Desktop computer won't boot

By m0n0lith3
Jun 21, 2007
  1. I bought a used desktop computer yesterday off Craigslist. Right after I got the computer I decided to format the hard drive and reinstall windows. As it was installing windows, the computer turned off for no reason, but I thought that I might have nudged the power cable. After I rebooted it seemed fine and installed. Then once I got into windows, it turned off again. I still figured that I had nudged the power cable so I restarted and it worked.

    After about fifteen minutes, the computer shut down again. However, this time when I tried to turn it back on it would not power up, except for a second and then shut down. I opened up the case to see if there was some short circuiting going on and then removed the power from each of the components one by one to test it. When I remove the power connection from the hard drive, the computer boots up. I even got Ubuntu to run live. So the problem is definitely in the power connection to the hard drive. Can you explain this and tell me how to go about fixing it? I used it for literally under an hour before it started shutting off and giving me these problems.

    The hard drive is a modern seagate baracuda 7200. It is important to note that it has some kind of power converter set up, since it only accepts "serial ATA" power. Maybe this is the heart of the problem?
  2. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    There is no "serial ata power" that needs conversion. You just have two kinds of SATA connectors. The 7-pin variant carries only data and you have to supply power to the device separately. The 15-pin version carries the usual PC voltages in addition to data.

    Some people say that you should never use the powered SATA and the normal power connector at the same time. I have seen many people who have done exactly that no problem.. *shrug* Maybe it depends on the drive design.

    A: test the drive with the manufacturer utility in another computer.
    B: put another hard drive in this computer.
  3. m0n0lith3

    m0n0lith3 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Okay well I'm not really sure what you mean. There is one cable that goes from the hard drive to the motherboard (the data cable) and then the other cable that goes into an adapter and then to the power supply. The way it is wired appears really odd to me. There is one cable that has two plugs on it. The first one connects to two wires that run to the front of the case where the restart button is. Then the second plug connects to the adapter for the hd.

    The thing is, even when I take out the hd and try to boot it up, it WON'T if the other plug is still connected to the front of the case. But, when I take that off too it boots up totally fine.

    Also, it boots up when I run the dvd drive off one of the plugs from that power cable, so I don't think it is the power supply.

    The seller is coming over either today or tomorrow with another hd and psu to test it. He's acting like it's not his fault at all because he said "sales are final" and "no tech support," but it literally stopped working 20 minutes after I got it. I hardly think this is my fault. Is this a good sign that he knew there was a problem with it when he sold it to me? I tested it for about 30 minutes total at his place before I bought it, though.
  4. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 6,000   +15

    no. I can almost guarantee your PSU is failing. Replace the PSU. Also replace the CMOS battery.
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