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Author Topic: sick pc  (Read 10791 times)

tobyker

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sick pc
« on: October 22, 2009, 06:29:45 pm »

I've got an 8 year old MESH PC with a 1400 Ghz AMD Athlon processor, 512Mb RAM. running Widows XP Home SP3. I have 2 HDs - the 115 Gb C drive has 87GB spare and the 37Gb F drive where I store photos etc has 7Gb free.
A couple of months ago it started losing my (the administrator's) profile on startup, but rebooting usually fixed that - if it didn't work the 3rd time, I went to the last reset point and that fixed it. Then I went on holiday for a fortnight, leaving the PC off and unplugged. On my return it failed to start when I switched on - the lights flashed when I pressed the button, but it just groaned and stopped. I then had to unplug it, wait until the green LED on the motherboard went out, plug it back in again and switch on again. It then works, but gives the error message about an incorrect processor speed at the last boot-up - despite showing 1400 on the DOS type setup page. ESC/return/return and eveything works. I have brushed and hoovered out the inside of the machine and cleared all the vents, and as suggested on googling the error message, have changed the mobo battery. It is still refusing to start on the button unless I do the unplug procedure. Presumably the non-starting is a mobo or power supply problem , and losing the profile is a windows problem (which seems to have gione away for now).   
Any ideas, chaps?
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Colin Bishop

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Re: sick pc
« Reply #1 on: October 22, 2009, 06:42:11 pm »

Basically:

1. Ensure that all your stuff is backed up - use an external disk.
2. Get a new PC - yours is lying on its back with its legs in the air and just twitching. I'm surprised it's lasted that long.

Colin
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Greggy1964

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Re: sick pc
« Reply #2 on: October 22, 2009, 06:57:09 pm »

Hi Tobyker,

Have you tried another hard drive in place of your C:/ hard drive? The problem may be caused by a virus on your C:/ drive and they are designed to attack your windows operating system files. Each time you switch off and restart, the virus spreads and the computer gets worse until all you have is a black screen. Been there done that! >>:-(

Have you tried reinstalling windows XP from your disks? You do have the operating system disks that came with the puter when you bought it? If you don't have them Ebay sells XP home for about 26 these day but only buy hologrammed disks to avoid the pirate ones.

When loading Xp, it gives you the option to repair the existing operating system which will keep all you existing files on the poorly hard drive or you can reformat and start again, but this option clears all files and reinstalls anew.

Disconnect your 2nd 87 Gb hard drive while doing all this so you don't accidentally format the wrong drive.

I keep a 2nd hard drive with an operating system using software that mirrors my original drive on the 2nd one. If the 1st one gets a virus I replace it with the 2nd and then nuke the 1st with the format command and the mirror it with the 2nd hard drive.

I keep all important files on a 2nd hard drive in my puter and I regularly update a file I have on it with my links to favourite websites as I have tons and it would take years to find them all from scratch. All important document files and picture files are kept on the 2nd drive so that if my C:/ drive goes down I don't loose too much.

If the software approach doesn't work your looking at a hard drive or motherboard failure, I've suffered both in the past.
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Klunk

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Re: sick pc
« Reply #3 on: October 22, 2009, 07:15:58 pm »

my opinion......
did you just brush and hoover inside?
wrong, take your time and take the whole motherboard apart, disassemble the processor area, you will need to buy some thermal paste to redo the processor to thermal fins. make sure all the parts you take out are cleaned with a brush and preferably blown out with a compressor on low pressure. all fans should rotate freely when flicked with your finger. dont forget to clean the powersupply. Carefully replace all components back together and restart. It should then restart.
If not does the hard drive make a grating whirring sound?? if so then the harddrive bearings are on their way out. time to buy a new harddrive. |Keep the old one and use as a back up- you can access it as a secondry drive and copy all the pics etc accross.

But I think the above post is right, Buy a new one they are relatively cheap at present!
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Colin Bishop

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Re: sick pc
« Reply #4 on: October 22, 2009, 07:25:09 pm »

It's an 8 year old PC. You may be able to patch it up temporarily but at that age you are liiving on borrowed time and your data is far more important than the hardware which is all well past its sell by date.

