Computer having trouble turning on

By n56cbk
Jul 10, 2006
  1. Sorry if this is in the wrong thread, but I can't seem to find a better one to put this in.

    As the title suggest, I'm having trouble turning my computer on. It started happening after my cooling fan just stopped working one day. I smelled something burning, and I usually hang one leg over the tower when I sit so my foot, which was near the back, was starting to feel hot. Thankfully, it wasn't my foot that was burning, and I'm not sure I actually fried anything, but I knew I had to do something.
    My dad told me to remove the cover to help prevent overheating, and it seemed to work a bit. But afterwards, sometimes it just wouldn't turn on. So I'd have to turn off the power strip or unplug the power cable for a few seconds, replug it, and turn it back on, which worked for a while. But now, I'm lucky if it works at all. Whenever I try the unplug method, it'll turn on for about half a second to a second and a half, and just shut down. Now I'm kind of a computer newbie, if you will, so I don't know much about BIOS and other things, but I heard your system goes through a check to make sure things are running before it turns on? Should I try replacing my cooling fan? The thing is, when I removed the cover, I noticed my fan was in this box that said not to remove the cover or something, so I forgot that idea. Also, very occasionally, my computer WILL turn on, even though the fan is broken, so I thought maybe the fan didn't have an impact. When I did get it to turn on, though, I would leave the computer on, afraid I wouldn't be able to turn it back on. Good thing I saved a backup... So I wouldn't be having a problem, except I accidentally turned off the power strip with my foot...
    Curse you, improper posture!
    Oh, by the way, my computer's kind of old... maybe seven or eight years? It's a Pentium 3, obnoxiously large, loud, etc. Horrid specs: 451 Megahertz, 18.6 GB Hard Drive space, I've had to replace the operating system three or four times due to lack of virus protection etc... I know it's time to get a new computer, but I still want to figure out how to turn it on by the time I get one and in case this happens again. Any help would be appreciated, thanks.
  2. pcaceit

    pcaceit TS Rookie Posts: 315

    Hi, wow oh dear oh no......

    Your psu (power supply unit) is burned out. you need a new one.

    that box is what powers all your system and really needs someone with a bit of experience to fit a new one in for you. meanwhile i would NOT try to turn your pc on.

    i would tell you how to do it step by step but i'm knackerred at the moment
    so search techspot for tutorials.

    i be back later

    regards pcaceit
  3. KingCody

    KingCody TS Evangelist Posts: 992   +8

    hi n56cbk and welcome to techspot :)

    the bad news is: it would appear that (as pcaceit said earlier), that your power supply overheated and burned up (due to the cooling fan failure).

    the good news is: a power supply is an easy component to replace.

    you can replace the fan inside the PSU, but it already burned up so a new fan wouldn't fix it (also there can be dangerous voltages inside a PSU, so don't open it up!)

    as I said earlier, the PSU is easy to replace. each connector only matches the proper recepticle (remember when you were little and you had to put the circle, triangle, and square into the correct opening? ;)) but you can't just put any power supply in any computer. we need to know a little more about your computer. is it a custom made or is it a brand name PC like a dell, hp, gateway, etc. if it's a branded PC give us your make and model, if it's custom than read what's on the side of the PSU case. specifically see if it says ATX, mATX, or microATX and how many watts its rated for.
  4. n56cbk

    n56cbk TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks for the help, guys. Actually, I've been meaning to replace my ancient excuse of a computer for maybe five years and bought a new computer today, so I may or may not need help again. Although I have some documents that I didn't recover on my old one, I doubt I'll really need them. Thanks again!
  5. KingCody

    KingCody TS Evangelist Posts: 992   +8

    well good luck with your new computer :)

    if you still need access to files from your old hard drive, just get an external USB hard drive enclosure like this one

    just plug the hard drive into it (its very simple, just two cables) and plug the USB cable into your computer. windowsXP will install it for you. and you'll always have a back up drive after.
  6. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,689   +395

    That doesn't sound good, was it the processor fan? Thats the one on top of the finned metal thing.

    Its somewhat reasonable (without knowing too much about P3s and their motherboards) that if the cpu fan doesn't spin up on start the computer will shut down.

    The burning smell wasn't too good though, but that could be a lot of things - ranging from not fatal (psu) to fatal (motherboard and/or processor)
  7. KingCody

    KingCody TS Evangelist Posts: 992   +8

    from his description of the failed fan:
    it looks to me as if it could only be the PSU fan (because no other fan is inside a box of any kind, especially one saying not to open it)

    My theory is: The PSU fan died after years and years of dust, and regualr wear ---> the PSU overheated as a result and suffered permanent damage.
  8. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,689   +395

    Probably correct KingCody. But this is why its critical people that post problems actually follow up on our responses, and give as detailed descriptions as possible.

    For all I know he has some wierd branded computer that has a little circular sticker on the HSF that says do not remove. Sure the "the cover" attached on the end doesn't sound like it would be, but who knows on these crazy chinese/japanese/korean to english conversions I see all over the internet.
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