System Startup Failure

By pnctrd
May 17, 2003
Topic Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Hi, I subscribed to this forum because I've read some posts about bootup problems. I recently ran into this problem myself and was hoping that I could find some advice as to where things went wrong.

    Here's what happened... I left the computer on all night, when I woke up I restarted windows, not a full reboot, to refresh the ram. I had been running the computer for about 2 hours, checked my email, did a little bit of searching online, and was running mIRC also. I checked on what I was cooking and returned to the computer to check out what was going on. Suddenly I heard a higher pitched buzz, sort of like the fans kicked in overtime. (Louder version of a fan running) Then the computer just shuts down completely. Everything else on the power strip at the time stayed on including the desk light, phone, and answering machine. I turned off the power supply, let the computer sit for a few minutes and tried to turn it back on. Once again, I got the high pitched buzz and after 2-3 seconds it shuts off again.

    After that I unhooked everything from the back, opened it up to see if anything had fried or melted... nothing. I decided to clean it out thoroughly because it definately needed it. I reattached everything in the back and tried again just hoping it was the dust buildup... and again, nothing.

    There was a CD-Rom recently installed... so I upped the power supply voltage. It started when I rebooted but the only thing that came on were the fans and the leds. There was no initial beep like all startups, the harddrive wouldn't spin and the CD-Roms wouldn't open. Also the computer wouldn't turn off. The only way that I could get it to shutdown was to unfortunately turn off the PSU. Once it was off, there was a burning smell coming from the Mobo/PSU area.

    I haven't done anything since then just because I'm afraid to I'll ruin more components than already harmed. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.

    Oh yeah... all cables are connected securely, RAM and video cards are pressed down completely, I also turned down the voltage on the PSU for fear that it might be too much.
  2. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 6,303   +52 Staff Member

    It sounds like your PSU is bad. Worst case scenario - Your motherboard is toast.

    Try swapping out the PSU with another and see if that gives you a second chance. Burning smells mean MAJOR trouble.. I hope it is not a sign of what's to come as you diagnose your system.
  3. pnctrd

    pnctrd Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    I can deal with it being PSU or Mobo... as long as it's not the HDD, I've got some files on there that haven't been backed up yet. I'm getting a PSU today so that I can check and see if that's the problem.
  4. Strakian

    Strakian Newcomer, in training Posts: 146

    Sounds like the PSU failed. From what I've experienced with "explosions" the HD can be fine, or, if you're running XP or 2000 it will give you an error saying the drive has changed or been corrupted/virus found. This happened to my friends computer when the PSU actually blew the capacitors on the MOBO and charred the case. (talk about hosed!)


    *NOTE*
    The following steps assume you replaced the failed PSU (if it indeed failed) or replaced the mobo if it was needed.
    *NOTE*

    Anyway, I couldn't find a way to save his data EXCEPT for attaching it as a secondary drive in a working computer, notably with a primary drive that has the same file structure (NTFS, FAT32, etc). Tthe goal to make it run without being the booting drive, since if it gives you errors it's effectivley intact, just scrambled a bit. Once it's in the other computer (friends or coworkers, wherever just to copy the files for a temporary period) copy the files you want to back up onto the primary HD on that computer.

    Be sure to avoid copying entire installed programs and applications due to the registry implications. This will not help your system when you copy them back over. It's better to keep the files you made and need and re-install the software later on.

    After you've moved everything you want to save off, format the HD that gives you errors, and reload windows with a fresh install.

    After it's installed, move it back to the other computer and copy the files onto the previously corrupted drive again.

    Next move that drive back to it's original computer and install any software/move around files as necessary.

    Hope it doesn't come to that, but if it does, this method seems to work. Although I can't gaurantee it will due to all the variables involved with a PSU failure and possible fried Mobo.
Topic Status:
Not open for further replies.


Add New Comment

TechSpot Members
Login or sign up for free,
it takes about 30 seconds.
You may also...


Get complete access to the TechSpot community. Join thousands of technology enthusiasts that contribute and share knowledge in our forum. Get a private inbox, upload your own photo gallery and more.