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HellBound Hackers | Computer General | Hardware

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Problems trying to revive older computer


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Posted on 06-06-10 04:06
I'm hoping someone here can offer some help on this. I have received an old computer that has not been used for a few years now. I tried to boot it and it would make it to the "Your system did not shutdown properly...Choose safe mode or start normally..." screen, but then freeze.

Then after a few of these freezes, the computer would not post anymore, but instead would shoot out a beep code that apparently means the cpu is overheating. So, I removed the heatsinks from both the CPU and northbridge, applied new thermal paste, and then re-seated them. Still either sends out the overheating beep code or freezes about 15 seconds after power on.

Things I've Tried/Found

I was able to make it into the BIOS and check the temps before it then froze inside the BIOS. The temps didn't look bad at all from what I could see before it froze...

The harddrive works, I removed it and connected it to my desktop. Running a virus scan on it now, although I don't think that's the issue.

I threw in a linux live cd. It made it to the opening screen (where I could choose to install linux or just try it out) then promptly froze.

Specs

Mobo: MSI MS-6777
CPU : AMD Athlon XP 2600+
RAM : 1x512MB DDR SDRAM
GPU : Integrated (nVidia GeForce4 MX)
HDD : 120GB IDE (not sure brand)
OS : Windows XP

Thanks ahead of time for any help on this.




Edited by on 06-06-10 04:16
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RE: Check one by one


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Posted on 06-06-10 05:24
I would advise you to:
1.)Take apart the system(if you are confident you can put it back together),use the seperate parts with a working computer and isolate the problem.(Note:Use a light live O.S. like FreeDOS)

2.)If everything is fine,check the cables and wires.If a wire is loosely connected or is over heating(this happened with my laptop),replace/repair it.

3.)Check for dust in the slots and clean it out.

4.)Finally,open the system and check the temparature yourself.

Also,as soon as you start the system,check for any abnormal vibrations and see if the airflow from the fans is normal.

Note:This is merely a preliminary check,all of my problems were solved by the above,so I didnt care to check anything else.Smile

@System_Meltdown:Is the grammar fine in this one or do I have to use a grammar check?

Edited by on 06-06-10 05:25
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RE: Problems trying to revive older computer


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Posted on 06-06-10 06:36
A dying power supply could cause this. Since a bad power supply is something that could ruin hardware that does work, it may be best to swap one that you know works. If you have to buy one, don't get the cheap $20 one. I'd expect to pay about 40-50 for one, and hopefully you'll get 10 years of life out of it. If you have one of those wrist strap grounding things, don't use it. You don't want to be the PS's ground.

http://www.wikiho. . .wer-Supply

Also, whenever I get a new computer there's a few things I always do to the hard drive: erase MBR, format, error check.




Edited by on 06-06-10 06:46
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RE: Problems trying to revive older computer


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Posted on 06-06-10 14:22
Why would a faulty power supply cause an O.S. to hang and not turn off?
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Posted on 06-06-10 14:29
Re-install. Try Damn Small Linux will make that baby fly!


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RE: Problems trying to revive older computer


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Posted on 06-06-10 15:14
I was able to make it into the BIOS and check the temps before it then froze inside the BIOS.


I don't think that the O.S. is a problem here,BIOS must work for any normal O.S. to run.(As far as I know)
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Posted on 06-06-10 15:16
True say.


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Posted on 06-06-10 15:32
Try the steps I mentioned,if everything seems ok,do step one again(remember to test mother board separately.) but use the cables from a working computer.
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Posted on 06-06-10 20:40
Then after a few of these freezes, the computer would not post anymore, but instead would shoot out a beep code that apparently means the cpu is overheating


This is a hardware problem. There's 4 phases in the boot process.
1: ram and the cpu are cleared out
2: post runs
3: bios loads drivers and settings
4: OS takes over

This is a step 2 problem, which means hardware (the beep code is post). The op was also able to make it to step 3 and 4 before he had the same problem.

A power supply could cause this because it's one of the few components that affects the performance of all other hardware. When it gets old the power spikes. When it spikes down, that reads as a 0 (no power) and the computer will either freeze or reboot. When it spikes up, you get a power surge and you have to replace hardware (but not before replacing the PSU). Unless he's on the same circuit as the laundry dryer or something, I think it's the power supply.

Edit: I'm pretty sure it's the PSU. Buying a new CPU would be a real bummer. Especially if you buy one to replace your old one, and have the PSU fry it in 30 seconds. If it were my computer, I wouldn't boot again until it had a new power supply.




Edited by on 06-06-10 20:52
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RE: Problems trying to revive older computer


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Posted on 07-06-10 05:44
Well I think I've narrowed it down to bad caps. I was moving the board over to my desktop computer to try and hook it up to that power supply when I noticed 4, kind of bulging, capacitors near the cpu. Looking closer, there was a small amount of the ominous rusty brown substance on top of 2 of them. It really is such a miniscule amount that I almost didn't notice it.

I want to hook it up to another power supply to be sure. Unfortunately, my power supply won't connect to this motherboard and I don't have a spare PSU.

Oh, and in regards to the fans. I've tried a few different fans and cables. All of them are spinning at full speed and the thing still freezes.

On a side note, after removing the old computers harddrive and connecting it to my personal desktop, I cleaned it of any viruses and spyware. I was able to access the files fine. However, when I try to boot into safe mode from the old drive, it hangs while trying to load "mup.sys". This seems to be a common problem with XP though, and I don't think it is the cause of the freezing issue.

Anyways, I appreciate the help. If I can get my hands on another PSU I'll try that out.




Edited by on 07-06-10 05:50
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RE: Problems trying to revive older computer

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Posted on 07-06-10 06:40
Sounds like the caps are the problem. Don't know too much about how the mobo processes everything but I know caps can definitely mess stuff up real good. Goodwill might have a working power supply for around 5$ or less.

PS. Go Arch Linux!


"The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
~Albert Einstein~


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RE: Problems trying to revive older computer


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Posted on 07-06-10 07:35
@ op: do you go to a school? I'm just asking because it seems like a lot have free computer repair, or at least some spare parts. My school is always giving out partial computers. There's a "take it or leave it" table.

You have to be a little careful when buying a new PSU. Sometimes the really cheap ones are just cheap electronics made in bulk. You probably want to burn-in/test any used or wholesale hardware.


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Posted on 07-06-10 08:24
I was able to find the connector I needed to hook the motherboard up to my PSU and still ran into the issue.

@maug, I actually just graduated recently. So I'm not in school now, but I know what you mean, our engineering department had tons of spare parts and all kinds of capacitors.

I'll probably just order some online and then try to hone what little soldering skills I have without melting the board Smile


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RE: Problems trying to revive older computer

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Posted on 07-06-10 10:43
The old bulged capacitors, Anytime you see the tops split or juice leaking from the bottom that's dead give away. Be sure to check all the components in the area of the caps to insure it was only the caps that went bad. Most of the time it is because companies use the cheapest shit they can find but better safe then sorry.


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Posted on 07-06-10 11:02
I call it capacitor AIDS. Seemed to peak around 2003 I think.


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Posted on 07-06-10 11:24
wolfmankurd wrote:
I call it capacitor AIDS. Seemed to peak around 2003 I think.


Ha, I like it. That's actually the first thing to look for when repairing any electronics, I see it a lot on TV's especially Mitsubishi's usually accompanied with a Zener diode or two also. Junk.


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Posted on 07-06-10 13:18
Guess I should read more about hardware maintenance.

@ETep:Thanks for posting this problem.Smile

Edited by on 07-06-10 13:20