snopes.com  

Go Back   snopes.com > Non-UL Chat > Techno-Babble

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 28 June 2013, 04:12 AM
WildaBeast's Avatar
WildaBeast WildaBeast is online now
 
Join Date: 18 July 2002
Location: Folsom, CA
Posts: 14,418
Default What is wrong with my computer?

Lately my computer has been freezing up and blue screening a lot. In addition, sometimes when I try to reboot it it just gets stuck on the POST screen. I'm thinking given the latter problem this points to a hardware problem, as it's freezing before the OS is even loaded.

I downloaded and ran MemTest86 the other day hoping maybe the issue was a bad DIMM, but that didn't find any problems. So I'm thinking the issue is a bad motherboard, but before I just sink money into that I wanted to ask for a second opinion and see if there are any other things I should check first.
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 28 June 2013, 04:33 AM
diddy's Avatar
diddy diddy is offline
 
Join Date: 07 March 2004
Location: Plymouth, MN
Posts: 10,867
Default

If it's failing on POST it's probably hardware - trouble is where it could be. Does your system give any hardware beeps on startup?

If I was going to wager my opinion on what I think based on never seeing your computer I would say:

1) Hard drive (or the SATA connections to the drive)
2) Power supply being flakey (would be related to number 1)
3) Bad OS install (it can't load some system files that are really basic)
4) Some other hardware.

I have my doubts on number 4 though - if I was a gambling man, I would assume it's more number 1. Something about the drive is going bad and that affects the way it operates and prevents files from being read.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 28 June 2013, 05:09 AM
WildaBeast's Avatar
WildaBeast WildaBeast is online now
 
Join Date: 18 July 2002
Location: Folsom, CA
Posts: 14,418
Default

Gee, it froze up again while I was typing a reply to your post. So here's the shorter version because I don't want to type it all again.

Quote:
Originally Posted by diddy View Post
If it's failing on POST it's probably hardware - trouble is where it could be. Does your system give any hardware beeps on startup?
No beeps. It just freezes on the screen with the Motherboard manufacturer's logo on it.

Quote:
1) Hard drive (or the SATA connections to the drive)
Could be. There are actually 2 hard drives, an Intel SSD and an older Samsung HD. When I installed the SSD I do remember the cable being a bit of a stretch. Besides that I'll kick off the diagnostic tool that came with the drive before I go to bed.

Quote:
2) Power supply being flakey (would be related to number 1)
I have wondered if the power supply was maybe just barely enough for this computer. I can't remember how many watts it is off the top of my head, though.
[/QUOTE]
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 28 June 2013, 05:21 AM
Wolf333's Avatar
Wolf333 Wolf333 is offline
 
Join Date: 12 August 2006
Location: Oxford, OH
Posts: 3,203
Default

Without more information, I would bet on a bad hard drive. Either way, back up every thing you need (if you can boot).

Many brands have built in diagnostics, but it kind of depends on the model. Without knowing the make and model, I really can't tell you how to get there.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 28 June 2013, 12:29 PM
hambubba's Avatar
hambubba hambubba is offline
 
Join Date: 30 June 2000
Location: Gonzales, LA
Posts: 10,715
Default

Disconnect memory and the hard drive, see what happens. If you aren't getting past the BIOS screen, then it's motherboard. If it's one of the other two, that's flagging an internal error that you can't see.

"pull and try" usually works out. I had a bad memory card that checked good, but the PC did the same thing yours is doing.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 28 June 2013, 12:59 PM
erwins's Avatar
erwins erwins is offline
 
Join Date: 04 April 2006
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 11,265
Default

You can't pull all the memory and still post.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 28 June 2013, 01:00 PM
overyonder overyonder is offline
 
Join Date: 03 March 2010
Location: Charlotte, NC
Posts: 1,988
Default

A lot of times (not necessarily always though), the memory is poorly seated or doesn't have a positive connection. Unseat + reseat the memory and go from there.

OY
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 28 June 2013, 01:05 PM
hambubba's Avatar
hambubba hambubba is offline
 
Join Date: 30 June 2000
Location: Gonzales, LA
Posts: 10,715
Default

You can pull the memory, and the motherboard will still try to boot, reporting 0 memory, and should stop with a "No OS" message.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 28 June 2013, 01:15 PM
erwins's Avatar
erwins erwins is offline
 
Join Date: 04 April 2006
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 11,265
Default

You will get hardware beeps, but no post.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 28 June 2013, 02:16 PM
Seaboe Muffinchucker's Avatar
Seaboe Muffinchucker Seaboe Muffinchucker is offline
 
Join Date: 30 June 2005
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 17,233
Glasses

Gee, I wonder if it's a problem with the processor, Wilda...

Seaboe
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 28 June 2013, 03:45 PM
Hero_Mike's Avatar
Hero_Mike Hero_Mike is offline
 
 
Join Date: 06 April 2005
Location: Phoenix, AZ & Hamilton, ON
Posts: 7,265
Default

What's the beep pattern? Those used to indicate different things.