Colin
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Bryan Young

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Re: sick pc
« Reply #5 on: October 22, 2009, 07:59:01 pm »

At the risk of garnering yet more odure, my computer is now nearly 8 years old. I had it built for me, specifically for photographic purposes. It cost in the region of 1000 at the time.....but most of the people I know have had to change their machine at least once since then. So (to my mind) I'm getting the benefits from going to a "high-end" machine rather than just buying whatever stuff PC World etc. are chucking at you.
It also helps if you do a disc "clean-up" or "defragmentation" every now and again. Also, and I thinks this helps, I leave nothing important on the computer....I bung all my stuff onto CDs or something. Just a thought to stop the older machines getting a bit overloaded....like my brain. BY.
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Colin Bishop

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Re: sick pc
« Reply #6 on: October 22, 2009, 08:24:08 pm »

Bryan,

Your PC may still be doing the business but technologically it must be a dinosaur by now. Mine is around three years old but I'm already finding that the hard disk storage is becoming cramped. You can buy a 500gb external disk for under 50 now. Like you, I back up my important stuff onto CDs or DVDs as well as onto alternative external hard disks but I fear that CDs/DVDs may not have the longevity originally attributed to them. I wouldn't rely on them after 5 years or so. Also, before very long CDs will go the same way as floppy disks and new PCs won't read them. Once you commit yourself to digital storage you have to keep refreshing it onto the latest medium to be sure of not losing it. they call it progress I believe. A lot of early digital data is no longer recoverable as nobody knows how to read it. Mind you, paper is not much better. most records stored over the last 50 years or so are self destructing at an increasing rate of knots as the paper is not chemically stable

Colin
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dreadnought72

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Re: sick pc
« Reply #7 on: October 23, 2009, 09:28:10 am »

2. Get a new PC - yours is lying on its back with its legs in the air and just twitching. I'm surprised it's lasted that long.

My Mesh at home is six years old. The fan makes more noise than an RB-211 with some blades missing. The PC crashes without warning once every three to four hours. The graphics card is shot - I can only run one monitor instead of the two I own, and on occasion the screen disappears behind a pile of migraine-inducing colour stripes. (At this point you hit cntrl-save and once the HD stops grinding, cycle the power switch.)

Colin's advice is sound. At work (where I use a Dell) PCs are replaced every three years, and - to be frank - they're becoming dinosaurs at that age. Tobyker and I should be thinking of "museums" or "skips" with our Meshes rather than entertaining the idea of "repair".

Andy
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tigertiger

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Re: sick pc
« Reply #8 on: October 23, 2009, 10:40:46 am »

There are loads of deals on computers, now that every home has one.

One stratgegy I use is to buy lower spec computers and replace them every 3 years. Basically I am getting last years state of the art for about a sixth of the price.

And I buy in the UK because the big discounters are much cheaper than buying in China. The same would be true in the US, except that in the US I would be paying 300 dollars and not 300 pounds.
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FullLeatherJacket

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Re: sick pc
« Reply #9 on: October 23, 2009, 11:49:28 am »

http://www.misco.co.uk/

Huw ACTionweb put us on to this company. Excellent prices and ricochet service.
Suit yourselves, but we'll go to them for any hardware in future.
FLJ
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meechingman

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Re: sick pc
« Reply #10 on: October 23, 2009, 11:58:15 am »

I'm with Colin, too. It's time for a new one. 3-4 years is the most I've ever realistically got from a computer.

I always self-build, as it lets me customise the system, as well as getting the latest components (not ones that are in a PC built some months ago). Not rocket science, and if you have the skills to build a boat, I reckon you've probably got what it takes to build a PC.

Andy
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Colin Bishop

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Re: sick pc
« Reply #11 on: October 23, 2009, 12:01:15 pm »

Quote
and if you have the skills to build a boat, I reckon you've probably got what it takes to build a PC.

Andy

And you can buy the hull, sorry case!  :-)
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The long Build

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Re: sick pc
« Reply #12 on: October 23, 2009, 12:54:26 pm »

I built mine just to see if I could do it total cost at the time I think was about 360,with the main cost being the Motherboard and cpu.. 
It was a dam site easier than building a model  :-))  took me less than an hour to install all the bits and pieces , more surprised it worked when I plugged it in to put on the os etc.  Just in the throws of upgrading the os drive to a seperate drive at 320gb and then a storage drive only of 1tb got for 65.00  from www.aria.co.uk.

Also have a backup 1tb external drive.

