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Remote diagnosis wanted !

shermans
Aspiring Pro
Posts: 1,122
Thanks: 42
Fixes: 3
Registered: ‎07-09-2007

Remote diagnosis wanted !

I know that is a tall order.  But I would be grateful for any ideas.
I have a Packard Bell desktop computer running XP which seems to have died.  It is not my main pc and therefore I do not want to spend a lot of money on it.  Three times this week I have got the dreaded blue screen - each time the diagnosis has been different.  However, now it will not start up at all.
Sometimes I do manage to reach the XP Desktop screen but it does not last and it crashes again.
But most of the time, it will not start at all.  I am sure that it is hardware and not software related.  I have my suspicion as to what is wrong but do not want to influence other thoughts.  All I can say is that when I turn it on, usually I get a noise rather like a car trying to star with a flat battery.  Sometimes, it starts to boot but then freezes and the fan (I assume it is the fan) starts to run at high speed.  I hope those might be clues.
Any gut-feel diagnoses would be welcome.
11 REPLIES
Community Veteran
Posts: 38,460
Thanks: 1,031
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Registered: ‎15-06-2007

Re: Remote diagnosis wanted !

Have you tried starting it from a boot disk - if it will then it is a hard drive problem
Community Veteran
Posts: 1,101
Registered: ‎10-09-2010

Re: Remote diagnosis wanted !

Could be any of a huge number of problems.
Corrupt device driver, failed hardware, virus infection are the main ones that come to mind.
I would reinstall from scratch, that will eliminate "Corrupt device driver" and "virus infection".  It will also show quite clearly if you have a hardware failure, since installing a fresh won't get rid of it.
shermans
Aspiring Pro
Posts: 1,122
Thanks: 42
Fixes: 3
Registered: ‎07-09-2007

Re: Remote diagnosis wanted !

As the hard drive has been mentioned, that is my main suspect - it sounds as if it wants to start but cannot.  It is difficult to try a CD to boot because I cannot get as far as the boot sequence to change it.
Before it finally crashed, I did a full virus scan so I do not think it can be a virus.
Community Veteran
Posts: 38,460
Thanks: 1,031
Fixes: 62
Registered: ‎15-06-2007

Re: Remote diagnosis wanted !

If you can't get into the bios - hitting F1, F2 or DEL on boot - then it isn't a disk problem
Community Veteran
Posts: 1,101
Registered: ‎10-09-2010

Re: Remote diagnosis wanted !

Most computers will boot from CD merely by having the CD in the drive when you boot the machine.
You make need to watch the screen for a prompt, but more often than not, that's all that's needed.
shermans
Aspiring Pro
Posts: 1,122
Thanks: 42
Fixes: 3
Registered: ‎07-09-2007

Re: Remote diagnosis wanted !

Thanks for the various comments.
I have tried booting off the CD but nothing happens at all.  I have also tried accessing the BIOS but I cannot do so.
The only reaction when I turn the machine on is a whirring sound - like starting a car with a flat battery.  The Welcome screen no longer appears at all, and pressing ESC, F3, F5, F8, F11 makes no difference.  Having just said that, I have just tried once more and did manage to get into the BIOS for the first time, but then before I could do more than view the various menus, it froze again.
So I am getting nowhere.  I thought of buying a new hard disk to see but it may not be worth the money.
Do the symptoms suggest anything ?
Community Veteran
Posts: 38,460
Thanks: 1,031
Fixes: 62
Registered: ‎15-06-2007

Re: Remote diagnosis wanted !

It isn't a hard disk problem.
Try reseating the memory sticks and all the power supply connectors
Have you tried booting with the side off to see what actually happens on the motherboard
shermans
Aspiring Pro
Posts: 1,122
Thanks: 42
Fixes: 3
Registered: ‎07-09-2007

Re: Remote diagnosis wanted !

Thanks.  I will try that and report back
Community Veteran
Posts: 4,913
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Registered: ‎14-07-2009

Re: Remote diagnosis wanted !

If you don't hear the normal fan noise then maybe a fan has failed and the computer rapidly overheats and grinds to a halt?  That would square with you being briefly able to access the BIOS settings.
shermans
Aspiring Pro
Posts: 1,122
Thanks: 42
Fixes: 3
Registered: ‎07-09-2007

Re: Remote diagnosis wanted !

Hi Folks
Well, I am tempted to add a "Smiley" but will resist because I do not want to tempt fate.  However, I opened the case up, removed the RAM, unplugged the power connectors from everything, put the RAM back in and reconnected the power connectors, fired up with the side off to see what was happening.  First up came the Welcome screen.  Then it booted up.  Then it did a memory check - all correct.  Then it spent some time reconfiguring itself - I assume that it was restoring to an early time, because I finally got a message to say that the system had recovered from a serious fault.  It then settled down, I accessed the internet and so far have managed to send this message !  Fingers crossed.
So thanks to you all for the various suggestions and especially to OldJim (again) because I am hoping his hunch was correct and that there was a dicky contact somewhere.
Let's hope that we have got to the bottom of it.  I was dreading having to replace the computer because then it would have meant having one machine with W7 and all the others running XP, which would have meant upgrading Outlook, which probably is not reverse compatible with XP and I probably would have ended up throwing out the lot and starting fom scratch .......
I am really hoping.
Thanks again.
shermans
Aspiring Pro
Posts: 1,122
Thanks: 42
Fixes: 3
Registered: ‎07-09-2007

Re: Remote diagnosis wanted !

Latest update.
I have put everything back in place, re-attached printers, scanner, stereo etc. and all is working absolutely fine.  For safety's sake, I ran Avast! anti-virus scan and then to double check, the Microsoft LiveOne Care programme.
I think I dare now to add a "Smiley".
What a great help you all are.  Many thanks indeed.
Smiley