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Computer won't post after freeze

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  • Components
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August 17, 2010 10:03:29 PM

Hi all,

I'm looking for some help because I've exhausted most other avenues for getting my computer working.

I'll shoot for specs first.
Gateway FX530s
Intel 975x Viiv motherboard
Q6600 unclocked
Windows 7 professional 32-bit
Nvidia 9800gt stock speeds
700w PS
4gig ram

I was in the process of loading up MS Flight Simulator X. In the process, the game appeared to freeze, and the game music became distorted (sounded like it was slow and skipping). The computer would not respond to any keypresses.

I had to do a hard shutdown. I turned the PC on and the fans/HD started up but no display. Shut down and attempted again. This time I got to the screen that Windows was not shut down properly and had the options of how to boot. I'm not sure if it booted to safe or normal, but it went to whatever was default since I didn't enter a command in time.
It loaded up to the desktop, but seemed to have a hard time loading the desktop icons (hourglass was going but nothing really happening). I let it go for a minute, then shut it down with the power button.

After this, I turned the PC on but nothing was displayed on the monitor, and the usual hard drive chatter I could hear was not happening. I powered down and back up a number of times to the same results. FAns, hard drive and GFX card fan would spool up then throttle back to normal speeds, still no picture on monitor. I would not get any indication of a post whatsoever.

I'm not the most experienced pc guy out there, but I tried some suggestions I read, such as pulling different RAM sticks and trying one at a time, resetting the cmos jumper numerous times, pulling the battery, starting without the HD, disconnecting the graphics card. No matter what I did, I would hear no beeps (and to be honest, I don't think my system ever beeped at start-up; might have been a Gateway BIOS thing).

The one thing I did notice, is that if I pull all the sticks of RAM, I would get 3 long beeps. This was the only little sliver of hope that the system isn't shot. Problem is, I have no real means of testing the system any further. I don't have extra processors, RAM, graphics cards etc. to try. I figure if I started getting into those expenses, I'd be just as well off buying a whole new system.

I'm hoping maybe someone can suggest something that I maybe haven't thought of.
I don't do any overclocking of any sort. I have had an instance a year ago where the computer wouldn't boot, then after letting it sit a night, started back up. Nothing since then, it's worked like a charm.

I thought maybe the HD went, but an IT guy at worked said I should still see a posting message on the screen of some sort.

Any suggestions from Tom's community would be greatly appreciated, thanks!

More about : computer post freeze

August 18, 2010 12:31:41 PM

That's a real nice post, thank you for that.
Well, latest developments, I pretty much pulled all the RAM again and tried one piece at a time. I didn't know which slot out of the 4 to try first or if it mattered. After putting one piece in one of the slots, I actually heard the hard drive reading as though windows was loading. No error/post beeps. However, the display still did not turn on so I coudn't enter the bios or see to turn it off properly. So I had to do a hard shut down.

I went ahead and plugged the rest of the RAM in. After doing so, the computer reverted back to not wanting to start (everything turns on, but HD isn't read; no display).
With this particular bios, it does not beep upon start up. Never has. However, when all the RAM is pulled I get the 3 long beeps still. If I put one of each of the 4 RAM sticks in, I get no beeps but it still didn't want to load until I tried that one piece. I don't know if it was a fluke or not.
It was too late at night for me to troubleshoot any further. When I get home today, I'll try the different pieces in different slots and record what works/doesn't.

It was a positive sign as I guess my computer is not yet done for. My question is, since the hard drive seemed to be loading something after using one piece of RAM, but the display still doesn't light up. It's hard to tell if RAM is the problem or my graphics card. I can't imagine both would have failed simultaneously. Plus, I had no display aberrations prior to the computer freeze.
Also, I read that a bad video card not being detected can cause the Bios not to load. I guess pulling the graphics card out wouldn't provide any types of error beeps.

I'm going to see if I can't score a vga cable, remove the graphics card, and try the onboard (which I guess I have even having the add-on card).
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August 18, 2010 9:45:37 PM

Multiple components may fail after a power surge - that's why the systematic debugging should be done.
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August 19, 2010 2:18:47 AM

My system is on a UPS/surge so I wouldn't think there was a cause for concern there since things were working fine until the computer slowed to a crawl then froze.

I took all the ram sticks out and tried one by one in the different slots. Didn't make a difference. The computer still beeps 3 times when the memory is completely out. It doesn't make any beeps when the video card is pulled. I don't know if that means anything or not, but for that matter it doesn't beep when anything's removed except for ram.