We use
www.aria.co.uk
www.misco.co.uk
www.ebuyer.co.uk

I have had no problems to date, and find the usual Highstreet stores a bit pricey.
Larry


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Wasyl

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Re: sick pc
« Reply #13 on: October 23, 2009, 01:01:33 pm »

I,ve had this Laptop for 6 years now, and it only has 40gb hard drive and 256 on the other whatever that is, and it does me fine,I can get to ebay and back,and to here,and I can find anything on the net,Its never let me down,and apart from the time when i decided to use the Vax hoover to pick up the dust that was between the keys,"all the key plates went in the hoover"  {:-{ {-) then i had to sift through the hoover bag to find all the letter plates,apart from this, i,ve always been online,Not bad for a 299 pc,and its got a cd re-writer,dvd drive,what more can i ask for,

Wullie
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Bryan Young

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Re: sick pc
« Reply #14 on: October 23, 2009, 04:42:08 pm »

Bryan,

Your PC may still be doing the business but technologically it must be a dinosaur by now. Mine is around three years old but I'm already finding that the hard disk storage is becoming cramped. You can buy a 500gb external disk for under 50 now. Like you, I back up my important stuff onto CDs or DVDs as well as onto alternative external hard disks but I fear that CDs/DVDs may not have the longevity originally attributed to them. I wouldn't rely on them after 5 years or so. Also, before very long CDs will go the same way as floppy disks and new PCs won't read them. Once you commit yourself to digital storage you have to keep refreshing it onto the latest medium to be sure of not losing it. they call it progress I believe. A lot of early digital data is no longer recoverable as nobody knows how to read it. Mind you, paper is not much better. most records stored over the last 50 years or so are self destructing at an increasing rate of knots as the paper is not chemically stable

Colin
Colin, you've got me a bit worried now! My "Dinosaur" is still faster than my wifes fairly new Dell thing. But it's your comments on long-term storage on CDs that's bugging me a bit. I'd imagine that just about everyone on the planet has CDs for one purpose or another. Is all that music and data just going to go bosoms up? Now you've got millions of people worried....what's the "long-term" answer. And for heavens sake, don't say that there isn't one! Cheers. Bryan Y.
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ActionWeb

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Re: sick pc
« Reply #15 on: October 23, 2009, 04:50:17 pm »

I've got an 8 year old MESH PC with a 1400 Ghz AMD Athlon processor, 512Mb RAM. running Widows XP Home SP3. I have 2 HDs - the 115 Gb C drive has 87GB spare and the 37Gb F drive where I store photos etc has 7Gb free.
A couple of months ago it started losing my (the administrator's) profile on startup, but rebooting usually fixed that - if it didn't work the 3rd time, I went to the last reset point and that fixed it. Then I went on holiday for a fortnight, leaving the PC off and unplugged. On my return it failed to start when I switched on - the lights flashed when I pressed the button, but it just groaned and stopped. I then had to unplug it, wait until the green LED on the motherboard went out, plug it back in again and switch on again. It then works, but gives the error message about an incorrect processor speed at the last boot-up - despite showing 1400 on the DOS type setup page. ESC/return/return and eveything works. I have brushed and hoovered out the inside of the machine and cleared all the vents, and as suggested on googling the error message, have changed the mobo battery. It is still refusing to start on the button unless I do the unplug procedure. Presumably the non-starting is a mobo or power supply problem , and losing the profile is a windows problem (which seems to have gione away for now).   
Any ideas, chaps?
Startup errors in POST (power on self test) are generally due to 1) Failing hardware, 2) Dead/failing CMOS or 3) Loose connections/shorts.  As advised elsewhere, unplug everything, clean all the dust puppies out (you will have some), reseat and reconnect and start up.

Have you run a Windows disk check on the C: drive?

Don't worry about the age of the PC.  My main one is 10 years old,  I've just upgraded it to Windows 7 and it still runs faster than the one I've got that's two years old running Vista...

At work I'm still maintaining some legacy software on a Pentium P75 with 64MB of RAM and a 10GB hard disk that's still running as sweet as a nut.

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toesupwa

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Re: sick pc
« Reply #16 on: October 23, 2009, 04:56:58 pm »

Have you changed the battery on the motherboard?
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ActionWeb

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Re: sick pc
« Reply #17 on: October 23, 2009, 05:02:21 pm »

Have you changed the battery on the motherboard?
If you need to change it, don't pay more than 1 for a CR2302 battery.  Get them from a pound shop or any other discount store.  Don't buy them from a PC shop.
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Colin Bishop

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Re: sick pc
« Reply #18 on: October 23, 2009, 05:06:31 pm »

Bryan, everyone used to store their stuff on floppy disks or tape but a lot of that is now unreadable, either due to new computers being unable to read the format or because the actual media has deteriorated. Not all CDs are the same, some are better quality than others. CDs will be around for a while yet but look at the advances we are already seeing, DVDs, dual layer DVDs, Blu-Ray DVDs - all with bigger capacities. At the moment there is a fair degree of backward compatibility with the hardware but at some point conventional CDs will go the same way as floppy disks. So, every so often you will need to change your backup media. In my case, all my important stuff is on my PC and the CDs/DVD are effectively just transient backups. My main backups are to external hard disks.

