Monitor Doesn’t Show Image But Computer Runs

(I’m pretty desperate to fix this thing, so I’m going to try to be as thorough as possible)

Before the problem occurred (this may not be important, but just in case): I took my hard drive out to hook it up as a slave (for storage) to a different computer. A new user account was made.

Initially: I hooked the hard drive back up (and the few other things I had to unhook to get to the hard drive when I was taking it out originally) to the computer it was in first. I may have switched some power supply cords around. When I turned the computer on, I heard three beeps. I then found out that three beeps meant a memory error. I didn’t understand how I could have gotten an error like that; because I didn’t even touch the ram when I was taking my hard drive out. I thought maybe the ram got loose somehow. I then took out the ram and the graphics card so I could get to the ram. Then I put the ram back in, in a random order. I didn’t think it would matter, because the ram sticks are all the same (brand and all). Before putting the graphics card back in, I saw a small piece of dust in the pcie port. I couldn’t get it out, and I didn’t think that is what the problem was anyway so I just left it and reinserted the graphics card.

I turned the computer back on and I didn’t get any beeps this time. The computer sounds as though it is starting, and the light flickers like it’s doing something, but then disappears. The num lock light is also on during the initial start up, but then disappears. The graphics card fan is running, and it seems to be working, but I don’t know how else to check to see if it’s working. Everything else seems to be working based on what I know about how to check to see if it’s working, but I could be missing something. I left the computer on for a few hours, and it sounded as it would sound if it were running normal idle, but when I shut it off with the power button, it shut off instantly instead of having to hold the power button for a few seconds.

Of the steps I’ve taken so far, I’ve force shutdown my computer (with the power button, not the psu switch) a least a handful of times. I’m guessing in order to fix this problem I’m going to have to do the same many more times. I'm concerned about this. Is there a risk in shutting the system down in this manner multiple times? Should I unhook my hard drive during this process?

Does it sound like I should try using a different graphics card?

Please let me know if you have any ideas related to this problem.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

System Specifications:

Graphics Card - ATI RADEON HD 2900 PRO 1GB PCI-E 2X DVI

Hard Drive - Barracuda 7200.11 SATA 3Gb/s 1-TB

CPU- Intel Core 2 Quad Processor

Motherboard – Intel DP35DP

Corsair xms2 8GB ddr2
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  1. UPDATE: I got the dust out the pcie port, that wasn’t the problem because it didn’t change anything.

    I took out two of my four 2GB sticks of ram, and changed a few power supply cords around. I was eventually able to get windows to start, and show image on my monitor. However, I have to assume it was through random chance that started, because not being to see any image to my monitor, I decided to press enter when it seemed like there wasn’t any hard disk activity. I don’t know if taking the ram out had anything to do with it. Something to note is that on the attempt that showed image on my monitor, there was a lot of hdd activity and the light blink for a couple minutes. That is compared to having hdd and light activity for a couple seconds after startup, before it stopped being active, which is what occurred on every attempt prior to that one. In addition, I think the hdd and the dvd drive sometimes restarted after about 30 seconds, or perhaps related to me pressing enter.

    After getting windows to start and my monitor to show image, I ran the computer for a few hours, and it was working fine (showing image and all). I thought to myself that this would have been a whole lot easier if bios was visible at startup. It then dawned on me that bios never showed at startup, even when my computer was working properly. I then tried to reset cmos by using the motherboard jumper. I tried restarting after this only to find that my monitor wasn’t showing image again.

    I put the two sticks of ram back in and I tried to take out and reinsert the battery, and it changed nothing. I changed the battery, because I thought it might need to be replaced.

    Now when the computer starts up I hear something like this:

    First it’s five beeps then the time between noises speeds up.

    *Beep Beep Beep Beep Beep Duh Duh Duh Duh Duh Duh Duh Duh Duh Duh Duh Duh* (This part happens three times in a row)

    This is followed by three slower BEEPS.

    It almost sounds like a song.

    I have no idea what this means, but I have to guess it has something to do with the battery. I’m pretty sure the one I put in was the right number (CR2032).

    Now I think I’m going to do the following:

    Put the old battery back in.

    Run a bench test.

    I’m really hoping that something is just loose, and it can be fixed by taking everything out and putting it back in again.

    PLEASE HELP IF YOU’RE WILLING! I can use all the help I can get.
    I’ll come back with the results of the bench test.
  2. UPDATE 2 (bench test): I think the reason that the bios screen and starting windows screen never showed up even prior to this problem is because there is some kind of problem with the DVI port on my monitor. I came to this conclusion by using the same monitor cord with a VGA adapter on it and put it in the VGA port on my monitor, and I saw the bios screen and starting windows screen.

    The following was done using the motherboard, cpu, videocard, and one stick of ram:

    Once I was able to see image on my monitor, I found that there was a battery error, and another error or two. I’m guessing that this started when I took the cmos battery out and put it back in. From this point, I reset the bios to the default settings, and I no longer had any errors.

    Everything looked good, so I decided to put my hard drive in. Upon starting it with my hard drive, I found that everything worked well until I got to the “starting windows” screen. It stayed on this screen for a few seconds and then the system restarted without warning. I’m guessing this is what I was experiencing before, when I saw the and heard the hdd and dvd drive start up after already being on. After many attempts with the same restarting at the “starting windows” screen as the result, I thought maybe my hard drive might be the problem. I tried to do a start up repair – system restore, but what ever problem there was couldn’t be fixed automatically. So I put the hard drive in another computer (using no other parts from my computer other than the hdd) as the primary hard drive. The result of this was that there were no issues at all for the post test, or during windows start up, and it started up with out any problem.

    During the bench test I replaced the following components with other components to narrow down the problem:

    Ram (additionally I checked all of my ram for problems)
    Video Card
    Power Supply

    This leads me to believe that the problem is with either the motherboard or the cpu, but I have no way of testing that. Of course I could be wrong.

    As usual, any help would be appreciated.
  3. The Results Are In:

    As it turns out, my sata configuration was set to raid, and I only have the one hard drive. That was causing the restarting at the "starting windows" screen. I still don't know how this configuration happened though, because I didn't even mess with the sata configuration.
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