he took the time to help my goofy self twice...
  12. Best answer selected by archer7282.
  13. This topic has been closed by Maziar
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