FWIW, there are cheap power supply testers which plug in to the various connectors, including motherboard, fan, floppy, IDE and SATA. It proved very valuable at my last job, where we kept losing power supplies to dust bunnies.
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 28 June 2013, 06:11 PM
WildaBeast's Avatar
WildaBeast WildaBeast is online now
 
Join Date: 18 July 2002
Location: Folsom, CA
Posts: 14,418
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by hambubba View Post
Disconnect memory and the hard drive, see what happens. If you aren't getting past the BIOS screen, then it's motherboard. If it's one of the other two, that's flagging an internal error that you can't see.

"pull and try" usually works out. I had a bad memory card that checked good, but the PC did the same thing yours is doing.
The thing is the problem is intermittent. If I keep trying it will eventually boot normally, work for a while, then freeze or blue screen after a while.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 29 June 2013, 04:42 PM
WildaBeast's Avatar
WildaBeast WildaBeast is online now
 
Join Date: 18 July 2002
Location: Folsom, CA
Posts: 14,418
Default

There's another symptom I didn't mention earlier. Sometimes when you turn it on it does this weird thing where I hear the fans come on, lights come on, but then it just shuts down again. Then it tries to start up again and again shuts down, and just gets stuck in a cycle like that. I think once or twice it has eventually booted after doing that for a while, but most of the time I can get it to boot by completely unplugging it, plugging it back in, and pressing the power butting again, although often that takes a few tries. I wonder if that points to a flaky power supply, like some have suggested.
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 29 June 2013, 06:46 PM
gopher's Avatar
gopher gopher is offline
 
Join Date: 06 January 2005
Location: Sunderland, Northumbria, UK
Posts: 2,087
Default

Are the fans/air vents nice and clean? It could be overheating.
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 30 June 2013, 11:02 PM
WildaBeast's Avatar
WildaBeast WildaBeast is online now
 
Join Date: 18 July 2002
Location: Folsom, CA
Posts: 14,418
Default

It's been better for the past few days. I don't know if that's just luck, or if it was in fact overheating. The fans see to all me working, but I wonder if the ambient temperature was just too warm for the fans/heat sinks to be effective. Last week I hadn't been running the AC much so it was a bit warm inside. Now that it's really hot outside the AC is on all the time, so it's cooler inside the house now.
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 30 June 2013, 11:59 PM
erwins's Avatar
erwins erwins is offline
 
Join Date: 04 April 2006
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 11,265
Default

If the fans and heatsinks are dusty that can cause overheating. You might want to clean it out if they look dirty. Canned air does a decent job.
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 01 July 2013, 12:05 AM
me, no really's Avatar
me, no really me, no really is offline
 
Join Date: 02 June 2005
Location: Brisbane, Australia
Posts: 2,526
Default

I once had a problem like that. In my case it only happened when my data drive was connected to the system. I replaced the cable (cheaper than the drive). No dice. Replaced the drive. No change. Ended up replacing the motherboard over an unrelated issue. Eventually I noticed that the drive bay for that drive essentially had it sitting on a metal plate. I slipped a piece of paper in between the drive and the case. No problem since. I guess that occasionally with flexing etc the case must have shorted out some of the solder joints on the bottom of the drive and fritzed it temporarily.
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 01 July 2013, 04:48 AM
Hero_Mike's Avatar
Hero_Mike Hero_Mike is offline
 
 
Join Date: 06 April 2005
Location: Phoenix, AZ & Hamilton, ON
Posts: 7,265
Default

My Commodore-64 and its resin-encased power supply would eventually degrade and overheat frequently, causing the machine to lock up. Rebooting would restart the process and it would overheat again. I was using this to type up my assignments in my last year of highschool, and learned to save my work frequently until the next-generation "open" power supplies were available.
My old 386 would not recognize all of its memory on a "cold" boot - this memory was SIPP modules totaling a whopping 4MB. Rebooting after 5 minutes of operation where the high memory wasn't accessed, made it all work.
My Pentium 5 machine has motherboard issues and will not send the proper "shut down" command to the power supply. Telling it to shut down from the OS results in it rebooting. But ambient temperature has little to do with air flow and such - without forced-air cooling, the CPU and MB temperatures shoot up almost instantly.
Also, don't use canned air but rather, vacuum out the dust. Canned air just forces it in deeper and past the fan, so it can stick to the MB and insulate the parts that actually need cooling.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
MIT computer wants a cookie snopes Computers 13 06 October 2012 01:04 AM
Pensonal Computer snopes Copyright Trap 0 01 February 2008 04:06 AM
Is Your Son A Computer Hacker? Satire? glisp42 Computers 6 21 September 2007 05:55 AM
Car vs Computer Menelven Inboxer Rebellion 3 27 July 2007 06:41 PM
Computer data encoded in LPs snopes Entertainment 5 24 June 2007 06:35 AM


All times are GMT. The time now is 02:49 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.