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CPU power up/booting problem - please help if you can!

By ksjones
Feb 18, 2006
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  1. Hi-

    Just new to these boards - discovered them in my search for answers. I've read some similar posts on here regarding startup problems, but my situation seems a bit different.

    The issue - intermittent problems with computer not powering up, i.e. nothing happening when I hit the power switch. I had the PSU tested and it is OK. I have a green light on the mobo. I get occasional power up, seems random - e.g. after turning power bar on or off, changing to a different plug, trying different power cable - but those also don't always work. Other factors - leading up to this I had two blue screens of death at startup a few days ago, something about "unmountable boot volume" and "session 3 initialization failed" I also had a system freeze at one point, never happened before. Ran chkdsk at startup and discovered 4 bad sectors. I then began thinking it was a windows problem, so reinstalled windows on a 2nd (formerly slave) HD. Original HD still connected. Thought it was fixed (5 or 6 startups with no problems - i.e. powering up when I hit the switch) but it has gone back to not starting today. I had the system checked out at a computer shop yesterday, they told me mobo OK and just those 4 HD sectors that are bad, but I'm not so sure....(wasted 25 bucks to have them tell me what I knew, nothing more)

    Specifics: Alienware system, P4 1.8, Intel board, 1gb of RAM (4x 256), ATI Radeon 9600, Win XP Pro. Not sure if any other info is needed. Recently added a PCI USB 2.0 card, as well as an external 4 port USB hub (plugged into that USB card). No other recent hardware additions.

    I'm pretty desparate now - not sure whether to test individual components further (e.g., mobo, RAM, video card) or just resign myself to building a better machine. However I don't want to use a suspect part and create the same problem in the next one! e.g. a USB card problem that might have zapped the mobo.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated, thanks.
  2. Rik

    Rik Banned Posts: 4,985

    Could be a hard drive on its way out or possibly the data cable. Grab speedfan from the downloads section as its pretty good at checking the health status of your hard drives. Also, if your mobo's bios has a setting for s.m.a.r.t enable/disable, enabling that my help.

    Hope that helps, let me know if it doesn't. Rik
  3. ksjones

    ksjones TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks Rik. If I can manage to get it running again - I will give that program a try.
  4. ksjones

    ksjones TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Rik-

    Here was the diagnostic report from Speedfan:

    "All of the attributes of your hard disk have normal values. This is good.

    NOTE : your hard disk has 1 pending sectors. Those are sectors that couldn't be properly read and that the hard disk logic is waiting for a write operation to try to remap to a spare sector (if available). According to the Reallocated Sector Count attribute, your hard disk seems to have available spare sectors. A simple disk surface scan won't be enough to force the remap operation. You need a read/write surface scan to remap the sector. The best option should be a tool that knows about what should be read from that sector so that it has some option to apply the best fix to the missing data. "

    2nd HD (one added just recently) also got a passing grade. Also discovered that SMART is enabled on both drives.

    At this point I'm wondering if the mobo is shorting out intermittently, or if there is a similar problem with a device - video card, etc.

    Any further ideas would be appreciated!
  5. Rik

    Rik Banned Posts: 4,985

    I doubt that the problem is a short or bad contact.

    The fact your hard drive has "1 pending sector" means the problem is with the drive or the cable.
    A complete reformat of the drive (not a quick format) will probably cure it but you will loose all data on that hard drive.
    I had a similar problem once and thought the hard drive had had it but it turned out that the data cable was the cause. ATA data cables are cheap these days so it could be worth getting a new one to see (and its always good to have a spare).



    Hope that helps. Rik.
  6. ksjones

    ksjones TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Rik,

    Thanks again for the message. I will give the reformatting and new data cable options a try.
  7. ksjones

    ksjones TS Rookie Topic Starter

    One other confusing point - I tried physically disconnecting the suspect drive, in order to boot just from my new drive, on which I installed XP. After doing this I continued to have the same problem - i.e. nothing happens when I hit the power button. However this could be more evidence for the bad cable idea...have to give that a try.
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