Once cleaned computer hangs at BIOS/startup

By agi_shi
Nov 19, 2006
  1. Well, I decided to finally take apart this old eMachines to clean it.

    Taking precautions, I carefully took out all the wires, took out the motherboard, took off the heatsink, took out the processor. Then using Isoprol alcohol I cleaned off the previous thermal pad from the processor and heatsink. I took some AS5, applied it to the processor die, spread it out, and put down the heatsink on it. Lockd it up, blew out all the dust, everything was ready.

    Put everything back into the case, turned it on, and XP asks me whether I want to start normally or the last good config (or safe mode). I click normally and bam! It hangs.

    So I take it apart again, remove heatsink, reapply thermal paste, put on heatsink, and lift it up to see if it made contact with the processor. Yup, thermal paste on the heatsink was visible. Put it back down. Turned on again, went into BIOS, Computer Health, and let it sit there. ~3 minutes of sitting and updating (it said the processor was 24-30C while it sat there unfrozen) and it locked up....

    Put a huge fan blowing on the side of the thing (side taken off), and tried again in case it was a heat problem. ~7 minutes, hanged. :(

    Took apart everything, reassembled everything. New thermal paste (for like the 10th time). Left only the wire to the front button for bootup, harddisk, and ram and processor. Everything else was disconnected.

    Do the same "Start Last Good Config" with XP, froze there. Thought it was a HD problem. Took away the harddrive, let it sit there telling me there was no boot device. Suprisingly, the blinking cursor just kept on blinking, and I could normally shut off the pc from the button... so that meant it didn't freeze. Restarted, back into PC Health, ~6 minutes, froze :/ .

    Back to bios after restart, "Fail-safe defaults", garbled screen. Restart, "Fail-safe defaults", waited around 10 seconds and all seemed fine. Restart, BIOS, health, ~7minutes, freeze =/.

    Let it sit at the "no boot device" for another 10 minutes, cursor kept blinking.

    eMachines ~something~
    Socket A [462] AthlonXP 2000+
    Samsung 512 ram [PC 2100]
    Foxconn ~something~ motherboard... Winfast, Socket A, AGP 8x slot
    250W eMachines PSU

    All these parts other than the motherboard are ~6 years old.... They worked fine before I cleaned everything... Ahhh!

    Ideas please? Thanks in advance =).
  2. zephead

    zephead TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,569

    how much thermal paste did you use? too much or too little can cause your processor to overheat, as is a common problem. the proper amount should be equal in volume to that of one U.S. dime. your bios-reported temps seem too good to be true, seeing that room temperature is 25 degrees. i've seen many motherboards report temperatures that were way off when checked against a separate temperature probe. this generally happens most with cheaper motherboards, such as the ones you would find in compaq, hp, dell, gateway, sony, and emachines systems.

    taking the heatsink off is not necessary for your average cleaning. clearing the dust out of the case, fans, components, and heatsinks can all be done just fine without taking anything apart, excluding the side panel of the case. only when replacing or removing the processor and/or the cooler is it necessary to take off the heatsink.

    when you did all this, did you take the nessesary anti-static precautions? grounding the metal chasis while you work is fine, but using a grounded wrist strap is even better. without anti-static precautions, it is easy to destry or damage parts without even realizing it. static electricity levels are usually highest on dry carpet, while wearing socks or rubber sole shoes.

    after going through these possibilities, i reccomend running the computer with minimal parts. this means you disconnect all drives, remove expansion cards, and so on. you need a keyboard, cpu, ram, a video card, and a power supply. see if the system can idle in the bios under these circumstances.
  3. agi_shi

    agi_shi TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 385

    I applied the correct amount of thermal paste, I'm sure. Exactly as per the instructions. (And yes, it kinda does take the volume of the dime.) I'm sure it's not over heating (well, atleast the processor isn't).

    BTW, the motherboard has been replaced before, so it isn't the same old eMachines one.

    Yes, I've taking anti-static precautions. Wrist-wrap was on and connected to the case at all times, and I usually touched the fossit on the sink or my case before touching and of the parts just to be careful.

    As for the disassembly - I wanted to start it as if it was a new system. The old thermal pad barely conducted any heat. There was dust all over the place, under drives, over drives, in the PSU, on the mobo slots, etc. etc.

    Minimal parts theory: Thanks, I'll try it (gotta get me to school this mornin' =) ). I think I already did that once, but it's always worth a try. The video card is actually integrated, so... well, mobo + processor + ram.

    THANKS SO MUCH for replying. Further help is greatly appreciated =).
  4. agi_shi

    agi_shi TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 385

    Hm.... anyone? Could it be that I've accidentally somehow knocked my chipset heatsink a little loose and the chipset is overheating?
  5. chrispudge

    chrispudge TS Rookie Posts: 20

    hey i come to find out that sometimes when you actually clean all the dust and crap out of a computer that it does run different...sometimes its good to just leave it :) lol
  6. zephead

    zephead TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,569

    it's possible, but you generally have to really hit it to knock it off, and you'd probably hear a loud snap. on some motherboards, doing so would have damaged the board. you can check by gently holding the heatsink and gently try to move i from side to side. it may move slightly if the motherboard flexes, but its position in relation to the board should never change.
  7. agi_shi

    agi_shi TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 385

    Hmmm..... redid everything, this time with EXTREME EXTREMETY and nothing is overheating. Got into windows, everything was fine and good.....

    Second day of windows - blue screen. Restart pc, bluescreen on xp startup (can't even boot into windows any more). Try to reinstall, and this happens. The CD loads everything and tells me it's starting windows - and the pc restarts. Disable all caching/shadow/etc. and I got it to do a blue screen on the starting windows screen instead of restart.

    "A thread tried to free a resource it did not own." it tells me... (0x0000008E)

    Faulty ram - crap (according to microsoft). I've known the ram is probably bad due to numerous times of crashes when a game is launched.... but still, never happened on stuff like this.

    Tried to get memtest, copied it to a floppy, all is fine (on my gaming rig, thankfully it likes me and doesn't decide to crap out on me when i clean it). But the damn pc won't boot from it. Tried 4 floppies from Fujifilm and 1 floppy from some other company. All formatted from scratch. memtest tells me it wrote to the floppy fine. Slap it in the other pc, boot up, can't boot off of floppy into memtest. I set the only boot devices as 1 - floppy and 2 -CD, so I can only boot from floppy or CD, but it looks for a CD, doesn't find one, and tells me there is no boot device. Uhm, floppy, oh you wittle little goody BEST EVAR machine...?

    Replace the ram?
  8. zephead

    zephead TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,569

    bad ran can cause file corruption and the blue screens you have reported. it does sound like a ram problem.

    if you can't even run a memtest, you have no choice but to swap out ram sticks with known good ones. if you can't get ahold of said ram, a local pc repair shop and/or technician should have a spare for your testing purposes.

    remember that your wrist strap needs to be grounded for esd protection, not just tied to the ungrounded chassis. good luck
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