Long story short, I think this computer is finished. I will post the details, hopefully someone can identify the exact problem in case it's possible to replace one more part in the short term, or to find a short-term fix. I was hoping to keep it going at least until the summer, but that seems unlikely now.
Have had a number of problems over the past couple of years, and replaced the hard drive, RAM and monitor. A few months back the CPU fan stopped working, I cleaned it out (full of dust) and that seemed to resolve the issue. However, it has continued to be a rather loud computer for a while now.
I thought that it may be a faulty power supply, and also was hoping to get back into some PC gaming, so I recently ordered a Corsair PSU (430W) and a Radeon HD 7750 video card (previous one was an X300). However, the day before I was going to install them, the computer started taking a looooong time to boot up, like 10-15 minutes (as compared to 2-3 minutes before). I installed both, but this problem was still there. Also, the sound card appears to have stopped working. I attempted to clean up the registry with CCleaner and AVG PC Tune-Up.
Last night, the computer once again started booting up in 2-3 minutes, and I thought the issue might be fixed. However, it has started not booting up at all. When attempting to boot, it gets fairly loud, and the light on the front is yellow rather than green. Also a couple of times (not always), a 3-4 second beep that goes up and down in tone. I had to try booting it up 4 or 5 times to get it to work now. But it is working perfectly fine right now.
The CPU fan has seemed fine the last couple of months, but is it possible it just needs a new fan? Or is the culprit more likely to be the motherboard or CPU? Or something else?
Start with the event viewer (right click on the computer icon / manage / event viewer / windows) and look for i/o errors and timeouts. Next would be a hard drive check: right click on c: / properties / tools.
When I click event viewer, there is not a specific windows option other than "Windows Power Shell". (choices are App, IE, Security, System, TuneUP, WPS). Which one should I choose? I clicked on System, and there were a couple of Error messages for Service Control Manager and DCOM.
By the way, turned on the computer today and it booted up on the first try, working perfectly fine, quiet, etc.
I would REALLY prefer to hold off on buying a new motherboard and CPU for a few months if possible. If I have to, I will move the PSU, GPU, monitor, plus keyboard & mouse over to the new build. The big question will be what to do about the hard drive. This one is fairly new (1-2 years) and has a lot of stuff on it, plus would save quite a bit of money on the upgrade, but I'd be hesitant to do so in case the Windows Registry is causing the problem here.
There was definitely a lot of dust in this unit. It is relatively clean now. Are we still at the point where it could be anything? When it wouldn't start yesterday (prior to making this thread), I really thought the motherboard might be done, but as mentioned when it boots up it works fine.
Ran the Hard Drive Check. Encountered the same problem, but after attempting to boot 3 times, it started properly and is currently working fine. After unplugging & replugging power cord, got 4 beeps followed by 2 more beeps.
When it doesn't work, the computer gets very loud (since it's a new power supply, am I right in assuming it's the CPU fan making that noise, or is it coming from the PSU?), yellow light on the front, and nothing on-screen.
Hopefully somebody has an idea as to what could be going on here.