I'd like to think it's something as simple as my video card causing all this. Unfortunately the intel 975x does not have integrated graphics, so I'll have to pick up a new card and give that a try.

From the looks of things, this problem is quite common and there's just no telling what it could be. Getting into things like messing with the cpu and buying new motherboards just isn't an option for me. I suppose once I try the video card and that doesn't work, I can pretty much suspect my cpu or MB to be the problem, in which case I'd assume just go for a new system.
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August 19, 2010 2:29:31 AM

Yes, that would be the logical conclusion. However, the fat lady hasn't sung yet! One question - did you check the power supply? Do this before you go out and buy a video card. There is a simple paper clip test. Here is the link: http://www.corsair.com/cinema/movie.aspx?id=1358543

Sometimes a dead PSU will exhibit these types of problems.
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August 19, 2010 2:42:00 AM

that doesn't test that it is 100% working if there is no load on it. Its only an indication that it is not completely fried.
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August 19, 2010 3:00:59 AM

Right!

I remember during college days, a "water load" was used to load generators. I wonder if that can be improvised somehow. Load Bank.
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August 19, 2010 12:56:09 PM

I've thought about the power supply, but figured that'd be a last bet thing before I trash the system. It's a 700W power supply and I don't have much of a load on it but that probably doesn't matter. Plus, everythign spins up, 2 cd's, hard drive, 2 case fans and graphics card fan. But I suppose that doesn't rule out the PS completely.

I'm still betting on the graphics card. This xfx 9800gt has always run super hot even at idle. I wouldn't be surprised if it just failed because of that since it's almost 2 years old. When the computer froze, the display on the screen did a brief flicker before Windows froze. First thing that came across my mind when I saw that was something with the card since I had been gaming for an hour before it happened.

I think it'd be easy enough to stop at best buy and pick up a cheap card to try. I'll have to try that paper clip test though. Never heard of that before.

I appreciate all the help. Lots of great ideas coming through on here from people.
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August 19, 2010 1:32:16 PM

thats y i love motherboards with IGP....even when i know ill be using a gfx and IGP mobo usually have lower spec, i always get them because at times like this i can always just pull out the gfx and see if the PC boots!!!.


anyhow, u can try using the gfx and the PSU in a different PC, a friend maybe? it could be either one of the two
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August 19, 2010 5:46:00 PM

Yeah, igp would have been nice. Without it it's made it a bit more difficult to troubleshoot.
I don't know anyone who has a PC that could handle this graphics card. Nor would I want to take the chance of putting it in someone's computer and have it short the thing out if it's faulty. Best Buy probably has a card for $50 i could drop in to see if that's the problem.
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August 19, 2010 9:43:23 PM

Newegg's prices are better! It helps to compare pricing even at local stores.
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August 19, 2010 9:51:04 PM

Haha yeah Newegg is great. That's where I got my xfx from. I'm only going to pick up a card since Best Buy is right down the street, that way I can test it and return it if it won't work. If it turns out to be my original card, it should actually still be under warranty since I filled all that out on the xfx website when I bought it.

I did want to see if someone had an answer to this question...if it is in fact the video card, if I pulled it out of the system, should I expect the computer to either beep or load up windows even though no card is present? (keep in mind this board has no integrated graphics.)

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August 20, 2010 2:41:48 AM

If the video card is bad, there will not be a POST single beep. And if the system does not POST, Windows will not load.
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August 20, 2010 11:32:14 PM

Ubrales, went to Best Buy after work today. Picked up an Nvidia 8400gs ~$60 (was the cheapest pci-e there). Came home, took out the 9800gt, plugged in the 8400gs, crossed my fingers, pushed the power button and.............Bios screen and boot!!!!

I was so excited lol. So far 3 hours later and no hiccups. Gonna package the 9800gt and ship it off tomorrow since it's under warranty. hopefully they can get it back to me before the 30 day return policy is up on this temp card.

Thanks to Ubrales and everyone who helped trouble shoot. I'm thankful it was a relative inexpensive fix for a 2 yr old pc.

Some considerations for those doing a search on this model computer:
Gateways FX530s BIOS has no post beeps apparently. (does beep with all memory out but nothing when starting normally).
The Intel 975x MB has no integrated graphics. With the bad graphics card, apparently prevented a post and obviously no display.

Post edit: I hope i'm not one of the unfortunate users on here who come back in a few days to say it's started all over again!
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August 21, 2010 1:08:14 AM

Great progress! I am glad that your problems are over.
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!