As long as you keep the primary copy of all the important stuff on your main machine you will always be able to back it up to whatever the current flavour of secondary storage is. The danger comes if you move important stuff you want to archive onto a CD/DVD to free up room on your PC. Then the "backup" you have made becomes the primary and maybe only copy and if you leave it long enough then you may find you can't get it back if you need it.

As far as music is concerned, CDs are rapidly going the same way as vinyl now as everyone buys Ipods instead which can hold all the music you want and link to music libraries on your PC. It won't be long before new cars don't come with a CD player any longer, there will just be an IPod connector.

So, to respond to your question; there isn't a really long term answer (unless you build a pyramid or something), you just have to keep running to stay up. Yes, it is potentially scary and it's an acknowledged problem.

A longer (as opposed to long) term solution is seen as being Cloud Computing where your data is stored and backed up over the internet.

Colin
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ActionWeb

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Re: sick pc
« Reply #19 on: October 23, 2009, 05:14:49 pm »

A longer (as opposed to long) term solution is seen as being Cloud Computing where your data is stored and backed up over the internet.

Colin
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Roger in France

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Re: sick pc
« Reply #20 on: October 23, 2009, 05:34:05 pm »

ActionWeb,

Please expand/explain. I did find your comment a tad unhelpful !

If your point is that you are no longer in charge of your data that is an issue I have wondered about with online storage of photo images.

Roger in France.
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Colin Bishop

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Re: sick pc
« Reply #21 on: October 23, 2009, 05:41:51 pm »

I didn't say I agreed with it - just that it is seen as a solution. There's all sorts of minefields associated with Cloud (Cuckooland?) Computing.

Colin
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tobyker

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Re: sick pc
« Reply #22 on: October 23, 2009, 06:45:54 pm »

Yes as stated in my post I did change the battery - made no difference. I've ordered a 500Gb external drive to collect in store tomorrow and hope I'll be able to back eveything up that I want to transfer to a new PC. The start-up error messages are getting starnger and stranger but "load defaults" seems to work. I'd quite like to build my own but haven't really got time to find out about it all this time. I might get an expert in, pay him for a new PC and get him to do the data transfer. Thank you all for your comments.
Toby
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Bryan Young

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Re: sick pc
« Reply #23 on: October 23, 2009, 07:09:07 pm »

Well. I must say that I'm nonethe wiser just now. Between postings I've run a couple of CD data discs that are (from an earlier machine) and they are still perfect. Is the possible degradation due to the disc material or the format it's stored in? i.e. is "Raw" better than "Jpg" which I know does suffer from electronic degradation. Still baffled. If I buy a (huge capacity) back-up hard drive, will this not go down the same tube? Or am I worrying about nothing? BY.
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malcolmfrary

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Re: sick pc
« Reply #24 on: October 23, 2009, 07:11:58 pm »

A few years back a mate had similar problems.  After much thrashing about we got a FREE diagnostic program to actually test things.  Better than the poke'n'hope procedure.  The problem turned out to be one bit of one location of memory which was "stuck".  This created random mis-reads, and subsequent mis-writes that looked for all the world like a virus and created random mayhem whenever that particular bit was used and needed the unstuck value.
Fans need to be clean and free-running.  Cooling fins must be clean.  The hard drive should be silent.  All the bits that plug in need to be firmly seated in clean seatings.

My last upgrade was a cheepo - from  http://www.saverstore.com/product/20018388/ECS-3207610-AMD-Athlon-3200-Processor-and-Motherboard-Bundle   (durn - its now cheaper from when I got mine)  plus some memory.  The entire bundle at todays prices was less than my mates replacement memory back then.  
In an elderly box, it might need a new PSU.  
I picked on this one because I could keep nearly all my old peripherals, its one of very few boards that still has 2 IDE slots in its price range.
I have my operating system and programs on drive C: , all my data and stuff like default file destinations and swapfile live elsewhere.  This means I can use cloning software to back up the main system and archiving the data is relatively simple.  It takes about a half hour to completely reload the OS, programs and settings, as opposed to an hour or so to reload Windows and about a fortnight to find everything else.
Like Tiger, I am a firm believer in letting someone else break the ground with new technology.
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